Monday, 26 January 2015
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Feature - Ahead of UNHRC session in March and the report of the UN inquiry, Tamil Guardian this week canvassed opinion amongst Tamil campaigners seeking accountability and justice, on what the change in Sri Lanka’s leadership might mean.
 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Tamil man assaulted by Sri Lankan army in Valvettithurai


A Tamil man in Valvettithurai reports being assaulted by Sri Lankan military personnel when he went to an army camp asking for his ball to be returned to him.

The victim, 29 year old father of three children, Selvaraja Jegan said the ball went into the military base, as he had been playing with friends at a sports ground in the Ellangulam region of Valvettithurai.

When he went there to ask for the ball to be returned, he was taken away and beaten by soldiers, he said.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
UN inquiry could have been avoided if handled 'pragmatically' says Sri Lanka's new FM
Sri Lanka's new foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, said that the UN inquiry into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka could have been avoided if the issue had been handled "carefully and pragmatically" by the previous government.

"This whole investigation was brought upon the country by the bungling of the previous government. If we had handled it carefully and pragmatically, it could have been avoided,” Mr Samaraweera said.

Asked if the team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) conducting the inquiry had requested a meeting with the new government, Mr Samaraweera said: "Not so far but we have requested the President’s senior adviser, Mr [Jayantha] Dhanapala, to meet the UN Human Rights Commissioner in Geneva to discuss matters pertaining to this inquiry."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Hunger strikers told commission will review Chunnakam oil leak on Feb 6
Hunger strike continues - 24 Jan 2015


Locals protesting against the contamination of water supplies by waste oil seepage by Chunnakam power station, paused their ongoing hunger strike on Saturday, after officials said a commission would investigate the situation on February 6.




[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Sri Lankan military re-erects 'Army Cantonment' sign on Tamil land
The Sri Lankan military re-erected a sign, at the entrance of the Valikamam North High Security Zone, reading ‘Army Cantonment,' last week.

Local Tamil inhabitants of the region, have been calling for the abolishment of the High Security Zone and the return of their lands, remain concerned about whether the army controlled area will ever be released back to the people, reports the Uthayan.

The re-erection of the ‘Army Residence’ sign comes as amidst promises from the new governemnt to release Tamil land occupied by the Sri Lankan army.
Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Sri Lanka's new president receives blessings at sacred Buddhist site

Sri Lanka's new president, Maithripala Sirisena, received blessings from Buddhist monks and performed religious rites at the Sri Maha Bodhiya tree.

He also participated in religious ceremonies at a historical Sinhala Buddhist site in Polonnaruwa, his home town, thanking locals for voting him in as the new president.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
'We didn’t really ask for help but India in mood to help Sri Lanka' says foreign minister
Sri Lanka's new foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, said Sri Lanka "didn't really ask for help but India is in a mood to help Sri Lanka", following his visit to India to meet with this counterpart in New Delhi and the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Spekaing to Sri Lanka's Sunday Times, Mr Samaraweera compared Sri Lanka with Myanmar's recent development: “I think, frankly, not only India but the whole world should help Sri Lanka. This is Sri Lanka’s Burma moment.”

Denying that there was any discussion of demilitarisation and any pressure from India to implement the 13th amendment to the constitution which includes devolution of power to the provinces, Mr Samaraweera said that he had spoken about it "before he [Modi] had even mentioned it".

“What we told them, which they also agreed with, is we will take practical measures in the first 100 days,” he said. “Then, once this new system is in place, especially after the general election after April, sometime in June, we will certainly look at the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.”


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Suspects in ex-LTTE policeman murder freed

Four suspects in the killing of a former member of the Tamil Eelam Police Department were found innocent and freed by a judge in Mannar, reported the Uthayan.

A total of seven suspects were arrested after the murder of 34 year old Naguleshwaran Krishnasuwamy, who was killed in his own backyard by unidentified gunmen in November.

His wife, Kavitha, said her husband had received threats in the days prior to the assassination.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Sri Lanka seeks postponement of EU fish import ban

Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera will travel to Brussels on Monday, to seek postponement of the ban on imports of Sri Lankan fisheries products into the European Union.

“We will try to see if we can get a postponement of this ban for at least for six months till we rectify whatever was not correct at ground level,” the Mr Samaraweera told The Sunday Times.

The new government presented a bill in parliament last Tuesday, to amend the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act to comply with measures to get the ban.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Gota safe from war crimes probe in Sri Lanka says dep justice minister
Sri Lanka's deputy minister for justice reiterated that the former defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would be safe from any war crimes inquiry if he stayed within Sri Lanka.

Responding to an op-ed published on The New York Times by the US lawyer and co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, Ryan Goodman, which called on the US to prosecute Mr Rajapaksa, who is a US citizen, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said:
"It is true according to the said U.S. war crimes statute enacted in 1996, that nationality requirement is easily satisfied in terms of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's U.S.citizenship for them to prosecute him. But not within Sri Lanka's jurisdiction."

"No other country can do what it likes in our jurisdiction. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is safe as long as he stays within the jurisdiction of Sri Lanka."


Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Catholic priests call for release of prisoners, accountability and resettlement
The Commission for Justice & Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna has called for the release of political prisoners, accountability for those killed or disappeared during the war and for the resettlement of people back in their land, in an open letter to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Writing to the newly elected president, the priests called for the urgent needs of the people of the North-East to be addressed as part of his “100 day programme”.

Citing three major concerns, the priests called for the “release of thousands of political prisoners who are languishing in the jails and detention centres” without charge. “Some of these people have been there for 10 to 15 years,” said the priests.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
EU announces €14 million funds for housing construction in North-East
The European Union has initiated a €14 million programme for an ‘incremental’ housing project to resettle people displaced in the North East, reports the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence website.

The scheme is intended to aid the construction of 3,000 incremental owner driven houses and improve the local construction supply chain.

The decision was announced by the EU manager of the Infrastructure and Reconstruction programme of the delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Jaime Royo-Olid during a meeting with the Sri Lankan Minister of resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs, DM Swaminathan, on Saturday.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Sri Lanka's disapperances commission requests meeting with new president
The chairman of the disappearances commission set up by the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has requested a meeting with the new president, Maithripala Sirisena, in order to discuss the future of the commission, reports Colombo Page.

The commission, which was set up on August 15 2003, was extended by Mr Rajapaksa for a six month period, which is due to end on February 15.

The inquiry, which has been severely critiqued by domestic and international NGOs and civil society actors over its lack of independence and witness protection, amongst other aspects, is currently holding public sittings in the North-East.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
Peiris complains of ‘harassment’ by CID, denies coup allegations

Former external affairs minister, GL Peiris, has complained of “harassment” from the Criminal Investigations Department, who questioned him on the alleged coup former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his allies are suspected to have planned.

“In the overall context of the current strident emphasis on good governance, I expressed deep regret that I was subjected to this harassment without any semblance of justification,” Mr Peiris said in a statement.

The former minister said Mr Rajapaksa instructed his secretary to facilitate the handover to the new president and “not one word” was uttered about a coup.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
US provided LTTE with weapons, claims Maithri ally

The leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has claimed that western countries, particularly the US, supported and armed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), The Island reported.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake, whose JVP is a key ally of the new governing coalition led by President Maithripala Sirisena, said the armed conflict would not have lasted for 30 years, without western support for the LTTE.

The MP said Kumaran Pathmanathan, a former senior LTTE official also known as ‘KP’, was a key figure in the procurement of weapons from the US, and slammed the previous government under Mahinda Rajapaksa for not taking KP to court.

The JVP leader, who recently called for KP’s arrest, said he could be used to counter the “western threat” and expose the US, but that western countries wanted to ensure KP remained free.

Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
Sri Lanka reconsiders cancellation of Chinese Port City project

Sri Lanka's new government said it would reconsider its decision to cancel a Chinese construction project on Thursday, stating that it may now "renegotiate" the deal with Chinese officials.

"We can renegotiate with China after reassessing the deal," Sri Lanka's Cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senarathne was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"We need to see the feasibility study. We need to see the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and reassess the tax concessions given to it and land ownership issues," he reportedly added.

The $1.5 billion development project with a Chinese company was agreed during the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa's term in office, however it appeared under threat following the recent election, after the new president, Maithripala Sirisena and prime minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, said they would cancel the deal if elected.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
Continued concern over human rights in North says UK FCO
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) latest 'Country of Concern' report on Sri Lanka said that there was "no overall improvement in the human rights situation" during the end of last year and "concerns continued around the situation in northern Sri Lanka".

The updated report, which examined the period of September to December 2014, covering issues such as investigations into abuses during the conflict, counter-terrorism measures, unlawful use of force, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and persecution of journalists and human rights defenders, highlighted the ongoing detention of prominent human rights campaigners, including Balendran Jeyakumari.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
Hunger strike continues against water contamination by Chunnakam power plant in Jaffna

Locals protesting against the leakage of waste heavy fuel oil by Chunnakam power plant in the Jaffna peninsula, continued their hunger strike into the third day today, demanding immediate action against the contamination of local water supplies.

The hunger strike, which included over 60 local doctors, teachers, university lecturers, village groups and Tamil politicians from both main parties, took place by the Chunnakam Sivan Kovil.

"For the last three years, almost 400,000 litres of oil has been leaking from the Chunnakam thermal power station and seeping into local water supplies," one of the organisers, Dr Senthuran told Tamil Guardian.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
Obama must send unified calls for international accountability process in Sri Lanka says USTPAC
President Obama must use his trip to India to send a unified support for an “independent international accountability process,” in Sri Lanka and take a lead in mediating a “permanent and durable political solution” to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, said USTPAC in a press release on Thursday.

Full Statement reproduced below.

[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Boko Haram attacks strategic Nigerian city

Militants from Boko Haram launched an attack on the key city of Maiduguri in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state.

The attack comes during US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Lagos, for talks with President Goodluck Jonathan and the main opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari.

Residents on the outskirts of Maiduguri told the BBC that "hundreds of thousands of people" were fleeing and that the military was keeping a low profile.

"Only prayers will save us now, not the military," a resident said, pointing out that the town was only defended by civilian volunteers who had formed to repel the militant threat.

A resident of the Moronti area, Buba Kyari, told AFP: "It is flying bullets everywhere. All we hear are sounds of guns and explosions. A rocket-propelled grenade hit and killed a person from my neighbourhood who was fleeing into the city."

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Egyptian anniversary crackdown leaves 11 dead

The fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak was marked by pro-democracy protests across Egypt, with at least eleven deaths after riot police backed by soldiers attempted to quell the protests.

Clashes erupted on Sunday following the death of activist Shaimaa al Sabbagh, who was shot yesterday during a march by the socialist Popular Alliance party in central Cairo. Photos of her during the peaceful protest and after she was hit by birdshot were widely shared on social media. Fellow activists accused police of shooting Ms al Sabbagh in the back.

“Shaima was killed in cold blood.” Medhat al-Zahid, vice president of the Socialist Popular Alliance party told a news conference. Interior Ministry spokesperson Hany Abdel Latif said an investigation into her death had begun, adding: “No one is above the law.”

A police officer was killed during clashes in Cairo, with other protestors killed in the capital and in the northern city of Alexandria.

Tahrir Square, the symbolic location of the protests in 2011, was sealed off by security forces, after last year's anniversary protests left dozens of people dead.

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
EU foreign ministers to discuss increased pressure on Russia
EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss ways to de-escalate the conflict in eastern-Ukraine including options to increase pressure on Russia, reports Reuters.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, warned of a further “grave deterioration” in EU-Russian relations, after thirty civilians were killed during a separatist militant offensive on the Strategic port of Mariupol on Saturday.

The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, said that de-escalating the conflict with pro-Russian militants was the priority for the Kiev government.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
US agrees nuclear supply terms with India
India and the US reached an agreement over monitoring of India’s nuclear suppliers during the first morning of the US president’s visit for bilateral talks in India.

Photograph: Reuters/Jim Bourg


The US President, Barack Obama, agreed to ease pressure that called on India to sign up to a legislation that held suppliers liable for the materials, reports Reuters.

Indian official sources told the Times of India, that the US had agreed to “withdraw its highly intrusive” demand for tracking nuclear material sourced  from countries for use by US companies.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 January 2015
Obama lands in India for bilateral talks

US President Barack Obama has landed in India on Sunday, embarking on a visit that he has hailed as the start of a new era of co-operation between the world’s largest democracies.

Breaking normal protocol, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, welcomed Mr Obama, as he disembarked from the plane.

Speaking ahead of his departure to India Today, Mr Obama said that, "I'd like to think the stars are aligned to finally realize the vision (of) India and America as true global partners."

His upbeat sentiment was echoed by the US ambassador in Delhi, Richard Verma, who said, "There's no question this is a defining time in the US-India relationship. Things not only feel different, they are different."

Mr Obama is set to attend India's Republic Day parade on Monday, becoming the first US President to have been invited. Accompanied by several congressional Democrats, as well as commerce and trade representatives, the issues of trade and security are thought to feature highly in bilateral talks.

Ram Madhav, a foreign-affairs adviser with India Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also emphasised the importance of the trip, saying Mr Obama is “proceeding in a very meticulous manner to place India at a totally different, higher leel in global affairs.”

Chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Board (NSA) Shyam Saran hailed the trip, saying “US-India relations have reached a new height”. “The US is an indispensable partner,” he added.

Commenting on the visit, India's finance minister Arun Jaitley also said that India would “like a much greater understanding with the United States with regards to regional issues", highlighting security issues in the region in particular.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Japan condemns 'hostage execution'

A video has emerged showing the apparent execution of one of the two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the video of hostage Haruna Yakuwa as "outrageous and unacceptable" and demanded for the immediate release of the second hostage.

"This act of terrorism is an outrageous and unacceptable act of violence," he said.

"I again strongly demand the immediate release of Mr Kenji Goto unharmed."

Islamic State on Tuesday released a video, showing the Japanese hostages and demanding $200mn within 72 hours. 
[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Thirty dead in Ukraine rocket attacks

At least 30 people were killed in rocket attacks in the city of Mariupol in the east of Ukraine, as pro-Russian rebels announced a major offensive.

The rockets are thought to have come from rebel-held areas, but Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said his forces had not carried out "active operations" against the city until Saturday.

The attacks were widely condemned, including by the EU who warned “would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia”, according to EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Thousands of ethnic Albanians protest against Kosovo government minister
Police in Kosovo fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters calling for the resignation of a minister from the Serb minority, Aleksander Jablanovic.

Approximately 10,000 ethnic Albanian protesters gathered outside a government building with dozens throwing stones and attacking police, injuring 20 police officers, reports Reuters.

Mr Jablanavic, earlier this year, called ethnic Albanians protesters that lost relatives during the 1998-1999 war with Serbia as ‘savages,’ sparking demands for the minister’s resignation from several Albanian parties.
Tamil Guardian 24 January 2015
Lebanese soldiers killed in Syrian border clash
At least five Lebanese soldiers have been killed after clashes with Islamic militants on the Syrian border, said Lebanon's army.

The fighting took place in the village of Ras Baalbek, with the army saying that a "military base in the Ras Baalbek mountains was attacked by a terrorist group".

The Independent reported a military official as saying “we are targeting their gatherings and positions with artillery shells and helicopter gunships.”

“We inflicted casualties among them” continued the official, with as many as nine militants said to have been killed.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, both Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra have clashed with the Lebanese military in recent months. A reported joint raid by the groups led to the capture of several Lebanese soldiers, with some two dozen remaining captive. 
Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
US troops to train Syrian opposition in Middle East
The first set of 100 US troops have been ordered to travel to the Middle East to establish training sites for the Syrian opposition, announced the Pentagon on Friday.

The pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, said that the decision, which was authorised last week, would see a 100 troops arriving in countries outside Syria in the next few days, with several hundred other military trainers joining in upcoming weeks.

Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have offered to host sites for US forces to train members of the Syrian opposition forces to fight Islamic State militants and provide protection to their communities, reports Reuters.

US officials have outlined plans to train 5,000 Syrian fighters a year for three years. 
Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
Thousands at funeral of killed Kachin teachers

The funeral of two female Kachin teachers, suspected to have been raped and killed by Burmese soldiers, was held today in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar.

Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, aged 20 and 21, were in a remote village in Shan state, to teach children on behalf of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KCB), the group's spokesperson Lama Yaw told AFP news agency.

“The victims are dead and can’t point out who did it to them. But everyone in Myanmar -- not only the Kachin people -- knows the truth,” Lama Yawsaid, referring to KBC claims that soldiers were responsible.

Villagers say they were raped and beaten, and that boot prints were found outside their shared home. Activists and local media say Burmese troops were stationed near the village.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 January 2015
Yemen crisis deepens as president quits, US pulls more embassy staff

The Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, quit on Thursday after Houthi rebels advanced upto the presidential palace, plunging the country into deeper crisis.

Mr Hadi said he could not continue in office after the rebels failed to abide by the peace deal. According to the BBC, Mr Hadi's intelligence chief, Ali Hassan al-Ahmedi has also resigned.

Whilst, the Houthi rebels are yet to officially comment on the resignation, Reuters reported that some figures within the rebel group welcomed the move and proposed the creation of a 'ruling council'.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
US and Cuba commence diplomatic discussions
The US and Cuba commenced historic talks on Thursday, in an attempt to restore diplomatic ties after the presidents of the two nations announced a new era of engagement on December 17 last year.

Leading the American delegation, US Secretary of State, Roberta Jackson, said, “We have to overcome more than 50 years of a relationship that was not based on confidence or trust, so there are things we have to discuss before we can establish that relationship and so there will be future conversations.”

During the talks, Cuba insisted that it be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism before re-establishing full diplomatic ties, reports Reuters.

Calling the discussions “respective” and “professional” the director of US affairs at the Cuban foreign ministry, Josefina Vidal, said, “this process is about the establishment of civilised relations between the two countries with profound differences.”

Ms Jacobson’s visit marks the first time in 38 years that a US official of her rank has visited Cuba on official business.
Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
US led coalition needs two years to expel Islamic State says UK
The US led coalition could take up to two years to expel Islamic State from Iraq said the British foreign secretary said on Thursday.

“This isn’t going to be done in three months or six months. It’s going to take a year, two years to push ISIL (IS) back out of Iraq but we are doing the things that need to be done in order to turn the tide,” Mr Hammond told Sky News before hosting a meeting of 21 coalition members in London.

The meeting attended by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, looked to examine ways of intensifying the campaign against Islamic State militants, reports Reuters.

“The purpose of coming here is to bring everybody’s best advice, everybody’s thoughts about where there may be weakness, everybody’s thoughts about things we can do better, put that together, improve our own performance and operations, and lay down the strategy for the days ahead,” said the John Kerry ahead of the meeting.
Tamil Guardian 22 January 2015
UN calls for Myanmar condemnation of 969 leader's sexist rant

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussain called on Myanmar’s government to condemn Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu for the sexist insults directed at South Korea’s envoy to the country, Yanghee Lee, who had highlighted anti-Muslim sentiment.

Mr Wirathu of the notorious Buddhist nationalist 969 movement was slammed by Mr Zeid, who called the language employed by the monk as “sexist” and “incitement to hatred”.

"I call on religious and political leaders in Myanmar to unequivocally condemn all forms of incitement to hatred including this abhorrent public personal attack," Mr Zeid said in a statement.

Ms Lee had said the country’s Rohingya Muslims faced discrimination and criticised draft legislation, proposed by a coalition of nationalist Buddhist monks, which includes restrictions on interfaith marriage and religious conversions.

Last week the UN passed a resolution, calling on Myanmar to grant the Rohingya citizenship.

The monk criticised UN “interference” and attacked Ms Lee at a rally last Friday.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 January 2015
Genocide occurs when 'warning signs' ignored - UN deputy Sec Gen
The UN deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, speaking at a Holocaust memorial event on Wednesday, said it is important to learn from the past in order to prevent future mass atrocities, stating that "genocide can only happen when we ignore the warning signs – and are unwilling to take action.”

"It is important that we examine why we continue to fail to prevent mass atrocities, despite lessons learned, despite knowledge of causes and drivers and despite our assurances of ‘never again," Mr Eliasson said.


The UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Genocide, Adama Dieng also spoke at the event.

Last year, Mr Dieng, said the killing of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka at the end of the armed conflict in 2009, was the "failure of the international community".

This "led to the killing of thousands of them [Tamils] under our eyes" he added, when asked by the journalist, Matthew Russell Lee whether the atrocities committed against the Tamil people, before, during and after May 2009, met the criteria for genocide.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 January 2015
Bahraini activist sentenced over tweet

The prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to six months in prison over a tweet in which he suggested Bahraini jails served as an "ideological incubator" for jihadists.

The founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has been imprisoned several times for his activism.

Speaking to the BBC after his sentencing, Mr Rajab said the sentence was designed to prevent him from speaking up and also accused the British government of silence on his case.

Amnesty International said the sentence was "a blow to freedom of expression".

Tamil Guardian 21 January 2015
Houthi rebels take control of presidential palace

The Yemeni capital Sanaa has been overrun by Houthi rebels, who have stationed their fighters at strategic points in the city, including the presidential palace.

The rebels defeated the presidential guard and have surrounded the private home of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, but Houthi officials said he was free to leave.

“President Hadi is still in his home. There is no problem; he can leave,” Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi politburo, told Reuters.
[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
New Crossroad?
No choice
A legacy for generations
  Opinion
Will Sri Lanka's new president be held to international standards of justice?
Reality Check: Sri Lanka's New Government
'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'
  Feature
UK, Canada urge President Sirisena to cooperate with UN inquiry as he takes office
No justice for assassinated human rights lawyer Kumar Ponnambalam, 15 years on
9 years on from 'Trinco 5' killings, the struggle for justice continues
  Culture & Community
Cambridge University take 'Kings of Gaana' title
Thai Pongal celebrated across the globe
Breaking the Silence 2014: Queen Mary, University of London



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