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August 8, 2016

Turkish president shows suport for reintroduction of death penalty at cross-party anti-coup rally

Turkish president shows suport for reintroduction of death penalty at cross-party anti-coup rally

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Turkey
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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday told a crowd of at least a million people he would approve the re-instigation of the death penalty if the parliament voted for it.

File photo of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 2016.
Image: Cancillería del Ecuador.

Opposition leaders and religious figures joined Erdogan at the mass rally, in which the president blamed the coup on the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen and called for his network to be destroyed within the laws of Turkey. However the HDP party, which favors the Kurdish minority in Turkey and has been accused of connections to Kurdish terrorists, was not invited. Massive flags were held by cranes as crowds held banners of the Erdogan and Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The Turkish media reported five million people turned up to the rally, and the event was broadcast on large screens in all the provinces across Turkey.

Security was tight, 15,000 police guarded the rally where supporters had to pass through one of 165 metal detectors. Two helicopters circled the air over the rally and there were anti-aircraft batteries at the event. More than 200 boats and thousands of buses were payed for by the government in order to make attendance to the rally easier. The authorities also provided attenders with hats and flags, and the wounded and family of the dead were given special passes for seated areas.

This comes after a bloody coup attempt from a faction within Turkey’s army in which 270 people were killed after Erdogan called for unarmed civilians to fight back against the coup. Since the coup was put down tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs working for the government and nearly 18,000 people have been detained. Local branches of the ruling AKP party have been told remove of supporters of ex-Erdogan ally cleric Fethullah Gülen from their ranks. The response of the Turkish government to the coup has received international criticism from human rights organisations that have urged restraint on the part of Erdogan’s government; and politicians, with some like leader of the small German liberal party the free democrats comparing the coup to the burning down of the reichstag in 1933.

Turkish officials have said those criticising them do not understand the threat to the Turkish state and seemed to care more about the coup plotters than their dead victims.


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June 3, 2016

Amnesty International Report names Rio de Janeiro \”deadliest city on earth.\”

Amnesty International Report names Rio de Janeiro “deadliest city on earth.”

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Friday, June 3, 2016

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Amnesty International released a report on Thursday naming the city of Rio de Janeiro one of the deadliest cities on earth.

In attempt to make the city safe for the approaching Olympic Games set to open on August 5th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Authorities have been participating in a protected law enforcement crackdown that has resulted in more than 100, mostly young residents, to be killed alone this year.

The report, titled ‘Violence has no place in these games! Risk of human rights violations at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games’, states that police operation homicides rose 40 percent in 2015 and then again by an additional 11 percent in 2015. It has been reported that 645 people were killed by law enforcement alone.

The Brazil Director for Amnesty International, Atila Roque, stated on Tuesday that when Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games in 2009, the authorities promised to improve security for all. He continued to say that instead 2,500 people killed by police since then in the city and very little justice.”

The Amnesty report went on to identify Brazilian authorities plans to deploy 65,000 police officers and an additional 20,000 military officers for the duration of the games, reflecting their failure to learn from similar incidents that occurred during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, which saw a violation of human rights with many injured and detained during police operations.

Matt Bradley, regional security director for International SOS, says that hundred of employees will be present during the games, providing security services and care to a variety of Olympic Sponsors. The company will also set up private medical clinics in Rio for their clients. “We know that during the games, even the regular hospitals will be overrun with cases, so we’ve actually set up special clinics to make sure [clients] get proper medical treatment if they need it,” Bradley told the The International Business Times.

Amnesty concluded that Brazilian authorities must “take all appropriate measures” to ensure violations of human rights do not take place as a consequence of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.



Sources[]

  • Eric Markowitz. “Road To Rio” — International Business Times, May 31, 2016

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June 1, 2016

Eleven US states file lawsuit against transgender bathroom directive

Eleven US states file lawsuit against transgender bathroom directive

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Eleven US states announced last Thursday that they would be filing a joint lawsuit against the government’s administration efforts to expand bathroom rights to include transgender students in North TexasFederal District Court. In the lawsuit they were suggesting that the issue needed to be decided by each state individually and not on federal level. Last Saturday, the governor of Mississippi announced plans to also join the lawsuit.

The United States President Barack Obama’s new directive was announced earlier this month appeared to give transgender students the right to use the bathroom they wish in schools.

The plaintiffs included Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia, and also Gov. Paul LePage of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education. West Virginia and Louisiana having Democratic leaders, and the other nine states had Republican leaders. Texas attorney-general Ken Paxton announced the suit in a statement on their official website. In the release he said, “the Obama administration is trampling the United States Constitution”.

States involved in the lawsuit have made the argument that the country’s federal government is taking matters into their own hands and creating directives which should be left to individual states, and as a result should not be followed as it is sidestepping each states government. The states called the directive “a massive social experiment”.

Furthermore, it was announced today that the state of Kansas are also considering submitting a resolution against Obama’s newest directive.

The new directive was put in force by the government in response to North Carolina passing a law requiring usage of public bathrooms according to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. The US Justice Department had challenged the North Carolina law as discriminatory.



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April 27, 2016

New research aims to reduce family violence harms on children

New research aims to reduce family violence harms on children

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The University of Tasmania and The Salvation Army family violence study in Tasmania, released Tuesday in Hobart Australia shows that significant investment is needed in programs designed to raise men’s awareness of the harmful psychological impacts on children.

File photo: Gender-based domestic violence.
Image: Concha García Hernández.

Training programs that target the perpetrators of family violence aim to educate them on these harms, however a research team identified a huge ‘evidence gap’ in resources used for developing such programs. The study found that while there are numerous programs for this purpose, none have been properly assessed to determine their effectiveness.

Children living in households where they witness violence can suffer significant emotional and psychological trauma, including post traumatic stress disorder. UNICEF estimates that as many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in the home and more recently, found that this issue costs countries in East Asia and the Pacific US$31 billion per year.

Almost 90 experts were consulted as part of the Increasing Men’s Awareness of the Effects on Children Exposed to Family and Domestic Violence study, which sought their suggestions on how to achieve this. The experts were drawn from a range of services in the family and domestic violence field, from front-line workers such as police officers and welfare staff, to researchers.

Their feedback contributed to 35 recommendations being made in the report, situated under the key themes of awareness-raising, program content and delivery, resourcing and ongoing research. One of the recommendations includes rolling out a promotional campaign throughout the community to highlight the harms, while also targeting male-dominated workplaces.

The study was a partnership between the University of Tasmania and The Salvation Army.



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April 20, 2016

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and the crew of Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes are free to leave Lebanon after kidnapping charges against them were today dropped.

Faulkner reportedly made a deal to secure her release, accepting her estranged husband Ali el-Amine’s custody of her two children. This comes after she allegedly hired professionals to abduct the children in Beirut on April 7 while in the care of their Lebanese grandmother.

While personal charges against Australian journalist Tara Brown, her three crew members and Faulkner have been dropped, they still face criminal charges in Lebanon of kidnapping and being members of a criminal gang. If the state chooses to pursue these charges, it could require the accused to return to answer them.

Channel Nine Middle East correspondent Tom Steinfort said that Nine’s lawyers have confirmed bail has been paid for the TV crew, and that they will fly to Australia from Beirut tonight.

The deal between El-Amine and Channel Nine resulted in a significant financial settlement, Fairfax Media reports.

El-Amine is still pursuing charges carrying a maximum 20-year sentence against the crew of Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) who allegedly conducted the operation.

Adam Whittington of CARI, along with several others involved in the alleged kidnapping, remained in custody. Their lawyers claimed positive developments in the case, saying “everyone will take advantage of the deal.”

In remarks on Monday to News Corp Australia, Whittington said he has receipts for A$115,000 paid directly by the Nine Network to fund the operation.

According to Steinfort, in dropping charges against the 60 Minutes crew, El-Amine told Judge Rami Abdullah the reporters were ‘just doing their job’, and later joked to Steinfort about his relationship with Channel Nine.



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April 16, 2016

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crime and law
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Sally Faulkner, who allegedly hired professionals to snatch her children from Beirut last week, was offered kidnapping charges to be dropped if she relinquishes custody of her children, according to reports yesterday. This is on the condition she will have full access rights, but must never take the children back to Australia.

The children’s father and Faulkner’s estranged husband, Ali el-Amien, took the children to Lebanon on holiday in 2014 and never returned them to their Brisbane home. Faulkner was granted sole custody of the children, Lahela and Noah, by the Family Court of Australia in December of last year. Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moghabghab, said Lebanese religious authorities had granted the father full custody.

In remarks to Australian news service ABC News, Moghabghab said money supplied by the Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes was paid to Child Abduction Recovery International, who conducted the abduction last week.

Mr Moghabghab has declined to make further statements, saying it may influence legal negotiations. The Nine Network has also refused to comment on allegations of giving A$115,000 to Faulkner either as payment for rights to the story or to fund the abduction.

The 60 Minutes news crew was remanded in custody beside Faulkner on Wednesday. They face potential jail time of up to 20 years. The crew’s charges include kidnapping, physical assault, withholding information and forming an association to commit a crime against a person. The case has been adjourned until Monday. Judge Rami Abdullah says there is “no chance” of the charges being dropped against the 60 Minutes crew.

According to Child Recovery Australia, less than half of Australian children abducted by a parent are returned through legal means. Lebanon isn’t party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is making every effort to support the crew and Faulkner, but the legal jurisdiction of Lebanon has to be respected.



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January 2, 2016

Saudi Arabia executes 47 people as \’terrorists\’

Saudi Arabia executes 47 people as ‘terrorists’

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

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Yesterday, Saudi Arabian officials said they have executed 47 people whom courts convicted as terrorists.

Officials said the executions were not done in public. Saudi cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh in justifying the executions cited Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Sharia Law and said the executions prevented the accused from committing further crime, calling it a form of “mercy”.

File photo of Dira Square, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where public executions are carried out under Sharia Law; Saudi officials said the 47 people executed were not executed publicly, but rather within prisons.
Image: Luke Richard Thompson.

Some of those executed were reportedly Al-Qaeda militants behind terrorist attacks. Before the executions, an Al-Qaeda branch from Yemen threatened Saudi authorities with violence if they executed their members.

Among those executed was a Shia Muslim cleric who criticized both the royal family of Saudi Arabia and that of Bahrain; he condemned Bahrain‘s suppression of protests with Saudi aid. He reportedly avoided advocating violence. He was convicted of causing violence against authorities, and a Saudi court rejected his appeal of his conviction this past year. His execution led to condemnation from Iranian officials, who had previously said it “would cost Saudi Arabia dearly”.

When news broke the 47 were to be executed, in November, regional Amnesty International director James Lynch said Saudi Arabia was settling “political scores” under “the guise of counter-terrorism.”

The organization said at least 150 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2015, while only 90 were executed a year ago in 2014.



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December 22, 2015

Slovenians reject referendum to recognize same-sex marriage

Slovenians reject referendum to recognize same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Slovenia
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On Sunday, Slovenians voted on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage. The referendum failed to pass, with opposing majority.

Slovenia, whose population largely practice Roman Catholicism, neither recognizes marriage between nor allows full child adoption by two persons of the same sex. Even as a member of the European Union, its position has not changed.

The issue has been still debated in the country. In 2012, a majority of participating voters opposed a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage.

The government earlier this year passed a law to legally recognize same-sex marriage. However, the law had not been enforced; a civil group translated as For Children or Children Are at Stake demanded a referendum to the top court. The group’s petition for a referendum collected at least 40,000 signatures.

In preliminary results from this year’s elections, around 36.18% out of more than 1.7 million registered voters voted on the referendum. 63.5% voted to oppose the referendum, while 36.5% voted in favor.

Meanwhile, Slovenia allows civil union registration by same-sex couples since 2006. Also it allows them to adopt children of either partner’s previous marriage(s). Thirteen European Countries, such as France and Spain, and five non-European countries legally recognize same-sex marriages.



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Slovenian same-sex marriage referendum, 2015

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November 28, 2015

Gunman attacks abortion clinic, killing three, before surrendering

Gunman attacks abortion clinic, killing three, before surrendering

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

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A gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people, including one police officer, and injuring nine more, before he surrendered to police hours later. He exchanged fire with police in a standoff lasting around five hours; witnesses reported hearing dozens of gunshots.

There were a grocery store and a shopping mall nearby; police told those who were there to take “shelter in place”.

Colorado Springs police lieutenant Cathrine Buckley said the police doesn’t “have any information on [the suspect’s] mentality, or his ideas or ideology.”

Authorities say the man arrived at the clinic at 11:38 a.m., possibly carrying a “long gun” and maybe even propane tanks. Lieutenant Buckley said officers who entered the building “were able to shout to the suspect and make communication with him and that point they were able to get him to surrender and he was taken into custody.” Buckley said police only made contact and communicated with the suspect hours into the ordeal. The suspect was arrested at 4:52 p.m. after he surrendered to police.

At a press conference this afternoon, police said searching through and investigating the “huge crime scene” may take hours or even days. Buckley said police were searching for people who may still be inside the clinic. Explosives teams have entered the clinic to check for traps.

Vicki Cowart, president of the Rocky Mountains chapter of Planned Parenthood, said that some staff hid in “safe rooms” in the clinic as a part of Planned Parenthood’s security protocol. The Colorado Springs clinic has been the site of many anti-abortion protests; it moved to its current location, which has been called a “fortress” by anti-abortion advocates, a few years ago.

Police evacuated the clinic, and cordoned off the clinic and nearby medical offices.

“Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation,” Cowart said in a statement released on Planned Parenthood’s website. “We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country”

At least 8 murders have been committed against abortion providers since 1977.



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November 27, 2015

At least 52, including six Shia Muslim activists, to be executed in Saudi Arabia

At least 52, including six Shia Muslim activists, to be executed in Saudi Arabia

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Friday, November 27, 2015

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In Saudi Arabia, six Shia Muslim activists, along with at least 46 other people, are to be executed for terrorism on an unspecified date, according to reports on Thursday.

Varying local media reports said at least 52 people will be executed. Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz said some of the people convicted of terrorism were members of the militant group Al-Qaeda, and were convicted of attempting to overthrow the government and planning terrorist attacks. The 52 have allegedly killed at least a hundred civilians and seventy security personnel.

Amnesty International said others who are also to be executed were people from the city of Awamiya, where most of the population consists of Shia Muslims, a minority within Saudi Arabia. Protests have been held there, across the past several years, over alleged mistreatment of Shias by the government. Among those convicted of terrorism were the six Shia Muslim activists, at least two of whom reportedly were minors when they allegedly committed their crimes. Amnesty International has said the trials leading up to their conviction were clearly “unfair”.

File photo of Dira Square, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where public executions are carried out under Sharia Law.
Image: Luke Richard Thompson.

James Lynch, Middle East and North Africa deputy director of Amnesty International, said Saudi Arabia was settling “political scores” under “the guise of counter-terrorism.”

The three Shias, Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher, and Hussein al-Marhoon, said they have confessed to their supposed criminal acts under torture, according to Lynch.

More than 150 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2015, while only 90 were executed a year ago in 2014, said Amnesty International.

This news came after Saudi-born Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia, which Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle called an example of Saudi Arabia’s “complete intolerance for anyone who may not share government-mandated religious, political, and social views.”



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