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June 22, 2012

Assange seeks asylum in Ecuadorian embassy

Assange seeks asylum in Ecuadorian embassy

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Friday, June 22, 2012

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  • 22 June 2012: Assange seeks asylum in Ecuadorian embassy
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Julian Assange, founder of whistle blowing site Wikileaks, has spent a third night in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He entered the embassy on Tuesday to claim asylum, breaking strict bail conditions, after losing an appeal in the British high courts over extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over allegations of sexual assault in 2010.

File photo of Assange in 2010
Image: Ralgis.

Assange, 40, awaits a decision from diplomats on his asylum application. In a telephone interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he explained the decision following a feeling of abandonment by his native Australia, adding that he was not certain that Ecuador would grant his request. “We had heard that the Ecuadoreans were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organisation with the United States,” he said. The Australian government have repeatedly stated he has been receiving assistance from their London embassy, claims Assange denies.

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, said that the country would examine the application carefully. Assange alleges that sending him to Sweden will result in eventual extradition to America, to face charges over a 2010 incident in which Wikileaks released leaked US diplomatic cables. Correa said that the matter centred around whether Assange would face the death penalty if sent to the US.

Sweden is seeking to question Assange following allegations, in 2010, that he sexually attacked two female Wikileaks volunteers in Stockholm. At extradition hearings Assange’s lawyers have argued that he was allowed to leave Sweden, and that attempts to conduct an interview via video link have been rejected. But last week the high court dismissed an appeal claim “without merit”. He now has until 28 June to file an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights. Jemima Khan, who provided part of the surety for his bail, has called on Assange to face his accusers, saying “I personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the two women at the centre have a right to a response.”

In breaking his bail conditions Assange risks being arrested once he leaves the embassy. The bail included a curfew, during which he had to be present at a named address. Even if Ecuador grant asylum it will be hard for Assange to leave the country; diplomatic immunity (which would protect him from arrest) must be approved by the Foreign Office.



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May 18, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn refused bail after appearance in New York court

Dominique Strauss-Kahn refused bail after appearance in New York court

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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File photograph of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Image: Guillaume Paumier.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has been refused bail after appearing in court in New York charged with sexually assaulting a chambermaid at a hotel in Manhattan. The decision by the judge to remand him in custody yesterday will likely disrupt emergency talks over the European debt crisis, demolish hopes that he will challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency, and spell the end of his political career.

In court, Strauss-Kahn appeared sombre and tired. The judge agreed with the argument by the prosecution that the French politician was a flight risk after he reportedly tried to flee the country on a passenger jet for Paris. The defence said Strauss-Kahn denied the charges against him and offered $1,000,000 bail and said he would reside in Manhattan with an electronic bracelet, but the judge refused. Afterwards, defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman said: “This battle has just begun.”

The politician appeared in court charged with three crimes, including attempted rape, after a chambermaid told detectives she had been sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn in a luxury hotel near Times Square. “The maid described being forcibly attacked, locked in the room and sexually assaulted,” a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said. Detectives said the politician was detained in the first class cabin of the passenger plane which was minutes from leaving for Paris. Strauss-Kahn had reportedly fled the hotel “in a hurry” after the attack, leaving a number of personal effects behind.

Prosecutors have last night announced they are investigating claims made by a French author, Tristane Banon, that she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn in 2002. At the time, her mother—socialist councillor Anne Mansouret— persuaded her not to press charges against him, but yesterday she told French television that Strauss-Kahn had an “addiction” to “preying” on women, and had “a difficulty in controlling his impulses.” The author’s lawyer has announced he is planning to file a complaint with Banon to officials about the alleged attack. Kahn can be convicted and sentenced over the alleged attacks on the chambermaid and on Banon because he does not have diplomatic immunity.

Strauss-Kahn was considered a serious contender and was expected to announce his candidacy against Sarkozy this month, but the allegations are expected to destroy the hopes of his supporters, increase infighting among the French left, and leave his political career in tatters. His arrest comes at a critical moment for the IMF, and will likely plunge efforts to stabilise the financial states of struggling eurozone countries into chaos. Strauss-Kahn was meant to discuss the bailouts of Greece and Portugal with European Union financial officials at a meeting in Brussels this week.



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  • “IMF head remains in New York prison; charged over alleged hotel sex attack” — Wikinews, May 16, 2011

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April 9, 2010

Qatari diplomat detained on Las Vegas bound flight

Qatari diplomat detained on Las Vegas bound flight

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Friday, April 9, 2010

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A man tried to ignite his shoes during a flight from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. Air Marshals subdued the Qatari diplomat on board the airplane before it landed safely at Denver International Airport in Colorado. The airplane was United Airlines Flight 663, a Boeing 757 with 157 passengers and 6 crew members on board.

A search concluded that there were no explosives on the plane. NBC News reports that there was smoke coming from a restroom which led to an air marshal subduing the suspect.

The diplomat was reportedly smoking a cigarette in the plane’s lavatory. He also reportedly stated, jokingly, that he wanted to light his shoe on fire. It is unlikely that he will face charges due to his diplomatic immunity.

After the incident was reported by the pilot, military jets scrambled and escorted the airplane safely to Denver. The TSA and law enforcement agencies took the suspect into custody and are currently investigating the incident.

This incident occurs just as many countries are trying to lift their airplane restrictions caused by a Nigerian man who tried to detonate explosives in his underwear.



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January 7, 2010

Swiss millionaire gets record speeding fine

Swiss millionaire gets record speeding fine

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

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Ferrari Testarossa

A court in the eastern Swiss canton of St. Gallen has imposed a world record speeding fine of 299,000 Swiss francs (US$290,000). The repeat offender drove his Ferrari Testarossa through a village at up to 137 km/h (86 mph), when the speed limit was 80 km/h (50 mph).

Swiss courts calculate their fines on the principle that they are proportionate to the person’s wealth. The driver was assessed to have assets worth 23.3 million francs (US$22.7m), including a villa with a garage containing five luxury cars. He was initially fined 90,000 francs, but claimed to be a diplomat from the Republic of Guinea-Bissau which would have given him diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

A court accepted his claim and annulled the fine, but when he later failed to provide evidence of his diplomatic status he was summoned to the Cantonal Court of St. Gallen, and consequently was fined 299,000 francs. In its judgement the court stated: “The accused ignored elementary traffic rules with a powerful vehicle out of a pure desire for speed.”

This fine far exceeds the previous record, imposed on a Porsche driver in Zürich in 2008, of 111,000 francs.



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October 7, 2007

U.S. General David Petraeus accuses Iran of fueling war in Iraq

U.S. General David Petraeus accuses Iran of fueling war in Iraq

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

General Petraeus speaking at the Pentagon in 2007.

General David Petraeus, the top United States military commander in Iraq, said on Saturday that Iran continues to arm militias in Iraq. Petraeus also accused Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi of being a member of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Republican Guard which the U.S. believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements.

Speaking to journalists at a U.S. military base near the Iran-Iraq border, Petraeus said “There should be no question about the malign, lethal involvement and activities of the Quds Force in this country.” He added that Iran was “responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers”.

Regarding specific weaponry, Petraeus said “There’s no question, absolutely no question that Iran is providing advanced RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades].” “It has provided some shoulder-fired, Stinger-like air-defense missiles. It has provided the explosively formed projectiles and it has provided 244 mm rockets, in addition to mortars, mortar rounds and other small-arms ammunition.”

General Petraeus also said that Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi was a “Quds Force member”. The Quds Force is an elite unit of Iran’s Republican Guard which the U.S. believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements, including groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran acknowledges the existence of the Quds Force, but does not disclose the details of its activities. “[Qomi] has diplomatic immunity and therefore he is obviously not subject [to scrutiny],” Petraeus added.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini dismissed the charges on Sunday. Paraphrasing Hosseini’s comments, the Islamic Republic News Agency said the charges “were nothing new and that they were in continuation of the past baseless accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

According to BBC News, “Some analysts believe the U.S. is deliberately ramping up the rhetoric against the Iranian authorities to prepare public opinion for possible military strikes against Revolutionary Guard facilities within Iran.”



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October 7, 2007

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

General Petraeus speaking at the Pentagon in 2007.

General David Petraeus, the top United States military commander in Iraq, said on Saturday that Iran continues to arm militias in Iraq. Petraeus also accused Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi of being a member of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Republican Guard which the U.S. believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements.

Speaking to journalists at a U.S. military base near the Iran-Iraq border, Petraeus said “There should be no question about the malign, lethal involvement and activities of the Quds Force in this country.” He added that Iran was “responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers”.

Regarding specific weaponry, Petraeus said “There’s no question, absolutely no question that Iran is providing advanced RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades].” “It has provided some shoulder-fired, Stinger-like air-defense missiles. It has provided the explosively formed projectiles and it has provided 244 mm rockets, in addition to mortars, mortar rounds and other small-arms ammunition.”

General Petraeus also said that Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi was a “Quds Force member”. The Quds Force is an elite unit of Iran’s Republican Guard which the U.S. believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements, including groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran acknowledges the existence of the Quds Force, but does not disclose the details of its activities. “[Qomi] has diplomatic immunity and therefore he is obviously not subject [to scrutiny],” Petraeus added.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini dismissed the charges on Sunday. Paraphrasing Hosseini’s comments, the Islamic Republic News Agency said the charges “were nothing new and that they were in continuation of the past baseless accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

According to BBC News, “Some analysts believe the U.S. is deliberately ramping up the rhetoric against the Iranian authorities to prepare public opinion for possible military strikes against Revolutionary Guard facilities within Iran.”



Sources

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October 7, 2007

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    Sunday, October 7, 2007

    General Petraeus speaking at the Pentagon in 2007.

    General David Petraeus, the top United States military commander in Iraq, said on Saturday that Iran continues to arm militias in Iraq. Petraeus also accused Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi of being a member of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Republican Guard which the U.S. believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements.

    Speaking to journalists at a U.S. military base near the Iran-Iraq border, Petraeus said “There should be no question about the malign, lethal involvement and activities of the Quds Force in this country.” He added that Iran was “responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers”.

    Regarding specific weaponry, Petraeus said “There’s no question, absolutely no question that Iran is providing advanced RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades].” “It has provided some shoulder-fired, Stinger-like air-defense missiles. It has provided the explosively formed projectiles and it has provided 244 mm rockets, in addition to mortars, mortar rounds and other small-arms ammunition.”

    General Petraeus also said that Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi was a “Quds Force member”. The Quds Force is an elite unit of IranRasleUpon.com" src="//upload.wi?p=38339

    Iae of the Quds Force, butry spokesman MohaasleUpon.com" src="//upload.wi?p=38339

    According to BBC News, “Some analysts believe the U.S. is deliberately ramping up the rhetoriae of theinst the Iranian authorities to prepare public opinion for possible military strikes against Revolutionary Guard facilities within Iran.”



    Sources

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