Tag Archives: President

Tunisian authorities arrest ousted President Ben Ali’s sister

TUNIS (BNO NEWS) — Tunisian authorities on Friday announced that the sister of ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was arrested after being on the run for some time.

According to the state-run TAP news agency, Najet Ben Ali was detained by National Security units on Thursday evening. She was located in a house in the northern Sousse region.

On Friday morning, Ben Ali appeared before the investigating magistrate at the Sfax Court of First Instance. She is accused of several offenses in Sfax governorate including initiating a fire at a warehouse of smuggled goods.

Several protesters gathered outside the Sfax Court since early in the morning. Some of them managed to get inside the courtroom chanting slogans against the detainee and the Ben Ali family.

In January, former President Ben Ali was ousted after weeks of violent protests over economic issues. The interim leadership announced the formation of a caretaker government of national unity that included members of the opposition.

The United Nations estimated that approximately 219 people were killed during the Tunisian mass unrest that began in mid-December. Most of them died after security forces were ordered to fire at them.

In April 14, the Tunisian Justice Ministry charged the ousted leader with 18 charges including conspiring against the State and voluntary manslaughter. Authorities also issued a request to Interpol to freeze the assets of the former president and his family.

In May 5, a Sousse Court charged Ben Ali, his wife Leila Ben Ali, his nephew Kais Ben Ali with plotting against internal security, inciting people to engaging in armed violence against each others or causing disorder, murder and looting in the Tunisian territory.

Ousted Egyptian President Mubarak to stand trial on August 3

CAIRO (BNO NEWS) — An Egyptian court on Wednesday announced that ousted President Hosni Mubarak will stand trial for corruption and murder charges on August 3, the Daily News Egypt reported.

The Cairo Criminal Court also informed that Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, and businessman Hussein Salem will be tried along the former leader. The location of the trial has not been disclosed.

Mubarak was accused of intentional murder of demonstrators, abuse use of authority for personal gain and embezzlement of the state budget. On Saturday, the 84-year-old former ruler and two former ministers were fined with $ 90.64 million for cutting off mobile and internet services during the Egyptian revolution.

The ousted president allegedly conspired with former interior minister Habib El-Adly and other senior police officials to deliberately kill protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the January 25 Revolution.

In addition, the Illicit Gains Authority (IGA) said Mubarak’s villa in Sharm El-Sheikh worth LE 36 million ($ 6 million) was a ‘gift’ from Salem in exchange for facilitating the ownership of millions of meters of state-owned land in South Sinai.

In mid-May, Mubarak signed a waiver to relinquish all his ‎assets and properties in Egypt to the nation. He previously asked for forgiveness and pleaded for amnesty to the Egyptian population but was referred to court.

Mubarak ruled Egypt in a 30-year-long regime which began in 1981. He stepped down earlier this year after weeks of anti-government protests by crowds calling for greater democracy and respect of human rights.

Activists have been demanding speedier trials for Mubarak and his aides. At least 840 people were killed and over 6,000 people were injured in the violent repression that took place during the uprising.

Blatter re-elected as FIFA President amidst bribery scandal

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (BNO NEWS) — Joseph Blatter on Wednesday was re-elected as president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) amidst bribery scandal and calls for postponing the vote.

Blatter received 186 votes from the 203 member associations and will be in charge until 2015. The 75-year-old Swiss is the eighth president in FIFA’s history. After the announcement, he vowed to restore the credibility of the body.

“I regret what has happened in the last few days and the great damage that was inflicted on FIFA,”I thank you for your trust and confidence from the bottom of my heart.”

The re-election came one day after David Bernstein, Chairman of the English Football Association (FA), called for postponing the presidential elections due to ongoing bribery scandal and the lack transparency and accountability within the organization.

The initiative was backed by the Scottish Football Association and later joined by 16 other nations. However, a voting was held on the issue and 176 member associations out of 206 voted against it while 17 others abstained.

“We believe it was very important that we were true to ourselves by making clear our position,” said Bernstein “After hearing the speech from Blatter, we believe the calls we have made for greater transparency and better governance have been worthwhile.”

The FA and the Scottish FA also called for appointing an independent external body to make recommendations for improving governance and compliance procedures and structures within FIFA. This day, Blatter proposed the creation of such committee.

“We welcome Blatter’s proposals for the creation of a committee to oversee the improvement of FIFA’s governance arrangements. We wish to see the make-up of this committee include independent members, to ensure that appropriate solutions are identified using external benchmarks and expertise,” added Bernstein.

Blatter was the only candidate for the presidency as his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam stepped aside after being involved in a bribery scandal in relation to the 2022 World Cup bidding process.

On Sunday, the FIFA Ethics Committee provisionally suspended four Executive Committee Members for alleged violations of the organization’s Code of Ethics, including FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner and Hamman, President of the Asian Football Federation.

Blatter was accused of receiving payments from delegations during a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) but later cleared by the Ethics Committee. After his re-election, he denied commenting on the allegations.

Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters’ demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years’ imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by “armed groups,” according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters’ demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years’ imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by “armed groups,” according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters’ demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years’ imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by “armed groups,” according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters’ demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years’ imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by “armed groups,” according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters’ demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years’ imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by “armed groups,” according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

S. African President Zuma meets with Gaddafi in hopes to end conflict

JOHANNESBURG (BNO NEWS) — South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday met with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who expressed his anger at the NATO-led airstrikes in his country.

The South African presidency said in a statement to the press on Tuesday that Gaddafi and Zuma held ‘lengthy’ talks in Tripoli on how to end the ongoing civil war, although the leaders did not discuss an ‘exit strategy’ for the Libyan leader.

Instead, Zuma instead pursued a roadmap which was adopted by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in March. That roadmap calls for the immediate cessation of all hostilities, the cooperation of the Libyan government to facilitate the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy populations, and the protection of foreign nationals, including the African migrants living in Libya. It also calls for the adoption and implementation of the political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis.

“Colonel Gaddafi reiterated his agreement to a ceasefire and a dialogue of the Libyan people to find a political solution,” the South African presidency said in the statement. “He expressed his anger at the NATO bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life.”

Gaddafi further called for an immediate end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue, while emphasizing that he is not prepared to leave his country despite the difficulties.

Zuma during the meetings was taken on a tour in Tripoli to see the destruction caused by the NATO-led bombings and the deepening of the humanitarian crisis. “The personal safety of Colonel Gaddafi is of concern,” the South African presidency said. “The President is satisfied with the progress made and is happy with the frankness of the discussions which have enabled him to gain an understanding of where the Libyan government stands on issues and the way forward.”

Zuma said he would give a report on the visit to the African Union. “We call on all leaders in Libya to exercise decisive leadership to find a solution to the crisis in the country, and to put the interests of their country first,” Zuma said. “Nothing other than a dialogue among all parties in Libya can bring about a lasting solution. We will also reiterate the African Union (AU) call for the NATO and other parties to respect the AU’s role in searching for a solution in the matter.”

In addition to talks about the ongoing conflict, Zuma and Gaddafi also discussed the issues surrounding missing South African-Austrian photojournalist Anton Hammerl, whose family believes he has been killed by Libyan forces.

During the talks, Gaddafi and Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi promised to assist in finding the remains of Hammerl. “The South African government will work with the Hammerl family to discuss the proposals made by the Libyan authorities, and also government’s own proposals on how to take the matter forward,” the South African presidency said, adding that Zuma was encouraged by the cooperative manner of Libyan authorities.

Libya has been engulfed in a civil war since an uprising against Gaddafi’s regime began in mid-February. Libyan forces have been accused of violently cracking down on anti-government protesters, resulting in a NATO-led mission to impose a no-fly zone over the North African country. NATO forces have also carried out airstrikes.

Human Rights Watch urges Nigeria’s new president to take concrete steps to address problems

ABUJA, NIGERIA (BNO NEWS) — Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to take immediate and concrete steps to address problems such as violence, corruption, and impunity.

Jonathan took the oath to assume office as the country’s third democratically-elected president on Sunday. He was sworn in during a lavish inauguration ceremony which was attended by several African presidents and other foreign dignitaries, including a U.S. delegation.

Human Rights Watched said Jonathan should focus in particular on large-scale violence, endemic corruption, and a lack of accountability for abuses. The presidential elections, for example, were followed by riots and sectarian killings in April which left more than 800 people killed in northern Nigeria.

“The profound challenges facing Nigeria are, at their heart, human rights problems,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Jonathan presidency should place human rights, and long overdue reforms, at the top of the administration’s agenda.”

Inter-communal, political, and sectarian violence have claimed more than 15,700 lives since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999. Government security forces are widely implicated in serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings and torture, according to Human Rights Watch. The ruling elite has reportedly squandered and siphoned off the nation’s tremendous oil revenues, while neglecting basic health and education services for the vast majority of ordinary citizens. Those who commit these abuses are rarely held accountable.

The presidential elections in April were the fourth general elections since the end of the military rule 12 years ago and followed the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in May 2010. The elections in April were hailed as the country’s fairest to date.

But despite the progress in the elections, there were still widespread allegations of vote buying, ballot-box stuffing, and inflation of results, most noticeably in rural areas of southeastern Nigeria. Violence linked to party primaries, campaigns, and on the election day itself, left at least 165 people killed since November 2010.

Earlier this month, Jonathan appointed a 22-member panel to investigate the causes and extent of violence linked to the elections. Past administrations have set up similar committees and commissions of inquiry in response to previous outbreaks of communal violence, but the reports are usually shelved and their findings ignored, Human Rights Watch said. In Jos and surrounding communities in Plateau State, in north-central Nigeria, at least 1,000 people were killed in communal and sectarian violence in 2010 alone.

“Committees and panels aren’t going to break the cycle of violence,” Dufka said. “Federal and state authorities should address the root causes of the violence and ensure that those who orchestrated and committed these crimes are brought to justice.”

Dufka added that the basic needs of Nigerian citizens should come first. “President Jonathan should reverse the failures of Nigeria’s past leaders and get serious about the country’s lawlessness and corruption,” Dufka said.

Between independence in 1960 and 1999, Nigeria produced only two elected governments – both were overthrown in military coups. Nigeria’s military ruled the country for nearly 30 of its first 40 years of independence. However, in 1999, Nigeria made a transition to civilian rule. The 1999 elections, which brought a retired general, Olusegun Obasanjo, to power, were blighted by widespread fraud.