Archive | November 1st, 2015

‘Ferguson is everywhere:’ Thousands march in NYC

NOVANEWS
By Emilie Rose
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‘Ferguson is everywhere:’ Thousands march in NYC

Monica Cruz, PSL member and organizer with Fordham Students United in the Bronx

A few thousand protesters flooded the streets of Manhattan on Saturday in an outpouring of anger against racist police violence and to show solidarity with the families whose loved one’s lives were cut short by the cops. Dozens of victims’ families from around the country traveled to New York City and led the march, joined by activists, students and others from across the city.

The last year has seen the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, with mass protests after the killing of of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and an unconscionably high number of others.

This demonstration marked the twentieth annual march for October 22, which has become a nationwide day for protests against police brutality since 1996. Many of the marchers on Saturday, however, reported that this was their first time ever attending a demonstration and said that recent high-profile police murders and the uprisings they inspired in places like Ferguson and Baltimore made them want to come out and become involved.

Michelle Locke, a journalism student at Rutgers, said she first felt a need to became involved after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. She spoke with Liberation News about the importance of this moment in the movement, “The whole system has to change,” Locke said. “and that’s something that has never been tackled in all of the decades that it’s been a problem. But I feel like now, there are enough people that are angry, enough people that want change that it can happen.”

Every 28 hours in the United States, a Black man, woman, or child is murdered by a police officer or vigilante. Fewer than 1% of police officers ever face conviction for these murders, often enjoying paid administrative leave before eventually returning to patrol duty. Racist police violence deeply compounds other forms of state racism, like mass incarceration, which piles heavily on top of the many other challenges facing working class people in the United States around issues like jobs, housing, and education.

These issues become compounded further still for individuals with multiple marginalized identities. “Queer, lesbian, and trans Black people are constantly being dehumanized, constantly receiving violence from the state,” Simone Sobers, a member of the Audre Lorde Project, told Liberation News. “I can’t fight for Black Lives Matter and not include my trans sisters. I’m empowered by them, and they’re a part of my community. They’re the people who have been fighting about this very issue, for years, for decades, so they’re 100% Back Lives Matter.” Sobers mentioned feeling particularly moved to action by the case of Yvonne McNeal, a Black lesbian woman who was murdered by the NYPD in 2011. Her killers have yet to be brought to justice nor adequate information given to her family about the circumstances of her death.

Demonstrators gathered in the morning around Washington Square Park, where the families of people killed by police spoke out before the crowd. The march then moved up Sixth Avenue, chanting, “For Akai Gurley and Michael Brown, shut it down, shut it down!” and “Racists beware! Ferguson is everywhere! At times, marchers chanted, “From Ferguson to Palestine, occupation is a crime,” making the international connection between racist police violence in the United States and the renewed upsurge of violence against Palestinians in recent weeks. Throughout the march, the NYPD, visibly wary of the highly-organized masses of mobilized demonstrators, trailed along in a display of ample force, at times attempting to intimidate protesters to leave the streets. Marchers, however, remained militant and refused police orders to move onto the sidewalk, chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

“Murder is murder, no matter if you have a badge or not,” Yari Osorio, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told Liberation News as the march drew to a close. “Police need to be held accountable. We see the police right now as not actually serving the people but being an agent of social control, a tool of the 1%. But we’re going to unite with each other, and we’re going to rise up against them and fight for something much better than what we have now.”

 

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Protest War Criminal Naziyahu at the White House Nov. 9

NOVANEWS

Assemble at 9am

Rally and Direct Action

Wanted for Torture, Murder, Ethnic Cleansing, Racist Apartheid

The action was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition. The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a member organization of the ANSWER Coalition.Netanyahu_war_criminal_mug_shot

The infamous war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu has been once again invited to Washington to meet with President Obama and Congressional leaders. Netanyahu is responsible, among other crimes against humanity, for the murderous 2014 assault on Gaza, that took the lives of 2,100 people including 500 children, wounded more than 10,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Netanyahu presides over a racist apartheid system that has jailed, tortured and killed thousands of Palestinians, as Israel confiscates more and more and more Palestinian land every day. All of these crimes are funded by U.S. tax dollars, amounting to more than $3 billion per year!

Join us to say:

  • Stop All U.S. Aid to Israel
  • Send Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court for War Crimes
  • Self-determination and liberation for the Palestinian people!

To endorse the rally, email info@answercoalition.org.

 

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Smashing victory for Cuba at UN

NOVANEWS
By Gloria La Riva

Bruno4

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez congratulated by delegates following UN vote

This article was first published on the ANSWER Coalition website, www.ANSWERcoalition.org

In a smashing victory this morning, 191 countries in the UN General Assembly voted against the U.S. blockade of Cuba, in the highest vote since the annual UN resolution was first presented in 1992. Last year’s vote was 188 opposing the blockade, two in favor, and three small Pacific nations, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau, had abstained.

Today, only two countries, the United States and Israel, backed the 55-year policy that has caused so much damage to the Cuban people and economy. There were no abstentions.

Last Dec. 17, President Obama announced that diplomatic relations would be re-established and that the U.S. blockade should end. The remaining three of the Cuban Five heroes were also freed from U.S. prison.

But Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, made clear today before the General Assembly session that nothing substantial has changed with respect to the blockade.

He said, “Ten months after the announcements of December 17, there has been not one tangible or substantial modification in the blockade.

“The elimination of Cuba from the spurious list of State sponsors of international terrorism was the inevitable rectification of an absurdity, but it has barely had any effect on the implementation of the blockade, which is sustained by sanctions and previous laws that are far more encompassing.”

The blockade is not only a ban on U.S. trade with the island nation but also, as Rodríguez pointed out, a weapon designed to break other countries’ economic relations with Cuba:

“Barely one week ago, a fine of $1.116 billion was imposed on the French bank Credit Agricole, added to the fine of $1.710 billion on the German Commerzbank last March, for transactions with Cuba and other States.”

In agriculture, industry and medical fields, the blockade remains as deadly as ever.

Rodríguez continued: “Numerous examples could be mentioned, such as the Elekta company that confirmed last September 2 it could not supply the radioactive isotope Iridio-192 to the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology, nor to other hospitals. It guarantees the normal functioning of the equipment for bracheotherapy, it is essential for providing treatments of greater quality and precision against cancer. But its supplier, the U.S. company Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals refused to sell it to Cuba.”

The sole purpose and reasoning of the U.S. blockade—enforced by every U.S. administration beginning with that of John F. Kennedy—was to create so much suffering in the Cuban population that the people would surrender and presumably, overthrow the government.

There is only one problem with this “reasoning.” The Cuban Revolution is made of, by and for the Cuban people. They gained too much freedom in 1959 to see it stolen again, as it was when U.S. imperialism invaded in 1898 and imposed its complete domain on the island for decades.

The revolutionary victory of January 1, 1959, was the beginning of Cuba’s real independence and hope for true development.

But almost immediately, the brutal vengeance of Washington struck at Cuba and soon became a monstrous policy of laws, regulations and policies known collectively as the U.S. blockade.

Each decisive blow that loosened the grip of U.S. capital—the nationalization of banks, land and industry—brought counter-blows by Washington.

On April 16, 1961, the eve of the U.S. proxy Bay of Pigs invasion, when bombs were already dropping, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared the socialist character of the Revolution:

“What the imperialists can’t forgive is the dignity, the courage, the ideological firmness, the spirit of sacrifice and the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people. What they can’t forgive is that we are right under their noses, and that we have made a Socialist Revolution right under the nose of the United States!”

Cuba has paid a heavy price for revolution. In addition to more than $1.2 trillion dollars in damages caused by the economic, financial and commercial blockade, 3,478 Cubans died from U.S.-sponsored terrorism, 2,099 wounded.

But Cuba’s heroic resistance has prevailed and its example is hailed the world over. Today’s vote, although with no concrete application in the UN, further exposes U.S. policy as criminal and strengthens the world’s support for Cuba.

Congratulations Cuba! The blockade must fall!

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First U.S. soldier killed by ISIL marks the lasting legacy of U.S. imperialism

NOVANEWS
By Ryan Endicott

151023-joshua-wheeler-isis-hostage-resuce-mbm_d11bc35acae8a4a9d5cfd044925313f8.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

Master Sgt Joshua L. Wheeler

The author was a U.S. Marine Infantryman (Corporal USMC) who served in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005, and is currently a member of March Forward!

The Pentagon has reported that the first soldier killed fighting ISIL was Master Sgt Joshua L. Wheeler. A 20-year veteran, Wheeler was killed during a special operations raid near the city of Kirkuk. In a moment of heroism, Wheeler was seen running into the fight when Kurdish forces were being pushed back by ISIL. As a result, an estimated 70 prisoners were freed.

Wheeler enlisted in the Army infantry after high school, in 1995, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times before 2004. After being stationed with a special operations command out of Fort Bragg, Wheeler deployed 11 more times to Iraq and Afghanistan. A highly decorated soldier, he was awarded 11 Bronze Star medals, the Purple Heart (posthumously), and has received many additional commendations. Wheeler graduated high school in a class of 100 youths in a small Oklahoma town. He was known and highly respected by everyone in his community. One classmate said, “He was just laid back, but he would keep you laughing. Everybody loved him, everybody. He had a kind heart, and he was a really funny guy.”

A legacy of death: Imperialism out of control

By the time the U.S. officially “ended” the war in 2011, the reality of the occupation was a grim story plagued with a bloody trail of millions of dead Iraqi women, men, and children. While estimates range greatly, it can be safely said that well over 1.5 million people, or five percent of the total population (with some estimates as high as two million), were killed by the brutal U.S. occupation of Iraq. For comparison, in the “most bloody war in U.S. history,” the U.S. Civil War, only 2.5 percent of the population was killed. At least another four million people have been injured, and at least two million Iraqis have been displaced. In 2003 alone, the U.S. carpet bombed Iraq conducting 29,200 airstrikes in the invasion.

For the next eight years, the U.S. conducted another 3,900 bombing missions. After nine years of relentlessly bombing hospitals, schools, bridges, electricity and trash depots, the entire Iraqi infrastructure has been obliterated. Consequently, the occupation has left the war torn people of Iraq in an apocalyptic land poisoned with depleted uranium. With no access to clean water, food, and basic utilities, in conjunction with the chemical toxicity, the conditions are so difficult that one in three babies born in Fallujah died before their first week. Of those new babies that survived their first week, another one in three died before their first month, and many children that made it to their first birthday, will suffer an exorbitantly high deformity rate. Furthermore, an entire generation of Iraqi children has grown up from toddlers to adulthood in a country devastated by war, forced to survive as nearly five percent of the population is murdered, just over eleven percent are brutally injured, and roughly six percent become refugees.

To add insult to injury, once the U.S. had secured its interests—oil and valuable nature resources—the U.S. “ended” the war by pulling out some of its military forces while increasing its private contractors, essentially privatizing much of the war effort. The U.S. paid no reparations to rebuild the country it had destroyed. The result was the Iraqi people were left struggling to survive as the wealth of their country, that before the war had been invested in free healthcare, education, and housing programs, was sucked from beneath their feet by Wall Street.

As the U.S. war in Iraq began to wind down, the U.S. shifted its policy to other countries in the region with nationalized resources. The U.S. waged a propaganda campaign against Iran, installing genocidal economic sanctions that targeted medical supplies and basic human needs. Then in 2011, the U.S. began a bombing campaign in Libya killing over thirty thousand women, men, and children, as U.S. sponsored “rebels” waged a savage terror campaign on the ground. “Rebel” forces were reported to have conducted mass lynching of black Libyans as well as conducting mass executions of Gaddafi supporters. Like the devastating impact in Iraq, the carpet bombing campaign completely destroyed the Libyan infrastructure. Subsequently, the U.S. started a relentless campaign with the intention of bombing Syria. This campaign, as in Libya, led to the U.S. directly supporting “rebel” forces that were clearly and directly tied to Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda affiliates, and extremist elements that would later form into ISIS/ISIL.

In the midst of this regional destabilization, with U.S. funds, weapons, and training being funneled into rightwing and extremist “Islamic”  forces, one of the most ruthless and savage forces in the region’s history was born: ISIL. In 2014, ISIL organized and launched an offensive in which it gained huge swaths of land in Iraq, seizing Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar Providence (next to Fallujah) in the summer of 2015. ISIL, like the U.S. before it, has left a trail of death and destruction, conducting mass executions and mass rape as it pillages it way across the region.

What is clear is that the U.S. drive for profit, privatization, and control over natural resources in the Middle East, has completely devastated the entire region. Further, as Joshua Wheeler is brought home in a casket, what is also clear is that the legacy of U.S. imperialism in Iraq is far from over, and many of the worst impacts of the occupation are still yet to be seen.

A life of killing

With over 20 years in the U.S. military, and 14 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Wheeler died after spending nearly half his life in war. On the heels of Obama’s announcement that troops will remain in Afghanistan, Wheeler’s death not only marks a turning point in U.S. operations in Iraq, but additionally exposes the reality of U.S. imperialism; a profit system generating indefinite perpetual war.

In total the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the U.S. tax payers trillions of dollars. When military, Home Land Security, and Department of Defense expenditures are counted together, the total is over $10 trillion. The reality is that over $900 hundred million was spent every single day, and this money went into the pockets of weapons manufacturers, contractors, Big Oil, and Wall Street investors. However, while hundreds of millions of dollars went into the hands of the wealthy every single day, it was poor and working class youths, kids from small Oklahoma towns and urban neighborhoods stricken with poverty that were sent to fight, kill and die. Twelve years later, as Wheeler is laid to rest, he is one of many U.S. service members who spent his entire adult life in war.

Active duty suicide rates soared both during and after the official “end” to the Iraq occupation. In fact, beginning in 2008, active duty suicides began to surpass deaths in combat. By 2011, when Obama declared the war over, suicides were more frequent than combat deaths every year. Furthermore, the suicide rate for veterans is even worse. For years, the annual suicide rate accumulated to at least 22 deaths every single day, and this statistic comes from incomplete data as some VA’s did not release their numbers. Additionally, as of September 2015 there was nearly one million backlogged VA claims, and it has been estimated that upwards of one third
of these claims are for veterans who have already died without ever receiving treatment. Hundreds of thousands of veterans have died without their basic right to health care. Whether it was Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann, an Army Ranger in the 2nd BT, 75th Rangers who killed himself to avoid his ninth deployment to Afghanistan, or whether it is Thomas Murphy, a 53-year-old veteran in Phoenix, who killed himself in the VA parking lot—what is clear is that the U.S. government has no intention of providing support to the poor and working class veterans it sends around the world to fight, kill and die in perpetual wars for empire.

Only revolution can stop imperialism

The reality is that U.S. imperialism in the Middle East is part of a system that puts the profits of billionaires on Wall Street before the lives of billions of people around the planet. It is a necessary and key component to the system itself, generating large profits off the devastation, destruction and mass murder of innocent women and children. Imperialism is capitalism expanding. Without a systematic expansion of markets, control over resources and domination over entire regions, the capitalist system would collapse on itself. This is because exploitation is the very root of the capitalist system. Whether it is CEOs laying workers off from their jobs to give themselves million dollar bonuses, cutting services to basic human rights like food, housing and health care, or whether it is racist police patrolling poor and working class communities of color, murdering unarmed Black and Latino people with total impunity, the entire capitalist system is built upon a foundation of mass exploitation.

Consequently, when the billionaires on Wall Street need even more profits, they will drop napalm on children in Vietnam, they will carpet bomb depleted uranium on children in Iraq and they will enlist poor and working class youths to spend their entire lives killing, fighting and dying only to return home to the streets to die outside a hospital they cannot even enter. Whether it is the poor Iraqi youth that has grown up their entire life in an apocalyptic war zone, or whether it is a U.S. GI plucked from a poor community and sent to die, the disease is the same: capitalism; and revolution is the solution.

Despite all the bombs and racist police of the capitalist class,  the workers have all the power. We drive the buses, we build the homes and we fight the wars. If we unite and organize, we can once and for all crush U.S. imperialism dead in its tracks, bringing the vast wealth created by society into the hands of the people. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars a day bombing and slaughtering innocent people, we can invest our wealth into free education, health care and housing for all, and we can begin to pay reparations to the people of Iraq for the devastating impact of U.S. imperialism. We must unite and fight, and if we do, we will win.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on First U.S. soldier killed by ISIL marks the lasting legacy of U.S. imperialism

The US-I$raHell nexus, fairness and the rule of law

NOVANEWS
Stop billions to Israel

By Richard Forer

In 2008 the United States and the government of Israel agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in which the US would “help Israel meet its security requirements”. The terms of the agreement provided Israel with, on average, USD 3 billion in military assistance annually for a 10-year period to begin in 2009 and end in 2018. The three billion represents approximately 25 per cent of Israel’s military budget, effectively making the United States a partner in Israel’s military enterprise.

In 1976 the US Congress passed the Arms Export Control Act. Section 2754 of the Act requires that international governments use America’s military assistance “solely for internal security, for legitimate self-defence”.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FISA) prohibits the United States from providing assistance to “any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognised human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges….” One of the factors that is considered when determining if a country is in violation of FISA is “the extent of cooperation of such government in permitting an unimpeded investigation of alleged violations of internationally recognised human rights by appropriate international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, or groups or persons acting under the authority of the United Nations….”

[Israel] remains exempt from American laws meant to hold rogue nations accountable for acts of violence and discrimination against the most vulnerable of peoples.

Over the past few months the US and Israel have been discussing an increase in the Jewish state’s military package to USD 4-4.5 billion dollars per year, for an additional 10 years. It is a near certainty that Congress will approve the increase. When finalised, America’s stake in one of the world’s most powerful armed forces will grow to about 35 per cent. This increase is in addition to the compensation the US has agreed to give Israel for the Iran nuclear deal. The deal frees up about USD 150 billion in Iranian assets, and Israel is worried that Iran will use some of those assets to boost its sponsorship of jihadist terrorism. To alleviate those concerns, President Obama has promised to accelerate military aid to Israel for the development of anti-missile systems and tunnel detection technologies.

The United States government publicly advocates the rule of law, but its actions belie its rhetoric when it comes to Israel. Israel continuously disregards United Nations resolutions, defies the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition against an occupying power transferring parts of its own population into the territories it occupies, and obstructs investigations by UN agencies into its disproportionate use of force, collective punishment and other human rights violations, as it did after Operations Cast Lead (2008-09) and Protective Edge (2014). The US has not frozen assistance to Israel in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act; instead, Israel continues to receive assistance. It remains exempt from American laws meant to hold rogue nations accountable for acts of violence and discrimination against the most vulnerable of peoples.

The US insists it wants peace between Israel and the Palestinian people; however, its non-compliance with its own laws arms Israel with the resources it needs to sustain its illegal occupation of the Palestinians.

Moshe Dayan, one of the most revered figures in Israel’s history (and, believe it or not, among Israeli commanders one of the friendliest to Palestinians) once said:

Let us approach them [Palestinians in occupied territory] and say that we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave – and we will see where this process leads.

He also said:

Your [Israeli Jews] duty is not to stop; it is to keep your sword unsheathed, to have faith, to keep the flag flying. You must not call a halt – heaven forbid – and say “that’s all; up to here…” For that is not all.

This year, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to violence: “I’m asked if we will forever live by the sword — yes.” Just this week, with tension and violence everywhere in Jerusalem, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Knesset that her “dream is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount. This is the holiest place for the Jewish people.”

Israeli demagoguery is not empty rhetoric. Palestinians under occupation have no rights. Their freedom of movement is restricted; they are subject to imprisonment without charge; torture and sexual blackmail are common; their homes can be demolished at the whim of the Israeli government; and they have no protection from fanatical settlers who poison their wells, cut down their olive trees and harass their children, beat them and sometimes kill them, all with impunity. Palestinians have no recourse to the rule of law because the laws that govern them were specifically written to deny them their rights.

Joining the ICC was an admission by the Palestinians of what the rest of the world has known for some time: the US is the principal enabler of the occupation.

While the US enables Israel’s contempt for the rule of law, it is about to cut economic aid to the Palestinians by 22 per cent, from USD 370 million to USD 290 million per year. A US State Department official stated that the decision to cut aid was made this past spring and was because of “unhelpful actions” on the part of the Palestinian leadership.

What unhelpful actions? This last year Palestinians looked for the justice they’ve been denied for generations and joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), filing war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against Israel. The charges focus on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Israel’s 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip, in which 70 per cent of the more than 2,100 people killed were civilians, including over 500 children. By bringing their case before the ICC, Palestinians challenged the pretence that the US is an honest broker in search of a fair peace. Joining the ICC was an admission by the Palestinians of what the rest of the world has known for some time: the US is the principal enabler of the occupation.

What about unhelpful actions by Israel? Israel has refused to arrest the sadists who burned to death 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe and his father, maiming the infant’s mother and brother in the process. The Israeli army has been on a rampage of arrests in the West Bank, rounding up and detaining hundreds of Palestinians. Last week Netanyahu made the accusation that the Palestinian people, not Adolf Hitler, were the cause of the holocaust.

America’s use of punishments and rewards signals, at least with regard to the Israelis and Palestinians, that the oppressed must play the game according to the oppressor’s rule book, no matter how biased and dirty those rules are.

…it is time – it is long past time – for the lies and disinformation to cease and for the people of the world to insist that Israel end the occupation and the United States end its enabling of that occupation.

This last year, at the 29th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the US was the only country in the world to oppose a resolution calling for Israel to be held accountable for war crimes. The US voted against “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in [the occupied Palestinian territories].”

When inhabiting Israel’s shadow world, basic fairness and the rule of law are turned on their heads. The Israeli armed forces  impose a brutal occupation on a largely defenceless people – and all the while the president of the United States, whoever he is, repeats the mantra that Israel has the right to defend itself. The International Court in The Hague rules unanimously (including the American judge) that all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem belong to the Palestinians and must be returned to their rightful owners – and every month Israel announces new settlements and Palestinian home demolitions. The Israeli army unleashes nightmarish massacres on Gaza, five times in the last decade; it enforces a strangling blockade that has reduced Gaza to a virtual open-air prison – and American politicians make annual pilgrimage to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to pledge their slavish support for Israel.

The Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has lasted almost half a century. For the sake of fairness and justice, for the sake of the Palestinians and the end to their suffering, for the sake of the moral integrity of my country and Israel, it is time – it is long past time – for the lies and disinformation to cease and for the people of the world to insist that Israel end the occupation and the United States end its enabling of that occupation.

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12 and 13 year-old minors face 4 years in prison for ripping up posters of Turkish president

NOVANEWS

Image result for ERDOGAN JIALS CARTOON

Two Turkish boys, aged 12 and 13, could spend four years behind bars for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prosecutors accuse them of ripping up posters of the Turkish leader, while the boys’ lawyer says the charges themselves violate the law.

“There was no premeditation to insult the president. Also, they were unaware the face on the banners was the president himself,” Ismail Korkmaz, the teenagers’ lawyer, told RT.

The kids themselves say they just wanted to sell the paper.

“Tearing a banner is just a minor offence and should be subject to the law of misdemeanor, but even that law prohibits the punishment of children under 15 years old,” the lawyer said.

Korkmaz told RT the defense has a psychiatric report stating “these children have no ability of discernment, perception of legal meaning, consequences of the offence, or control of their behavior.”

Despite this, the prosecution went ahead with the indictment, which was accepted by the court, said the lawyer.

Turkey has witnessed a number of anti-government protests in recent days. Ankara’s decision to pull the plug on two television stations linked to President Erdogan’s political rivals triggered rallies in Istanbul.

The Turkish government’s crackdown on opposition media is gaining momentum on the eve of the general election slated for November 1.

On Thursday, two newspapers linked to the stations failed to appear on newsstands.

The internet activities of the opposition are suppressed with an iron fist and without a second thought. Re-tweeting of opposition statements or disputing the president in social networks could result in detention. In January, ex-Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac was arrested for posting a satirical poem that criticized Erdogan.

“Lately, the head of state has a more autocratic and totalitarian way of governing. He can’t handle any critics,” Ismail Korkmaz told RT.

Referring to the teenagers’ case, the lawyer said that after Erdogan was elected president, many people have been charged with insulting the national leader, and have been prosecuted and punished.

“Nowadays, the judiciary has a broad interpretation of this article. Even casual criticism within the framework of freedom of expression is being considered an insult, and become part of these trials,” Korkmaz said.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on 12 and 13 year-old minors face 4 years in prison for ripping up posters of Turkish president


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