Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Israeli-Arab leader Salah arrested in Britain

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel group, has been detained in London while on a speaking tour, the UK Home Office has confirmed.
Salah was detained late on Tuesday night for allegedly entering the country illegally, despite his organisation's insistence that he entered through formal and legal channels and had no knowledge of any travel ban.
Theresa May, Britain's home secretary, said in a statement to Al Jazeera that an investigation was under way into how Salah had been able to enter the country.
"We do not normally comment on individual cases but in this case I think it is important to do so.
"I can confirm he was excluded and that he managed to enter the UK. He has now been detained and the UK Border Agency is now making arrangements to remove him."
But Salah's solicitor, Farooq Bajwa, quoted by the Guardian newspaper, said that his client had "no knowledge" of a travel ban and had made "no attempt" to conceal his identity when he entered Britain.
Islamic Movement spokesperson Sheikh Kamal Khatib said the arrest order was not yet clear, and the organisation had not yet spoken to Salah's lawyer.
"He was arrested on Tuesday night in London and is still in custody. We don't know yet if he will be deported but we are expecting to hear from his lawyer today," Khatib told the AFP news service.
The Islamic Movement is tolerated in Israel, and unlike some Islamic groups is not banned in the country, although it is under constant surveillance by government forces.
Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) - one of the groups organising Salah's speaking tour in Britain - told press: "The attempt to remove Sheikh Raed Salah from this country whilst he is taking legal action against those who have been defaming him is an obstruction of the course of justice.
"We have been organising a meeting on peace and justice in Jerusalem for weeks – with publicity widely available – to which Sheikh Raed Salah was one of the speakers. PSC also invited MPs to speak at the same meeting. At no stage did anyone contact us from the government or the police.
"Following rumours in the papers, Sheikh Raed Salah’s legal team tried to verify if it was true that a travel ban had indeed been issued, and had no confirmation nor denial from any official source," she said.
"This shocking move by the British government will deeply damage British relations in the Middle East."
The PSC's Ruqayyah Collector told Al Jazeera that Salah spoke at a public event on Monday for over an hour, and encountered no problems.
The PSC also said he was due to speak on Wednesday night at an event at the Houses of Parliament, alongside a group of MPs in an event that was widely advertised.
Salah has had multiple run-ins with the Israeli law, including most recently being arrested at the Israeli border with Jordan after allegedly striking an interrogator.
In 2010, he spent five months behind bars for spitting at an Israeli police officer, and he has been detained on a number of other occasions, although he denies most allegations and was acquitted of rioting charges from 2007.
He was also held after taking part in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that Israeli naval commandos stormed on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish human rights activists dead.
Israel's Arab community numbers 1.3 million, about 20 percent of the population. It is made up of 160,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 establishment of the Jewish state, and their descendants.

Venezuela's Chavez shown with Castro

New photographs and video footage of President Hugo Chavez have been released after his surgery in Havana.
"Let these images serve to bring peace to the people of Venezuela regarding the health of President Chavez," Venezuelan Communications Minister Andres Izarra said on Tuesday.
There has been speculation about Chavez being seriously ill.
The new images do not disprove the most extreme rumors -- that Chavez has prostate cancer -- but they give substance to the government's insistence that he is simply recovering from a painful operation to remove an abscess from his pelvis.
Beyond referring to the abscess, the government has given no more medical details of the operation nor a clear timetable for Chavez's homecoming.
"We affirm the right of President Chavez to undergo his recovery and treatment in the established time," Vice President Elias Jaua said on state TV after the pictures were released.

In the images, which state TV said were recorded earlier on Tuesday, Chavez appeared in better condition -- albeit still thinner than usual -- than in the one set of pictures released shortly after the procedure

Fresh clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Clashes are continuing between Egyptian security forces and more than 5,000 protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, leaving more than 590 injured, according to witnesses and medical officials.

Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's former president, remained sealed off early on Wednesday as lines of security forces in riot gear strived to regain control from  demonstrators.

Witnesses said the clashes started on Tuesday when police tried to clear a sit-in at the state-TV building, which included families of those killed during the country's revolution earlier this year, known as the "martyrs", according to the Daily News, an Egyptian news website.

Witnesses said police showed up and attacked the families outside the Balloon Theatre in Agouza, where a planned memorial service for the families was taken place.

The ministry of interior said in a statement on Tuesday that "people who claimed to be families of martyrs, tried to break into the theatre" in which the service was held

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rwandan woman jailed for genocide

Judges at the UN court for Rwanda have sentenced a former Rwandan minister for women's affair, to life in prison for genocide and incitement to rape.
The ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) means that Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 65, is the first women to be ever convicted of genocide.
She was found guilty on seven of the 11 genocide charges she faced for atrocities committed in Rwanda's southern Butare region in 1994.

"For these crimes, and considering all relevant circumstances, the chamber sentences you, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, to life imprisonment," said William Hussein Sekule, the presiding judge, on Friday.
"Pauline Nyiramasuhuko conspired with other members of the interim government to commit genocide in Butare.


Al Jazeera speaks to journalist Andrew Wallis who followed the trial in Tanzania.

"She ordered rape at the Butare prefecture office. She had superior responsibility on the Interahamwe [militia which she ordered] to commit the rapes at the Butare prefecture."
Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, the former minister's son, is one of five co-accused, who was also sentenced to life for crimes including genocide, extermination and rape as a crime against humanity.
The other co-accused, all former senior officials in the Butare area, were sentenced to terms ranging from 25 years to life at the court in Tanzania.
Only female

Nyiramasuhuko was born into a modest family in southern Rwanda. At the age of 40 she enrolled at university, gaining a law degree four years later.
In April 1992 she was appointed minister for women's affairs, a position she continued to hold in 1994 when approximately 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsi, were killed by majority Hutus.

After the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front she fled into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
She was arrested in Kenya in July 1997 and transferred to the ICTR.
The only female detainee at the UN court, Nyiramasuhuko first appeared at the tribunal in 2001, in what has been the longest-running trial at the ICTR.
The verdict comes 16 years after the first of the co-accused was arrested

Monday, June 27, 2011

'Tea Party' activist enters Republican race

Michele Bachmann has formally launched a bid for the US presidency from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.
Bachmann, a member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota and a rising star in the “Tea Party” movement, said on Monday that the US “cannot afford” to reelect Barack Obama in next year’s presidential elections.
"Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama will be a one-term president," said Bachmann, who will be looking to challenge current Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney.
"We can't afford four more years of millions of Americans who are out of work," she said to voters in Iowa.
"And we can't afford four more years of a foreign policy with a president who leads from behind and who doesn't stand up for our friends like Israel, and who and who too often fails to stand against our enemies," said Bachmann.
Bachmann, a fierce critic of gay marriage and abortion, also addressed the growing US national debt, rising gasoline prices, scores of home foreclosures and high unemployment.
Infamous for her frequent oratorical blunders, Bachmann told Fox News that “what I want them (voters) to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."
John Wayne, the Hollywood star of a number of western films is from Winterset, Iowa, while “Killer Clown” 1970s serial killer John Wayne Gacy was from Waterloo