Sudanese tortured refugee arrested in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Arrests Surge 40% Under Donald Trump | All In | MSNBC

12 February 2018

The father of a 5-year-old battling cancer got a last-minute stay from deportation. But many aren’t so lucky.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

ICE arrests immigrant at asylum interview in San Francisco

By our reporter

13 February 2018

On February 8, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents took the unprecedented step of arresting an asylum applicant, Omer Abdelmaed, after he appeared for an interview at a United States citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building in San Francisco.

Abdelmaed, a resident of San Jose, California showed up at the asylum office in San Francisco to explain his fear of returning to Sudan, having fled after being arrested and tortured.

After the customary interview, which lasted two hours, Abdelmaed and his attorney, Caleb Arring, began to leave the office. However, as Arring explained in a Facebook post, as they began to leave, “someone who I assume is a supervisor at the asylum office came in with 3-4 ICE Officers. The ICE Officers put handcuffs on my client and said they were taking him into custody. I asked why. At first they wouldn’t even answer me.”

The highly provocative arrest is part of a pattern of blatant illegality on the part of ICE, which functions as a law unto itself.

While the Obama administration deported more people per year than Trump did in 2017, the latter’s administration has carried out a deliberate policy to instill terror among immigrants, making random, warrantless arrests outside churches, at courthouses, government buildings, schools, workplaces, on buses, and in other public places. The Trump administration made 37,734 arrests of immigrants with no criminal records in the 2017 fiscal year, more than double the total from 2016.

Arring explained in his post: “My client has NEVER been arrested in the United States. He has a completely clean record. He has a social security number. He works and contributes to our society. He has a United States Citizen Child. His wife and other child both have green cards.”

Abdelmaed’s arrest is a violation of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, which states, “Refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay” and prohibits immigrants from “being arbitrarily detained purely on the basis of seeking asylum.”

Arring said “the government will give me NO information about why he was taken into custody during what is meant to be a safe and non-adversarial process.” When ICE made the arrest, Arring challenged the officers and told them the Asylum Office retained custody over his case while his asylum application was pending. “The officer said, not anymore, we just arrested him so the asylum office doesn’t have jurisdiction anymore.”

The Trump administration has launched an assault against asylum applicants, proposing to slash in half the total number of asylum applications it will grant per year from roughly 37,000 to 18,000. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on Congress to toughen rules for asylum seekers who he claims use “rampant abuse and fraud” to escape their home countries.

“The system is being gamed. Over the years, smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress”, Sessions said, failing to clarify how it could be fraudulent to cite court rulings in legal proceedings. The immigration system is “overloaded with fake claims” for asylum, he added. This is the opinion of a large number of senators heading into this week’s debate over immigration reform.

In reality, nearly six in ten asylum applications are denied in immigration court, including 90 percent of those applications filed by immigrants too poor to afford legal representation since there is no equivalent to the public defender system in immigration court. Between 75 percent and 90 percent of all asylum applications from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico were denied between 2011 and 2016.

The arrest of Abdelmaed is another sign of the danger posed not only to immigrants, but all workers whose democratic rights are under attack when the government conducts illegal arrests and locks up people seeking refuge from persecution.


Belgian government lies on sending refugees to torture in Sudan

Demonstration against Francken in Brussels, 30 December 2017, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Cabinet crisis is threatening in Belgium

Today, 11:45

In Belgium, high political play is being played and there is a threat of a cabinet crisis. It is about the position of junior minister for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, who has already been discredited.

Francken of the New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA) is under fire because he is said have lied about expelling a group of Sudanese. Other parties want him to resign, but N-VA leader Bart de Wever threatens to pull the plug out of the government if Francken is sent away.


The N-VA politician as Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration is responsible for a group of Sudanese who were deported from Belgium to their country of birth last year. Francken decided to do so, even though he was warned by a committee that the refugees in Sudan might be tortured. … According to statements by the Sudanese in Belgian media, they were actually tortured after their return.

Other coalition parties charge him with the issue and say he lied to the parliament and the prime minister. They do not want to send Francken away, but believe that he should resign himself.

UPDATE: Francken’s coalition partners swallow their criticism.


Ancient Sudanese goldsmith’s tomb found

This video says about itself:

Ancient tomb of gold worker found along Nile river

3 July 2017

The ancient tomb found on Sai Island seems to have been built for a man named Khnummose. His remains along with those of possibly his wife were buried there.

A 3,400-year-old tomb holding the remains of more than a dozen possibly mummified people has been discovered on Sai Island, along the Nile River in northern Sudan.

Archaeologists discovered the tomb in 2015, though it wasn’t until 2017 that a team with the AcrossBorders archaeological research project fully excavated the site.

The island is part of an ancient land known as Nubia that Egypt controlled 3,400 years ago. The Egyptians built settlements and fortifications throughout Nubia, including on Sai Island, which had a settlement and a gold mine. The tomb, which contains multiple chambers, appears to hold the remains of Egyptians who lived in or near that settlement and worked in gold production.

The artifacts found in the tomb include scarabs (a type of amulet widely used in Egypt), ceramic vessels, a gold ring, the remains of gold funerary masks worn by the deceased and a small stone sculpture known as a shabti. The ancient Egyptians believed that shabtis could do the work of the deceased for them in the afterlife. Some of the artifacts bore Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions that revealed the tomb was originally created for a man named Khnummose, who was a “master gold worker.”

The remains of Khnummose (which may have been mummified) were found next to those of a woman who may have been his wife. Some of the other people found in tomb may have been relatives of Khnummose, the researchers said, adding that they planned to conduct DNA analyses of the remains.

“We will try to extract ancient DNA from the [bones] of the bodies in question,” said Julia Budka, professor for Egyptian Archaeology and Art History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. “If the [ancient] DNA is preserved, this will help us a lot. Otherwise, it all remains tentative,” said Budka, who noted that the samples are already at the Department for Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

The archaeologists said they aren’t sure how many of the bodies were mummified.

“The state of preservation is very difficult here,” Budka said. “I am waiting for the report of my physical anthropologists. For now, the position and also traces of bitumen speak for some kind of mummification for all persons in Tomb 26 who were placed in wooden coffins.” Bitumen is a type of petroleum that the ancient Egyptians sometimes used in mummification.

Many of the coffins are also poorly preserved, and it’s uncertain exactly how many of the people were buried in coffins, Budka said.

From the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen in Germany:

New Kingdom Egypt: The goldsmith’s tomb

July 21, 2017

Summary: Archeologists are studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. New excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich Egyptologist Julia Budka is studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. Her excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.

A previously unknown tomb, some 3400 years old, has recently been uncovered on the island of Sai in the River Nile. It was in use for some time and contains the remains of up to 25 persons. Further analysis of the finds could elucidate the multicultural nature of the island’s population during this period.

The island was then located in Nubia, which was the primary source of gold for the New Kingdom of the Egyptian Pharaohs at that time. The tomb was most probably built for a master goldsmith by the name of Khnummose, and was discovered during excavations conducted by Julia Budka, Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Art. Investigation of the tomb’s contents and inscriptions has so far revealed that, following the conquest by the Pharaoh Thutmose III of the local African kingdom of Kerma, the local elites were rapidly integrated by the new regime. The earliest Egyptian-style burials on Sai date to the reign of this king.

Over the past 5 years, Budka has carried out parallel studies on three different Egyptian settlements that were established during the period of the so-called New Kingdom between 1500 und 1200 BC. The excavations on the island of Sai, which lies in what is now the Sudanese section of the Nile, not only provide insights into the relationship between the official representatives of the occupying power and the local Nubian population, they also demonstrate that the island was inhabited for longer than hitherto assumed.

“It had been thought that the settlement on the island was abandoned after the foundation of a new town at Amara West. Our finds, on the other hand, prove that Hornakht, one of Egypt’s highest ranking bureaucrats during the reign of Ramses II, not only had his official residence on the island, but was also buried there,” says Budka. This clearly shows that the town on Sai survived until about 1200 BC.