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Archive for October 4th, 2013

Feeling the heat! Barasa, the Kenyan journalist wanted by the ICC says, he will spill the beans………

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

Walter Barasa statement on ICC arrest Warrant

ICC warrant: Journalist Walter Barasa

ICC warrant: Journalist Walter Barasa

STATEMENT BY WALTER BARASA (Released on September 22,2013)

My full names are Walter Barasa. I am a journalist. I joined the journalism profession in 1985 after finishing my diploma course. I have worked as a journalist for 18 years most of it with the Nation newspaper and then the People daily.

 

Between 1st and 5th December 2012 I was called by somebody who introduced himself to me as an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigator. He introduced himself as Paul Irani. He informed me that he had been given my name and phone number by somebody who was known to me.

He further informed me that he was an ICC investigator and wanted to meet him in Nairobi. He told me to hire a taxi from Eldoret to Nairobi and that he would pay for the taxi once I arrived in Nairobi because the matter he wanted us to discuss was urgent. He paid Ksh 30,000 to the taxi owner upon arrival in Nairobi.

We met at the Westgate Mall in Westlands. He was with another investigator called Ule. I introduced myself. He told me that he wanted me to help them in connection with a lady in Kiambaa and that she was a witness in a case which was earlier conducted in Nakuru. He told me I was a good man and that I should get the lady to confirm what she had told him on phone because he could not travel to Eldoret which he was told was hostile.

He bought a cellphone for me with an Airtel line to take to the lady. I went and met the lady who confirmed that she had talked with Paul Irani. I later confirmed to Irani that I had met the lady. He requested me to get the lady a temporary passport to enable her go to Uganda for interrogation and statement recording.

When the lady came back she told me that she had been a worker at a certain politicians home and that the investigators had told her to say that she was a cook and that she seen planning meetings being held at the politicians home and had cooked for youths and served them with food as they planned to attack the Kiambaa church.

I asked her whether that was actually true but she told me that it was not true because during the time she was employed by the politician she was actually working as a casual labourer planting tree seedlings and sometimes used to harvest maize.

She also told me that she had left that employment five years before but that she had been forced to say that she was cooking and serving food during the period the violence occurred. I encouraged her to confirm to whether she was ready to defend that position. I asked her how as a Kikuyu she could be allowed to get into a planning meeting and cook and serve food to people who were going to kill her relatives. She told me that she had been told to say that so that the case would be strong.

I warned her that she faced the risk of prosecution if it turned out that she was lying. We ended our conversation and she told me that Paul had sent her to tell me to get her a passport. The investigators sent her a total of Ksh 45,500 and a sum of Ksh 6,000 for facilitation making a total of Ksh 51,500 which the lady (536) withdrew and gave me.

We got the passports and she and her family crossed over to Uganda. We cut off communication for some time until I received a call from the lady using a Ugandan number. She told me that her children were not going to school and that life had become very difficult contrary to what she was promised and her husband was very bitter and wanted them to come back to the country.

She told me she did not want to continue with the case and wanted to come back. I later met Paul Irani at Topelli restaurant near Nairobi hospital and informed him about the ladies complaints and warned him that the lady had threatened to abandon the cause. He promised to address the issue. The lady stopped calling me for some time until a time when she called me on a Burundian number. That is when I learnt that she had been moved to Burundi. She was still complaining of poor treatment. She insisted that since I was the one she knew I should assist her get out of Burundi because she did not have money to get her back in the country.

Communication between us went off again and then a week later she called me from a phone whose code was +423 which is the code for DR Congo with the same complaint. She repeated the same thing that she was fed up and wanted me to assist her and her family back. I told her I did not have money but if I get money I could assist her but in the event that I could not manage she had a right to protest, disclose the truth and ask whoever was in charge to return her into the country.

The calls were so many but when I refused to pick she wrote me numerous text messages which I wish to give you where she was stating the same thing. I wish to read you some of the messages. During the course of my acquaintance with Paul Irani I started developing great doubts on the competence of the Office of the Prosecutors (OTP) investigations. I met the investigators severally at various meetings and raised some of these issues:-

i) At one meeting I challenged Paul and one Silvano from Burkina Faso if they would be able to succeed in establishing the truth when they were carrying out armchair investigations in a hotel on the basis of information from people who were known gold diggers roaming the streets of Eldoret after he showed me a list of the names he had lined up as his sources of information and investigation.

ii) I also reminded him that witness 536 had confided in me she was not in the employment of the politician she was alleging she was working for at the time and she had not been a cook. I told him that the same case had been dismissed by the court in Nakuru. He dismissed my concerns and told me to leave him alone.

He tried sending me to find other individuals whose names he gave me. I contacted some of them. I met some of them but I told him that those people were unreliable.

He flew back sometime in February or March this year then on 13th September this year he contacted me on phone and via email asking me to meet him urgently because my life was in danger and he wanted me to leave the country immediately. He suggested that he meets me at The Hague, Uganda or Nairobi as the last option. I agreed to go to Nairobi on 15th September 2013 for the meeting. The email he wrote to me is attached and I wish to read parts of it. I met him with another white man at Topelli restaurant. I expected a cordial meeting but when I arrived at the meeting Paul Irani ordered me to dismantle all my phones. I accepted to do so after quarrelling for over 10 minutes.

Immediately he told me that he had two options for me:-

i) He told me that he knew that I had been working with the Deputy President to coerce and compromise witnesses and that I should cooperate with him and the prosecution and accept to implicate the Deputy President after which we would fly out of the country with him that night because my life was in danger.

ii) Alternatively he was going to engineer and have a warrant of arrest be issued against me and that I could be jailed for five years. But that as a friend he did not want to be jailed and that the best option was for me to implicate the Deputy President.

I was greatly infuriated by these suggestions. I told him that I did not remember the last time I met William Ruto and I told him if I ever met and spoke with Ruto it was way back in 2007 but from then and up to the time I was meeting him I had not met him but he retorted that I had met him after he came from Japan. I told him that those were lies, I could not accept those lies and that he should go ahead and cause the warrants to be issued. I told him that I was ready to stand in any court to refute those lies.

He told me that I was becoming difficult and he was going to arrest me right away. I told him to dare arrest me. I rose from my chair picked my bag and went to the washrooms but when I came out the two called me back. I was extremely fearful and in order to get away from them, I told them that I would get back to them. They gave me Ksh 7,200 for accommodation and transport. They suggested that after I had considered he options I should escape with them to Uganda. I never contacted them again.

I have now heard rumours, which the prosecution should confirm or deny that a warrant of arrest has been issued against me over an alleged interference/prevention of witness number 536 from attending court.

Am ready and prepared to defend myself against these allegations, which are false. I have special knowledge of all the investigators machinations relating to the recruitment of this witness 536 and others and I will not be blackmailed to tell lies. I am aware of the activities of the investigators and what they are doing now and have done in the past.

I respect the court, I respect the rights of the accused persons to a fair hearing, and the victims right to get justice but I do not accept coercion and unorthodox means of implicating accused persons and conducting investigations to attain an unjust end.

I wish to inform you that the conversation of 15th September 2013 was recorded by Irani and I challenge him to produce the entire unedited clip to the court and all concerned. I also recorded parts of the proceedings which I am ready to produce to prove what I am saying.

I have already instructed my advocate Mr Nick Kaufmann to appear for me and bring the above matters to the attention of the court. I attach here to a letter from my advocate.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully

Walter Barasa.

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Walter Barasa statement on ICC arrest Warrant

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

Kenyareporter

STATEMENT BY WALTER BARASA (Released on September 22,2013)

My full names are Walter Barasa. I am a journalist. I joined the journalism profession in 1985 after finishing my diploma course. I have worked as a journalist for 18 years most of it with the Nation newspaper and then the People daily.

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Terrorism or what? Shooting near President Obama’s office

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

THE STORY’s HIGHLIGHTS:

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Norway welcomes UN statement on the humanitarian crisis in Syria

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

Norway is pleased that the UN Security Council has finally reached agreement on a strong statement that condemns the serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria, and calls for unhindered humanitarian access,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

The Security Council issued a presidential statement today concerning the lack of respect for international humanitarian law and the grave human rights violations in Syria.

“I am glad that the Security Council has urged the Syrian authorities and the various armed groups to implement concrete actions in a number of areas to ensure that civilians are given protection and assistance,” Mr Eide said.

The Security Council statement condemns the obstacles and impediments put in the way of humanitarian aid deliveries by the Syrian authorities and various armed groups. It calls for unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and across national borders when necessary. The lack of access granted to UN and other humanitarian actors seeking to bring help to those in need is currently the greatest humanitarian problem in Syria. The statement also condemns the widespread sexual and gender-based abuse and violence, and focuses particularly on the protection of children.

“It is crucial to demilitarise schools and hospitals, and to combat sexual and gender-based violence, especially to protect the very weakest groups in Syria, including children,” Foreign Minister Eide said.

 

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The road to recovery for more than 100,000 displaced in Zamboanga will prove a long one

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

MANILA/ZAMBOANGA,  – The road to recovery for more than 100,000 displaced in Zamboanga will prove a long one, aid workers say, following a recent siege by Muslim rebels of the p ort city on the southern island of Mindanao

“Rehabilitation will take a minimum of three months from now – that is the fastest,” Philippine National Red Cross secretary general Gwendolyn Pang told IRIN. “But actually, it may reach six months to a year before we are able to fully rehabilitate those places and move them [the inhabitants] back.”

“This is the devastating reality for the population of Zamboanga. Apart from losing their homes, many have also lost their livelihoods. They will have to rebuild from scratch, and we [aid agencies] will have to prepare to respond for long-term displacement.”

Her comments follow an announcement on 28 September by the Government of the Philippines declaring an end to the security crisis almost three weeks after it began, although sporadic fighting and final clearing operations were still continuing on 1 October.

“Humanitarian Crisis”

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 106,000 people remain displaced on the southern island of Mindanao, after fighting between government forces and armed rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) broke out on 9 September in protest against ongoing peace talks between the Philippine government and the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), an MNLF splinter group.

The two sides are negotiating for the creation of what is envisioned to be an expanded autonomous region for Mindanao’s Muslim population that would supersede the one handed to the MNLF, a development that Nur Misuari, its founder, and a number of fighters oppose.

Of the displaced, 102,401 are housed in 38 evacuation centres, many of them schools, while 3,641 remain with families and friends.

Heavy urban combat had brought the city of nearly a million at a standstill over the past few weeks as more than 4,000 troops tried to crush the rebel force, which abducted dozens of people and used them as human shields. Fighting also spread to the nearly island of Basilan, where MNLF sympathizers attacked government forces to divert the attention of the military.

Over 10 percent of the city’s population was displaced by the fighting, the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported, while thousands of livelihoods have been shattered.

An estimated 46,000 people’s jobs were lost or disrupted due to the conflict (15,000 workers in the canning industry, 4,800 in the plywood industry, 20,000 fisher folk and 6,000 jobs in the public sector), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on 1 October.

10,000 homes destroyed

Entire sections of the areas seized by the rebels have been razed, with more than 10,000 homes completely destroyed. This was confirmed by satellite imagery prepared at the request of OCHA to map the humanitarian fallout.

At least 140 people, mostly MNLF rebels, are now confirmed dead in the fighting, the Philippine Army reported, with close to 300 wounded and injured.

The damage is currently estimated at US$4.6 million, but privately officials say the real figure is much higher.

In response, deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said operations had already shifted to rehabilitation phase, with work now concentrating on how to provide some semblance of normalcy to those who have lost everything.

“The key challenge will be housing,” Valte said. “Continuing relief is already programmed, but rebuilding the homes that were totally destroyed could take some time.” Philippine President Benigno Aquino had already set aside funds for the building of 10-unit bunkhouses as “transition shelters”, she confirmed.

However, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the prospects for the displaced was “looking very grim”, while the UN has described the situation as a “humanitarian crisis”.

One family’s plight

Carpenter Santos Pareno, 55, a father of three, will be forced to take his family back to the city of Lamitan, a mixed Muslim-Christian community across the Basilan Strait to Basilan Island, where he still has relatives.
“We left Lamitan a long time ago to live a quiet life in Zamboanga, but the war came looking for us,” he said as he and his family huddled under a temporary tent made from discarded tarpaulin at the Jose F Enriquez sports stadium, the biggest of the evacuation centres where, over 70,000 people now live.

“The children will have to go back to school in Lamitan, but our small boat has been destroyed and we don’t have any belongings,” he said. A distant relative in another part of Zamboanga has agreed to take them in temporarily by mid-October. “Until that happens, we will be living on dole-outs. We want to leave this place, but there is nowhere to go.”

aag/ds/he  www.irinnews.org

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