Armed neo-nazis attack Calais refugees

This video says about itself:

Calais Solidarity Trip (9) – Church

29 September 2015

We went to church on Sunday morning where there was an Ethiopian Christian service in the makeshift church. Very beautiful singing.

Hannah Slater and Rachael Heaven took donations from several UK towns and cities to the refugee camp in Calais in September 2015.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Calais Jungle refugees targeted by armed far-right militia in brutal campaign of violence

Exclusive: Migrants accuse local police of failing to protect them from the beatings – and carrying out their own assaults

Oscar Quine, Calais

Friday 12 February 2016 19:58 BST

Members of an armed far-right militia are attacking Calais migrants in an unprecedented, brutal campaign of violence, according to evidence seen by this newspaper. In a series of incidents in recent weeks, refugees living at the Jungle camp claim to have been targeted by organised thugs – sometimes in uniforms.

The Independent was told of one attack in which young male refugees were taken by van to a field where they were stripped naked and had their hands cuffed behind their back. They were then made to watch as their abductors – a group of unidentified men – beat them individually.

Migrants accuse local French police of failing to protect them from the beatings – and also carrying out their own assaults.

A coalition of NGOs, legal advisers and charities has decried both an increase in incidents of police aggression and the rise in attacks on refugees by groups of civilians, thought to be racist gangs.

The claims are outlined in a report compiled by staff at the camp’s legal centre, along with the British charity Care4Calais, which is to be submitted to the state prosecutor. It included 10 testimonies of violence, eight at the hands of police and five by civilian groups.

Many of the accounts are corroborated by medical reports from international humanitarian organisations Médecins sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde. Four videos thought to be included in the report have been seen by The Independent. One shows a 16-year-old Afghan boy whose arm is in a cast saying he was forced into the back of a van and taken to a field where he was beaten by a group of men. His arm and two fingers are broken. A similar account is given by another 16-year-old boy who refers to the unidentified men as “fascists”.

Marianne Humbersot, head of mission at the camp’s legal centre, said she has about 50 accounts in total which bear striking similarities of violence at the hands of “policemen and a certain civil militia of which we do not know the exact identity”.

She said: “We are talking about injuries that are life-threatening. Not just bruises but also stabbing, strangling and beating with metal sticks. These attacks are against men, women and children. Minors. I have the account of a 10-year-old boy who has been subjected to police violence. I have a 13-year-old who was beaten by police – and 10 days before he had his nose broken by ‘racists’.”

Concerns around these attacks have increased in the past month. The local region came close to electing Front National leader Marine le Pen in the recent elections. But the Care4Calais report forms the most comprehensive evidence of systematic violence against refugees at the hands of suspected right-wing militias.

While there is no suggestion that the police have worked with the group, many have accused them of failing to protect migrants as they hope to soon clear the camp. On Friday, the local police prefecture announced a large area of the camp, home to 800 to 1,000 people, would be bulldozed next week.

For the camp’s inhabitants, awareness of far-right groups has been heightened following a hostile political march held in early January that ended in clashes. Many migrants said they know people who have been attacked by these groups. Ali-Muhammad Jumar, 23, from Sudan was one such case. He had a broken finger and a fresh cut above his left eyebrow that he said were the result of being beaten the previous night by police near the Eurotunnel train tracks. “There are racists in Calais who beat people with sticks,” he added.

MSF and MDM both confirmed they had heard accounts and issued medical reports that corroborated the testimonies in the report.

“Most of the injuries are head trauma with bruises and face lacerations, some needing stitches,” said Marlene Malfaid, MSF medical co-ordinator for the camp. She added that the agency sees about 12 incidents a week of people who have been victims of violence. In the past week alone, they have had a dozen reports, eight regarding police violence and four of “non-police” attacks.

Isabelle Bruand, Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional co-ordinator for MDM, said: “What we see now seeing is targeted violence: groups who are targeting immigrants in the area near the camp for no reason other than simply to beat them. We don’t know who these people are. Some people say they are beaten by civilians. Some tell us they are beaten by groups of the CRS [the French riot police] and other policemen.

“These groups of civilians feel organised. In some cases they have weapons and they seem to come with the idea of ‘we will go to the camp and find some immigrants to beat up’.”

Killed Eric Garner’s daughter on Bernie Sanders

This video from the USA says about itself:

It’s Not Over | Bernie Sanders

11 February 2016

“I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders. People are dying. This is real. We need a president that will talk about it. Bernie is a protester. He’s not scared to go up against the criminal justice system. He is not scared.” – Erica Garner

Daily The Independent in Britain writes about this today:

People have been moved to tears by this ‘spine-tingling’ Bernie Sanders campaign video

‘I can’t breathe‘.

These are the last words of the late Eric Garner, an unarmed African-American man who was killed in 2014 by NYPD officers who put him in a deadly chokehold.

His daughter Erica Garner featured in a video online on Friday in support of Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – released by the politician’s campaign team.

In the gut-wrenching video she solemnly says:

‘I was able to see my dad die on national TV. They don’t know what they took from us. He wasn’t just someone that no one cared for him, or no one loved him; he was loved dearly.’

The four-minute video, titled “It’s not over” has already clocked up thousands of views on YouTube in the space of a few hours.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Bahrain, absolute monarchy and football update

This video says about itself:

No End to Torture in Bahrain

22 November 2015

Bahraini security forces are torturing detainees during interrogation. Institutions set up after 2011 to receive and investigate complaints lack independence and transparency.

Human Rights Watch has concluded that security forces have continued the same abuses the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) documented in its November 2011 report. The commission was established after the fierce repression of pro-democracy demonstrators in February and March of that year. Bahraini authorities have failed to implement effectively the commission’s recommendations relating to torture, Human Rights Watch found.

Bahrain rights group files complaint over Sheikh Salman FIFA bid. Group says head of Bahrain’s football association violated human rights in his capacity and should not be eligible to lead FIFA: here.

Bahrain group bids to block Sheikh Salman landing FIFA presidency. Sheikh Salman’s candidacy for the FIFA presidency is the subject of a legal complaint by a pro-democracy group from Bahrain: here.

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali has questioned the role of election rival Sheikh Salman in not protecting Bahrain players who alleged abuses after pro-democracy protests in 2011. In the strongest statement yet on human rights ahead of the Feb. 26 election to succeed Sepp Blatter, the Jordanian prince dismissed the sheikh’s consistent defense that national security issues are beyond the control of sports leaders: here. See also here.

Sheikh Salman’s desire to bypass the democratic process does not bode well for his potential FIFA presidency: here.

Five Years After Failed Uprisings for Democratic Reform, New Blueprint Recommends United States Change Course in Bahrain: here.

Bahrain: hopes for justice and reform fading five years since 2011 uprising: here.

7 stories of shocking injustice: Bahrain after the ‘Arab Spring’: here.

Bahrain’s Prisons are Overcrowded with Prisoners of Conscience: here.

IPI urges Bahrain to lift travel ban on Nabeel Rajab. Prominent human rights activist faces continued judicial harassment: here.

German police neglected search for murdered refugee child

This video from Germany says about itself:

6 November 2015

Mourners attend the funeral of four-year-old murdered Bosnian refugee boy named Mohamed in the Muslim part of the cemetery in Berlin’s Gatow district.

By Sven Heymanns in Germany:

Report: Berlin police delayed search for murdered refugee boy

12 February 2016

The abduction and murder of a four-year-old refugee boy, Mohamed, gained nationwide attention in Germany last fall. The boy disappeared from the premises of the Berlin State Office of Health and Social Affairs (Lageso), while his mother waited eight hours for an appointment.

An account in the news magazine Der Spiegel has now revealed that the Berlin police failed to carry out a thorough search for the child for several days. Instead, they focused their attention on the boy’s family which was suspected of having faked the kidnapping in order to escape the threat of deportation from Germany.

Mohamed, whose mother came from Bosnia Herzegovina, was kidnapped by Silvio S., abused and then killed. The man had already kidnapped, abused and killed another child at the beginning of July, a six-year-old boy named Elias from Potsdam. Silvio S. finally came to the attention of the investigators, after they published a still image from a video captured by a surveillance camera near the Lageso.

Der Spiegel published a thorough report of the actions of the police in both cases. It demonstrated that police behaved entirely differently in the two instances despite their similarities. Both Elias and Mohamed both came from poor families, and their mothers both reacted coolly to the disappearance of their children and made partially contradictory reports. In the case of Elias, a thorough search was initiated immediately, and the police investigated in all directions. In the case of Mohamed, however, they focused attention for days almost exclusively on the family of the missing boy after discontinuing initial search efforts.

Two Searches

Elias disappeared in the late afternoon of July 8, 2015, on the property of the building in which his mother lives. On the same day, a mobile squad, search dogs and a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera were sent out to look for him. The six-year-old was officially reported as missing and a nationwide search initiated. The media was informed the same evening.

In the following days, the search was intensified. The police questioned relatives, friends, neighbours and school officials. Posters with the picture of the boy were hung up, and search dogs trained to locate corpses were deployed. The sandbox at his parents’ residence, in which he had been playing, was dug up. Wildlife cameras were examined in the surrounding woods and drainage pipes searched. Water levels were lowered in the Nuthe River, and the mud was dredged. Federal troops were even deployed.

Although the mother of the child was noticeably cool, and staff at the boy’s former kindergarten described her as callous, the police continued to search everywhere for clues. Altogether,1,800 officials took part in the investigation. Only after 11 days of unsuccessful searching did the investigation begin to focus on the mother and her partner.

Nothing of the sort took place in the case of Mohamed. When his mother came back in the late afternoon after waiting for eight hours for her appointment at Lageso, there was no trace of her four-year-old son. She searched for the boy with the help of an acquaintance and then spoke with police who searched the Lageso property together with the security service. Then a search squad scoured the neighbouring area.

However, at 11 p.m. on the same evening, the search was abandoned, although the boy was still missing. The next day, the Lageso premises were searched one more time. This was the last search carried out for four days. The media was not informed, and not even the missing person’s department of the state Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) received notification of the case.

Der Spiegel reported the further actions of the police as documented in the investigation. Mohamed’s mother—who is virtually illiterate—made contradictory and provably false claims. As a consequence, it was “not possible to determine beyond a doubt whether it was actually a missing persons case or, rather, a family dispute,” the documents stated. “No further measures” would now be taken.

This was a blatant violation of police investigation procedures by the responsible authorities. In cases of missing persons reports, police are required to take every necessary measure to find the individual. Der Spiegel points out that, in the case of minors, one can always assume that there is a danger to life and limb, and a search is required without delay.

However, nothing of the sort took place in this case. Instead, Mohamed’s mother was questioned repeatedly in the days after his disappearance, especially after the residence status of the family became clear to the police (in two and a half months they are supposed to be deported). The authorities even went so far as to tap the mobile telephone of the mother and her friends on the grounds they suspected them of faking a kidnapping in order to raise their chances of staying in Germany.

The search was only resumed on the fourth day after Mohamed’s disappearance, after police obtained new information. It took another two days until the videos from the surveillance cameras at Lageso were viewed. Almost a week after his kidnapping, the authorities first viewed video evidence that showed Mohamed leaving the premises in the hands of an unknown man.

Only at this point did they begin a murder investigation. Another video of a nearby restaurant showed Silvio S., whose photo was later published. Three weeks passed between the day of the kidnapping and the day this video was found. It took another five days for an official to view it. After the picture was published, Silvio’s mother went to the police and identified her son. He was then taken into custody and confessed to the kidnapping, abuse and killing of Elias and Mohamed and led police to the bodies.

Failure or systematic discrimination?

In a comment published on Spiegel Online, one of the editors who participated in the research for the report referred to the “failure” of the police and a “second class search for migrants.” In fact, the methods of the Berlin police illustrate the bitter reality of everyday life for countless migrants: systematic harassment and discrimination at the hands of state authorities.

The very circumstances of Mohamed’s disappearance illustrate the inhumane attitude that the German authorities routinely display toward refugees. Why did Mohamed’s mother have to wait for eight hours for an appointment at Lageso? Following the comment in Der Spiegel, one could say: “It’s not a failure, it’s intentional.”

The political establishment and the media continue to exploit the murky events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne to call for and carry out an intensification of the attacks on refugees. At the same time, right wing extremists who regularly attack refugees go unpunished. According to research carried out by Die Zeit, there were 222 attacks on refugee lodgings in 2015 until the beginning of December, and 93 of these attacks were arson. In only three cases were the perpetrators sentenced for their actions, and charges were brought in only eight additional cases.

Since then, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has published figures showing that there were many more attacks. The BKA registered 1,005 attacks on refugee lodgings in 2015, including 901 of a clearly far right character.

The investigations in the Mohamed case also recall the behaviour of the authorities in the series of murders carried out by the right wing extremist “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which had numerous connections with the intelligence agencies. The neo-Nazi group murdered nine small traders with a migrant background. Countless indications of the right wing extremist background of the perpetrators were systematically ignored and pushed aside by the prosecuting authorities. Over and over again, witnesses who brought such indications to light were subjected to intimidation. The families of the victims were placed under general suspicion and their supposed connections with the Mafia and the drug scene were cited. For many years, the series of murders of primarily Turkish citizens were dismissed as so called “Doner killings.”

Mohamed’s case shows that, despite the statements by politicians, police and intelligence agencies, nothing has changed as regards the inhumane treatment of migrants. The public prosecutor’s office in Potsdam, which is in charge of Mohamed’s case, declined to respond to the accusations when it was contacted by Der Spiegel. “We will not comment on that,” it said. “If there were failures, we will investigate them internally.”

Akai Gurley killed, New York policeman convicted

This video from the USA is called Video Shows Akai Gurley‘s Bloody Clothes in the Dim Hallway He Was Shot In.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

NYC Cop Convicted Of Manslaughter In Death Of Akai Gurley

Officer Peter Liang fired in a dark housing complex stairwell.

02/11/2016 07:35 pm ET | Updated 14 minutes ago

Matt Ferner, National Reporter, The Huffington Post

New York City police Officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter Thursday in the 2014 shooting death of an unarmed black man in a darkened Brooklyn public housing project stairwell.

Liang’s single gunshot killed Akai Gurley, 28, who was walking down the stairs on Nov. 20, 2014.

NYPD said after the jury’s verdict that Liang had been fired from the department. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 14.

Liang said he drew his pistol as he and his partner patrolled the darkened 8th floor stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in Brooklyn. He said he flinched when he was startled by a noise, which he said caused the gun to fire.

The bullet ricocheted off of the stairwell wall and struck Gurley, who was on the seventh floor. Gurley, who was unarmed, died from a wound in his chest.

Liang tearfully recounted the shooting in court, claiming his finger was never on the trigger.

“I was panicking. I was in shock, in disbelief that someone was actually hit,” he told jurors.

Prosecution evidence contradicted the claim and showed pressure had to have been applied to the trigger in order for the weapon to fire. To test this notion, the judge allowed each of the 12 jurors to take turns pulling the trigger of Liang’s handgun. 

Liang and his partner testified they didn’t realize anyone had been shot for several minutes and said they didn’t try to perform CPR on Gurley because they felt untrained.

Gurley’s family was unmoved by the rookie’s tears.

“Peter Liang, my son was no accident,” Sylvia Palmer, the victim’s mother, said Monday. “You murdered my son. I need justice for my son. I need a conviction of Peter Liang.”

Convictions of police officers involved in shootings are exceedingly rare. The last time an NYPD officer was convicted in a shooting death of a civilian was 2005, when Bryan Conroy was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the killing of Ousman Zongo, an unarmed African immigrant. 

Sanctions for the use of lethal force are also rare. A 2014 New York Daily News investigation found that out of the 179 people killed by on-duty police officers during 15 years, just three of those deaths resulted in indictments.

See also here.