Tag Archives: Justice

Catalan MEPs join Europarl

“Catalan independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin received temporary accreditation budges or Members of the European Parliament on December 20, a day after the European Union’s high court issued a ruling in their favour.

Till present they were unable to collect their credentials because of the risks of being arrested upon Spain arrest warrant, both politicians, who live in self-imposed exile in Belgium, should get full accreditation in January at the earliest, the president of the European Parliament said.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) also clarified that imprisoned separatist leader Oriol Junqueras was entitled to immunity as an MEP after being elected in May.

Mr Puigdemont and Mr Comin also won European Parliament seats in May but the arrest warrants, issued by Spanish prosecution prevented them from taking their oaths and collecting their MEP credentials.

We are at the place where we should have been six months ago,” Mr Puigdemont told reporters inside the European Parliament, where he and Comin collected their badges.

The former Catalan government president said he is looking forward to taking part in the next parliamentary session in Strasbourg. He also criticised the Spanish judiciary, which he underlined was not independent and could not guarantee the defence of their rights.

Puigdemont faces an arrest warrant from Spain for his role in the 2017 failed independence drive in Catalonia. The warrant is being analysed by Belgium.

EU prepares Magnitsky Law

The human rights were high on the agenda of the EU foreign ministers gathering in Brussels for December Council.

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell underlined that the issue of human rights remains a clear priority for Europeans and this trend will continue during his mandate. It is “very timely” to talk about it at eve of the International Human Rights Day, he added.

“The important thing is that, under the request of several Member States, we have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States. I was asked on this issue in my presentation at the Parliament last week and today we have decided, with strong consensus, to launch the preparatory work – and the European External Action Service will prepare the documentation for this – in order to prepare the equivalent of this Act. This will be a tangible step reaffirming the European Union’s global lead on human rights” the diplomat announced.

The Member States have also been informed about – and they have showed broad support for it – a new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy that will be prepared by EEAS services for the next five years, Borrell explained. “The EU diplomacy will present the proposal early next year, a reference document on human rights in the world” he declared.

Answering questions of press during the conference, he added that there have been consensus on Magnitsky law already.

“Had there been an opposition from just one Member state, we could not be acting the way we have decided to act, because as you know, it requires unanimity in the Council. So there is a strong consensus”, Borrell ensured.

“Some Member States who were opposing have abandoned the opposition and joined the broader consensus. Others may still have some collateral questions and some concerns, but as Chair of the Council, I think it could be considered that [there was] consensus in order to launch the technical process of preparing [the legislative acts] to address [the matter] to the relevant bodies of the Council, in particular the working group on human rights and RELEX. We will prepare all the papers and we will launch the process.

“Well, it is important because we have some methods of this kind to deal with violations of another issue, cyber security, for example. And I think that to have a tool like this that gives across the board a method of reacting with an approval by the Council in general terms, gives us much more strength and much more capacity to react in front of serious human rights violations. We are talking about serious human rights violations. And many Parliamentarians where asking for that. And I put the question on the table of the Council of Ministers and there was enough consensus to go ahead.” 

https://twitter.com/billbrowder/status/1204349016844230656?s=21

Magnitsky Act is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2012, aimed at punishment of Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky (37) in a Moscow prison cell in 2009.There is a strong suspiction that Magnitsky was killed by the prison wards, refusting to accept the false accusations against him. Initially he was imprisoned after investigating a $230 million fraud of Russian tax officials, the crime was covered by prosection, twisting against Magnitsky.

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.

IS militants families ordered repatriation to Belgium

A Belgian judge has ordered the relevant government offices to repatriate six children of Islamic State (IS) militants and their mothers who have been detained in a camp in Syria, the national news agency Belga said reported.

Tatiana Wielandt, 26, and Bouchra Abouallal, 25, both Belgian citizens, and their children have been held in the Al-Hol camp in since the defeat of Caliphate in nearly all territory it once held in Syria and Iraq.

Belga quoted the court ruling as ordering the government to take all necessary and possible measures to ensure the six Belgium citizens and their mothers can return home.

After a series of terrorist attacks Belgium has changed the rules, ordering anyone returning from the Levant a pre-trial detention and a three–five-year (and sometimes longer) prison sentence. In jail, these individuals are spread among the general prison population with individual security measures and monitoring, as well as constant assessment of radicalisation behaviour by trained staff and special units.

Furthermore, inmates are offered tailor-made disengagement programmes and probation measures to facilitate their return to society. The security services and local agencies receive relevant information from the prison authorities to ensure continued monitoring and adequate counselling.

Belga news agency did not inform about the further procedures concerning the group of IS members of the family.

Socialist MEP Kyenge on trial for dabbing Lega ‘racist’

Member of European Parliament (MEP) Cecile Kyenge from Socialist group and Italy‘s first black minister, went on trial this month for calling the anti-migrant League party “racist“.
Kyenge trail is launched by League leader Matteo Salvini after
Socialist politician said the League was a “racist” party, during a public event in Parma.
The League, while pursuing a crackdown on flows of illegal migrants and human trafficking, has always denied racist blames.
Sending Kyenge to trial in January, preliminary investigations judge Stefania Di Rienzo said defendant had implicitly compared the League to the Nazis.

 

Abdeslam and Ayari convicted for 20 years

Belgium Salah Abdeslam has been sentenced in Brussels court to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of the attempted murder of police officers in a shooting in Brussels in March 2016.

Abdeslam’s accomplice, Sofien Ayari, was also convicted to 20-year sentence for his role in the shooting, which left four officers injured. Neither accused appeared in court for the session at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, during which the verdict was read out.

Judges said there could be no doubt about the the accused commitment to radicalism as the maximum jail term requested by Belgian prosecutors was accepted. Both terrorists were also convicted for possessing firearms and each fined €12,000.

Abdeslam, who is being held in a high-security prison in northern France, is expected to go on trial for the double Paris attacks in 2020, on charges of murder linked to a terrorist organisation.

 

Puigdemont to be released on bail

A German court has ruled that Catalan politician and former President Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail until a decision on his extradition to Spain is made. “The corruption charge against him is a potential basis for his return to Spain” – DW reports.

The state court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled on Thursday (5/04/2018) there was no reason to believe that Catalonia‘s former leader Carles Puigdemont risked persecution in Spain. It set bail at €75,000 ($92,000) while a decision was made on his possible extradition to Spain.

The court  ruled that the main charge of ‘rebellion’ in the Spanish case against Puigdemont could not be used as the comparable German charge of treason specifies violence.

The court is to consider his extradition on the basis of misuse of public funds.

 

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