Europe is probably facing its most serious crisis since the 1930s and the outbreak of World War Two. Through populist nationalism, the far right are in resurgence, gaining credibility across the continent. But to see their true nature, we only need look to Greece. After hiding in the shadows in recent years, the Greek neo-Nazis of ‘Golden Dawn’ have returned to the streets with a vengeance. On 31 January 2017, thousands of members and supporters held torch-lit processions in Athens. Their demand? A ban on refugees and immigrants similar to that sought by US President Donald Trump.
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Loghman Sawari is a young refugee who fled Iran after his cousin was executed by the regime and his brothers tortured and imprisoned. After being illegally renditioned by Australia to its offshore gulag on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Sawari suffered isolation and beatings. He also attempted suicide.
But he spectacularly fled to Fiji from PNG. On his arrival in Suwa, a local Fijian family sheltered him. His Fijian lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh, organised an agreement with the director of immigration that his client would lodge his asylum application paperwork on Friday. But on his way to see the director, Sawari was kidnapped.
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- Sawari now in PNG jail and is charged with leaving country using false I/D. He could face 6 months jail. Sawari has tried to commit suicide before and likelihood he could try again.
- Sawari clearly should have lodged his formal applicarion for asylum with the Fijian authorities on arrival or soon after. Sawari’s Fijian lawyer, Aman Ravindra Singh, was told this could wait until Friday (3 February) when he and his client would meet with the Immigration minister. On the way to that meeting, Sawari was snatched by the Fijian authorities and taken straight to the airport and a waiting plane to Papua New Guinea. Clearly this had been planned in advance. Sawari’s lawyer admits he and his client may have been tricked into waiting until Friday. Singh said: “If I knew that this would have happened, I would never have agreed to the meeting”.
- Sawari is an Ahwazi Arab. Iran has executed scores of Ahwazi Arabs. In 2015 Amnesty International published a detailed report on the persecution (jailing, torture, execution) of Ahwazi Arabs. Sawari’s two brothers were arrested and tortured by the Iranian authorities; his cousin was executed. This is why Sawari sought asylum in Australia. Instead, Australia rendition Sawari and placed him in indefinite detention on Manus Island, where he was bullied and beaten.
Malcolm Turnbull is ultimately accountable for Sawari’s fate. If Sawari is harmed in any way, Turnbull will be responsible.
The best solution now is for an appropriate agency (UN or Australian human rights lawyers) to intervene and organise a safe country for Sawari to go to.
Posted in no category, Refugees
Tagged Australia, Fiji, Malcolm Turnbull, Manus Island, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Sawari, Trump, USA
US president Donald Trump is facing legal challenges to his “extreme vetting” order, which freezes immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and temporarily bans refugees. Elsewhere, a lesser publicised but highly significant drama is taking place. And it could undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. In December, the Russian security service arrested four senior cybersecurity experts as a result of an investigation into the hacking of US Democratic Party emails. The arrests could see further evidence revealed that explains how that hacking helped Trump to win the presidency. It could also provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with another ‘blackmail’ lever to use against Trump. Meanwhile, a former KGB chief has been found dead under mysterious circumstances.
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On Holocaust Remembrance Day, US president Donald Trump signed an executive order banning refugees for four months and bringing in massive visa restrictions. On the other side of the world, in response, one young refugee took remarkable direct action to secure his freedom. Action that could see the Australian government prosecuted for multiple crimes.
To read more on Sawari’s escape to freedom, click here.
In September 2016 Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) sent letters to the foreign ministers of Canada, New Zealand, Germany (and the USA) to find homes for the refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus. Two months later, a deal was announced between Australia and the USA and other countries to resettle all the refugees held on Nauru and Manus.
But since then, no refugees have been relocated. Indeed, there is some evidemce that the deal could have been a ruse.
Perhaps now is the time for lawyers and refugee organisations to once again directly intervene with those countries and seek a more viable solution.
Kincora Boys Home
Former army information officer and whistleblower Colin Wallace has condemned the findings of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. The inquiry found no evidence that security agencies were complicit in child sex abuse that took place at Kincora Boys Home, Northern Ireland. But Wallace claims that the British government knew about security services’ alleged involvement in the abuse for decades and did nothing. And The Canary has seen documents which appear to back up his claims.
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Women’s march, Austin (Texas)
Just under five million people, the vast majority of whom were women, marched in cities and towns, not just across America, but worldwide. Their demands were many but, in essence, that US President Donald Trump goes. The numbers – only one day after Trump’s inauguration’s speech, so full of deceits – were unprecedented.
In Washington, photos of the demonstrators showed they vastly outnumbered those who attended the inauguration ceremony. But this was no ordinary demonstration. It was the beginning of a worldwide revolt against the reactionary values that Trump exemplifies.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the British government can be sued by a Libyan national. Abdel Hakim Belhadj claims he was subject to rendition, torture and was held prisoner with the full co-operation of British authorities. Belhadj can proceed with litigation against former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former senior MI6 official Sir Mark Allen, the Foreign Office, the Home Office, and the UK security services. This case has dragged on for years because the government has refused to offer an apology to Belhadj and his wife. But there appears to be significant evidence relating to the allegations.
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