Tag Archives: crime

Just in: Lagos thugs attack, set police station ablaze. [Nigeria]

Advertisements

The spokesperson of the Orile-Iganmu Local Government Area, Ayo Micheal said, “Yes, the station has been attacked.

Suspected thugs on Tuesday burnt down the Apapa Iganmu Police Station in Lagos State.

The incident occurred around 09.45 am, according to an eyewitness. Noble Reporters Media learnt

“The burnt Station is in Apapa Iganmu but serviced both Iganmu community in Apapa Iganmu and Orile Community in Coker/Aguda.”

Details later…


#Newsworthy…

Afghanistan car bomb attack claim 12 lives.

Advertisements

More than 100 people wounded in a powerful car bomb in Ghor province, interior ministry said.

At least 12 civilians have been killed and more than 100 people wounded after a car bomb targeting an Afghan police headquarters in the western province of Ghor went off on Sunday.

The attack took place in Feroz Koh, the capital of Ghor, a province that has not seen much violence compared with some other regions of the conflict-wracked country.


READ


The ministry of interior said the car bomb detonated in front of Ghor police headquarters at about 11am local time (06:30 GMT).

“The terrorists detonated an explosives-filled car… as a result 12 civilians were killed and more than 100 people were wounded,” the interior ministry said.

Mohammad Omer Lalzad, head of a hospital in Ghor, said emergency staff were treating dozens of people, adding that the death toll will rise.

Advertisements

Juma Gul Yakoobi, a Ghor health official, told AFP news agency that the victims also included members of security forces.

Security personnel and residents gather around the site of a car bomb that targeted an Afghan police headquarters in Feroz Koh, capital of Ghor [AFP]

“The explosion was very powerful,” said Aref Abir, spokesman for the Ghor governor. “There are fatalities and casualties, and people are taking them to hospitals.”

He said the blast damaged nearby government offices handling social affairs.

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government began in Qatar last month but violence has continued unabated on the ground.

Advertisements

The talks appear to be stalled as the Taliban and the Kabul administration have struggled to establish a basic framework for negotiations.

On Friday, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan that had displaced thousands of residents in recent days.

It came after the US said it would halt all attacks and night raids in keeping with the peace agreement it signed with the Taliban in February.

The US had been conducting air attacks in support of Afghan forces trying to repel Taliban assaults in Helmand province, which threatened to derail efforts to end Afghanistan’s war.


#Newsworthy…

Tunisia leader, Kais Saied supports hanging amid woman’s murder uproar

Advertisements

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has said he backs capital punishment after public outrage over a woman’s murder sparked calls for executions to restart following a three-decade-long pause.

“Anyone who kills a person for no reason deserves the death penalty,” Saied told the nation’s security council late Monday, according to a video posted by the presidency.

Tunisia carried out its last hanging in 1991, according to Amnesty International, but death by hanging remains on the statute books of the North African nation.

Presidential candidate Kais Saied speaks as he attends a news conference after the announcement of the results in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo

By Clever Advertising
Convicts have regularly been handed death sentences in recent years — mainly in trials related to national security — but a moratorium on carrying out the punishment has been in place.

“Each society has its choices, we have our principles, and the text is there,” Saied added.

A recent murder revived the debate on the death penalty.

Advertisements

The body of a 29-year-old woman, who had vanished after leaving work, was discovered last week near a highway that runs from the capital Tunis to the suburb of Marsa.

A man was swiftly arrested and confessed to killing her and stealing her phone, according to the interior ministry.

The justice ministry said that the suspect had previously been accused in an earlier murder case that was dismissed, without giving further details.

“If it is proven that he has killed one or more people, I don’t think the solution is … not to apply the death penalty,” Saied added.


#Newsworthy…

Breonna Taylor: Protesters defy second night of curfew. [United States] #BLM

Advertisements

More than 1,000 people defied a second night of curfew in the US city of Louisville to protest over the lack of criminal charges in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, with some seeking refuge in a church.

Two officers were shot during clashes in Louisville a day earlier after authorities announced a grand jury had decided not to charge anyone in connection with the death of Taylor — a 26-year-old black woman shot dead in her apartment by police earlier this year.

“Until we afford Black people the basic rights promised by our founders — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and end the rampage of the devil of racism, we will know no peace,” her family’s lawyer Ben Crump said in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

Over a thousand people protested Thursday evening in the city center, much of which was closed to traffic, with several shops boarded up in anticipation of more violence.

Advertisements

“No way we can be peaceful any longer,” said Michael Pyles, a 29-year-old black man who said he has been protesting for 120 days, and had a 9mm handgun on his hip.

“We’re out here to protect our people and the people who support us,” he said. “We are under attack.”

Grace Pennix, 19, who is also African American, said she can’t help but place herself in Taylor’s shoes.

“I often be passing by my front door and thinking, dang, the police could be coming at my door and shoot me and kill me just like they did with Breonna.

Advertisements

“It could be me, my friend, cousin, aunt, mom,” she said.

Protestors stage a photo on the steps of the Louisville Metro Hall in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on September 24, 2020. – More than 1,000 people defied a second night of curfew in the US city of Louisville to protest over the lack of criminal charges in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, with some seeking refuge in a church. Two officers were shot during clashes in Louisville a day earlier, after authorities announced a grand jury had decided not to charge anyone in connection with the death of Taylor — a 26-year-old black woman shot dead in her apartment by police earlier this year. (Photo by Jeff Dean / AFP)

With a 9:00 pm to 6:30 am curfew in place through the weekend, about a hundred protesters in violation of the rule Thursday sought refuge at the First Unitarian Church late Thursday.

Heavily armed police surrounded the building, and helicopters whirled overhead, but the demonstrators were allowed to leave around 11 pm.

Authorities arrested at least 24 people on charges including unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and riot in the first degree, police said, though the city appeared to avoid the violence of the previous evening.

Advertisements

Demands for justice
Taylor’s death has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement and the grand jury decision sent fresh demands for racial justice billowing across the country.

Two police officers were shot and wounded Wednesday as thousands flooded the streets of Louisville to protest the grand jury’s decision. Both are expected to recover.

Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said a suspect, Larynzo Johnson, had been arrested and charged with two counts of assault and 14 counts of “wanton endangerment.”

Schroeder said there had been a total of 127 arrests overnight Wednesday across the city, Kentucky’s largest with a population of 600,000, and at least 16 instances of looting.

Advertisements

Law and order
Taylor, an emergency room technician, was shot dead on March 13 after three plainclothes policemen executing a search warrant in the middle of the night burst into the apartment.

Taylor’s boyfriend exchanged fire with the officers, who he said he thought were intruders.

More than six months later, a grand jury on Wednesday charged detective Brett Hankison with three counts of “wanton endangerment” over shots fired into adjoining apartments.

But neither Hankison nor the two officers who fired the shots that killed Taylor were charged in direct connection with her death.

Advertisements

President Donald Trump, who is campaigning for reelection on a “law and order” platform and has repeatedly stoked fears about violence, tweeted that he was “praying” for the officers who were shot.

Seething protests have rocked America’s cities for months, with the movement’s anger fed by a stream of deaths of black people at the hands of police, and exacerbated by badly fractured national politics and inflammatory rhetoric by Trump.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the two officers who had fired the shots that killed Taylor had done so in self-defense, and would therefore not be charged.

The city of Louisville settled a wrongful death suit with Taylor’s family for $12 million last week.


#Newsworthy…

[United States] Policeman charged over Breonna Taylor’s shooting.

Advertisements

A Louisville police officer was charged Wednesday with three counts of “wanton endangerment” in connection with the shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman whose name has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges brought by a grand jury against Detective Brett Hankison, one of three police officers involved in the fatal shooting in March.

No charges were filed against the other two officers and the grand jury findings immediately sparked street protests in Louisville, the scene of weeks of anti-racism demonstrations.

Advertisements

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Taylor family, condemned the grand jury decision.

“3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor,” Crump said on Twitter. “This is outrageous and offensive!”

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the grand jury charges as “not accountability and not close to justice.”

“This is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core,” the ACLU said.

Advertisements

Hankison, who has been fired from the police department, was not charged for shooting Taylor but for shots that he fired into adjoining apartments, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.

“I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges reported today,” Cameron said. “Every person has an idea of what they think justice is.”

– ‘They did knock’ –
Taylor, an emergency room technician, was shot dead in her apartment when three plainclothes police officers turned up at her door to execute a search warrant.

Cameron said reports that the officers had executed a “no-knock” search warrant were incorrect and they had announced their presence.

Advertisements

“They did knock and announce,” he said. “That information was corroborated by another witness.”

Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.

LOUISVILLE, KY – SEPTEMBER 22: Multiple unidentified protesters gather around and climb cement barriers in an intersection near Jefferson Square Park on September 22, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Jefferson Square Park has remained the epicenter for Louisville protest action following the March 13th killing of Breonna Taylor by police during a no-knock warrant at her apartment. Jon Cherry/Getty Images/AFP

The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor multiple times, killing her. A police sergeant was wounded.

Cameron said Hankison had not fired the fatal shots and the two other officers who opened fire had done so in self-defense.

Advertisements

He said Hankison could face five years in prison for each count of “wanton endangerment” if convicted.

The city of Louisville settled a wrongful death suit with Taylor’s family for $12 million last week.

A state of emergency has been declared by the mayor of the city, which has a population of 600,000, with much of downtown closed to traffic.

Some downtown business owners boarded up their shops in anticipation of unrest sparked by the grand jury decision.

Advertisements

Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said the authorities would not tolerate any “violence or destruction of property.”

“We are prepared to meet any challenge we may face,” Schroeder said, calling for demonstrators to protest “peacefully and lawfully.”

The civil settlement with Taylor’s family reflected the public pressure and emotion surrounding her death, which came about two months before that of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Floyd’s death triggered protests across the US against racial injustice and police brutality.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: 2 Los Angeles police shot dead during patrol. [Video]

Advertisements

The deputies were sitting in their patrol car when a person approached and opened fire through the passenger window.

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were injured when an unidentified gunman fired multiple shots on their patrol car in an apparent ambush, authorities have said.

The incident took place on Saturday night when the officers – a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man – boarded their car near a metro rail station in the city about 7pm (02:00 GMT).

A video posted to the sheriff department’s Twitter account showed a figure approach the vehicle and open fire through the passenger side window of the car and run away.

The deputies, who had graduated from the academy 14-months earlier, were able to radio for help. Both underwent surgery on Saturday.

Two Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs were wounded in a shooting attack [Screengrab/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]

President Donald Trump, who has run a campaign increasingly reliant on a “law and order” message amid continuing racial justice protests, retweeted a video of the incident, writing: “Animals that must be hit hard!”

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Joe Biden tweeted this “cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice”.

Advertisements

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose department has been criticised during recent protests over racial injustice, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers at a late-night news conference.

“It p**ses me off,” he said. “It dismays me at the same time.”

Authorities were continued to search the area for the gunman on Sunday.

“We have a very, very generic description,” Captain Kent Wegener said of the suspect at a news conference.

Advertisements

Protesters gather outside emergency room
A small group of protesters gathered outside the emergency room where the deputies were being treated.

In a tweet, the sheriff’s department said members of the group blocked the entrance and the exit and chanted “we hope they die”.

At least one man was taken into custody at the protest, and a woman, later identified by the LAist news site as reporter Jose Huang, was arrested and later released.

“I have seen @LASDHQ tweets and have thoughts and videos to share soon after a little rest,” she wrote on Twitter.


#Newsworthy…

Khashoggi killing: Saudi Arabia sentenced 8.

Advertisements

Saudi media report defendants handed between seven and 20 years in prison over the journalist’s murder in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia sentenced eight people charged in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, halting the death sentence for five of the men.

A court handed 20-year sentences to five people charged in the murder case, and three others were sentenced to between seven to 10 years, state media reported on Monday. The eight convicted were not identified.

“Five of the convicts were given 20 years in prison and another three were jailed for 7-10 years,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the public prosecution service.

The final court verdict comes after Khashoggi’s sons said in May they had “pardoned” the killers – meaning they would not receive death sentences – and the verdicts confirmed the five previously condemned men would not be executed.

Advertisements

Khashoggi went missing on October 2, 2018, while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities later revealed he was murdered inside the consulate by a Saudi hit squad.

Khashoggi’s body, believed to have been dismembered, has not been found.

Khalil Jahshan, from the Arab Center in Washington, DC, noted the prosecutor’s office said the announcement was final and “closes the case forever”.

Advertisements

“Most importantly, where is the body of Jamal Khashoggi? With these sentences, I assume they have found out what happened to his body,” Jahshan, a family friend, told Noble Reporters Media‘s known Media.

“The whole verdict seems to me to have been manipulated. According to legal practice in Saudi Arabia, the family has a right to commute any sentence, and the family has issued such a declaration – most probably under duress. I don’t think it was done freely, knowing the family.”

‘Credible evidence’
A 59-year-old Washington Post columnist, Khashoggi wrote critically of the Saudi government.

Questions remain over Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) role in ordering the killing, with several western intelligence agencies alluding he had knowledge of the operation beforehand.

Advertisements

The Saudi government called the assassination a “rogue operation” after repeatedly denying any involvement for weeks.

Agnes Callamard – the United Nations’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – also found “credible evidence” that Prince Mohammedand other senior Saudi officials were liable for the killing in an investigative report published in June 2019.

Istanbul prosecutor indicts Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing

Turkey trial
The assassination of Khashoggi – a US resident – prompted a worldwide backlash against Saudi Arabia and caused lasting damage to MBS’s image in the international arena.

Advertisements

Ankara’s ties with Riyadh came under intense strain after the journalist’s killing as he was an acquaintance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In March, Turkish prosecutors indicted 20 Saudi nationals over Khashoggi’s murder, including two former senior aides to Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

According to the indictment, Saudi Arabia’s former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri is accused of establishing a hit team and planning the murder.

Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal court and media adviser, is accused of instigating and leading the operation by giving orders to the hit team. Other suspects are mainly Saudi military and intelligence officers who allegedly took part.


#Newsworthy…

1MDB probe: Malaysia drops alleged criminal charges against Goldman

Advertisements

US bank had agreed to pay Malaysia $3.9bn to settle probe into its alleged role in scandal involving state fund 1MDB.

Malaysian prosecutors have withdrawn criminal charges against three Goldman Sachs units accused of misleading investors over $6.5bn in bond sales they helped organise for a state fund, the Bernama state news agency has reported.

Friday’s move comes after the US banking giant agreed to pay $3.9bn to Malaysia to settle a probe into its alleged role in the scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the fund which counts former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak as one of its co-founders.

The United States Department of Justice estimates $4.5bn was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.

The units – based in London, Hong Kong and Singapore – had pleaded not guilty in February and the bank has consistently denied wrongdoing.

“Goldman Sachs International Ltd, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore) are therefore discharged amounting to an acquittal from all four charges made against them,” Bernama quoted High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan as saying.

The United States Department of Justice estimates $4.5bn was misappropriated from Malaysia’s 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise in bond sales [File: Olivia Harris/Reuters]

Lawyers for Goldman Sachs and the prosecution could not be immediately reached for comment.

Advertisements

Suthe part of its deal with Malaysia, Goldman has paid $2.5bn in cash and guaranteed the return of $1.4bn in 1MDB assets seized around the world.

Goldman Sachs had to boost its legal reserves by $2.01bn to account for the Malaysia settlement, shaving its second-quarter net income by 85 percent and wiping out what had been a surprise jump in profit due to trading gains.

Malaysian prosecutors will also cease pursuing the case against Goldman Sachs’s 17 current and former directors, the Bloomberg news agency reported, quoting people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named as the information is private.

The scandal surrounding 1MDB had led to Najib’s removal in 2018 and triggered corruption investigations in at least 10 countries, including Singapore and Switzerland. Najib was found guilty of corruption last month and sentenced to 12 years in prison in the first trial over the scandal to reach a conclusion. Najib has maintained that he is innocent.


#Newsworthy…

Daniel Prude: Killer cop suspended. #BLM

Advertisements

Daniel Prude’s family calls for the arrest of the police officers involved in death by asphyxiation.


The police officers involved in the arrest and asphyxiation death of a Black man in New York state have been suspended, the mayor of Rochester said on Thursday, one day after harrowing footage of the March incident was released.

Daniel Prude’s family on Wednesday released body camera footage from his arrest in March in Rochester, in upstate New York, which showed a group of officers putting a hood over Prude’s head as he knelt on the ground, handcuffed and naked.

Local newspaper Democrat and Chronicle reported on Thursday that Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren had ordered the “immediate suspension” of seven police officers involved in the incident. The newspaper did not identify the officers.

“Mr Daniel Prude was failed by our police department, our mental healthcare system, our society, and he was failed by me,” Warren told reporters. “We cannot continue to fail Black lives in this way.”

Prude’s family has called for the arrest of the officers involved in his death, which came seven days after the incident. Prude was 41.

Advertisements

The Monroe County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint”, according to an autopsy report, the New York Times reported.

Prude’s asphyxiation occurred two months before the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which spurred international protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the US.

Prude’s family obtained video of the arrest after filing a freedom of information act request, CBS-affiliate WROC-TV reported.

The video prompted protests in Rochester on Wednesday, with dozens of people calling for the police to be held accountable and removed from the department while the investigation proceeds. Nine protesters were arrested, according to the local Democrat and Chronicle newspaper.

Advertisements

Several dozen people also held a demonstration in Times Square in New York City, 300 miles to the south, on Thursday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for “expeditious” answers.

Rochester police officers hold down Daniel Prude on March 23, 2020, in Rochester, NY [Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP]

“For the sake of Mr Prude’s family and the greater Rochester community, I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible. For that to occur, we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will fully comply,” Cuomo said.

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating, as state law requires whenever police are involved in a civilian’s death.

Advertisements

“The Prude family and the greater Rochester community deserve answers, and we will continue to work around the clock to provide them,” James said in a statement.

In the video, an officer placed a “spit hood” over Prude’s head – apparently to prevent his spit from possibly transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Prude could be heard shouting, “Take this … off my face!” and “You’re trying to kill me!” before his shouts turned to cries and became muffled. Officers were heard saying “Calm down” and “stop spitting”.

Later, the video showed an officer kneeling on Prude’s back while Prude was silent and snow fell around them. Someone was heard saying, “start CPR”. Minutes later, the video showed Prude being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher.

Advertisements

Rochester police chief La’Ron Singletary told reporters on Wednesday that internal and criminal investigations were under way.

“I know that there’s a rhetoric that is out there that this is a cover-up. This is not a cover-up,” Singletary said.

Warren, the mayor, said Thursday that Singletary failed to provide her with the full details of what happened during the March incident until early August, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

“The only way we can confront systemic racism in our city is to face it head-on,” Warren said, as reported by the newspaper. “There can not be a justice system for white people and a justice system for Black people.”


#Newsworthy…

Deon Kay: Washington DC police release video of ‘brutal shooting’ of young black man. #BLM

Advertisements

Shooting of Deon Kay prompted protests in US capital amid increased nationwide scrutiny over police.


Police in Washington, DC, on Thursday released body camera footage of the fatal shooting of a young Black man in the city’s southeast, which ignited protests in the US capital.

The killing on Wednesday of 18-year-old Deon Kay prompted a late-night face-off between the police and dozens of protesters outside a city police station.

Chanting “say his name”, “Deon Kay” and “no justice, no sleep”, protesters on Thursday marched to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s residence, calling on her to fire the Washington, DC police chief, local television news station NBC4 reported.

The killing comes amid a nationwide protest movement decrying police violence against Black people and increased nationwide and local scrutiny over police tactics.

Advertisements

In a news conference on Thursday, Bowser offered her condolences to Kay’s family and said an investigation was under way.

“Our community is hurting and we know that they want answers,” she said. “We are still gathering all the facts and [the Metropolitan Police Department] and my administration will conduct a full investigation of this incident.”

The Washington, DC police department said Kay had “brandished a firearm” at officers.

Advertisements

The chief of the MPD, Peter Newsham, on Thursday said Kay was one of two people who fled when approached by uniformed officers who were investigating reports of a man with a gun in the area.

“Two individuals fled on foot and officers pursued them, one of those men brandished a firearm from his waistband as he was fleeing,” Newsham said during the news conference.

“In response, an MPD officer discharged his service weapon firing a single shot at the individual.”

Police said the other man, who escaped from police, and Kay were taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Advertisements

In a statement on Wednesday, police included pictures of the handgun they said Kay had been carrying, as well as of the gun of another of his companions who was arrested.

The local Black Lives Matter affiliate called for immediate protests outside the MPD’s 7th District headquarters, stating in a tweet: “DC police murdered a Black man today.”

On Wednesday night, videos posted on social media showed dozens of enraged protesters jostling with a line of police officers, who used bicycles to help form a barrier in front of the station.

Police killings of Black people have sparked nationwide protests and calls for sweeping police reform, prompting local efforts by the DC Council to bring greater transparency to such incidents.

Advertisements

In June, following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the council passed emergency legislation requiring the MPD to release any body camera footage from fatal shootings or use-of-force incidents within five days.

Protesters face-off with police officers on September 2 at a Washington, DC police station after an officer shot and killed a man in the city’s southeast [Shawn Thew/EPA]

The department must also release the names of the officers involved.

In July, the city released body camera footage from three separate fatal incidents dating back to 2018.

Kay’s shooting also comes after the release of a video showing a deadly incident involving police in Rochester, New York.

Daniel Prude, a Black man, died of suffocation in March after a group of police officers put a hood over his head and then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes. Prude died seven days after the incident occurred when he was taken off life support.


#Newsworthy…

Fourteen go on trial in France amid Charlie Hebdo attack.

Advertisements

Trial opens in Paris for 14 suspects accused of helping gunmen attack French magazine and Jewish supermarket in 2015.


Fourteen people have gone on trial in Paris on charges of assisting the gunmen who attacked the weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket five years ago, leaving 17 people dead.

Only 11 of the suspected accomplices appeared in the packed courtroom on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy in a terrorist act or association with a terror group – the other three fled to territory controlled by ISIL (ISIS) in Syria or Iraq before the January 2015 attacks on the publication’s offices and the supermarket in the French capital.

The three attackers were shot dead by police in separate stand-offs.

Reporting from Paris, Noble Reporters Media learnt the trial will be “very closely watched” in France until it wraps up in November.

“The attacks shocked so many people, prompting an enormous outpouring of grief,” she added.

Advertisements

Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication infamous for its irreverence and accused by critics of racism, was targeted after publishing derogatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Twelve people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were shot dead when French brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed its offices in eastern Paris on January 7, 2015. The attackers also killed a police officer as they left the scene.

A day later, Amedy Coulibaly, who had become close to Cherif Kouachi while they were in prison, killed a 27-year-old police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, during a traffic check in Montrouge, outside Paris.

Then on January 9, Coulibaly killed four men during a hostage-taking at the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket.

Advertisements

The perpetrators of the attacks had links with al-Qaeda and ISIL. Coulibaly was killed when police stormed the supermarket. The Kouachi brothers were killed when officers carried out a nearly simultaneous operation at a printing shop where they were holed up in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris.

Lawyers for the victims enter the courtroom for the opening of the trial [Charles Platiau/Reuters]

Caricatures reprinted
Over the next two-and-a-half months, the court will hear from some 150 experts and witnesses.

The suspected accomplices face charges including financing terrorism, membership in a terrorist organisation and supplying weapons to the attackers.

The defendants tried in absentia include Hayat Boumedienne, Coulibaly’s partner at the time of the attacks, and brothers Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine.

Advertisements

As the court proceedings got under way, Charlie Hebdo reprinted in its Wednesday issue the hugely controversial caricatures that stirred outrage in the Muslim world when they were first published nearly a decade before the attacks. Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims.

“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” director Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, who was wounded in the attack, wrote in an editorial published on Wednesday.

The publication of the cartoons drew fresh condemnation from Pakistan’s foreign ministry, which said the decision to print them again was “deeply offensive”.

But French President Emmanuel Macron defended the “freedom to blaspheme” and paid tribute to the victims of the attack.

Advertisements

“A president of France should never judge the editorial choice of a journalist or editorial staff because there is freedom of the press which is rightly cherished,” he said on a visit to Beirut, Lebanon.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex wrote in a Twitter post: “Always Charlie”.

The 2015 attacks prompted a rally of solidarity in Paris at the time, drawing more than four million people, many holding signs with the slogan “I Am Charlie.”

Dozens of world leaders and statespeople also linked arms in a march under high security to pay tributes to the victims of the attacks.


#Newsworthy…

Jacob Blake: Protesters March in Kenosha. [United States]

Advertisements

Hundreds rally against racial injustice in the city where a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times last week.


More than a thousand people have taken part in a Kenosha rally to protest against police violence, nearly a week after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times, leaving the 29-year-old Black man paralysed from the waist down.

Marchers on Saturday chanted “No justice, no peace!” as the march began and “Seven bullets, seven days” – a reference to the number of times Blake was shot on Sunday.

Those leading the march carried a banner reading “Justice for Jacob” as they made their way towards the Kenosha County Courthouse, where several speakers railed against racial injustice and urged people to vote for change in November.

Advertisements

“There were seven bullets put in my son’s back … Hell yeah, I’m mad,” said Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr. He said he wants to ask the police, “What gave them the right to attempted murder on my child? What gave them the right to think that my son was an animal? What gave them the right to take something that was not theirs? I’m tired of this. I’m tired of this.”

Blake Sr asked members of the crowd to raise their fists in the air with him.

Marchers chanted “No justice, no peace!” as the march began and “Seven bullets, seven days” – a reference to the number of times Blake was shot [Morry Gash/The Associated Press]

“We are not going to stop going in the right direction. We’re going to the top … we’re gonna make legislation happen because that’s the only thing that they recognise,” he said.

He also urged protesters to refrain from the looting and vandalism that he said detracted from the push for progress.

Advertisements

“Good people of this city understand. If we tear it up we have nothing,” he told a gathering at a park that was the hub of protests in support of his son, Jacob Blake Jr. “Stop it. Show ’em for one night, we don’t have to tear up nothing.

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey and two other officers were responding to a domestic abuse call on Sunday when Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back. Blake is recovering in a Milwaukee hospital.

The shooting, which was captured on mobile-phone video, sparked new protests against racial injustice and police brutality, just three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody touched off months of nationwide demonstrations.

Protesters have marched on Kenosha’s streets every night since the shooting, with protests at times devolving into unrest that damaged buildings and vehicles.

Advertisements

On Tuesday, two people were killed by an armed civilian during a demonstration. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois who had gone to the protests armed with a semi-automatic rifle, is currently being held without bond and awaiting an extradition hearing on returning him to Wisconsin to face six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor.

The commander of the National Guard said on Friday that more than 1,000 Guard members had been deployed to help keep the peace, and more were on the way.

Jacob Blake’s sister Letetra Widman, centre, and uncle Justin Blake, left, [Morry Gash/AP Photo]

Conflicting accounts
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said this week that police confronted Blake when they were called to the home of a woman who had reported her “boyfriend was present” without permission. Officers then tried to arrest him.

Kaul said efforts to subdue Blake with a Taser failed, and that investigators later recovered a knife from the floor of the car that Blake was leaning into when he was shot.

Advertisements

On Friday, the Kenosha police union defended the officers’ actions, saying Blake was armed with a knife, fought the officers and was given several chances to cooperate before they used deadly force.

Blake’s lead lawyer, Ben Crump, has said his client was not armed with a knife and did not provoke or threaten police.

In the mobile-phone footage recorded by a bystander, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of an SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns drawn and shout at him.

As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire. Three of Blake’s children were in the vehicle.

Advertisements

The man who recorded the video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he heard police yell at Blake, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before gunfire erupted.

White said he did not see a knife in Blake’s hands.

Handcuffed to hospital bed
Blake had been handcuffed to a hospital bed after the shooting, which authorities said was the result of an outstanding arrest warrant, until Friday, when the warrant was vacated, one of his lawyers, Pat Cafferty, told Reuters News Agency.

The warrant was based on a criminal complaint filed against Blake in July, based on statements made by his ex-girlfriend, the mother of three of his children, that was released to Reuters on Friday.

The woman told police Blake broke into her home on May 3 and sexually assaulted her before stealing her truck and debit card.


#Newsworthy…

Three R Kelly’s associate arrested, charged for intimidation.

Advertisements

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced the arrests of three alleged associates of R. Kelly, saying that they used harassment and threats to try to silence women accusing the disgraced singer of sex crimes.

For more than a year the artist born Robert Sylvester Kelly has been awaiting trial in several states for alleged wrongdoings including sex crimes against minors and child pornography.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which range across the states of Illinois, Minnesota and New York.

In filings released Wednesday, prosecutors say three members of the artist’s circle — Richard Arline Jr., Donnell Russell and Michael Williams — have been engaged in separate bids to silence Kelly’s accusers in the New York racketeering case against him through intimidation, harassment and bribery.

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 22, 2019 US music artist R. Kelly (L) leaves the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building after a hearing for his sex abuse case in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago prosecutors on May 30, 2019 filed 11 felony sex crime charges against R&B superstar R. Kelly, in what his lawyer said was a refiling of counts from an existing case. Kelly is already facing 10 felony charges, filed in February, for the alleged abuse of four women.
Joshua Lott / AFP

They say tactics have included the burning of a car outside a residence where one accuser was staying, threats to release sexually explicit photographs of one woman, and a scheme to compensate one accuser to the tune of $500,000 to influence her testimony.

“These crimes shock the conscience,” said Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Peter Fitzhugh in a statement.

Advertisements

“The men charged today allegedly have shown that there is no line they will not cross to help Kelly avoid the consequences of his alleged crimes — even if it means revictimizing his accusers.”

Kelly faces federal charges in two separate cases — in Chicago and in New York — linked to his alleged sexual abuse of minors.

The singer known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” has a decades-long history of abuse allegations, especially of underage girls.

The Chicago federal charges say Kelly filmed himself having sex with minors and that he paid potential witnesses in his 2008 trial — in which he was acquitted — to ensure their silence.

Advertisements

He also faces bribery charges in New York that are believed to be linked to his marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old.

That charge expanded on an earlier New York indictment that includes racketeering, accusing Kelly of systematically recruiting girls for sex while touring and coercing them into sexual activity.

The artist is set for trial first in New York, with jury selection currently slated to being September 29.

Restrictions preventing in-person trials due to the coronavirus pandemic will likely see that date postponed.


#Newsworthy…

Election 2020: Russian mercenaries ‘probed’ in Belarus for Terror

Advertisements

Belarus said Thursday it had opened a criminal probe into planned acts of terror by Russian mercenaries held ahead of presidential polls, adding that it was tracking down dozens more.

The ex-Soviet country’s security services on Wednesday arrested a group of 32 Russian fighters as well as one other man in a different location.

Belarus security council chief Andrei Ravkov said a criminal probe had been launched and that the men face charges of preparaing “terrorist acts”.

“Thirty-three have been detained, there are up to 200 or thereabouts on the territory (of Belarus),” Ravkov said.

Advertisements

He said “a search is going on” to find the others, complaining that it was “like looking for needles in a haystack.”

Belarus’s KGB security service said the detained men were members of the Wagner group, a shadowy private military firm reportedly controlled by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin which promotes Moscow’s interests in Ukraine, Syria and Libya.

The arrests came ahead of presidential polls on August 9 in which strongman Alexander Lukashenko is seeking a sixth term.

Lukashenko has detained would-be opposition candidates and their supporters.

Advertisements

Protests have erupted across the ex-Soviet country of 9.5 million people, with a 37-year-old woman political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, quickly emerging as Lukashenko’s main rival.

Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko. (Joe Klamar AFP)

Lukashenko has accused some of his critics of being controlled by “puppeteers” in Moscow.

– Lukashenko rivals warned –
Ravkov spoke after meeting the candidates standing against Lukashenko, including Tikhanovskaya, and warning them that security measures would be stepped up at rallies.

State news agency Belta said the authorities had received information about the arrival of 200 fighters in Belarus “to destabilise the situation during the election campaign”.

Advertisements

Lukashenko at an emergency meeting of his security council on Wednesday demanded an explanation from Moscow.

“If they are guilty, it’s necessary to emerge out of this situation with dignity,” Lukashenko said in televised remarks.

Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said Thursday that he had been invited to the Belarusian foreign ministry that morning to discuss the case, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia is Minsk’s closest political and economic ally but relations have been strained.

Advertisements

The Belta news agency said the detained Russians sported “military-style clothing” and carried heavy cases.

It also reported that the alleged militants gave themselves away because unlike ordinary Russian tourists, they did not drink.

“They did not consume alcohol or visit entertainment venues. They kept to themselves in order not to attract attention,” Belta said, adding that the men stayed at one of the country’s spas.

National television showed several Russian passports that allegedly belong to the detained men, as well as stacks of dollar bills, packets of condoms and pieces of paper with Arabic script.

Advertisements

The men appeared to also have Sudanese pounds in their possession.

Russian author Zakhar Prilepin, who fought alongside Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said he knew some of the detained men.

Writing on Facebook, Prilepin suggested that the fighters probably used Belarus as a transit point and were en route to “some other destination,” which he said Belarus “surely knows very well”.

Unlike Russia, Belarus has not enforced a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and operates flights as usual.


#Newsworthy…

2 Indonesian women ‘whipped’ nearly 100 times for online sex work

Advertisements

Two Indonesian women have been publicly whipped nearly 100 times each for selling sex workers’ services online, an official in the country’s conservative Aceh province said Tuesday.

Aceh, at the tip of Sumatra, is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia to impose Islamic sharia law, which allows flogging for a range of offences including prostitution, gambling, adultery, drinking alcohol, and gay sex.

The punishment was handed down Monday in Langsa city where dozens gathered to watch the pair get lashed, despite bans on crowds over coronavirus fears.

Advertisements

Neither of the women wore disposable face masks, unlike in some other recent whippings.

The two hijab-wearing suspects were arrested in March along with five sex workers, who could also face a flogging if found guilty of violating Islamic law, said Aji Asmanuddin, head of Langsa’s Islamic sharia agency.

“They were punished for violating sharia by advertising (sex) through the internet,” Asmanuddin said.

This file photo taken on December 10, 2019 shows the first female flogger preparing to whip a woman in public, in Banda Aceh, after she was caught in close proximity with a man who is not her husband in a hotel. Two Indonesian women have been publicly whipped nearly 100 times each for selling sex workers’ services online, an official in the country’s conservative Aceh province said Tuesday. (AFP/CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN)

Officials were struggling to crack down on the area’s booming online sex trade, he added.

Advertisements

“This is the first (pimping) case in Langsa although we believe there are many of them out there,” Asmanuddin said.

“We just don’t have the necessary tools to monitor them online.”

Rights groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for it to end.

But the practice has wide support among Aceh’s mostly Muslim population.


#Newsworthy…

Advertisements

Arotile’s death: Photo of suspects handed to police surfaces

Advertisements

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has officially handed over to the Nigeria Police the three suspects involved in the incident that led to the death of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.

According to a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore, Ibikunle Daramola, the suspects namely Nehemiah Adejoh, Igbekele Folorunsho and Festus Gbayegun, were handed to the police on Friday at the NAF Base Kaduna.

Giving a brief highlight of the events that led up to the death, the Commander 453 Base Services Group (453 BSG), Group Captain Hadi Ahmed, recalled how, on 14 July 2020, at about 4:30 pm, a KIA Serento SUV, driven by Mr Adejoh, with the two others as passengers, knocked down the Flying Officer while she was walking along the Air Marshal Ibrahim Alfa Road in the NAF Base Kaduna.

Slide to see photos

The three former classmates of Arotile who were involved in her death o n July 14, being handed over to the police.

Advertisements

Group Captain Ahmed highlighted that the three persons involved in the accident, who were former schoolmates of the late Flying Officer at the Air Force Secondary School Kaduna, were on their way to visit the wife of a serving senior officer residing in the Base before the accident occurred.

He stated that the NAF would continue to cooperate with the Nigeria Police and provide all necessary support to enable it carry forward the case to its logical conclusion.

This comes a day after the young officer was laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.


#Newsworthy…