71-day Palestinian hunger striker enters hospital
Jerusalem —A Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for 71 days in protest at his detention by the Israeli authorities has been transferred to a hospital. The Israeli Prison Service said Thaer Halahla was moved from prison early on Tuesday after refusing to drink water.
Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request by Mr Halahla and fellow hunger striker Bilal Diab to be freed. The International Committee of the Red Cross is extremely concerned about their health, and that of four others. ICRC delegates believe the six detainees who have been on hunger strike for between 47 and 71 days are in imminent danger of dying.
Politicians disappearances deepen Bangladesh crisis
Dhaka—The night watchman was dozing in a wooden chair just after midnight on a deserted Bangladeshi street when he was startled by a scream. A group of men were pulling two people from a car and forcing them into a black microbus; “The two guys were shouting, ‘Save us,’” before the car pulled away, Lutfar Rahman said.
The abductions of an opposition politician and his driver last month have sparked Bangladesh’s biggest crisis in years, raised hostilities between the most prominent leaders of its fragile democracy and highlighted a series of seemingly political disappearances.
Guantanamo trials should be open
David A. SchulzRECENTLY, I stood before a military judge at Guantanamo Bay to argue that the press and public had a constitutional right to observe the proceedings of military commissions. It is an argument I’ve made scores of times on behalf of news organisations objecting to closed proceedings in criminal and civil trials, but this was the first time that a military commission — part of a system of tribunals created in 2006 to try terrorism suspects — agreed to hear such arguments from the press.
Whether this marks a new openness, or is another in a long line of false starts, remains to be seen. But the government has a real opportunity to show its commitment to the rule of law by acknowledging that the public’s First Amendment rights apply at Guantanamo. The values served by open criminal proceedings — public acceptance of the verdict, accountability for lawyers and judges, and democratic oversight of our government institutions — apply there with particular urgency.
Briton faces Kenyan court over bomb plot
London —A Briton accused of Islamist extremist ties has appeared in court in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa. Jermaine Grant, 29, was arrested last December and denies allegations that he was planning a bomb attack and possessed explosive materials.
The Londoner, who Kenyan authorities say is linked to Somali militants al-Shabab, has already been jailed for being in the country illegally. The case has been adjourned until Thursday amid chaotic scenes in court.
The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in Mombasa says Mr Grant sat expressionless in the dock. But after some confusion in the courtroom, Mr Grant was taken into the judge’s office and the trial was adjourned for a day.
Reforms leave political prisoners behind in Mayanmar
Yangon—In a remote prison in northwest Myanmar, Aye Aung wakes up each day as he has for nearly 14 years — alone in a dark cell on a wooden plank, a prisoner of conscience all but forgotten by the world. For hours, the former student activist meditates and reads the books his father brings from afar every other month. But mostly, he lives in the mind-numbing boredom of captivity. Now 36, he has never seen a cell phone, never surfed the Internet, never married or had children.
Although Myanmar’s military-backed government has released hundreds of well-known dissidents over the past year as part of a startling series of reforms that have earned it lavish praise and an easing of sanctions, rights advocates say hundreds more remain wrongfully locked away — their cases in danger of being forgotten amid rising hope for a more open, democratic nation.