Bamiyan Panorama

Bamiyan Panorama

Monday, February 11, 2019

Ukraine official charged over acid killing

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged a high-ranking local official over a deadly acid attack on a prominent anti-corruption activist.
The agony of Kateryna Handzyuk, 33, shocked Ukraine. She died from her burns in November, after more than 10 operations. She was attacked in July.
Vladyslav Manger, head of the Kherson regional council in southern Ukraine, was charged with organising murder.
His lawyer said no evidence had been presented against his client.
Five other suspects are in detention.
Larisa Sargan, spokeswoman for Ukraine's chief prosecutor, said Mr Manger would have to appear before a judge in Kiev on Tuesday to face a detention order.
The indictment accuses Mr Manger of ordering the murder because of "personal hostility towards her for opposing illegal logging" in the region. A guilty verdict could send him to prison for life.
Activists mourn Handzyuk in Kiev, 4 Feb 19Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe horrific attack triggered an outpouring of grief for Handzyuk
Investigators went to search Mr Manger's home on Monday. His lawyer, Dmitry Ilchenko, said "the prosecution has presented no evidence" for the accusation.
Mr Manger denied knowing Handzyuk personally or having any ties, telling a TV station he was "ready to answer all questions from investigators" and that he was "not going to go anywhere and will fully co-operate with the investigation".
Two other suspects - Sergei Torbin and Nikita Grabchuk - are in pre-trial detention in the case, and three more suspects are under house arrest.
Human rights activists say there were more than 50 assaults on anti-corruption campaigners in Ukraine last year, including five murders.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement - A protest Pakistan wants to hide from the world

Security officials arrest supporters of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan, 05 February 2019.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionMore than 30 PTM supporters were arrested and their Islamabad rally did not take place
Why do some protests get reported in Pakistan and others not? M Ilyas Khan examines a story of human rights abuses the media is reluctant to cover and the authorities do not want to be told.
Pakistan's vibrant, at times almost cacophonic media, is struggling to report a fundamental contradiction in state policy.
This was at its most visible this week outside Islamabad's National Press Club.
An open ground outside the club premises - which some call Pakistan's Hyde Park because it is used for gatherings and protests - was occupied by a few hundred students from religious seminaries linked to a banned militant group.
They were holding an event to mark Kashmir Day, an official holiday in Pakistan which is observed to highlight human rights violations by Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.
People listen to a speaker during a protest to show solidarity with Kashmiris living in Indian-administered part, on Kashmir Solidarity Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan, 05 February 2019.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe Kashmir rally was given lots of prominence and went ahead
But on the periphery of the Kashmir rally, police were busy spotting and arresting young men they suspected had come to attend another rally due to be held at the same venue.
Far from being militants, they were members or supporters of a rights movement that has been highlighting abuses by Pakistan's own military, in the ethnic Pashtun regions along the border with Afghanistan.
By the end of Tuesday, more than 30 activists of the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement, or PTM, had been rounded up, thrown in a police truck and taken to a police station.
The drama unfolded against the backdrop of speeches from the Kashmir rally in which speakers listed rights violations in Kashmir by the Indian army, and right in front of the eyes of the waiting media.
Dozens of television and newspaper photographers raced from one end to another trying to capture each arrest on camera.
But it was just their journalistic instincts kicking in - not a race to be first to actually cover the drama.
Because, while their TV channels thoroughly covered Kashmir Day events all over the country, including Islamabad, none of the videos of the arrests of the activists made it to the TV screens. Nor did they make headlines in the morning newspapers.
The six tribal districts of Pakistan - collectively called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and turned into a vast sanctuary for Taliban fighters fleeing the US invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks - have been likened to an information black hole.
Many say the Talibanisation of these districts was allowed by the Pakistani establishment under a policy which sought to control Afghanistan with a view to prevent it from emerging as a strong regional ally of India, Pakistan's arch-rival.
Subsequent factionalisation of the Taliban drew the Pakistani military into tribal rivalries, triggering large-scale rights violations both by the military and the Taliban.
Quetta, Pakistan. 11th March, 2018. Chief of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement Mr Manzoor Pashteen addressing to Public gathering in Quetta, during campaign of Pashtun Long march in Pakistan.Image copyrightALAMY
Image captionManzoor Pashteen has accused the military of covering up years of rights abuses
The number of civilians killed in the conflict runs into thousands, and about three million people have been displaced, many of them many times.
For years, the local population caught in the conflict were too afraid to speak about transgressions, until the PTM burst onto the scene last February and started to circulate well-documented cases of abuses by the military and the Taliban, as well as the nature of the relationship between the two.
The material, the PTM's peaceful tactics and its insistence that the authorities treat people in the tribal areas in accordance with the law, as elsewhere in the country, caught the imagination of the media, and progressive elements across all ethnic groups hailed it as a good omen for the country's quest for democracy.
But then in the second half of 2018 the media came under increasing pressure, reportedly from the military, to stop covering the PTM. One by one, columnists offering analysis of the movement's message and its activities were dropped - not only by the marginal press but some of the most respected newspapers of the country.
Supporters of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of one of their leader Alamzeb Mehsud in Karachi, Pakistan, 23 January 2019.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionPTM supporters have been demonstrating but the story is not making headlines
And any mention of the PTM completely vanished from the television screens.
More recently, the authorities have gone a step further and have begun breaking up PTM gatherings, confident in their knowledge that it is not going to get play in the media.
Over the weekend, police in Balochistan province cracked down on one such PTM gathering in which a prominent activist, Ibrahim Arman Luni, was killed.
Tuesday's gatherings were called by PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen in protest at Mr Luni's killing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice system?

"A Saudi national accused of fatally running over a 15-year-old Oregon girl may have fled the US on a private jet with his homeland’s help, according to a new report.
Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, a former student at Portland Community College, was charged in the fatal hit-and-run death of Fallon Smart in 2016 — but vanished two weeks before his June 2017 trial, The Oregonian reported.
That day, a black SUV had driven the then-21-year-old Noorah to a yard two miles away where he broke off his ankle monitor, the paper reported.
Law enforcement officials believe the Saudi government issued Noorah a new passport, probably under a different name, and that he likely fled on a private plane, according to the report published Sunday.
US officials learned only recently from the Saudi government that Noorah landed home 18 months ago. But the Saudis haven’t answered US questions about how he got home or any additional details about him.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get him back,” Eric Wahlstrom, a supervisory deputy US marshal in Oregon, told the paper.
The day of the hit-and-run, Noorah’s gold Lexus illegally swerved around traffic that had stopped for Smart, who was crossing a street, and struck her at 55 to 60 mph, police said.
The high school sophomore, who was just weeks shy of her 16th birthday, died at the scene.
Noorah had 17 parking violations and a suspended license for driving uninsured at the time of his arrest.
Prosecutors still hope to try Noorah for the manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and reckless driving charges in the girl’s death — but the US and Saudi Arabia have no extradition treaty.
The girl’s family lawyer said news that the Saudis may have helped Noorah escape prosecution is “trauma on top of trauma.”
“It begs the question: Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice system?” said Chris Larsen, a lawyer for Smart’s mother, Fawn Lengvenis.
“It’s reprehensible.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Dear China, Mind your own business

Dear China,

Mind your own business.

For example:

Regarding the Uyghur people group who have their own land (that you claim), their own language, their own culture, their own religion - mind your own business.

Regarding sending the Uyghur people to 'reeducation camps' - mind your own business.

Regarding the average Joe who wants to choose his or her own religion - mind your own business.

Regarding letting people think for themselves - wow what a novel concept!  You should try it sometime! 

Sincerely,

A human being who has a brain and can think.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Afghanistan Women's International Team

Kelly Lindsey: Afghanistan women's coach says it is 'life or death' for players

Afghanistan women's team
Kelly Lindsay (left of back row) has coached Afghanistan women's team since 2016
Spat at, stoned in the street, and having to avoid bombings on the way to training. All because you want to play football.
That is the reality for some of Afghanistan women's international team.
Their coach - retired former USA international Kelly Lindsey - has never set foot in the country because of security concerns.
Some of her players have not even played 11-a-side football before they join up with the national squad, which was formed in 2010.
Yet, in Lindsey's two years in charge, they have climbed from 128th in the Fifa rankings to 106th.
Progress - in spite of the "unique" nature of a job which means all matches and training camps are held overseas for safety reasons.

'It's life and death for those girls'

Lindsey's squad is a mixture of players from the worldwide Afghan diaspora and those who still live in Afghanistan.
Those in Australia, Europe and North America have female role models in the shape of their mothers, many of whom emigrated with their children when their husbands were killed in conflict.
The players who have remained face threats of violence and - just as bad in the eyes of the Afghan culture - risk damaging their family's dignity and reputation.
"It's not easy to get to training," Lindsey, 38, tells the BBC's World Football programme. "They get spat on, they get stoned, there are bombings that happen on the way.
"It's important for the girls outside to understand that this is real. It's not stories. These girls go through it every day."
A recent BBC study found Taliban fighters are openly active in 70% of Afghanistan, directly affecting the lives of 15 million people - half the population. That threatens the freedom women have enjoyed since the regime was overthrown in 2001.
"If a woman is playing football, her father, her brother, her coaches, her mother are being judged by the community around them," says Lindsey.
"Khalida Popal, our programme director... her brother was nearly stabbed to death for allowing his sister to play.
"It's amazing to me that after what they go through every day, they want to play football.
"To put yourself out there for everyone to judge in front of the Taliban - it's life and death for those girls.
"I've thought many times: 'Would I die to play football?' I give them credit every day that they show up to training and that football matters in a life that's so chaotic at times."
Kelly Lindsey with Afghanistan players
Lindsey's long-term aim is for the team to qualify for the World Cup

'They hadn't even played on a full-size pitch'

Lindsey's job is not an easy one.
With training camps held outside Afghanistan, she effectively coaches remotely - by phone and email.
Some of her players had never even stepped on a full-size pitch before joining the squad for this month's friendlies against Jordan, which they lost 5-0 and 6-0.
"We have created a leadership council," Lindsey says.
"We meet every two weeks on the phone to discuss training, nutrition, what's going on with the team, what are they succeeding at and struggling with on and off the field.
"We send out videos, workout packets, and tactical Powerpoints for them to study so that when they come to camp they know what we're trying to do as a team."
When they do meet, Lindsey must go right back to basics.
"Every time they come into camp it's a different group of girls," she says.
"We're not always getting the same group, so we're always teaching the 11-a-side game - the positions, roles, responsibilities - which I think most national coaches take for granted.
"I give our players from outside Afghanistan credit for respecting what we're trying to do and not getting frustrated with us having to re-teach the game."

'The day we qualify, the world will know women's football has changed'

Afghanistan are yet to qualify for their first major tournament, but the team is still in its relative infancy.
And their "mission" - as Lindsey describes it - is bigger than winning football matches.
"All of the girls play with this passion and energy, for the pride of their nation. Although most national teams play with that, these girls recognise the challenges that they face, the unity they need to have and hopefully the future that they bring for young women around the world."
Lindsey says the ultimate ambition is to qualify for the World Cup - but Afghanistan remain outside Fifa's top 100 nations and have few trailblazers to inspire them.
Hosts Jordan will be the only Islamic country in April's Women's Asian Cup, which doubles as a qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup.
And while Afghanistan's training camps remain part national team get-together and part taster sessions, their development will, at best, creep along.
Lindsey won't see her players again until June, when they go on a tour of Japan, but she has big ambitions.
"We are building this team to compete, to qualify for the World Cup," she says. "When that will happen, I can't answer.
"We have a lot of work to do - but the only way we're ever going to get there is to play our best and see where we stand.
"The day that we do qualify, the world will know that women's football has changed."