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Thailand court acquits 24 Red Shirt leaders over 2010 protests

The 2010 protests saw 91 people killed in which majority of them were unarmed civilians [File: Sakchai Lalit/AP]

A court in Thailand has dismissed terrorism charges against 24 leaders of an extended street protest in 2010 that saw key areas of central Bangkok closed off and engulfed in violence.

The Bangkok Criminal Court ruled on Wednesday that the two-month protest by the Red Shirt supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, during which 91 people were killed and thousands were hurt, was “a political fight, not terrorism”. The defendants were acquitted of all charges.

The case was brought by state prosecutors and more than 40 business owners affected by the Red Shirts’ seizure of Bangkok’s central shopping and business district.

The case involved charges of terrorism, criminal association, using force to damage government property, inciting unrest, possession of arms, obstruction of officials through intimidation and the gathering of more than 10 people to cause chaos.

The casualties included soldiers as well as protesters.

Unidentified armed men in black, whose weapons included grenade launchers, acted as a mysterious armed auxiliary to the protesters, but it appeared that most of the dead were unarmed civilians.

Years of conflict

Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. His allies won a 2007 election, but parliamentary manoeuvering installed the rival Democrat Party in power in 2008, inspiring the 2010 protest that called for Democrat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down.

Thaksin’s removal set off years of sometimes violent conflict between his supporters and opponents, who engaged in aggressive street protests against governments led by the other’s faction.

During three months of street protests in 2008, Thaksin’s foes – known as the Yellow Shirts – occupied the prime minister’s offices, as well as Bangkok’s international airport for about a week.

In July, the criminal court dismissed charges of insurrection against four key members of an anti-Thaksin group, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee.

The group organised large, aggressive street protests in late 2013 that a government led by Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, could not control.

It led to widespread chaos and served as a reason for the military to stage a 2014 takeover.

Source: Aljazeera

Analysis: Imran Khan's speech at state assembly in Muzaffarabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir as the country marks its independence day in solidarity with the Kashmiris. On his visit, he addressed the state assembly in Muzaffarabad.

In his speech, he offered moral and political support to those in Indian-administered Kashmir, saying he is going to take responsibility to raise their voices.

“We are not at war with India we are against its ideology. This ideology has been inspired from Hitler’s Nazi Party. We have seen a rise in violence against Muslims in Kashmir. I will be the ambassador for all those inside Kashmir.”

Source: Aljazeera

PM Khan: Modi has committed 'strategic blunder' in Kashmir

Imran Khan addresses the legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has slammed his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for committing a “strategic blunder” by revoking the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Khan, while addressing parliamentarians in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, said the Indian government’s decision to scrap the Muslim-majority region’s autonomy will be “very heavy” on Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as he reaffirmed his support for the Kashmiri people.  

“Modi has committed a strategic blunder,” said Khan during his visit to Muzzafarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. “He has played his last card. They have internationalised the Kashmir issue.”

Khan’s visit to the disputed region, to mark Pakistan’s independence day and show solidarity with the people of Kashmir, came more than a week after India issued a surprise executive decree stripping the special status of its portion of the region.

Ahead of the August 5 decree, Indian authorities imposed an unprecedented lockdown in the region – cutting off communication lines and restricting movement – which is now in its 10th day.

Pakistan has launched a diplomatic offensive aimed at reversing the order and formally asked the United Nations Security Council late on Tuesday to hold an emergency session to address India’s “illegal actions”.

Khan reiterated his opposition to India’s move and vowed to serve as the “ambassador to raise the voice for Kashmir” globally.

“We will go to every international forum…we will go to the international court of justice.”

He also warned India against any attack on Pakistan-administered Kashmir to divert attention from human rights violations in the Indian-administered portion of the Himalayan region.

“We have decided that if India commits any type of violation we will fight till the end.”

‘Nazi ideology’

Both India and Pakistan claim the entire region of Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan territory.

India’s crippling lockdown of the region was imposed to stave off a violent reaction to Kashmir’s downgraded status after New Delhi revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the Muslim-majority region considerable autonomy.

India’s revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir blocks the state’s right to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has also decided to divide the state into two “union territories” to be controlled by the federal government.

“We are not at war with India, but we are against its ideology,” said Khan. “This ideology has been inspired from Hitler’s Nazi party.

“We are all concerned at the moment about truth of the humanitarian crisis and the atrocities created by this lockdown.”

According to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, restrictions on freedom of movement in the region will be eased after India’s independence day on Thursday.

In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, residents told Al Jazeera that they have been unable to communicate with their family members on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) – the de facto border dividing Kashmir. 

“We spoke to a father whose daughters went on summer holiday and he said he doesn’t even know if they are alive,” said Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Muzaffarabad. “For the last 10 days, they have not been able to get in touch.”

On Tuesday, India’s Supreme Court, which is reviewing a petition for the immediate withdrawal of severe government restrictions in Kashmir, said the security crackdown and communications blackout in the region should continue.

Amnesty International India condemned the court’s decision, saying that its refusal to pass an order on lifting restrictions in Kashmir was “a blow to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Source: Aljazeera

Juliet Ibrahim’s ex-boyfriend, Iceberg Slim, apologises after failed relationship

Olusegun Olowookere, a.k.a. Iceberg Slim, the boyfriend of the Ghanaian actress and movie producer, Juliet Ibrahim, has openly apologised to her for his wrongdoings which led to their failed relationship.

Juliet Ibrahim-Iceberg Slim

The duo started dating in 2016 and broke up over a year ago over undisclosed personal reasons.

The Nigerian rapper, Olowookere, took to his Instagram to reveal the real cause of their breakup and apologized.

“Dear Juliet Ibrahim, thank you for everything. You loved me unconditionally, even at my lowest points and only wanted loyalty and honesty in return.

“Unfortunately, I have failed you along with everyone else that has seen our relationship and wished us well.

“Despite the pain and heartache I had caused you, you still found a way to rise and smile again.

“I lied, I cheated, I took your love for granted and in turn, I brought ridicule and shame to you. “From the bottom of my heart, I apologise. Why now? You may ask.

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“In life, sometimes, you have to reveal in other to heal, and as I have revealed the true reason for our break-up, healing comes next.

“As we continue on our separate paths; I pray for God’s guidance,’’ he said.”

The apology came weeks after the 33-year-old Juliet Ibrahim launched her book: ‘A Toast to Life’ which was inspired by her many life experiences.

According to her, the book is a deeply personal narrative of her triumph over adversities faced at different stages in her life and her journey to true self-love.

Juliet Ibrahim was once married to a Ghanaian businessman with whom she had a son.

The mother of one made her first acting debut in 2005 in the film: ‘Crime to Christ’ and had after it featured in no less than 50 Nollywood films. (NAN)

VANGUARD

Garba Lists NPFL Hotshot Sunusi, 51 Others For Eaglets Screening Ahead 2019 FIFA U-17 W/Cup

Ibrahim Sunusi, the joint top scorer in the 2018/2019 NPFL season is top on the list of 52 players invited by Nigeria U-17 national team coach, Manu Garba, for the final phase of preparation ahead the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup finals in Brazil, Completesports.com reports.

Garba’s 52-man list has players discovered by the NFF scouting team during the Zenith Bank sponsored tournament and some products of the LMC U-15 tournament.

“It is going to be a screening session which is from where the players for the Golden Eaglets World Cup team will be selected,” offers the spokesman of the team, Francis Achi.

The players were asked to report at the Serob Legacy Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday. But Completesports.com understands that the information got to the players late.

“As we speak now (Wednesday morning), about 20 players are already in camp. We will have a full house before the end of today, so that twice-a-day training sessions will commence tomorrow, (Thursday)”, Achi added.

Assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade and other backroom staff are already in camp, with head coach, Manu Garba, expected to join up later on today (Wednesday).

Nigeria have won the FIFA U17 World Cup five times; 1985 in China, 1993 in Japan, 2007 Korea, 2013 in UAE and 2015 in Chile.

The 2019 edition to be staged in Brazil will kick off on October 26 and will end on November 17, 2019.

The Brazil showpiece will be Nigeria’s 13th appearances in the championship with five title wins, and three silver medal feats in 1987, 2001 and 2009 in previous 12 finals.

The Manu Garba’s charges qualified for Brazil 2019 edition following a fourth position finish at the 2019 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.

Source: Complete Sports