Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Organization of American States Says “We will never give up until we have the freedom of Venezuela in our hands.”

June 24, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Unrest in Venezuela over the rule of President Nicolas Maduro has left 75 people dead since April 1

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The head of the Organization of American States dug in his heels Saturday in a war of words with Venezuela, brusquely rejecting its demand that he resign in exchange for the country’s continued membership in the regional body.

Luis Almagro, the OAS secretary-general, has been at the center of an angry tiff between the organization and the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, which in April initiated the two-year process of withdrawing from the group.

Venezuela has grown increasingly irritated by Almagro’s pointed criticisms. He has accused the government of violating human rights, interfering in elections and detaining political prisoners.

A political and economic crisis in the oil-producing country has spawned often violent demonstrations by protesters demanding Maduro’s resignation and new elections. The unrest has left 75 people dead since April 1.

While Venezuela has begun the process of withdrawal from the OAS, Almagro on Saturday flatly rejected Maduro’s suggestion that he step aside in exchange for the country’s return to the group.

“We will never give up until we have the freedom of Venezuela in our hands,” Almagro, who is Uruguayan, said in a video.

He said he would resign only “when free and transparent national elections are held … (and) when all political prisoners are released and exiles are given amnesty.”

He set a further condition: the prosecution of “the murderers of each of the protesters, as well as of their chain of command.”

Despite Almagro’s efforts, the OAS General Assembly, meeting this week in the Mexican resort of Cancun, was unable to reach agreement on a plan to deal with the instability in Venezuela.

Maduro called the OAS’s failure to advance a plan “a diplomatic and political victory” for Venezuela, and said his country would “never” return to the grouping.

At a press conference with foreign reporters, he said that Almagro should step down and allow OAS member countries to “rebuild and reorganize” the institution — the only way, he said, that “I would think of returning.”

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EU Will Restrict Visas for States Not Taking Back Migrants — Migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2017 pass 2,000 mark on World Refugee Day after new boat disasters

June 23, 2017

BRUSSELS — The European Union states decided on Friday to restrict visas for foreign countries that refuse to take back their nationals who have no right of asylum in Europe.

The EU is cracking down on immigration following a spike in arrivals across the Mediterranean since 2014.

Italy is now the main gateway to the bloc and most of those reaching European shores after boarding smugglers’ boats in Africa are considered illegal labor migrants.

Some countries, including Bangladesh and Nigeria, are often reluctant to readmit their citizens and the EU has recently doubled down on efforts to expedite such returns.

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Migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2017 pass 2,000 mark on World Refugee Day after new boat disasters

Humanitarian organisations call on EU to stop ‘demonising’ NGOs for saving lives at sea

By Lizzie Dearden

The Independent Online

2,000 migrants drowned by World Refugee Day

More than 2,000 migrants have died attempting treacherous boat crossings to Europe so far this year, following three more shipwrecks announced on World Refugee Day.

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said 129 asylum seekers were missing and presumed dead after a dinghy launched by smugglers in Libya started taking on water and sank, leaving only four survivors from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Two rescued Sudanese men told the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the boat had been at sea for several hours when a group of Libyans described as “pirates” approached in a speedboat and stole their motor.

Passing Libyan fishermen rescued the pair along with two Nigerian men who were the only other survivors, and put them on another migrant boat.

“They were in shock, traumatised by what had happened, and exhausted,” said IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo, adding that motor thefts had caused several recent disasters.

Another boat was carrying at least 85 people from Syria and North Africa, including families with children, when it broke in two and sank on Monday.

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Migrants rescued by the Vos Hestia ship off Libya coast on Saturday (Reuters)

A third shipwreck is feared to have left at least seven people dead, with survivors including a pregnant woman taken to Sicily.

The UNHCR said the disasters were a reminder of the “grave dangers” facing people forced to flee their countries by war and persecution.

Of almost 83,000 migrants who have arrived by sea in Europe so far in 2017, the vast majority have crossed the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy – now the deadliest sea passage in the world.

It has claimed more than 2,000 lives since January, according to UNHCR figures, sparking fresh appeals for enhanced rescue operations and the introduction of safe and legal alternatives for a record 65.6 million displaced people around the world.

“More efforts are needed to address the root causes behind these movements of people to Libya, including by solving conflicts and reducing poverty,” said a spokesperson for the agency.

The UN and humanitarian groups have been raising concerns over increased EU support for the fragile Libyan Government of National Accord.

The UK is among countries training its coastguard, while boats, equipment and millions of euros have been handed over in efforts to slow crossings.

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Migrants rescued by Save the Children in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday (Reuters)

But as the Libyan civil war continues to rage six years after the UK supported the removal of Muammar Gaddafi, smugglers have set up a ruthless trade with migrants routinely kidnapped, ransomed, forced into labour, raped, tortured and sold at “slave markets”.

A new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the Libyan coastguard was engaging in “reckless conduct” during operations to force migrant boats back to land – in violation of international laws against refoulement.

It highlighted incidents reported by The Independent in May where the coastguard opened fire while blocking rescues by NGO ships in international waters.

“Recent incidents show how wrong it is for EU countries to entrust the lives of those in need of rescue to Libyan coast guard forces when there are safer alternatives,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, calling for Italian authorities who currently coordinate rescues not to hand over command.

The call was repeated by a group of rescue organisations including Sea-Watch, Jugend Rettet and Proactiva Open Arms, who said European plans to “outsource control” of the refugee crisis to Libyan authorities was not practical or legal.

An open letter to mark World Refugee Day on Tuesday called on European naval forces to conduct rescues, stop boats being illegally pushed back to Libya, develop an impartial monitoring system and “support and decriminalise NGOs rather than demonising them”.

Charities and aid agencies operating refugee rescue ships have been accused of aiding and even directly colluding with Libyan smugglers in the increasingly toxic debate, despite research finding no evidence to support the allegations.

Italy, which is housing more than 190,000 asylum seekers in state-funded accommodation, has criticised other European countries for failing to resettle asylum seekers and help rescue efforts.

“I’m sorry that not everyone, including in Europe, has shown the same willingness to take people in [as Italy has],” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a message marking World Refugee Day.

“The refugee issue crosses national borders and involves the entire EU and is, in the end, a global phenomenon.”

The Italian navy and coastguard picked up 41 per cent of migrants rescued at sea last year, NGO ships 26 per cent, and ships from the EU-wide Operation Sophia 25 per cent.

But during the first four months of 2017, the proportion of rescues conducted by NGOs has increased to 35 per cent, with Italian authorities carrying out a third and Operation Sophia carrying out just 16 per cent.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss migration policy on Thursday, after arrivals to Italy jumped by a quarter year-on-year.

Last week, the European Commission opened a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to take in asylum seekers under a 2015 plan to relocate migrants from Italy and Greece.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/migrants-mediterranean-sea-crossings-2000-dead-world-refugee-day-asylum-seekers-boat-disasters-libya-a7800376.html

Emirati princesses convicted in Belgium for human trafficking, inhuman treatment

June 23, 2017

 

Reuters

Image result for women wearing black burkas

Eight Emirati princesses were convicted of human trafficking by a Belgian court on Friday and were given suspended jail terms and fines in a case stemming from their treatment of servants at a Brussels luxury hotel nearly 10 years ago, their lawyer said.

The Brussels criminal court handed the eight women from Abu Dhabi’s ruling al-Nahyan family 15-month suspended sentences for human trafficking and degrading treatment, the lawyer, Stephen Monod, said.

He said the defense was pleased the case was finally resolved after nearly a decade.

“Belgian justice has appropriately assessed this case which has generated many misconceptions,” he said in a statement.

The defendants were acquitted of the more serious charge of inhuman treatment but also ordered to pay a fine of 165,000 euros ($184,000), with half the sum suspended.

The eight accused did not appear in court throughout the proceedings.

The case was brought after a servant of the family slipped out of the hotel where the women stayed for several months in 2007 and 2008 and complained to Belgian police.

(Reporting by Charlotte Steenackers and Elizabeth Miles; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Richard Balmforth)

China’s Xi to visit Hong Kong next week

June 23, 2017

AFP

© Pool/AFP/File | President Xi Jinping will come to Hong Kong next week to mark 20 years since the city was handed back to China by Britain, according to local media

HONG KONG (AFP) – President Xi Jinping will come to Hong Kong next week to mark 20 years since the city was handed back to China by Britain, local media said, in a visit that will be incendiary to activists.Although widely expected, officials have not so far said whether Xi will make the trip, his first to Hong Kong since becoming president in 2013.

The South China Morning Post reported for the first time Friday that Xi’s visit had been “confirmed”, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the visit.

It comes at a time when Beijing stands accused of squeezing the semi-autonomous city’s freedoms and frustrations have led to the emergence of a new independence movement calling for Hong Kong to break from the mainland.

Protesters say they are preparing to gather during the handover celebrations and Xi’s visit will be shrouded in a huge security operation.

His itinerary includes touring the garrison of China’s People’s Liberation Army in central Hong Kong, as well as visiting an infrastructure project, the Post said.

He will arrive Thursday with his wife Peng Liyuan and stay until Saturday July 1, the handover anniversary date, when he will inaugurate the city’s new leader Carrie Lam, the report added.

Hong Kong was handed back to China by colonial power Britain in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal designed to protect its freedoms and way of life for 50 years.

But a number of incidents, including the disqualification from parliament of two pro-independence lawmakers and the alleged abduction of five Hong Kong booksellers, have raised fears that Beijing is trampling the agreement.

A government spokesman told AFP Friday there was still no official confirmation that Xi would visit.

Political analyst Willy Lam predicted there may be “ugly scenes” if he does.

“The fact that the head of the (Chinese Communist) party and the army is in Hong Kong I think will enhance people’s impression that Beijing really means business,” said Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“This is a symbol of the fact that in ‘one country, two systems’, the one country is towering over the two systems.”

UAE runs ‘informal prisons’ in Yemen: HRW

June 22, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes in 2015 against the Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen

BEIRUT (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates runs at least two “informal detention facilities” in Yemen and has reportedly transferred detainees to a base in Eritrea, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

The UAE is a key member of a Saudi-led military coalition that entered Yemen’s conflict in 2015 to battle on the government’s side against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

HRW said UAE officials appeared to have “moved high-profile detainees outside the country” including to a base in Eritrea.

The rights group said it had documented 49 cases, including those of four children, who had been “arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared” — at least 38 of them by UAE-backed forces.

The New York-based group said the UAE also runs detention facilities in southern provinces home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Children are among those detained in the centres, it said.

It said Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, had also “arbitrarily detained and disappeared scores of people in northern Yemen”.

The World Health Organization estimates more than 8,000 people have been killed in two years of conflict in Yemen, which also faces a deadly cholera outbreak and the threat of famine.

All parties in Yemen’s war have drawn harsh criticism for causing civilian suffering.

The United Nations and HRW have said air strikes by the Saudi-led alliance have killed many civilians and may amount to war crimes.

China: Could the world’s new superpower be on the verge of collapse? — China must step up

June 21, 2017

By Paul Wilson   news.com.au

COULD China be witnessing the beginnings of its own end?

The vast majority of commentators say chances are slim. Most are as dismissive of China-sceptics as Nikita Krushchev was of USSR doom-mongers in the late fifties. Yet within three decades of “We will bury you!” Krushchev was proved wrong. History was not on his side and the only grave being dug was for the Soviet Union itself.

But, surely, this is the beginning of the great “Chinese Century”? The People’s Republic is completely different to the USSR? It’s all about economics now? Well, yes and no …

Historical map of China. Picture: Thinkstock

Historical map of China. Picture: Thinkstock Source:News Limited

A ‘NATION STATE’?

Pull out a map of the Orient. Not a Chinese Communist Party standard issue, but one from history. Whether you go back a hundred years or a thousand, the image that greets you is strikingly similar: a far, far smaller “China”, centred on the old Han Chinese heartlands. Much of what lies within “Chinese” borders today was not so long ago a mosaic of very separate, non-Chinese states, only absorbed by force.

Travel around China, and as you leave the booming cities of the east, the picture becomes clear. Fewer people look “Chinese”, speak Chinese (either Mandarin or Cantonese), or act “Chinese” (mosques instead of Mao, chortens instead of chopsticks). It is not so much “ethnic minorities” living in “autonomous zones”, more non-Chinese majorities whose homelands have been swiped from beneath their feet. The contrast with Beijing and Shanghai is stark, despite millions of Han Chinese families being forcibly relocated to live in these regions, or bribed with government jobs.

If it was inevitable Soviet Republics like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would one day seek self-determination, is it so hard to believe Tibetans and Uighurs won’t do the same? Or that Inner Mongolians wish reunification with their “Outer” cousins?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inspects the troops with Premier Li Keqiang outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on his first official visit to China. Picture: Stephen Cooper

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inspects the troops with Premier Li Keqiang outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on his first official visit to China. Picture: Stephen CooperSource:News Corp Australia

THE WAR IS OVER?

China may not face the threat of a cold war, yet it is still embroiled in major conflict. Trump, Putin, even Kim Jong-un could be roll-called as potential adversaries, but foreign opponents are the least of Party Leaders’ worries. The reality is they are already at war on three home fronts:

Xinjiang

This is the Mandarin name for the enormous province that makes up northwest China. However, a significant minority of the region’s (primarily Muslim) inhabitants use “East Turkestan” or “Uighurstan”. The area’s history is of mixed fortune but for much of the past it was made up of rich independent kingdoms like Khotan or Kashgar. As recently as 1949, East Turkestan existed as an independent republic. Today, the largest ethnic group is the Uighurs, and many are in conflict with Beijing. Suicide bombings, embassy attacks and plane hijackings are regularly carried out by groups demanding their own nation state. A 2014 attack at the Kunming Railway station killed 31 and injured 141.

Tibet

The Tibetan struggle may be the most peaceful “war” on the planet, but this does allow the Dalai Lama to retain broad international sympathy. Historically, Tibet also included much of the modern Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan, and ethnically and culturally Tibetans have always been completely at odds with their Chinese neighbours. This whole region is still primarily “Tibetan”, despite 150,000 Tibetans living in exile. Recent protests have turned violent, sometimes deadly.

Taiwan

Technically, China is not at war with this nation but that is only because Taiwan has never formally declared nationhood. If Taipei does, Beijing has vowed it will launch an immediate military attack. As recently as March 2017, Taiwan’s Defence Minister talked of “warfare” against mainland China. With hostilities in the South China Sea steadily increasing, and Washington using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Beijing, developments in Taipei could yet be a major catalyst for change.

Workers install the ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’ outside a summit showcasing President Xi Jinping's signature foreign-policy plan ‘One Belt, One Road’. Picture: AP

Workers install the ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’ outside a summit showcasing President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign-policy plan ‘One Belt, One Road’. Picture: APSource:AP

ECONOMICS OR POLITICS?

If economics as much as politics proves instrumental in the unravelling of modern China, Hong Kong holds the key. Beijing has made every effort to integrate the former colony into the mainland economy, but fundamental obstacles remain. Uncompromising protests frequently denounce Beijing for reneging on promises, with many “islanders” demanding full democratic rights and an end to the one-party system.

Dissent is spreading across southern China and many protesters, like their Hong Kong counterparts, are Cantonese — or Hokkien-speaking Han. Those south of the Yangzte River may share ethnic and cultural ties with their Mandarin-speaking cousins in the north, but they have long considered themselves different. Traditionally this might have only been a preference for rice over noodles, but increasingly debate is about more than what food’s on the table.

Will China collapse? Ask this guy.

Will China collapse? Ask this guy.Source:AP

PAPERING OVER THE CRACKS

The world’s new “superpower” hopes investment in the provinces will convince locals that life under CPC rule is preferable to any breakup. In particular, President Xi Jinping is staking billions on his “One Belt, One Road” policy, aimed at creating a “New Silk Road” to bring trade and prosperity. Nevertheless, the economy is increasingly volatile. Could a 9/11-type terrorist event cause it to implode? Under such circumstances, might the Han Chinese call for their Uighur, Tibetan and Mongol “compatriots” to be cut loose? This is a country famous for turning its back on the outside world.

Tellingly, the Kremlin also ordered mass migrations. Stalin sent thousands of native Russians to “modernise” his newly created Soviet Republics, yet following the breakup of the USSR the vast majority quickly returned. Successive leaders tried similar “economic solutions” but the likes of Perestroika and Glasnost proved too little too late.

Will China collapse tomorrow? Probably not. In the next 30 years? Ask Mikhail Gorbachev.

Paul Wilson has been travelling through Central Asia and China since the late 1990s. His book, The Silk Roads (Trailblazer), is in its third edition. He is a regular speaker at the UNWTO’s Silk Road Programme and Open Central Asia Literary Festival.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/world-economy/could-the-worlds-new-superpower-be-on-the-verge-of-collapse/news-story/46a688923e23434cb8bb32e8fa576b74

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China’s “Belt and Road” plan would be the world’s largest infrastructure program.

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 (The “Project of the Century” is, at heart, an imperial venture.)

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Philippines: Jails At 511% Designed Occupancy

June 20, 2017

EDITORIAL

The country’s jails, according to the Commission on Audit, are congested by about 511 percent. Looking at recent images, the congestion level in fact seems worse. Inmates take turns sleeping on the space available – not just narrow cots and floors in regular cells but also along stairways in police stations.

The scenes evoke images of cattle cars packed with Jews, gypsies and other oppressed groups during the Holocaust. At least inmates in Philippine jails do not end up in Nazi gas chambers. But a number of the inmates, mostly rounded up in the war on illegal drugs, have been shot dead after being released and registered as drug offenders.

Philippine jails have been congested for a long time, but the brutal war on drugs has worsened the problem, filling jails to bursting. The sorry state of jails already constitutes cruel and inhumane punishment even before conviction, especially for those wrongly accused or victims of frame-ups. Such punishment is prohibited under the Constitution.

Since the war on drugs was launched, this problem has been widely reported, but little has been done to increase the capacity of the nation’s detention facilities. Contributions from the private sector or foreign donors have focused mainly on the provision of drug rehabilitation facilities, which officials say are mostly unused.

If accusations are accurate, the congestion has also been exploited by corrupt police and jail custodians to shake down inmates who want to escape the lack of ventilation, the cockroaches and mosquitoes and the sheer crush of bodies in the jail cells. It wouldn’t be too bad if prominent detainees also suffered such hell. But even in detention, inequality reigns in this country, with different brands of humanity for the rich and poor. The situation is begging to be corrected. Perhaps the COA report can lead to urgently needed improvements.

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/06/20/1711747/editorial-511-congestion

One dead in new Bahrain bombing — One Person killed

June 20, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Bahrain has been rocked by unrest among its Shiite majority since 2011, when security forces crushed Shiite-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister

DUBAI (AFP) – A bomb in a Shiite village outside the Bahraini capital has killed one person, the second blast in a suburb of Manama this week, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.The Sunni-ruled Gulf state has been rocked by unrest among its Shiite majority since 2011, when security forces crushed Shiite-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

The interior ministry gave no date for the latest bombing saying only that a body discovered on Monday was found to have been killed in a bombing.

“An initial investigation into a body found on a farm in the village of Hajar on June 19 showed the death was the result of a bomb blast,” the ministry said, without elaborating.

Police meanwhile made several arrests in connection with a Sunday night bombing outside Manama that killed a policeman and wounded two others, the ministry said.

That blast struck in the flashpoint village of Diraz, home of the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shiite majority, Isa Qassim.

Five people were killed in the village last month when security forces opened fire to disperse a months-long sit-in in protest at measures taken against the cleric by the authorities.

Last year, a court order stripped Qassim of his Bahraini citizenship, a sanction used against dozens of dissidents that has drawn the condemnation of human rights groups.

In May, a court sentenced him to a suspended one-year jail term on charges of money laundering and illegal fundraising.

The Bahraini courts have sentenced dozens of dissidents to long jail terms, many of them on “terrorism” charges.

The authorities have also banned the main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq — the largest in parliament before 2011 — as well as the main secular opposition group Al-Waad.

Foreign press access is severely restricted in the tiny but strategic island state, which lies between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

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South Korea’s Moon urges North Korea to return detainees swiftly — American university student Otto Warmbier dies

June 20, 2017

Reuters

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday North Korea should swiftly return South Koreans and Americans detained in the reclusive nation.

American university student Otto Warmbier, who had been held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months, died at a Cincinnati hospital on Monday just days after North Korea released him from captivity in a coma, his parent said.

Three other U.S. citizens, who are ethnic Koreans, and six South Koreans remain in custody in North Korea.

Warmbier, 22, who was arrested in North Korea while visiting as a tourist, had been described by doctors caring for him last week as having extensive brain damage that left him in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness”.

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the “brutality of the North Korean regime” for Warmbier’s death.

South Korea’s Blue House on Tuesday cited Moon as saying “it is very deplorable that North Korea does not respect human rights”.

The South Korean government will make every effort for the return of those held in North Korea, a presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a briefing.

North Korea said last month it was its sovereign right to “ruthlessly punish” U.S. citizens it has detained for crimes against the state.

Korean Americans Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song who worked at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) were recently detained for hostile acts against the state, according to North Korea’s state media.

In March 2016, Kim Dong Chul, a 62-year-old Korean-American missionary, was sentenced to 10 years hard labor for subversion.

North Korea is also holding Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim. He was charged with subversion and given a hard labor life sentence in 2015.

Three South Korean nationals were detained in North Korea during their missionary work respectively since 2013 and the remaining three South Koreans are North Korean defectors who returned and are currently held in custody, a lawmaker briefed by the South Korean spy agency told reporters last week.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been heightened by dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of last year. Pyongyang has also vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Pyongyang continued to test-fire missiles since South Korean leader Moon took office pledging to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang.

For a graphic on Americans detained by North Korea, click here

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Michael Perry)

Erdogan warns Turkey opposition chief over ‘justice march’

June 17, 2017

AFP

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© AFP | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned the leader of the main opposition party against making a planned protest march from Ankara to Istanbul, telling him “don’t be surprised” if legal proceedings were opened.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu called the march after former journalist turned CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in jail on Wednesday for leaking classified information to a newspaper.

Kilicdaroglu is now on the third day of a trek that is expected to take almost a month and represents by far his biggest challenge to the Turkish strongman since he took over the CHP in 2010.

But Erdogan said his actions were damaging for the country and appeared to warn Kilicdaroglu he could even face legal troubles.

“Calling people out onto the street is neither good for them or for the country,” Erdogan told a business conference in Istanbul.

“Wandering around with a ‘justice’ placard in your hand is not going to bring justice. If you are looking for justice, then the place in Turkey to find justice is the parliament.”

He added: “If the judicial authorities invite you in somewhere tomorrow then don’t be surprised.”

Kilicdaroglu, 68, has made the word “justice” the slogan of his march, clutching a stick with the word emblazoned on a card.

His plan is for the 450-kilometre (280 miles) trek to culminate at Maltepe prison in Istanbul where Berberoglu is being held.

Political tensions have been rising in Turkey after Erdogan on April 16 narrowly won a referendum granting him greater powers that the CHP fears will lead to one-man rule.

Kilicdaroglu in an interview with AFP on Friday accused Erdogan of staging a “second coup” with the crackdown that followed last July’s failed putsch.

A dozen MPs from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had already been arrested under the emergency declared after the coup bid.

But Berberoglu’s arrest was the first time an MP from the CHP, the main secular opposition founded by first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, has been held.