Showing posts with label International/crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International/crime. Show all posts

January 22, 2015

Unlikely friendship between two Japanese men at the crossroad of death

 Kenji Goto’s Twitter picture

It is an unlikely friendship that ties the fates of war correspondent Kenji Goto and troubled loner Haruna Yukawa, the two Japanese hostages for which Islamic Statemilitants demanded a $200 million ransom this week.
Yukawa was captured in August outside Aleppo. Goto, who had returned to Syria in late October to try to help his friend, had been missing since then.
For Yukawa, who dreamed of becoming a military contractor, traveling to Syria had been part of an effort to turn his life around after going bankrupt, losing his wife to cancer and attempting suicide, according to associates and his own accounts. 

  • A unit at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been seeking information on him since August, people involved in that effort said. Goto’s disappearance had not been reported until Tuesday’s video apparently showing him and Yukawa kneeling in orange t-shirts next to a masked Islamic State militant wielding a knife.
Yukawa first met Goto in Syria in April and asked him to take him to Iraq. He wanted to know how to operate in a conflict zone. They went together in June.
“He was hapless and didn’t know what he was doing. He needed someone with experience to help him,” Goto told Reuters.
Yukawa then returned to Syria in July on his own. Goto (47), returned to Japan. Yukawa’s subsequent abduction haunted Goto, who felt he had to do something to help the man, a few years his junior.
“I need to go there at least once and see my fixers and ask them what the current situation is. I need to talk to them face to face. I think that’s necessary,” Goto told Reuters in August, referring to locals who work freelance for foreign correspondents, setting up meetings and helping with the language.
Goto began working as a full-time war correspondent in 1996 and had established a reputation as a careful and reliable operator for Japanese broadcasters, including NHK.
“He understood what he had to do and he was cautious,” said Naomi Toyoda, who reported with him from Jordan in the 1990s.
Goto, who converted to Christianity in 1997, also spoke of his faith in the context of his job. “I have seen horrible places and have risked my life, but I know that somehow God will always save me,” he said in a May article for the Japanese publication Christian Today. But he told the same publication that he never risked anything dangerous, citing a passage in the Bible, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
In October, Goto’s wife had a baby, the couple’s second child. He has an older daughter from a previous marriage, people who know the family said.
About the same time, he made plans to leave for Syria and uploaded several short video clips to his Twitter feed, one showing him with media credentials issued by anti-government rebels in Aleppo.
On October 22nd, he emailed an acquaintance, a high school teacher, to say he planned to be back in Japan at the end of the month.
Friends say he travelled from Tokyo to Istanbul and travelled from there to Syria, sending a message on October 25th that he had crossed the border and was safe.
“Whatever happens, this is my responsibility,” Goto said on a video recorded shortly before he set out for Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State.
That was the last time he was seen before the IS video this week.

June 10, 2014

Egyptian Inauguration is Followed by assaults on women

 Uniformed Egyptian police pull a woman in nothing but her underclothes from a frenzied mob.
"Get back boy! Get back!" the officers say as one lifts his pistol into the air.
Large patches of skin on the victim appear bloodied and raw as she struggles to walk toward a police van with hordes of men still fighting for a handful of her body.
Moments later, she falls to the ground, naked. Police carry her into the vehicle, seemingly incapable of thwarting the crowd.
In the background, revelers set off fireworks and wave flags to celebrate the inauguration of Egypt’s new president.   
This is just one of at least five mob sexual assaults that took place in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, according to the "I Saw Harassment" campaign, which documents sexual violence against women in Egypt. The attack is shown in a less than two-minute viral cell phone video that CNN cannot independently verify, but which activists say appears to match the details of an attack.
"It is shameful that the security leaders of the Ministry of Interior did not take into account any security measures or plans to prevent such incidents," a statement from the "I Saw Harassment" campaign reads. "Junior officers and individuals were left alone to face sexual harassment groups without any tools or plans."
Four of the five victims sexually assaulted in the square required medical attention, the "I Saw Harassment" campaign said. The attacks against them were so ferocious that several officers deployed to rescue the women were themselves wounded by the crowd, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry on Monday.
Police arrested seven men Monday on charges of sexual harassment after two women filed police reports and identified their attackers, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Video of one of the assaults was posted on YouTube and the video is a part of the ongoing investigation, said another official from the Interior Ministry, who was not authorized to speak to the media.
The response by authorities did little to squelch anger on social media channels, where many criticized the authorities and criticized local media for a lack of professionalism.
"They are happy, huh?" Maha Bahnassy said laughingly about the crowd on private network Tahrir TV during a live report on harassment from inside the square. Bahnassy publicly apologized Monday, saying her comments were misunderstood.
Activists said the anchorwoman's jarring remarks appeared part of a general trend by Egypt's pro-military factions to sideline the systemic violence against women in favor of glorifying Egypt's new head of state, former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The state-affiliated National Council of Women characterized Sunday night's violence as an orchestrated conspiracy against el-Sisi, saying, "The acts were meant to spoil the joy of Egyptians and their wedding of democracy." The group called on officials to find the "masterminds."
"Every day sexual harassment is a social epidemic affecting everyone, every day. Mob violence is an extreme form of this act that has been normalized by society," said Noora Flinkman, communication manager at HarassMap, a volunteer-based initiative aimed at combating sexual harassment. The group dismissed claims that the attacks were part of an organized political act against the new government.
A 2013 United Nations report from the Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women found that 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment and more than 82% of female respondents felt unsafe in the street.
The mass attacks come just days after Egypt passed the first law criminalizing sexual harassment, making it punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds.
"For a long time harassers have been able to harass with impunity. Now with this amendment to the law it is a good opportunity to take action not just in cases of mob assault but in cases of everyday sexual harassment," Flinkman said. “We are waiting to see what steps the authorities will take."

April 5, 2013

Syria Uses Rape As a Weapon Against The Opposition

Massacred Syrian children were 'bound before being shot' In the jails and interrogation centres of secret police, prisoners have been brutalised, either at the hands of officers, or more often with a bottle or other utensil. 
"In detention facilities rape is clearly used as a form of torture to humiliate and degrade people, and to bring back the wall of fear," said Nadim Khoury, Deputy Director for the Middle East at Human Rights Watch.
The claims come as Britain prepares to launch a campaign against rape as a weapon of war that will be the centrepiece of its presidency of the G8 countries next year.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, will today recruit the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie to highlight the issue at a meeting at the Foreign Office.
He has ordered the establishment of a special diplomatic team to document and help ensure the prosecution of sexual war crimes in conflict zones to support the initiative. 
Meanwhile refugees fleeing Syria have told the Telegraph that regime militia are using rape and the threat of it to scare the opposition.
An activist calling himself Rami who has spent the past months helping families escape into neighbouring Jordan said: "There was a 17 year old boy. He was in a terrible condition. He would sit and cry and refused to eat or speak to anyone," said Rami. "Eventually with the help of a councillor he opened up. He had been arrested at a protest. When he was taken to a detention centre two officers had raped him".
"I know of many cases like him. They would throw raped male protesters back out on the streets as a warning to others," said Rami.
Rami is a wanted man by the regime. Months earlier he was forced to flee his home town of Dera'a leaving his wife 'Hadija' alone at home with their five children.
Late one night, ten 'shabiha' [government paramilitaries] broke into the bedroom where she and her daughters were asleep.
"They tore at my nightgown trying to strip me. I started screaming. My daughter was crying," said Hadija. "They were taking videos and photos on their phones".
The men only fled when neighbours who heard the commotion intervened.
A week later four of them returned. "I promised that my husband would hand himself him," said Hadija. "They said; 'Tell your husband that we have seen your breasts and we have stripped you. Next time we are going to rape you and we film it and air it everywhere'".
Terrified, she gathered her children and fled to stay with relatives on the outskirts of the city, never staying in one home for more than a few days.
"They [security forces] did the same with many others. It became known that the sister, wife, or daughter of anyone who was fighting might be raped, and many were," said Hadija. "Now those who are wanted take their wives and daughters with them."
The situation is worse in Baba Amr, the former rebel bastion that was crushed by regime forces, said refugees in Jordan.
"In Homs they treat the women as spoils of war," said Fathima, who fled from Baba Amr.
Fathima's husband had been leading a rebel unit in Baba Amr when the district fell and soldiers began conducting house-to-house raids. Hurriedly she hid her husband, children and thirteen year old brother in law in a secret cranny in their home before opening the door.
"One of the men wanted to see inside the pantry. Then he grabbed me hard by the hand and tried to drag me inside. I resisted, I was praying, "in God I put my faith" out loud. I freed my hand but he grabbed me by the waist. He tried to rip my clothes away," said Fathima.
"I didn't want to scream because I knew my husband would come and then they would kill him".
On this occasion Fathima said she was saved when another soldier who shouted at the men to leave the house. Others were not so lucky she said; "It is common in Homs. Relatives on my husband's side were found killed, among them Hameda, a 17-year-old girl, who had been raped".
In rural communities in Syria, the mere threat that women may be being raped is having terrible consequences.
"We know of cases where husbands have divorced their wives, casting them from their homes, just because they were taken to a detention centre and so might have been raped," said a Syria researcher for the global campaign group Avaaz.
"This is happening but it is not something people talk about. Women who were raped can no longer get married. Their life went like that," said Hadija snapping her fingers together.
By Ramtha

March 16, 2013

Swiss Tourist Gang Raped in Front of Husband in India

India Tourist Gang Rape.jpg

Police are investigating the gang-rape of a tourist in central India, the latest black eye for the country over violence against women.
A Swiss couple was camping near a forest in India's Datia district when a group of men beat the husband and raped his wife, the district's deputy superintendent of police, R.S. Prajapati, told CNN. There were between five and seven attackers, he said.
The couple arrived in Mumbai on February 3 and were on a cycling tour across the country, said D.K. Arya, deputy inspector general of police.
The attackers stole a laptop, 10,000 rupees (US $185) and a mobile phone, he said. The victims went to police and the woman was hospitalized and later released.
Twenty people have been detained for questioning, Arya said.
The couple is staying at a guesthouse in the Datia district while the investigation unfolds, he said.
The Swiss ambassador to India, Linus von Castelmur, has spoken with the couple and offered any support they will need.
"Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment," the ambassador said in a statement. "The embassy has also been in touch with the local authorities and has requested for swift investigation and for justice to be done."
The attack comes at a time in India when there are calls for stricter laws on sexual assault and changes in cultural attitudes toward women.
In December a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a New Dehli bus, spurring protests in India, where most women have stories of sexual harassment and abuse on public transportation or on the streets, according to the Indian Council on Global Relations. That woman later died in a Singapore hospital.
A panel appointed by India's home affairs minister as a result of the case criticized Indian attitudes toward sexual assault and called for policy changes, including creating an offense of gang-rape punishable by at least 20 years in prison, making it a crime for police to fail to investigate sexual assault complaints and making it illegal to consider character or previous sexual experience of the victim at a criminal trial.
Suspect Identified in last hour:
Turkish police have identified the man suspected of killing American tourist Sarai Sierra, whose body was found earlier this month, CNN affiliate CNN Turk reported Thursday.
Police are now looking for the suspect, identified only as "Ziya T.," in the southern province of Hatay, where he has family, CNN Turk reported.
Turkish police are looking for a suspect in the death of American tourist Sarai Sierra, identified only as \
Turkish police are looking for a suspect in the death of American tourist Sarai Sierra, identified only as "Ziya T."
Missing American woman found dead
Police distributed a picture of him at all border checkpoints in case he tries to leave the country.
Sierra, a mother and amateur photographer from Staten Island, New York, went missing January 22 while on a solo trip. Her body was found February 2 near ancient stone walls in Istanbul, according to the semi-official Anatolian news agency.
Police suspect the 33-year-old was killed at a different location than where she was found.
Sierra went to Turkey on January 7 and was due to return home January 22.
Earlier this month, CNN Turk reported police detained a Turkish man with whom Sierra was in contact.
Authorities collected DNA samples from 21 people, including three foreigners. It was not immediately known whether "Ziya T." was among them.

December 14, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a Brother and Sister Killer

A late Egyptian reporter's fiance said she “would not find peace until his murderer gets what he deserves” and placed blame on the Muslim Brotherhood. (Al Arabiya)

As Egyptian journalists and activists mourned the death of a young reporter this week, his fiancé on Thursday vowed to “shame” the Muslim Brotherhood whom she held responsible for his death.

El-Hosseiny Abu-Deif, a 33-year-old journalist who worked for private weekly Al-Fajr, was shot to death during last week's clashes outside the presidential palace. He died on Wednesday after spending a week in a coma.

The Muslim Brotherhood had claimed that the majority of those killed in last week’s clash were members of the Islamist group and denied that its supporters were responsible for the violence.

Abu-Deif’s fiance said she “would not find peace until El-Hosseiny’s murderer gets what he deserves” and placed blame on the Brotherhood.

“I will say this to [Egyptian President Mohammed] Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who say my fiancé was one of them; I was the closest person to him. Once, we were discussing the Brotherhood, and when I sided with them, he was annoyed with me for a few days,” the late journalist’s fiancé said in a video interview with Egyptian media on Thursday.

The clashes between Mursi’s supporters and opponents occurred after the Brotherhood called on its members to head to the presidential palace to protect the “legitimacy" of the presidency. At the same time, dozens of protesters had been holding their sit-in at the same venue to protest the president's recent decisions on the draft constitution.

During the clashes, Abu-Deif had been “standing two meters away from where the clashes were taking place [outside the palace], covering the events with his camera, which was confiscated during the attack,” Egyptian news site Ahram Online reported this week,

“From this day, I am an enemy of the Brotherhood. I despise them. And I will shame them,” Abu-Deif’s fiancé said.

“He who kills should be killed. I will live on to bring him justice,” she added.

Several members of the press syndicate council have said that they hold various Freedom and Justice Party members responsible for the killing of Abu-Deif.

Hundreds of Egyptian journalists and activists gathered at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate's downtown headquarters on Wednesday, where they chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood while waiting for Abu-Deif's body to be released from the nearby hospital, Ahram Online reported.

December 13, 2012

Ruling! CIA Sodomized, Beat Innocent German Man

Khaled el-Masri
The European court of human rights has ruled German citizen Khaled el-Masri was tortured by CIA agents, the first time the court has described treatment meted out by the CIA as torture. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/AP
CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.
In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.
Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.
It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.
"The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was "simply unacceptable", he said.
Jamil Dakwar, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the ruling as "a huge victory for justice and the rule of law".
The use of CIA interrogation methods widely denounced as torture during the Bush administration's "war on terror" also came under scrutiny in Congress on Thursday. The US Senate's select committee on intelligence was expected to vote on whether to approve a mammoth review it has undertaken into the controversial practices that included waterboarding, stress positions, forced nudity, beatings and sleep and sensory deprivation.
The report, that runs to almost 6,000 pages based on a three-year review of more than 6m pieces of information, is believed to conclude that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" adopted by the CIA during the Bush years did not produce any major breakthroughs in intelligence, contrary to previous claims. The committee, which is dominated by the Democrats, is likely to vote to approve the report, though opposition from the Republican members may prevent the report ever seeing the light of day.
The Strasbourg court said it found Masri's account of what happened to him "to be established beyond reasonable doubt" and that Macedonia had been "responsible for his torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial 'rendition'".
In January 2004, Macedonian police took him to a hotel in Skopje, where he was kept locked in a room for 23 days and questioned in English, despite his limited proficiency in that language, about his alleged ties with terrorist organisations, the court said in its judgment. His requests to contact the German embassy were refused. At one point, when he said he intended to leave, he was threatened with being shot.
"Masri's treatment at Skopje airport at the hands of the CIA rendition team – being severely beaten, sodomised, shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation – had been carried out in the presence of state officials of [Macedonia] and within its jurisdiction," the court ruled.
It added: "Its government was consequently responsible for those acts performed by foreign officials. It had failed to submit any arguments explaining or justifying the degree of force used or the necessity of the invasive and potentially debasing measures. Those measures had been used with premeditation, the aim being to cause Mr Masri severe pain or suffering in order to obtain information. In the court's view, such treatment had amounted to torture, in violation of Article 3 [of the European human rights convention]."

posted on

In Afghanistan, Masri was incarcerated for more than four months in a small, dirty, dark concrete cell in a brick factory near the capital, Kabul, where he was repeatedly interrogated and was beaten, kicked and threatened. His repeated requests to meet with a representative of the German government were ignored, said the court.
Masri was released in April 2004. He was taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, by plane to Albania and subsequently to Germany, after the CIA admited he was wrongly detained. The Macedonian government, which the court ordered must pay Masri €60,000 (£49,000) in compensation, has denied involvement in kidnapping.
UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, described the ruling as "a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush administration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture".
He said the US government must issue an apology for its "central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA, and to pay voluntary compensation to Mr el-Masri".
Germany should ensure that the US officials involved in this case were now brought to trial.

October 18, 2012

Girl 20, Beheaded in Afghan for Refusing to Prostitute Herself

Confessed... Najibullah.
Confessed... Najibullah. Photo: AFP
Afghan police have arrested four people who allegedly tried to force a woman into prostitution in western Afghanistan and beheaded her when she refused, officials say.
Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in Herat province last week, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada said.
"We have arrested her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her husband and the man who killed her," he said.
Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past, Sayedzada said.
The suspect, Najibullah, was paraded by police at a press conference where he said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute.
"It was around 2.00 am when Gul's husband left for his bakery. I came down and with the help of her mother-in-law killed her with a knife," he said.
The murder comes against a backdrop of a world outcry over the shooting by Taliban Islamists of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who had become a voice against the suppression of women's rights.
While Yousafzai's case has made world headlines, people using social media in Afghanistan have made the point that oppression and violence against women are commonplace in Afghanistan.
Abdul Qader Rahimi, the regional director of the government-backed human rights commission in western Afghanistan, said violence against women had dramatically increased in the region recently.
"There is no doubt violence against women has increased. So far this year we have registered 100 cases of violence against women in the western region," he said, adding that many cases go unreported.
"But at least in Gul's case, we are glad the murderer has been arrested and brought to justice," he said.
Last year, in a case that made international headlines, police rescued a teenage girl, Sahar Gul, who was beaten and locked up in a toilet for five months after she defied her in-laws who tried to force her into prostitution.

October 11, 2012

Finally The Drs Pulled the Bullet of Neck 14 yr Old Shot by Taliban


 Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai is rushed to a helicopter to be taken to Peshawar for treatment in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan on Tuesday after she was shot by a Taliban gunman.

A team of army and civilian surgeons have been treating Malala Yousufzai in a military hospital in Peshawar where she was airlifted after the Tuesday shooting in her hometown of Mingora in the country's volatile Swat Valley.

Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai is rushed to a helicopter to be taken to Peshawar for treatment in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan on Tuesday after she was shot by a Taliban gunman. Doctors have now managed to remove the bullet from her neck.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Pakistani doctors successfully removed a bullet Wednesday from the neck of a 14-year-old girl who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, a government minister said.

A team of army and civilian surgeons have been treating Malala Yousufzai in a military hospital in Peshawar where she was airlifted after the Tuesday shooting in her hometown of Mingora in the country's volatile Swat Valley.

The operation to remove the bullet took hours because there were complications, said the information minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

"She is improving. But she is still unconscious," he said. "I can't say a final word about her condition. A board of doctors is constantly examining her condition."

Hussain said there was no decision yet whether the girl needed to be taken abroad for further treatment.

Malala is admired across Pakistan for exposing the Taliban's atrocities and advocating for girls' education in the face of religious extremism. On Tuesday, a Taliban gunman walked up to a bus taking children home from school and shot her in the head and neck. Another girl on the bus was also wounded.

The country's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited the hospital to get a first-hand account of her condition, the military said in a statement.

"In attacking Malala, the terrorist have failed to grasp that she is not only an individual, but an icon of courage and hope who vindicates the great sacrifices that the people of Swat and the nation gave, for wresting the valley from the scourge of terrorism," Kayani said in the statement.

He also vowed that the military would not bow to terrorists like those who shot the young activist.

"We will fight, regardless of the cost we will prevail," he said.

The strongly-worded statement was extremely rare for the reticent Kayani and a sign of how strongly Malala's shooting has affected Pakistanis across the religious, political and ethnic spectrum.

Malala began writing a blog when she was just 11 under the pseudonym Gul Makai for the BBC about life under the Taliban, and began speaking out publicly in 2009 about the need for girls' education. The Taliban strongly opposes education for women, and the group has claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack.

Private schools in the Swat Valley were closed Wednesday in a sign of protest over the shooting and in solidarity with Malala, said Ahmed Shah, the chairman of an association of private schools.

At one time the picturesque Swat Valley — nicknamed the Switzerland of Pakistan — was a popular tourist destination for Pakistanis. Honeymooners vacationed along the river running through the valley.

Then the Taliban in 2007 began infiltrating the valley just 280 kilometers (175 miles) from the capital, eventually assuming near-total control of the region before being ejected in a massive Pakistani military operation.

The takeover, as well as the Taliban's brutal treatment of civilians in the region, shocked many Pakistanis, who considered militancy to be a far-away problem in Afghanistan or Pakistan's rugged tribal regions.

But Tuesday's attacked demonstrated that the Taliban have not been eradicated from the valley and are trying to make their presence felt even three years after the offensive to oust them.

Malala was nominated last year for the International Children's Peace Prize, which is organized by the Dutch organization KidsRights to highlight the work of children around the world. She also was honored last year with one of Pakistan's highest awards for civilians for her bravery.

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