Category Archives: Human Rights

Amanda Knox revisits Italy

Amanda #Knox (31)  will return to Italy next month first time since being definitively cleared four years ago of brutal killing of her flat mate Meredith KercherThe American citizen has agreed to take floor at criminal justice conference in Modena taking place June 13-15.

The Italy Innocence Project didn’t yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia,” #Knox wrote in her Twitter micro blog, @amandaknox, referring to an NGO that is designed to assist the victims of miscarriages of justice. “I’m honored to accept their invitation to speak to the Italian people at this historic event and return to Italy for the first time”

During her stay in Perugia  Knox was accused of murdering her flat-mate British exchange student Meredith Kercher, the crime (November 1, 2007) committed in a violent assault presumably together with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a local acquaintance Cote d’Ivoire immigrant Rudi Guede 

All of them were arrested five days later and convicted by a court of first instance, but this conviction was subsequently overturned. The appeal sentence was then examined by the Italy‘s Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial on appeal leading to their second conviction in 2014. Knox and Sollecito were eventually acquitted definitively by the Supreme Court the following year. However Ivorian, Rudy Guede, convicted of the brutal murder  in a separate fast-track trial is serving a 16-year sentence.

 

After her liberation and return to the U.S. Knox became an author, an activist, and a journalist. With her memoir of the Meredith Kercher murder case Waiting to Be Heard as best seller, participation in TV shows, and the related activities, she gained a considerable fortune, estimated $15 million, and continuing to grow, while the murder mysteries still haunt public imagination.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Italy to pay compensation to Knox for violating her rights in the hours after her arrest in Perugia  (January 24, 2019), and subsequently Italy was ordered to pay #Knox €18,400  for not providing her with either a lawyer or a professional legal interpreter when she was first held in custody.

AMENDED: Patrick Lumumba falsely accused by Amanda Knox in the murder of Meredith Kercher explains how this calumny had wrecked his life.

10 years of prison for bilingualism in Ukraine

The voted in the Ukrainian parliament law on official language (nr.5670)  significantly impacts the state policy in use of the Ukrainian, according to the authors ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language. It also proposed to fine officials, deputies, and other officials if they decline speaking the state language at work place. But the introduction of this responsibility  has been postpone for three years.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the law (nr.5670 leads to fines, and there is an annex, directly indicating that attempts to introduce bilingualism or multilingualism, or grant official status to any other language in the whole country or in a particular region, is considered to be an overthrowing the constitutional order. This crime is punished for long sentences, amounting to 10 years in prison in accordance with section 109 of the Criminal Code.

All citizens of Ukraine and all officials at workplace, including the president, the chairman of parliament and his deputies, the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, the heads of all ministries and public institutions, deputies, civil servants, officials of local authorities, judges and lawyers, teachers and health workers,  – all state offices are obliged to speak Ukrainian language exclusively. There are a few exceptions made to speak another language if the decision is consensual.

It is a law on forced, in fact, total Ukrainization. Its provisions provide for significant restrictions, and in many cases, direct bans on the use of the Russian language and minority languages in various spheres of public life” spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry Maria #Zakharova wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

As recorded in the 2001 census, the minority groups in Ukraine include Russians, BelarusiansMoldovans, Tatars, Bulgarians, Poles, Jews, Romanians, Armenians, Hungarians, Greeks,  Roma,  and other nationalities. While a subsequent census was supposed to be conducted in 2011, it has been repeatedly postponed and is now scheduled to take place in 2020.

 

Manning denied release on bail

Former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning will remain in prison after a federal appeals court denied her request to be released on bail, and upheld a lower court’s decision to hold Manning in civil contempt for refusing to give evidence before grand jury.

The ruling is a blow to Manning, who was arrested in March after  declining to answer questions in connection with the government’s long-running investigation into Wikileaks and its Australian founder Julian Assange.

In a comment released by a spokesperson, Manning said that while disappointing, the appeals court ruling will still allow to “raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process”.

I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury,” Manning added.

MEPs demand China to stop arbitrary detentions

China must stop arbitrary detentions of religious and ethnics minorities, said Members of European Parliament in a resolution adopted during April Strasbourg Plenary.

Parliament is concerned about the increasingly repressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tibetans and Christians, are facing in China. The situation is rapidly deteriorating, placing additional restraints on their fundamental rights. It calls on the Chinese Government to put an end to arbitrary detentions, without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence, of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minority and Tibetans.

“Continuing to negotiate with China over investment and trade issues while ignoring reports of human rights abuses, means the international community is failing to respect its own set of values”, Thomas Mann MEP said. (pictured above).

According to the United Nations estimates, China has put in place an extrajudicial detention programme, currently detaining “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uyghurs’” who are forced to undergo political “re-education”. MEPs are also concerned about the information that the Xinjiang camp system has expanded into other parts of China and, in this regard, urge China to close all detention centres and to release the detained persons immediately and unconditionally. The full resolution will be available here (18.04.2019).

The resolution on China was adopted by 505 votes in favour, 18 against, with 47 abstentions.

RSF: press freedom declines

2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) illustrates how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.

If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly towards a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Halting this cycle of fear and intimidation is a matter of the utmost urgency for all people of good will who value the freedoms acquired in the course of history.

Norway is ranked first in the 2019 Index for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th), where two reporters who cover organized crime have had to live under permanent police protection. An increase in cyber-harassment caused Sweden (third) to lose one place.

Russia  went down one at 149th, where the Kremlin has used arrests, arbitrary searches and draconian laws to step up the pressure on independent media and the Internet.

At the bottom of the Index, both Vietnam (176th) and China (177th) have fallen one place, Eritrea (up 1 at 178th) is third from last, despite making peace with its neighboring Ethiopia, and Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last, replacing North Korea (up one at 179th).

A considerable blow to the freedom of press was added in France: during the manifestations of Yellow Vests reporters were confronted with police violence.

Mamikins MEP challenges Latvian PM

MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS (Latvia) criticises disparities between slogans and realities of respect of human rights in Latvia, namely the situation of 12% of stateless inhabitants of the country, who are excluded from political life. There are around Soviet 200 000 inhabitants of Latvia who voted independence, but nowadays are forgotten, and they will not vote in upcoming European elections in May 2019.

Socialist MEP also raised an issue of conflict of interest of Prime minister Arturs Krisjanis KARINS, who keeps his American citizenship while chairing Latvian government. The interview was taken in Strasbourg after the debate between Latvian Prime minister and Members of European Parliament on Future of Europe. The debate has concluded the discussion between heads of states and government and MEPs on future of the EU.

Mr Kariņš was the twentieth EU head of state or government to debate the future of Europe with MEPs, the last one in this parliamentary term.

Equador surrenders Assange

Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange (47), who exposed American war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been arrested in spite of the laws on refugee Convention, obstructed by British government, preventing him to travel to Equador, where he was granted asylum.  Assange has spent sever years in Equador Embassy in London, in an attempt to avoid extradition to the United States, where he could be subjected to torture, and death penalty.

Today the police said Assange was detained “on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates‘ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court”.

District Judge Michael Snow said Mr Assange‘s behaviour was “the behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest“. Finding him guilty,  the Judge sent Assange to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing. The Wikileaks publisher also faces extradition on the US charges and will appear in court via video link on 2 May on that matter.

At present there is no official confirmation if Swedish prosecution Service is intended to re-open an investigation into a sexual assault allegations.

https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/1116299856413282304

In 2011, a British court ruled that  Assange should be extradited to Sweden. His lawyers fought the decision fearing he would end up being extradited further to the US to face espionage charges in connection with to the top-secret information he had published via WikiLeaks.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Assange‘s arrest was carried out in connection with a federal charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to classified US government computer“.

Reportedly the charges relates to Assange‘s alleged role in one of the “largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States“.

The indictment alleges that in March 2010 Assange engaged in “a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning” to assist the former US army intelligence analyst  in “cracking a password” stored at the US Department of Defense computers connected with a government network used for classified documents and communications.

 

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