Sabtu, 01 Oktober 2016

Maldives' police raid media offices after graft claims

Police in the Maldives raided the offices of a local media organisation just hours after a documentary aired accusing President Abdulla Yameen and his government of corruption, journalists said Thursday.

Police searched the seven-storey building housing the Maldives Independent website whose editor was quoted in the Al Jazeera documentary aired on Wednesday night detailing high-level graft allegations.

"We believe the search was part of an attempt at intimidation," a Maldives Independent journalist told AFP. "They looked at rooms and even the toilets, but took only a broken CCTV unit."

Maldives is facing a protracted political crisis that has dented the Indian Ocean archipelago's reputation as an upmarket holiday destination ©Ishara S.Kodikara (AFP/File)

<b>There was no immediate comment from the police.</b>

The documentary is the latest twist in a protracted political crisis that has dented the Indian Ocean archipelago's reputation as an upmarket holiday destination and raised international alarm about an erosion of democracy.

Al Jazeera said the documentary was based on data including emails and text messages it had obtained between key officials of Yameen's administration allegedly implicating them in graft and other criminal activity.

The editor of the Maldives Independent left the country before the documentary aired, fearing the government would slap charges against her under a tough defamation law.

Former Maldives auditor-general Niyaz Ibrahim, who alleged in the documentary financial irregularities under the Yameen regime, also reportedly left the country on Wednesday night fearing persecution.

Yameen's government labelled the documentary disappointing, saying it mostly contained allegations revealed in an official report by Ibrahim that were already being probed by Maldives' authorities.

"The Maldives government would request that all evidence obtained by Al Jazeera be handed to the Maldives Police Services or the Anti-Corruption Commission so as to assist it with their own investigations," the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website Thursday.

The "Stealing Paradise" documentary, by Al Jazeera journalist Will Jordan, a former editor of the Maldives Independent, shows what it says are leaked messages from former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb's phone to various officials discussing payments.

In June, Adeeb was jailed for 15 years on a charge of plotting to assassinate Yameen -- part of a sweeping crackdown on opponents, most of whom are in jail or exile.

Yameen's administration faces international criticism over the crackdown along with the jailing last year of the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed who has since obtained asylum in Britain.

The Maldives last week issued an arrest warrant for Nasheed for failing to return to the nation to complete his jail sentence after receiving medical care in Britain.

Nasheed was among members of several exiled opposition groups meeting in Colombo last week to plot a strategy to topple Yameen, according to sources. He returned to London earlier this week, sources told AFP.

The country has been gripped by political turmoil since Nasheed was forced to resign in 2012 following a mutiny by police and the military. Nasheed was sentenced to prison in 2015 on a terror-related office.

Senin, 26 September 2016

Australia welcomes arrest of alleged key Indonesian people smuggler

By Harry Pearl

SYDNEY, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Indonesian police have arrested an alleged key people smuggler who has targeted Australia since 1999, the Australian government said on Saturday.

Abraham Louhenapessy, also known as Captain Bram, was arrested in West Jakarta on Friday and will be transported to the Indonesian island of Rote to face court, said an Australian government statement.

"We know that Captain Bram is a key player in the people smuggling networks across Indonesia and we congratulate the Indonesian National Police on their determination to stop this criminal from risking the lives of anymore vulnerable people," Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in the statement.

Louhenapessy was arrested over a failed attempt to send 65 mostly Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Australia from Indonesia in May 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Australian Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said Louhenapessy could face up to 10 years in prison.

"We are extremely pleased this notorious people smuggler has been stopped... but we know there are more criminal people smugglers out there and we will continue to work with our regional partners to bring them to justice," Keenan said in the joint statement.

In its fight to stop people smugglers, Australia has adopted a tough asylum seeker policy which sees it intercept boats at sea and ship asylum seekers to Australian-funded detention camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. They are never eligible to be resettled in Australia.

The United Nations and human rights groups have called for the closure of the camps, which have been rocked by riots, deaths, self-harm by detainees and reports of sexual abuse.

(Reporting by Harry Pearl; Editing by Michael Perry)

North Korea feels global pressure but not completely ostracized

File photo of portraits of former leader Kim Jong-il and former president Kim Il-sung inside a North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" docked at Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City Thomson Reuters By Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - From building statues and training police in Africa to trading with India and Thailand, North Korea is managing to maintain business ties and friendly diplomatic relations with a dwindling number of Cold War-era friends. That is despite being cut off from much of the world for conducting a decade of banned rocket and nuclear tests, including the launch of a rocket last weekend that North Korea says put a satellite into space. The United States and its allies saw the launch as a missile test. Indeed, Pyongyang has been squeezed by layers of U.N. sanctions since 2006 targeting its once-lucrative arms trade and the flow of money that financed its weapons program. China, North Korea's most important ally, as well as Russia have signed up to U.N. Security Council sanctions over the missile and nuclear tests.