Home page | Statewatch News online | In the news | What's new

News digest: 20 June 2013

BALKANS: Inquiry urged into Yugoslav tribunal (BBC News): "The UN court set up to prosecute those responsible for atrocities committed in the Balkans has come under scrutiny following allegations that verdicts have been made under political pressure"

BELGIUM: Charleroi: bientôt des caméras de surveillance "parlantes" dans la Ville haute (rtbf.be): "La Ville de Charleroi va bientôt s'équiper de caméras interactives, dites sonores ou "parlantes", une première en Belgique." The town of Charleroi is set to install CCTV cameras that allow the operators to issue vocal warnings and orders to those they are watching.

BOSNIA: Banja Luka students defy police ban on protest (Balkan Insight): "Bosnian students in Republika Srpska’s main city have vowed to flout a police ban and rally for better living standards for students and against corruption in higher education." See also: Banja Luka students protest against corruption; Bosnia ID card protests raise hopes for change (Balkan Insight) and 'We are all in this together': a civic awakening in Bosnia-Herzegovina (OpenDemocracy)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Police raid at Office of Czech Government sends shockwaves across political spectrum (Radio Praha): "A raid by the country’s organised crime unit at the Office of the Government and several other institutions has sent shockwaves throughout the country. Among those detained are former Civic Democrat MPs and a close aide to the prime minister. The scandal has rocked the Czech political scene and there is speculation it could result in the government’s fall"

CZECH REPUBLIC: “The Social Agent” exposes Czech writer Jirí Mucha as secret police agent (Radio Praha)

DENMARK: Blacklisted weapons manufacturer behind Rejsekort technology (The Copenhagen Post): "The main technology supplier for the controversial Rejsekort electronic travel card is a weapons manufacturer that has been blacklisted by the World Bank for its involvement in illegal activity"

Estonia not on the refugee way (Inter Press Service): "For asylum seekers, Estonia is the least attractive country in the European Union, so the numbers say. According to Eurostat only 75 people last year asked for protection in this country that borders Russia and Finland. Local human rights activists suspect that many of those in need for help are turned down at the border without getting a chance to ask for asylum"

EU: African migrants 'left to die' in dinghy sue Spanish and French military (The Guardian): "Two survivors of a dinghy tragedy that killed 63 migrants in the Mediterranean lodged fresh legal complaints today in Paris and Madrid, accusing the French and Spanish military of failing to come to the aid of people in danger"

EU: An interactive guide to Europe's arms trade (The Guardian): "Numbers and PDFs are not the best of friends. So it takes a certain amount of time and commitment to extract valuable data on arms exports from EU portable document formats (PDFs). A campaign group has however dug out the numbers on EU exports of weaponry and other military hardware - and broken it down by source, destination country, year, value, licenses and type of goods. The result is an interactive anyone can use"

EU: Bulgaria wants US visas discussed in EU talks (Balkan Insight): "Bulgarian wants the issue of US visas discussed at the Foreign Affairs/Trade Council meeting on June 14 during when ministers will approve the mandate for negotiations between the EU and the US, according to the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, BTA"

EU: EP gives green light to the new European Asylum System (Malta Independent): "New rules laying down common procedures and deadlines for handling asylum applications and basic rights for asylum seekers arriving in the EU were endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The Common European Asylum System will also stop transfers of asylum seekers to member states unable to ensure decent living conditions for them." See also: PN MEPs say European Asylum System is of little help to Malta's cause and ‘European politics on immigration ignore Malta’s interests’ - Sant

EU: Is the European Union funding the torture of refugees in Libya (The Journal): "The European Union may be unwittingly funding abuse of Libyan refugees through its support for border control mechanisms, Amnesty International has claimed." See: Amnesty International: Scapegoats of fear: Rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants abused in Libya (pdf) and Maltese soldiers help in Libyan border operations (Times of Malta)

EU: Migreurop brief: Detention of migrants (Migreurop, pdf): "Since the 1990s, immigration detention has become the isntrument most commonly used to manage migrant populations in Europe and beyond." Also in: French, Italian, and Spanish (pdfs)

EU: Speech: Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina: Agreements on border managements signed (Europa); see: Border ministers agree border deal by phone (Balkan Insight)

Finnish intelligence agency wants more snooping powers (EUobserver): "The Finnish Security Intelligence Service wants to expand its Internet snooping powers, reports Yle. The head of the agency, Antti Pelttari, said the service should be allowed to wiretap all telephone and Internet traffic without a warrant. Pelttari said the US Prism spy programme came as no surprise"

France 'cuts off' illegal downloader's web access (France 24): "As the French government is re-thinking its policy towards Internet users who illegally download copyrighted material, a court has sentenced one offender to 15 days without (some) online services"

France threatens to fine Google over privacy (The Local): "France's national data protection agency on Thursday threatened to hit Google with a fine of up to €150,000, unless the US internet giant brought its privacy policies in line with French law within three months"

FRANCE: La France et le Sénégal unis dans la lutte contre le terrorisme (rfi): "La France soutient le Sénégal dans la lutte contre le terrorisme. Paris finance à hauteur de 700 000 euros un plan d’action contre les actions terroristes. La signature de cette convention de financement se tient ce lundi 17 juin 2013 à Dakar, entre Nicolas Normand, l’ambassadeur de France, et le général Pathé Seck, le ministre de l’Intérieur." France is spending €700,000 to finance joint action with Senegal to combat terrorism.

FRANCE: Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in Paris miscarries (The Independent): "A pregnant Muslim woman attacked in a Paris street by skinheads, apparently because she was wearing a veil, has miscarried as a result of the assault, her lawyer said"

French far-right shames Socialists in by-election (France 24): "The far-right National Front has moved on to the second round of a parliamentary by-election to replace disgraced former MP Jérôme Cahuzac. The victory is an embarrassing blow to the Socialist government of President François Hollande." See also: Far right's Le Pen faces prospect of prosecution (The Local)

GERMANY: Berlin wants to spy too (Spiegel Online): "The German government has been largely silent on revelations of US Internet spying. Berlin profits from the program and is pursuing similar plans." See also: How much surveillance do we need? (Deutsche Welle)

GERMANY: Refugees hoping for better life in Germany find themselves in limbo (The Guardian): "Germany takes in more refugees than any other rich country. But that does not mean it is easy for the hundreds of thousands of refugees stuck in limbo"

Greece court orders state broadcaster ERT back on air (BBC News): "A Greek court has ordered that state broadcaster ERT, which was shut down by the government last week, can resume transmissions"

Greece to blackball Dublin II Regulation (Greek Reporter): "According to Minister of Public Order, Nikos Dendias, Greece has decided to vote against the European immigration regulation. According to the agreement, the country of first entry in the EU bears responsibility for the determination of asylum status"

GREECE: Anonymous attacked parliament data (Greek Reporter)

GREECE: Migrant seriously injured after fall from 5th floor balcony (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Municipal staff tied to migrant racket, arson (Ekathimerini): "An arson attack on the aliens’ bureau of the Municipality of Papagou and Holargos at the end of last month, and a break-in and theft of documents and hard drives earlier in May, is believed to be the work of a ring of civil servants making money through the exploitation of immigrants seeking legal status in Greece, Kathimerini understands"

GREECE: Parliament rejects Golden Dawn MP's request to lift immunity on deputies Dourou and Kanelli (Ekathimerini): "Parliament on Wednesday rejected a request from Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris for the immunity of fellow lawmakers Liana Kanelli and Rena Dourou to be lifted"

GREECE: Santorini monks fight NATO radar (Greek Reporter): "The monks of the Prophet Elias Monastery are struggling against the installation of NATO radar installations on the fabled island of Santorini"

Hungary charges Laszlo Csatary, over Nazi war crimes (BBC News): "Hungarian prosecutors have charged a 98-year-old man, Laszlo Csatary, with participation in Nazi war crimes"

HUNGARY: 1984, Hungarian Edition (New York Times): "The Hungarian parliament recently passed a new national security law that enables the inner circle of the government to spy on people who hold important public offices. Under this law, many government officials must “consent” to being observed in the most intrusive way (phones tapped, homes bugged, email read) for up to two full months each year, except that they won’t know which 60 days they are under surveillance"

HUNGARY: Freedom House warns Hungary’s status as a “consolidated democracy” in jeopardy (Politics.hu): "US-based international democracy and rights watchdog Freedom House has just released the new edition of its annual “Nations in Transit” report, entitled “Authoritarian Aggression and the Pressures of Austerity.”"

HUNGARY: Top court okays stipulations banning denial of Communist, Nazi crimes (Politics.hu): "The Constitutional Court has left in place stipulations in the penal code which ban the denial of crimes committed both under Nazi or Communist regimes"

Ireland rejects more asylum seekers than most EU countries (The Journal): "Ireland's immigration services are more likely to reject applications from asylum seekers than all but a handful of the authorities in other EU countries. New figures published by the EU this morning shows that of the 1,625 asylum cases ruled on by Irish authorities last year, only 140 applications were granted some kind of positive protection – an approval rate of only 8.6 per cent"

IRELAND: 89 gardaí have taken part in exchanges with the PSNI (The Journal): "The Minister for Justice said that the implementation of the articles on this is a key measure towards improving cross-community confidence in the impartiality of the criminal justice system"

IRELAND: Boy (15) found guilty of 'racially motivated' robbery of Pakistani is let off by judge (Irish Independent): " A 15-year-old Dublin boy found guilty of a terrifying robbery of a Pakistani man which was described by a judge as “racially motivated” has been spared a criminal record and a custodial sentence."

IRELAND: Challenging illegality: Direct provisions, social welfare law & asylum seekers in Ireland (Human Rights in Ireland): "The Office of the Ombudsman has recently played a significant role in highlighting maladministration in the operation of our social welfare legal code, in particular in relation to supplementary welfare allowance and direct provision for asylum seekers over the last few days." See also: Irish Ombudsman: Appeal Overruled: A failure to provide basic income for a family seeking asylum (pdf)

IRELAND: Garda slow to co-operate - watchdog (Irish Independent): "The garda watchdog has criticised gardai for being "slow" in co-operating with an investigation which led to two gardai being convicted for assault and another for trying to pervert the course of justice." See also: Gardaí did not cooperate with watchdog investigation…again (The Journal)

IRELAND: Law Society to send out undercover court agents (Irish Independent): "The Law Society is to deploy undercover agents around the country's court venues in a bid to expose unscrupulous solicitors touting for business as competition for criminal-law work reaches "unprecedented" levels"

IRELAND: Man due in court over murder of Polish man Bogdan Michalkiawicz (Irish Independent)

IRELAND: Miscarriages of justice in Ireland (Institute of Race Relations): "The first annual human rights conference of Justice Watch Ireland, Saturday 22 June 2013, 11-2pm." See: Justice Watch Ireland

IRELAND: PSNI on G8 drones: ‘They actually look like big model aircraft’ (The Journal): "The police service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have revealed details about the unmanned aerial vehicles or drones they will be using during the G8 summit, which gets under way in Fermanagh tomorrow. As part of an unprecedented security operation at the Lough Erne golf resort near Enniskillen, the PSNI will be operating three of the unmanned aircraft over the next two days to give them an “eye in the sky” view of their operation."

IRELAND: Shatter says anti-terrorist law must stay (Irish Independent)

IRELAND: Trafficked worker in Ireland: I was threatened, confined and treated as a slave (The Journal): "Over 180 cases of modern day slavery have been uncovered here in the last six years and victims are calling for protection in the law"

IRELAND: Watchdog clears gardai of assault at student march (Irish Independent): "An investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) into claims of police brutality during a student street protest has recommended three officers face discipline for minor offences."

IRELAND: Watchdog says Magdalene survivors need compensation for 'forced labour' (Irish Independent): "Compreshensive compensation is needed for survivors of Magdalene laundries including unpaid wages and pensions and rehab for forced labour, a watchdog has claimed"

IRELAND: Watchdog to probe conduct of gardai after man cleared of murder (Irish Independent): "The garda watchdog is to investigate the conduct of senior gardai who breached custody regulations and ran an informer "off the books" after a man was cleared of murder"

IRELAND-USA: Illegal Irish could travel home with US bill (Irish Independent)

Italian photographer accuses Turkish police of brutality (Gazzetta del Sud)

Italians' privacy in danger, says watchdog (Gazzetta del Sud): "On the heels of revelations that the United States is surveilling citizens' phone calls and scouring foreigners' Internet records, Italy's privacy watchdog told the parliament Tuesday that its citizens' privacy was also at risk." See also: Italy's privacy watchdog threatens Google with 'sanctions'

ITALY: Decree not aimed at 'emptying jails', minister says (Gazzetta del Sud): "A decree aimed at promoting alternative detention measures set for approval by the cabinet on Saturday will prevent up to 4,000 convicts from serving jail terms and is not aimed at ''emptying prisons'', Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said on Friday"

ITALY: Finmeccanica helicopter corruption trial starts in Italy (Thomson Reuters Foundation): "The trial of the former head of Italian defence group Finmeccanica began on Wednesday, with Giuseppe Orsi facing corruption charges over a deal to sell 12 helicopters to the Indian government"

ITALY: Government needs to 'push ahead' with reforms for immigrants; Citizenship law for foreigners' children to be simplified (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Hundreds of neo-Nazis set to attend skinhead music festival in Milan (The Independent): "Hundreds of neo-Nazis from all over Europe are expected to gather in Milan for a skinhead music festival this evening"

ITALY: League councillor calls for Kyenge rape (Gazzetta del Sud): "A local councillor on Thursday became the latest member of the anti-immigrant Northern League to attack Italy's first black cabinet member by calling for Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge to be raped." See also: League MEP condemns furore over call to rape black minister

ITALY: Neo-Fascist militants to stand trial over hate crimes (Gazzetta del Sud): "Two neo-Fascist militants pleaded guilty to charges including racial hatred while another seven activists were indicted in a preliminary hearing of a trial in Rome against members of the far-right Militia group. The charges against Militia members include promoting Fascism, racial and ethnic hatred and criminal conspiracy"

ITALY: Police escort 110 refugees from Lampedusa to Sardinia (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Repatriations overtake immigrant landings in Italy (Gazzetta del Sud): "A total of 4,319 refugees landed on Italy's coasts in the first five months of this year, during which time period some 13,304 immigrants were forcibly repatriated to their home nation, according to data released by Italy's Interior Ministry Thursday"

ITALY: Seven convictions upheld in Genoa G8 barracks brutality case (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italy's supreme Court of Cassation on Friday upheld seven prison terms handed to police officers and prison doctors for brutality against protestors held at a detention centre in the Bolzaneto barracks during the 2001 Group of Eight (G8) summit in Genoa"

ITALY: Silvio Berlusconi 'asked Italy's secret service to bump off Muammar Gaddafi' (The Independent): "Silvio Berlusconi asked Italy’s secret services to bump off Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, so the then premier could end his increasingly embarrassing ties with the Libyan dictator, it was claimed today"

ITALY: Somalian asylum seeker commits suicide (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Some 1,000 migrants packed into 300-person facility in Italy (Gazzetta del Sud): "An estimated 1,000 immigrants were at a southern Italian holding center with a maximum occupancy of 300 people on Tuesday." See also: Immigrants at sea: Why Italy must do more (The Local)

ITALY: Treaty to combat 'vile' attacks on women (The Local): "Italy ratified a treaty combating violence against women on Wednesday in a bid to redress an escalating trend of attacks including a spate of acid crimes against female victims"

ITALY: Turks charged with aiding illegal immigration into Italy (Gazzetta del Sud): "Police in Calabria said Tuesday they arrested two Turkish citizens on charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration into Italy"

MACEDONIA: Protesters form human chain around Skopje mall (Balkan Insight): "Protesters formed a human chain around Skopje’s iconic GTC shopping centre as architects launched a campaign to save it from the government’s planned faux-baroque makeover"

MACEDONIA: Report slams erosion of democracy in Macedonia polls (Balkan Insight): "The March-April local elections saw the serious further erosion of democratic principles and procedures in Macedonia, CIVIL, an NGO, said in its report"

MALTA: 23 illegal immigrants brought to shore (Malta Independent)

MALTA: Man accused of drug trafficking wants ban on use of interrogation recordings (Malta Independent): "A 54-year old man from Marsascala who is accused of association in the trafficking of heroin in September 2005 has filed two Constitutional applications, the first calling for a stop of proceedings against him because no evidence had been presented"

MALTA: Ministers 'promised amnesty before election', MP claims (Malta Independent): "The Nationalist Party is continuing to insist that the prisoners’ amnesty had been promised before the general election, with MP David Agius today suggesting that ministers Anton Refalo and Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca had personally guaranteed it."

MALTA: More than 90 per cent of immigrants in Malta get refugee, humanitarian status (Times of Malta): "More than 90 per cent of the irregular migrants who applied for asylum in Malta last year were granted refugee or humanitarian protection status at first instance, according to Eurostat data." See also: 27 boats with 1,890 irregular immigrants arrived last year - NSO

MALTA: Prison hunger strike ends (Times of Malta): "A hunger strike by foreign prisoners has ended, just over 24 hours after it started." See also: Updated - Foreign prisoners want longer amnesty

NETHERLANDS: Bits of Freedom: Dutch spooks must stop use of PRISM (Bits of Freedom): "Today reveals that also the Dutch intelligence services make use of PRISM, the controversial US intelligence program that was exposed by the newspaper The Guardian. Dutch digital rights organization Bits of Freedom demands the immediate halt of this practice and a thorough investigation into the use by the Dutch intelligence services of PRISM and comparable programs"

NETHERLANDS: Cracks in the dutch deportation and detention regime (Institute of Race Relations): "A series of hunger strikes, following allegations of abuse, force and the use of forged documents, are showing up the fault lines in the Dutch detention system"

NETHERLANDS: Dutch pay thousands of euros to 'identify' failed asylum seekers (Dutch News): "The Netherlands has paid at least 32 foreign delegations to organise identity papers for asylum seekers who have been refused permission to stay in the Netherlands but cannot be deported because they don't have valid ID"

NETHERLANDS: 'Only criminal and aggressive failed asylum seekers to be locked up' (Dutch News): "Junior justice minister Fred Teeven plans to relax the prison regime for failed asylum seekers, following pressure from the coalition Labour party, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday." See also: Half of detention places for failed asylum seekers to be scrapped (The Amsterdam Herald)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Revealed: preoccupations of the PSNI during policing of G8 (The Detail): "It cost £50m to protect the leaders of the G8 but confidential security updates of the PSNI policing operation reveals how police monitored Twitter accounts, including those belonging to journalists, checking for negative comments"

NORWAY: No changes following UNE asylum-seekers report (The Foreigner): " Norway Minister of Justice Grete Faremo states there is no need to change immigration authorities’ practises after receiving the report, Monday." See: Norway asylum whitepaper update report due

POLAND: Anti-semitic party 'legal' says judge (The News): "An obscure political party with vehemently anti-semitic views has crept onto Poland's official party register despite flouting Poland's constitution"

ROMANIA: Signing of cooperation memorandum between Russia's Securitiy Council and Romania's CSAT (ACTmedia): "President Traian Basescu on Monday said that the main objective of the presence in Bucharest at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace of Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev was the signing of a memorandum concerning cooperation between the Security Council of the Russian Federation and Romania's Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT)"

ROMANIA: The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova is going to ratify the Border Treaty with Romania on Thursday (ACTmedia)

SPAIN: Amnesty report slams impunity for Spanish war criminals (El País): ""Impunity is guaranteed in Spain. It does not investigate, and nor does it cooperate with investigations opened by other countries," said Esteban Beltrán, Amnesty International's president in Spain, at the presentation of a report into crimes dating from the Civil War and the Franco regime. "There has never been any other crime for which Spaniards have had to seek justice in a different country."" See also: Spain blocks investigations of Franco-era crimes (Amnesty International)

SWEDEN: Pirate Bay co-founder jailed for two years (The Local): "Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was sentenced on Thursday to two years in prison for data breaches, aggravated fraud, and attempted aggravated fraud, in what was Sweden's biggest ever hacking trial"

Swiss president calls for foreign spy inquiries (swissinfo.ch): "In response to an American whistleblower’s revelations of US spies operating in Geneva, Swiss president Ueli Maurer has called for a broadening of legislation to allow for investigations into foreign spy activity in Switzerland"

SWITZERLAND: Quicker decisions expected for asylum seekers (swissinfo.ch): "The Swiss authorities have presented their latest proposed revision of the country’s asylum legislation, aimed notably at cutting the time needed to process requests from 1,400 days today to just 140 in most cases"

Turkey unrest: Police investigated over demonstrators death (The Independent): "Ethem Sarisuluk was declared brain dead after being shot in the head with a live bullet during a violent police crackdown in Ankara"

Turkish government says it may use army to end protests (BBC News): "Turkey's government has said it could use the military to end nearly three weeks of unrest by protesters in Istanbul and other cities." See also: Turkish police to buy 100,000 gas bomb cartridges (Hurriyet Daily News); 'Standing man' inspires Turkish protesters in Istanbul and Turkey's 'standing man' silent protest spreads (BBC News)

UK is warned it is losing fight against modern slavery (The Independent): "Britain risks “losing the fight” against human trafficking unless the criminal justice system urgently improves its response to the crime, a major study will warn." See: Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group: In the dock: Examinign the UK's criminal justice response to trafficking (pdf)

UK: Children seeking asylum should 'be better cared for' by the state (The Guardian): "Hundreds of children who travel by themselves to Britain seeking asylum every year should be better cared for by the state, a parliamentary human rights committee has concluded, noting that currently the state does not always have their best interests at heart."

UK: ‘Good lawyers save money’: Supreme Court President weighs in on Legal Aid (UK Human Rights Blog): "According to the President of the Supreme Court, the judiciary not only has a right but an obligation “to speak out on matters concerning the rule of law.” In recent months, it is a duty from which Lord Neuberger has not shirked, and last night’s lecture to the Institute of Government was no exception. Its focus was the importance of legal aid, which Neuberger described through the prism of the UK’s constitutional set-up and the respective roles of the legislature, executive and judiciary within it"

UK: Increasing number of asylum detainees freed after near-fatal hunger strikes (The Guardian): "An increasing number of asylum seekers are being released from detention after almost starving themselves to death, the Guardian has learned"

UK: Infographic: Survey reveals support for surveillance (IFSEC Global): "A new survey commissioned by Siemens’ Security Products division has revealed that 65 percent of surveyed people in the UK do not think that widespread use of CCTV cameras infringes on civil liberties"

UK: Naked Rambler Stephen Gough jailed for breaching asbo (The Guardian): "The so-called Naked Rambler has been jailed once again, this time for 11 months, after he defied an order banning him from appearing in public unclothed"

UK: Officers under investigation over Elements nightclub arrest (Bedfordshire on Sunday): "Six police officers are being investigated by a police watchdog over an arrest outside a Bedford nightclub which left a 19 year old man in a serious condition"

UK: Reggae star Smiley Culture plunged knife into his chest after arrest, inquest told (The Independent): "Smiley Culture plunged a kitchen knife into his own chest after being arrested at his home, a police officer has claimed at an inquest into the reggae star's death"

UK: Supreme Court gives the go ahead for negligence and human rights claims for British servicemen deaths in Iraq (UK Human Rights Blog): "The Court has unanimously concluded that the negligence claims taken by the families of servicemen injured or killed in Iraq should not be struck out on the ground of combat immunity, and that they were within the UK’s jurisdiction for the purposes of the Convention at the time of their deaths"


Statewatch News online | Join Statewatch news e-mail list | Download a free sample issue of Statewatch Journal

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.