African Press International (API)

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Archive for December 22nd, 2007

Niger charge French journalists with contravening national security

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2007

Niamey (Niger) APA – Niamey (Niger) Two French journalists of the Franco German TV channel Arte, arrested on Monday in Niger while they were reporting for their television, were on Friday formally charged with offence against State security, sources told APA.

The authorities criticise the reporters for snubbing the ban on journalists to travel the northern part of the country to meet with the rebels of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ).

Earlier, the two journalists had been allowed to report on the bird flu in Niger.

In a statement published on Friday, Reporters sans frontires (RSF) condemned the charges against Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson, respectively, the journalist and cameraman reporting for the Camicas productions agency in Niger for Arte.

As of Friday afternoon, no reactions have so far been made, neither by Niger officials nor local media organisations, APA observed in Niamey the capital.

According to the countrys laws, people found guilty of offence against national security face the death sentence, which according to RSF seems disproportionate, considering the charges filed against the two reporters.

We do regret that such charges were made and the case taken to justice, RSF further said in its statement.

The reporters rights organisation said it was wiling to make a quick settlement for the release of the two journalists.

The two journalists who are placed under a committal order have been transferred to the Kollo prison (30 km from Niamey) along with their Nigerien driver, Abdramane Alassane.

Another Nigerian reporter, Moussa Kaka, the correspondent in Niamey for the French radio, RFI has been in detention since 20 September 2007 for offence against national security and alleged complicity with the MNJ rebels operating in the northern region of Niger.

Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, the editor of the private semi-monthly review Air Info, published in Agadez (900 km north of Niamey) was also on 29 October 2007 accused of criminal conspiracy and detained ever since at the civil prison of Agadez.

Published by Korir, API/APN source.apa

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UK issues travel ban on Mwiraria, Biwott and others

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2007

Cabinet minister Mr David Mwiraria and the immediate former Keiyo South MP, Mr Nicholas Biwott, have been barred from traveling to the United Kingdom.Also barred are the Charterhouse Bank managing director, Mr Sanjay Kumar Ramniklal, and his brother, Mr Manoj Ramniklal Panacha Shah of Kingsway Tyres.

A travel advisory has been circulated to five international airlines that depart from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, The Standard learnt.

Airline sources confirmed yesterday that they received an Immigration Alert from the British High Commission in Nairobi informing them of the cancellation of UK visas for the four individuals.

In a letter headed “Alert” to the airlines and exclusively obtained by The Standard, the Commission stated: “The above named were issued with UK visas. However, these visas have now been cancelled and are no longer valid for travel to the United Kingdom.

“I would be grateful if an alert be placed on your systems and the relevant staff be notified. Please contact the Visa Section at the British High Commission immediately on the above numbers if a date of proposed travel to the UK is known, or if they are encountered at the airport”.

The letter contained the full names of the four individuals and their passport numbers; Biwott (D007***), Manoj (B093***), Mwiraria (D008***) and Sanjay (B068***).

Contacted for comment over the travel ban, the British High Commission spokesperson, Ms Charley Williams, said: “We cannot comment on individuals or provide names”.

However, she added: “Early this year we decided to make full use of our immigration rules to deny individuals entry to the UK in full support of efforts to combat corruption here”.

Mwiraria joined his former colleague, Dr Chris Murungaru, in the list of senior individuals in the Kibaki administration barred from traveling to the UK.

Mwiraria resigned after being linked to a corruption scandal that shook the Kenyan government.

Mwiraria said he was stepping aside in order to clear his name after being mentioned in a report by the Governments former anti-corruption chief, Mr John Githongo.

The multi-million-dollar Anglo-Leasing corruption scam involved contracts for a company that existed only in name.

Mwiraria, one of President Kibakis key allies, has said the allegations against him are false.

The United Kingdom becomes the second country that has slapped a ban on Biwott. Two years ago, the former powerful minister was barred from entering the US after the American government revoked his entry visa.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN

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Terror alert in Belgium

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2007

Belgium arrested 14 suspects and stepped up security on Friday after thwarting what it said was a plot to spring from jail an al-Qaeda suspect arrested in September 2001 for plotting attacks on US targets. “They were planning to use weapons and explosives to free him … These means could be employed for another use,” Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman for Belgium’s federal prosecutors, told a news conference.

She added investigators were not aware of any other specific plan.

Pellens said authorities believed those arrested had sought to liberate Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian al-Qaeda suspect who was arrested in Belgium for planning to attack US targets. He subsequently told a radio station he had planned to target a Belgian airbase thought to house US nuclear weapons.

Published by API/APN source.aftenposteneng.Reuters

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Vigrid acquittal overturned

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2007

Vigrid leader Tore Tvedt.

PHOTO: Torgersen, Hans O.
Norway’s Supreme Court on Friday overturned the acquittal of neo-Nazi group Vigrid’s leader Tore Tvedt. The Supreme Court ruled Friday that Tvedt can be convicted for his anti-Semitic remarks in an interview with newspaper VG in the summer of 2003.

The Vigrid leader told VG, among other things, that “we want to take power in society, cleanse out the Jews and send the immigrants out of the country”.

Earlier this year Tvedt was acquitted by the Court of Appeals, which ruled that the remarks were extremely derogatory and insulting but that freedom of speech carried more weight, and that the remarks were not insulting enough to be covered by ‘paragraph 135’, Norway’s anti-racism law.

The new ruling makes Tvedt eligible for punishment and will open the way for new trials.

The Supreme Court ruled that although freedom of speech must have wide parameters, “there is a limit to grave insults that can be tolerated in public, by society”.

“It must be taken into consideration that Tvedt here does not only express his own opinions, but appears as leader and spokesman for an active organization composed of young people preparing themselves for the ‘war’ he describes. This makes the statements more threatening and frightening than if he was speaking exclusively on his own behalf,” the Supreme Court ruled.

The ruling also compared Tvedt’s remarks to those of the leader of neo-Nazi group Boot Boys, who was acquitted in 2002 in a similar case, on the grounds that his insults were so stereotyped as to be without content. Tvedt’s remarks were considered to be concrete threats.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN source.aftenposteneng

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