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February 10, 2012

German judge orders life sentence for nation\’s \’first Islamic-motivated terror attack\’

German judge orders life sentence for nation’s ‘first Islamic-motivated terror attack’

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Friday, February 10, 2012

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File photo of Frankfurt Airport, where the killings occurred.

A judge in Germany has ordered a man from Kosovo to be jailed for life for carrying out the “first Islamic-motivated terror attack” within the country. Arid Uka, 22, killed two US Air Force (USAF) men and wounded two more in a gun attack on their bus in Frankfurt. He was convicted today.

Uka, a Kosovan who has lived in Germany since he was four, worked in Frankfurt Airport‘s mail room. He became attracted to Islamic radicalism in a matter of months and would later cite a video appearing to show US soldiers raping women in Afghanistan as his motive for the attack. The video was not genuine.

Uka approached a USAF bus at the airport, asking a serviceman for a cigarette. Upon learning the group was bound for Afghanistan he fatally shot the man in the head before boarding the bus with a cry of Allahu Akbar (God is Great). There, he opened fire upon more USAF airmen, killing a second and injuring two others. The remaining eleven passengers escaped injury when his 9mm pistol jammed. The team had been loading their bus in front of the airport during a trip that began in the United Kingdom.

The fatalities were Nicholas Alden, 25, and Zachary Cuddeback, 21. Cuddeback had been the driver. Edgar Veguilla received arm and jaw wounds while Kristoffer Schneider was left requiring reconstructive surgery for his face. Uka’s weapon failed whilst pointed at a fifth man’s head. Schneider has ongoing pain, blindness in one eye, a missing section of skull and a face rebuilt from titanium. Schneider testified via videolink from a USAF base in his homeland.

Prosecution evidence included songs and text from Uka’s computer, phone, and music player. He was said to have radicalised alone through access to material such as the fake rape film, which was actually a scene from the anti-war movie Redacted.

In sentencing Uka for murder Judge Thomas Sagebiel agreed with prosecutors there were aggravating circumstances that amounted to “particularly severe guilt,” a move likely to prevent parole after fifteen years as is normally possible with German life sentences. It is the maximum possible sentence. The judge said the attack was aggravated by its ambush nature, that unarmed men were attacked and Alden was also attacked from behind, and that the wounds inflicted were serious.

Sagebiel also noted Uka’s refusal to explain how he acquired the gun. There was no drug or alcohol use involved, and no evidence Uka had been trained for the attack.

The killer described himself to the court as spending much of his time on computers, with few friends and a largely non-religious family background. He sat motionless with his eyes down and arms folded during the 70-minute verdict and sentencing hearing.

Uka had not joined any radical organisations and the defence claimed he was not a terrorist. Last year he blamed inaccurate propaganda for having influenced him and apologised, claiming not to understand his own actions. His defence lawyer, Michaela Roth, also sought to have his youth, admissions, and a troubled childhood considered.

Roth had suggested sexual abuse when Uka was six had led to a return of trauma when he saw the falsified rape video. This was undermined by psychiatric expert opinion, a report finding the abuse — and the video — of no “decisive relevance”. He was aware when he killed, and did not have a personality disorder although he was of “an immature personality,” it concluded.

“The attack was not only cowardly and perfidious, but also damaged Germany’s reputation,” said Sagebiel, telling victims and their relatives he “hoped that by our bringing the perpetrator to justice swiftly, you can find some comfort… and will not harbour any rancour towards Germany.” Alden’s brother Joe was in court and later said “justice has been served.”



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Wikipedia-logo.png 2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting on Wikipedia.

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August 9, 2011

Former Prime Minister of Finland Harri Holkeri dies aged 74

Former Prime Minister of Finland Harri Holkeri dies aged 74

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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Holkeri was Prime Minister from 1987 until 1991

Harri Holkeri, former Prime Minister of Finland and renowned peacemaker, has died at the age of 74. He was known for his role as co-chairman of the multi-party talks to resolve the conflicts in Northern Ireland. His efforts helped form the Good Friday agreement. Holkeri also served as U.N. General Assembly president and as a special representative to Kosovo.

After serving as Prime Minister of Finland from 1987 until 1991 and unsuccessfully running for President in 1982 and 1988, Holkeri focused his attention outside of Finland. He co-chaired the Northern Ireland talks with former US Senator George Mitchell and retired Canadian General John de Chastelain, and honoured with a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II after the Good Friday agreement was made.

Northern Irish politician and leader of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams said “Harri Holkeri enjoyed a distinguished career as prime minister of Finland, and in several prominent UN roles, including in Kosovo. But it will be for his work here alongside George Mitchell in co-chairing the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement for which he will be most remembered internationally.”

Current Prime Minister of Finland, Jyrki Katainen said “Holkeri … was the person who was able to build the confidence of people in difficult situations. This was one of the important personal characteristics that helped him achieve results in important international roles.”

In 2003 he became the U.N special representative to Kosovo but resigned less than a year later due to ill health. He was badly injured in 2008 after he was knocked to the ground by a thief escaping from a store.

He is survived by his wife, two children and six grandchildren.



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September 27, 2010

President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu resigns over breach of constitution

Filed under: Archived,Kosovo — admin @ 5:00 am

President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu resigns over breach of constitution

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Monday, September 27, 2010

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Fatmir Sejdiu was the second President of Kosovo

Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo, has resigned from his post. He resigned after a court ruled that he had breached the constitution by holding the post of president and being the leader of a political party at the same time. President Sejdiu is also the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Sejdiu announced his resignation during a press conference. He said “I presented my resignation for the post of Kosovo president today. I was convinced that keeping the function of the president of the Democratic League of Kosovo without exercising it did not violate the constitution, the court had a different opinion and I respect the ruling.”

A complaint against Sejdiu had attracted the support of 32 members of parliament. Today the constitutional court of Kosovo ruled that Sejdiu breached the constitution by holding the posts of president of Kosovo and of the LDK.

Sejdiu became president in February 2006 after the death of Ibrahim Rugova and the nation declared independence from Serbia in 2008, subsequently becoming recognised by over 70 countries. At the time of his resignation Sejdiu was preparing for talks with Serbia over the possibility of joining the European Union.



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July 22, 2010

Kosovo independence ruled legal by International Court of Justice

Kosovo independence ruled legal by International Court of Justice

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

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Judges from the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled Thursday that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 was not in violation of international law.

Despite protests from Serbia, which claimed that Kosovo’s independence threatened its sovereignty and was illegal under international law, ten of the ICJ’s fourteen judges supported the non-binding motion declaring Kosovo’s independence legal. The move was supported by the United States and most European countries, while other countries, including Russia and China, opposed the ruling.

In its opinion on the matter, the court said that it “considers that general international law does not contain any prohibition on declarations of independence. Accordingly, it concludes that [Kosovo’s] declaration of independence on the 17th of February 2008 did not violate general international law.”

Even before the ruling, 69 members of the UN, out of a total of 192, had recognized Kosovo’s independence, and observers say that more may do so in light of the ICJ’s ruling.

Kosovo’s president, Fatmir Sejdiu, said that “[t]he decision finally removes all doubts that countries which still do not recognise the republic of Kosovo could have,” while Serbian president Boris Tadic said that “Serbia will never recognise the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo.”



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence

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November 15, 2009

Kosovo: voters go to the polls for the first time since independence declared from Serbia

Filed under: Archived,Europe,Kosovo,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Kosovo: voters go to the polls for the first time since independence declared from Serbia

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

President Fatmir Sejdiu
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Voting polls opened in Kosovo at 7am (0600 UTC); the first time since declaring independence from Serbia last year. Both ethnic Albanians and the minority Serb population may vote for local mayors and councillors, a move seen as testing the government’s capacity to organise its own democratic elections. The territory was run by the United Nations mission before its split from Serbia in February 2008.

On Friday, President Fatmir Sejdiu stressed the importance of the elections. And, calling on the 1.5 million eligible voters to mobilise, said “[t]his Sunday should prove to the world that Kosovo is a stable country that produces peace and stability in the region”.

Cquote1.svg This Sunday should prove to the world that Kosovo is a stable country that produces peace and stability in the region Cquote2.svg

—President Fatmir Sejdiu

The Kosovo police have tightened security, and the 13,000 Kosovo Force troops — a NATO-led peacekeeping force — are on standby, according to its commander, General Markus Bentler. Local and international observers will monitor polls.

The main concern is the number of citizens who will vote, as only a 40% turnout level is expected. According to the BBC, most of the 120,000 Serbs oppose Kosovo’s independence. The government in Belgrade and the Serbian Orthodox Church have called for a boycott.

Polling stations are due to close at 7pm (1800 UTC); the first unofficial results are expected late Sunday evening.



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October 9, 2009

European Parliament committee backs visa-free travel for Balkan countries

European Parliament committee backs visa-free travel for Balkan countries

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Friday, October 9, 2009

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The European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee supported on Tuesday a proposal by the European Commission to scrap visa requirements for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, starting on January 1 of next year.

The committee also asked that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania be included in the visa liberalisation process, although neither has met EU-determined benchmarks yet. European Parliament members also want to initiate visa liberalisation dialogues with Kosovo and establish a roadmap for visa-free travel.

Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro currently appear to have strong support within the Parliament for implementing the proposal.

“I am convinced that what we are trying to do now with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania will not slow down the other three countries. This was a political decision by all the member-states of the European community and that will not change,” said Tanja Fajon, the European Parliament Rapporteur on Visa Liberalization.



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February 27, 2009

Former Serbian president Milutinovic acquitted of war crimes

Filed under: Archived,Europe,Kosovo,Serbia,United Nations — admin @ 5:00 am

Former Serbian president Milutinovic acquitted of war crimes

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Friday, February 27, 2009

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Milan Milutinović, the former president of Serbia, has been cleared of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in Kosovo.

Five other top Serbian officials, however, were found guilty of their charges and given sentences ranging from 15 to 22 years in prison.

Milutinović, aged 66, was the president of Serbia from December 1997 to December 2002, but was widely seen as a figurehead president during the Kosovo conflict in the 1990s. The court concluded that he did not have any direct control over the army, and was released from custody.

“The trial chamber finds you not guilty of counts one to five of the indictment,” said Iain Bonomy, the judge at the trial. “In practice, it was Milošević, sometimes termed the ‘Supreme Commander’, who exercised actual command authority over the [Serb army] during the NATO campaign.”

Milutinović and the five other men went on trial in July of 2006 on charges of murdering hundreds and forcibly deporting 800,000 civilians by Serbian forces in 1999 in Kosovo.

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Of the five sentenced to prison, former Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Šainović, Yugoslav Army General Nebojša Pavković, and Serbian Police General Sreten Lukić were given sentences of 22 years. Yugoslav Army General Vladimir Lazarević and Chief of the General Staff Dragoljub Ojdanić were each sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

All six men had pleaded not guilty to their charges.



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May 28, 2008

International ban on cluster bombs \”very close\” says British Prime Minister

International ban on cluster bombs “very close” says British Prime Minister

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that an international treaty aimed at banning the use of cluster bombs is “very close” to being achieved. It is hoped that many other countries, whether present at the talks or not, such as the United States and Canada, will sign up to the treaty.

An American B-1b Lancer drops cluster bombs.
Image: U.S. Air Force.

Cluster bombs have been used in countries such as Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon. More than 100 countries and multiple humanitarian organisations have supported a ban on their use, as they can remain dangerous for many years after being dropped and can cause “unacceptable harm to civilians”.

Brown’s comments come after ten days of talks in Dublin between 109 nations, but countries such as the United States, Russia and China oppose the treaty. A final draft is due to be shown to delegates at a talk this afternoon and could result in a deal “by the end of the week, possibly sooner” according the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The move by Brown would mean that the entire stockpile of cluster bombs owned by the UK would be scrapped, costing taxpayers millions. While many countries such as Britain, Germany, Japan and Switzerland have asked for 7 to 15 years to fully implement the rules, many humanitarian organisations have criticised this suggestion.



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International ban on cluster bombs \”very close\” says British Prime Minister

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that an international treaty, aimed at banning the use of cluster bombs is “very close” to being achieved. It is hoped that many other countries, both present at the talks and those not present, such as the United States and Canada will sign up to the treaty.

An American B-1b Lancer drops cluster bombs. Image: U.S. Air Force.

An American B-1b Lancer drops cluster bombs.
Image: U.S. Air Force.

Cluster bombs have been used in countries such as Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon but they more than 100 countries and multiple humanitarian organisations have supported the creation of the ban on their use, as they can remain dangerous for many years after being dropped and can cause “unacceptable harm to civilians”.

The claim comes after 10 days of talks in Dublin between 109 nations, however countries such as the United States, Russia and China oppose the treaty. A final draft is due to be shown to delegates at the talk this afternoon and could result in a deal “by the end of the week, possibly sooner” according the the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The move by Mr Brown would also mean that the entire stockpile of cluster bombs owned by the UK would also be scrapped, costing taxpayers millions. However many countries such as Britain, Germany, Japan and Switzerland asked for 7 to 15 years to bring in the rules, however many humanitarian organisations have criticised this move.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Cluster bomb and Cluster Munition Coalition on Wikipedia.
  • “Ban on cluster bombs ‘very close'”. BBC News Online, May 28, 2008
  • Peter O’Neil “Pressure on Canada as Britain backs cluster-bomb ban”. Canada.com, May 28, 2008
  • Michael Evans “Britain ready to sign cluster-bomb treaty”. The Times Online, May 28, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

International ban on cluster bombs \”very close\” says British Prime Minister

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Other stories from The United Kingdom
…More articles here
Location of the United Kingdom

A map showing the location of the United Kingdom


News from the United Kingdom

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the United Kingdom, see the United Kingdom Portal

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that an international treaty, aimed at banning the use of cluster bombs is “very close” to being achieved. It is hoped that many other countries, both present at the talks and those not present, such as the United States and Canada will sign up to the treaty.

An American B-1b Lancer drops cluster bombs. Image: U.S. Air Force.

An American B-1b Lancer drops cluster bombs.
Image: U.S. Air Force.

Cluster bombs have been used in countries such as Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon but more than 100 countries and multiple humanitarian organisations have supported the creation of the ban on their use, as they can remain dangerous for many years after being dropped and can cause “unacceptable harm to civilians”.

The claim comes after 10 days of talks in Dublin between 109 nations, however countries such as the United States, Russia and China oppose the treaty. A final draft is due to be shown to delegates at the talk this afternoon and could result in a deal “by the end of the week, possibly sooner” according the the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The move by Mr Brown would also mean that the entire stockpile of cluster bombs owned by the UK would also be scrapped, costing taxpayers millions. However many countries such as Britain, Germany, Japan and Switzerland asked for 7 to 15 years to bring in the rules, however many humanitarian organisations have criticised this move.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Cluster bomb and Cluster Munition Coalition on Wikipedia.
  • “Ban on cluster bombs ‘very close'”. BBC News Online, May 28, 2008
  • Peter O’Neil “Pressure on Canada as Britain backs cluster-bomb ban”. Canada.com, May 28, 2008
  • Michael Evans “Britain ready to sign cluster-bomb treaty”. The Times Online, May 28, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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