Archive for December 9, 2014

December 06, 2014

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan has detained a prominent investigative journalist whose reporting has often featured the business dealings of top politicians in the country.

A court in Baku, the capital, ordered the jailing on Friday of Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which is funded by the United States government. She must remain behind bars pending a trial on charges of driving a man to suicide, a crime that carries up to seven years in prison.

The treatment of Ismayilova — who also has reported on alleged corruption and human rights abuses, including the persecution of opposition figures in Azerbaijan — has sparked widespread condemnation from rights groups abroad. Amnesty International condemned it as a “move to silence independent media voices in the country.”

Nenad Pejic, the editor-in-chief of Radio Free Europe, said: “The arrest and detention of Khadija Ismayilova is the latest attempt in a two-year campaign to silence a journalist who has investigated government corruption and human rights abuses in Azerbaijan.”

Ismayilova has been targeted for her reporting before. In 2012, after a series of damaging articles on the ruling family’s role in lucrative construction projects, she was warned in a letter that her reputation could be compromised, and later a video of her having sex with her boyfriend was published online.

On Thursday, the Azerbaijan government released a lengthy memo criticizing the modern-day “colonialism” of the United States and accusing journalists at Radio Free Europe’s local service of working to promote foreign interests in the country. Azerbaijan has been a staunch military ally of the U.S. and contributed troops to missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment on the specific case, but said Friday that the United States is “deeply troubled by restrictions on civil society activities, including on journalists in Azerbaijan.”

Many activists and independent journalists in this energy-rich Caspian Sea nation have been jailed since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, including two rights activists in August.

AP correspondent Matthew Lee contributed from Washington.

05 December 2014 Friday

More than 7,000 suspected foreign fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria have been banned from entering Turkey, the country’s Foreign Minister has announced.

Mevlut Cavusoglu’s comments came on Friday as counter-terrorism methods took center stage on the final day of a two-day ministerial council meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Basel, Switzerland.

Cavusoglu said: “Our ‘no enter’ list of suspected foreign terrorists has now more than 7,200 names and we have deported more than 1,050 since 2011.

“Yet we still observe the flow of terrorist fighters … and in some cases, those we deport end up at our border gates again.”

He said that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, belief, culture or ethnic groups, and called for a multi-sectorial approach, including civil society, to tackle the problem.

‘Extinguish this fire’

He said: “The issue of foreign terrorist fighters is a global threat. We have seen these symptoms in the past in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Tunisia, Chechnya and Somalia.

“Now we see them not only in Syria or Iraq, but also in eastern Ukraine and in other parts of the world.”

He added: “Today, the threat we face in Syria or Iraq cannot be isolated from the past and we should make use of the lessons learnt.

“We cannot prevent this threat by diverting the smoke coming out of the big fire in Iraq and Syria. We have to extinguish this fire.”

Turkey maintains the international community’s inaction to the crisis in Syria and the sectarian policies of the Shia-led former Iraqi government has prepared the ground for al-Qaeda to re-emerge in Iraq and Syria.

‘No blame games’

Cavusoglu said: “It (the ISIL) grows stronger under the name of ‘Daesh’ in a symbiotic relationship with the regime in Syria.”

He said “Daesh” had attracted individuals from more than 80 countries through its propaganda, based on the exploitation of religion by use of social media, adding that more than half of the Daesh fighters were locals.

“Only addressing the foreign fighters would not solve the problem – we need a comprehensive strategy that includes rehabilitation, de-radicalization … nation- and state-building, in addition to the military and law-enforcement measures,” he said.

He called for “timely, tangible” intelligence and information-sharing to combat terrorism adding: “International cooperation requires trust and fair burden-sharing. Blame games should be avoided.”

The ISIL has captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria and killing thousands of people and displacing millions more.

Source: World Bulletin.


07 December 2014 Sunday

A replacement battalion of 150 Kurdish peshmerga troops joined the fighting against the ISIL on Saturday, a Kurdish commander said on Saturday.

The peshmerga battalion reached the ongoing battle in the besieged border town Kobani, by traveling through Turkey.

“We have launched an operation against ISIL militants overnight with the support of US-led coalition’s warplanes,” said peshmerga Commander Farhat Abdollah.

Abdollah also said the Kurdish groups cleared some streets of militants, and that the airstrikes were continuing to support their battle in the field.

Shaban Ramazan, a captain of the peshmerga forces, said the ISIL fighters attacked their position from Kobani’s southern and eastern sections with heavy arms in the early hours of the morning. The peshmerga forces met the fire with the same kind of attack.

“Street clashes still continue, and the international coalition continues to hit the ISIL targets without pause,” Ramazan said. The ISIL fighters were forced to retreat from some positions as they suffered heavy losses.

The second group of peshmerga forces, a convoy of seven minibuses, replaced the first group on Tuesday that had reached Kobani in October by passing through Turkey.

Kobani, also known as Ayn al Arab, has seen fierce battles between ISIL militants and Kurdish fighters since mid-September.

Source: World Bulletin.


04 December 2014 Thursday

In Uzbekistan’s capital city of Tashkent, in the district of Yangiyul, a group of Muslim women have been arrested on charges of “radicalism” for teaching the Quran.

According to state television, a group of women who were teaching children Quran at home was arrested. The report said that “the group leader” who named Hanife Mirganieva and a few other women managed to escape from the police. Uzbek officials say its very likely that the women would have sought refuge in Turkey.

According to “Ozodlik” radio, the women’s husbands were previously caught as Hizbut Tahrir members.

Source: World Bulletin.