Saturday, September 14, 2013
An autopsy has been performed Sept. 14 on the body of a man, following claims that his death the previous day might have been caused by the police use of tear gas. Serdar Kadakal died from a heart-attack on Sept. 13 in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district where protests have been met with a fierce police intervention for three days. Relatives have claimed that the death of the 35-year-old sound technician, who had a history of a heart condition, was caused by the intense use of tear gas by the police. His sister Sibel Kadakal said that the whole family had warned him not to go to his workplace, a well-known bar in the Bahariye neighborhood, which was the epicenter of the protests during the week. “He told us that he had trouble breathing. He did not need to go outside [the bar] because the gas which entered inside affected everyone. It was a small area. We have warned him not to go to work. His throat and chest were aching,” Kadakal said. “His wife was with him when he fainted. A doctor who knew about first aid has brought him back to life for a short time with cardiac massage. It’s a young death… So we have whys and hows,” she said. However the police rejected that Kadakal's death could have any connection with the use of tear gas. “This person was not in an area where gas was used by our forces," the police said in a statement on its website. “Kadakal’s relatives have said that although his heart valve was replaced in 1996 and he used a cardiac pacemaker, he smoked and took alcohol despite [doctors] forbade him,” the statement said. But Sibel Kadakal said that they were not convinced that tear gas did not have any effect on his brothers’ death. “Exposure to [tear gas] harms even a normal person. It may cause different sort of effects in an ailing person’s body,” she said. Kadakal’s funeral will be held tomorrow in Istanbul. Six people have already died during anti-government protests across Turkey since the end of May, the last one being Ahmet Atakan, a 22-year-old demonstrator who passed away on Sept. 10 in Antakya. Meanwhile, Taksim Solidarity Platform which initiated the protests in May denouncing the demolition of trees in Gezi Park, have called for a demonstration in Kadıköy on Sept. 15 at 3 p.m.
http://www.tolonews.com/President Hamid Karzai on Saturday said that
Thousands celebrated in New Delhi after a court sentenced four men to death over a fatal gang rape last December. Many view the judgment as historic, hoping it will deter future attacks against women.A Mexican wave went up connecting a section of the crowd gathered outside the court in the Indian capital, New Delhi. Sweets were distributed while others gave each other hugs to rejoice a moment they had waited restlessly. It was the denouement of a case that had the entire nation riveted. It almost seemed as if there was a sense of closure following the verdict. The four men - Mukesh Singh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Vinay Sharma (20) and Pawan Gupta (19) - who had been convicted of gang raping and murdering a 23-year-old medical student and attacking her male companion on the night of 16 December, 2012, were given death sentences."In these times when crimes against women are on the rise, the court cannot turn a blind eye to this gruesome act. We need to send a message that it will not be tolerated," Judge Yogesh Khanna said, while delivering his much-awaited judgment. 'A historic ruling ' Reactions were on predicted lines not just amongst the people waiting for hours outside the court, but also across the nation."I will sleep in peace. I was hoping to get justice. The incident was historic and therefore the ruling is also historic. No one should dare to commit such a crime again," said Badrinath Singh, the victim's father. Alongside him was the victim's mother, Asha Devi, who looked composed and even poised. "I was expecting this from the court. This verdict will deter other potential rapists and will also send a message to some parents to bring their wayward sons into line," she said.The sentencing can be appealed to a higher court and the convicts may also ask the president for clemency. But considering the brutality of the crime, many legal experts think death is almost certain for the convicts. Just a few days ago, a juvenile court verdict bitterly disappointed the parents. One of the attackers, who was 17 at the time of the assault, was sentenced to three years in a correctional facility, the maximum punishment for a juvenile found guilty of rape and murder. For others who had been following the high-profile case, the guilty verdict was what they wanted to hear. "It is a bold judgment and it will go a long way in securing justice for women who have been sexually assaulted. From now on, we have to send the word that justice should never be delayed," Poornima Advani, chairwoman of the National Commission for Women told DW. "I am very happy. It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride for everyone. The credit for the case reaching this verdict should be given to both the prosecution and the police," Neeraj Kumar, former police commissioner told DW. It was under his tenure that the police force captured the accused within 72 hours. 'Her fight has not gone unheard' A teenager who had been visiting the court where the men were being tried could not hold back her tears. "I can go back home today with some pride and honor. 'Brave heart Nirbhaya' as we all have referred to her in the last nine months can rest happily in heaven. Her fight has not gone unheard," said a sobbing Pratibha.The case was closely followed across India, turning the spotlight on the issue of violence against women. Pinky Anand, a senior lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court of India, said she was amazed at the pace of the trial. "For Indian standards, the conclusion of the so-called Nirbhaya rape case is remarkable. The crime was committed in December 2012 and the trial of the juvenile accused was concluded in July 2013," Anand told DW.
EDITORIAL : Daily TimesThe International Monetary Fund(IMF) has issued Pakistan’s economic scorecard, predicting a near term crisis if the policymakers of the country do not pay heed to the issues inflicting the country. Of the many crises pulling the country down financially, security, the energy crisis, law and order and institutional imbalance stand out. The report says that the impending drawdown of US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014 could trigger a new spate of Taliban assaults that could jeopardize the economy as investment could shrink further and GDP growth decline. With the dearth of foreign and domestic investors taking its toll, the budget deficit would climb up to eight percent, pushing more people below the poverty line as double digit inflation sets in. Barely a month in office and with stark economic realities staring it hard in the face, the government had little option but to reach out to the international lending agencies for funds to replenish its diminishing financial coffers. Under the new agreement, the IMF will give Pakistan $ 6.7 billion over the next three years. The first tranche of the loan has been released early this month to the tune of $ 540 million. In the absence of this programme, Pakistan ran the risk of suffering a balance of payments crisis. Based on past experience, the real challenge before the government will be to implement the IMF's conditionalities, without which this Extended Fund Facility too could suffer the same fate as earlier IMF programmes. These conditionalities call for widening the tax base, bringing tax evaders into the tax net and pushing the underpayers to pay fully. Even now these issues stands unresolved and unless the government is determined to do things differently, the country will not come out of its economic disasters as predicted by theIMF that sees Pakistan's economy at high risk in the near future. Quarterly IMF reviews will determine the release of future tranches. There is no gainsaying the fact that Pakistan with a three percent economic growth rate is standing on the edge. In order to provide a decent living to its people and to fully absorb the growing labour force, Pakistan requires at least seven percent growth. Even that looks improbable in the near future as Pakistan enforces austerity measures conditioned by the IMF. What we are looking at is economic contraction for the short term as investment bogs down and growth slows. But this short-term pain could eventually get the economy's essentials right, provided the government implements the hard but critical decisions. One of the important decisions is to bridge the fiscal deficit which the Finance Minister has committed to reduce to 4.5 percent of GDP over a period of three years. However, this commitment would require sounds actions in improving tax collection, reversing the energy deficit and plugging the drain on the exchequer from Public Sector Enterprises (PSE). The track record of the Federal Board of Revenue has been unsatisfactory over the past few years. Failing to put into effect the necessary measures, it incurred a shortfall of almost Rs 300 billion in its own target for 2012-13. To the IMF this had been a major policy flaw, in fact reneging on a commitment by the previous government given when securing the last loan of $ 11 billion. The shortfall reflects the inability or worse the weakness of the government to govern the ungoverned. As far as the PSEs are concerned, they had remained storehouses of political employment and depending on the government’s bailout plans to survive. For the energy sector, the IMF has again asked the government to drop costly subsidies. Electricity tariffs have already been increased, to make up the cost incurred on paying the circular debt. However, these measures should translate into long term economic prosperity for which the government should stem the wave of terrorism and the long running energy crisis. The IMF report expressed concern over the sectarian violence in Balochistan and street crimes in Karachi. We are hard put to build any case in our favour. Let’s hope we put down our old binoculars and see things anew with a fresh perspective. We should pursue implementing agricultural tax and documenting the informal economy. Tough as the situation is, our future depends on making the hard choices.
Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has condemned child rape in Lahore and termed it a test case for police.
The Al Khalifa regime has significantly intensified its crackdown on the ongoing anti-government movements in Bahrain over the past month, a Bahraini human rights activist tells Press TV. “For the past one month, we have seen a deteriorating situation especially with the human rights record,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei in a Friday interview. “We have recorded so many incidents of house raids, ongoing arrests on streets, checkpoints everywhere, so the situation more or less on daily basis has been deteriorating by all means,” he pointed out. Alwadaei also pointed to the continuation of “systematic torture” at state-run buildings, including the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) from which there have been numerous evidences of different torturing tactics such as hose beating, electric shocks and even sexual abuses. The Manama regime’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of anti-regime protests that erupted across the country in early 2011. Bahrainis demanded political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests. Manama also called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others arrested in the clampdown. On September 9, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) that she was frustrated with reports of human rights violations in Bahrain.
A court indictment by the Turkish prosecutors into the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian rebels has once again highlighted fears this week that sarin toxic gas was used by the opposition and not the Assad government. The prosecutor in the Turkish city of Adana has issued a 132-page indictment, alleging that six men of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham tried to seek out chemicals with the intent to produce the nerve agent, sarin gas, a number of Turkish publications reported. The main suspect in the case, 35-year-old Syrian-national Hytham Qassap has been charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.” The other 5, all Turkish nationals are being charged with “attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.” The indictment alleges that Qassap tried to setup a network in Turkey in order to obtain chemical materials for the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham Brigades. Citing telephone calls made by the cell, the prosecution believes that the group ordered at least ten tons of chemicals, Al-Alam News Network reports. The prosecution also dismissed claims that the suspects were unaware of their wrong doing. “The claim that the suspects didn’t know about the possibility of producing sarin nerve gas from the chemicals they tried to buy is not true which was established when they were testifying,” the document reads. Meanwhile all six suspects have pleaded not guilty. “The suspects have pleaded not guilty saying that they had not been aware the materials they had tried to obtain could have been used to make sarin gas. Suspects have been consistently providing conflicting and incoherent facts on this matter,” the indictment said. If convicted, Qassab faces a 25 year prison sentence, while his accomplices face 15 years prison terms. The six men were a part of a group of 11 people arrested in their safe house in Adana on May 23, 2013. Their apprehension came about after surveillance by Turkish police who’d received a tip that Syrian jihadists were trying to acquire two government-regulated military-grade chemical substances. Five of the detained were released from custody after questioning, background checks and after lab tests proved that chemicals seized during the arrest were not sarin gas.he international community has long been ignoring worrying reports that the rebel fighters in Syria might be capable of carrying out a chemical attack. Russian President, Vladimir Putin also reiterated this week that while no one doubts that poison gas was indeed used in Syria, there is “every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons.” Evidence that chemical weapons were used by the opposition was also highlighted by the two European hostages that were freed from Syrian rebel captivity last Sunday. In a phone conversation overheard by hostage Pierre Piccinin da Prata, he said it was clear the rebels used gas on civilians in an August 21 attack near Damascus. “I don’t think that Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian government are to blame for the chemical attack in Al-Ghouta,” Piccinin told RT. “It would have been absurd for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons.” The Syrian government has always rejected any accusations of using chemical weapons. After one of the first alleged incidents in Aleppo in March, it was the government that called on UN to send in chemical experts. Another alleged chemical weapons use was reported in Homs in December 2012. Russian experts flew out to the site of the attack in March to collect samples from the incident. On 9 July 2013, Moscow submitted the results of its inquiry into the use of chemical weapons at Aleppo to the United Nations. Russian scientists analyzing the 19 March 2013 attack found that it was most likely launched by opposition forces, and not the Syrian government. “It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said. The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria into the attack in March concluded that no evidence of the use of sarin by Syria’s government troops has so far been uncovered. The lead investigator, Carla Del Ponte, did hint that it was the rebels that most likely used the chemical weapons.“The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic wishes to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict. As a result, the Commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time,” the statement read. Meanwhile, the UN chemical weapons inspection team has completed the report on the latest chemical attack in Syria on August 21 and will deliver it to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon over the weekend. "I believe that the report will be an overwhelming report that chemical weapons (were) used, even though I cannot publicly say at this time before I receive this report," Moon said. Although the team was not authorized to draw any conclusions on who was the perpetrator of the attack, a number of US officials speaking to the media on condition of anonymity over the last couple of days indicated that the report would hint the Assad government was responsible.
Russia and the United States reached a deal on a framework that will see the destruction or removal of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid- 2014. Under the plan, the Assad government has one week to hand over an inventory of its chemical weapons arsenal. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry announced the plan on putting an end to Syria’s chemical weapons program following their third day of negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland. Kerry outlined several points of the plan, which would see the “rapid assumption of control by the international community” of Syria’s chemical weapons. He further stressed US-Russia commitment to the complete destruction of not only of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, but also its production and refinement capabilities. Syria will also become a party to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which outlaws their production and use. Damascus must submit within a week’s time – “and not 30 days” – a complete inventory of related arms, “including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production and research and development facilities." The Syrian government should provide the OPCW, the UN and other supporting personnel “with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria.” Lavrov later said that security for all international inspectors on the ground should be provided for not only by the government, but opposition forces as well. It remains undecided who will actually be tasked with destroying the stock, although their destruction “outside of Syria" and under “OPWC supervision” would prove to be optimal. On the timetable, Kerry said UN inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, while the destruction of chemical weapons must be completed by the middle of 2014. "Providing this framework is fully implemented it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also their neighbors," Kerry said adding that Russian and US teams of experts had reached "a shared assessment" of the existing stockpile and that Syria must destroy all of its weapons. It was possible that the Syrian rebels have some chemical weapons, he acknowledged. If Damascus fails to comply with the plan, a response in accordance with UN Charter Chapter 7 will follow, Kerry said, in a reference to the use of military force. The chapter provides for "action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security" in the event other measures fail.But Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said the agreement did not include any potential use of force against Syria. He however said that deviations from the plan, including attacks on UN inspectors, would be brought to the UN Security Council, which would decide on further action. There is no prior agreement about what form the Security Council’s measures might take if Syria does not comply, Kerry said. The joint press conference was rather jovial in nature, contrasting sharply with the public barbs which have been traded between Russian and US officials in recent days. Kerry in fact concluded the press conference by teasing Lavrov that he “could be a senator” after the Russian FM gave a rather voluble reply to a question posed by a Russian journalist. Kick starting Geneva II Meanwhile, both sides reiterated previously stated intentions to meet with Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, on the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 28. Speaking alongside Kerry and Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, Brahimi said ongoing work to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control was a necessary step for convening the Geneva II conference. The conference, which is intended to hammer out a political solution to the brutal civil war which has embroiled Syria for over two years, could be held in October, Lavrov told reporters. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to present a report to the Security Council which sources say contains overwhelming evidence that “chemical weapons were used” in an August 21 attack in a Damascus Suburb which killed between 355 and 1,729 people. The government of Bashar Assad strongly denied government forces were responsible for the attack, while the West overwhelmingly blamed Damascus, prompting US Barack Obama’s threat of military action. Obama has threatened to strike Syria unilaterally, prompting Russia’s Saturday’s joint proposal which will see Syria’s chemical weapons brought under international control. Although President Assad immediately acquiesced to the Russian-backed plan, rebel forces have resisted efforts which have staved off Western intervention in the country. On Saturday, the Free Syrian Army rejected a US-Russian deal as a stalling tactic and vowed to continue fighting to topple the Assad government. "The Russian-American initiative does not concern us. It only seeks to gain time," said Salim Idriss, the chief of the FSA command, said. "We completely ignore this initiative and will continue to fight to bring down the regime," he told a press conference Saturday in the Turkish city of Istanbul.