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Posts tagged ‘Amnesty’

States Buck Public Opinion, Offer Driver’s Licenses to Illegals.

Nevada has become the latest state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license — even as public opinion polls show that the great majority of Americans oppose such measures.
A national poll conducted in October by Rasmussen Reports found that 68 percent of likely U.S. voters think illegal immigrants should not be allowed to obtain state driver’s licenses. Just 22 percent favor licenses for illegals in their state.
Critics say the laws encourage illegal immigration by legitimizing the status of those who come to the United States illegally.

“It is a kind of amnesty. It doesn’t given them any legal status, but by giving them a government-issued ID, it helps them imbed in society,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.,  said in an interview with Newsmax.

“This is a way of protecting illegals from coming to the attention of immigration authorities,” Krikorian said. “It’s a way of documenting the undocumented.”
In Nevada, Democratic-led lawmakers approved a driver’s license law in 2013. It was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, the state’s first Hispanic governor, who considers it a public safety measure, and went into effect at the beginning of this month.

“Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s privilege card will increase the number of drivers on Nevada’s roads that are insured and aware of traffic rules and regulations,” Sandoval said in a statement after signing the bill.

When Nevada began issuing licenses on Jan. 2, long lines formed at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Las Vegas, waiting for the 8 a.m. opening of the office. The Associated Press reported that “thousands of Nevada immigrants” sought to obtain licenses on the first day.

Those applying for the driving privilege cards must show some proof of their identity as well as evidence of Nevada residency and insurance. New drivers must pass a driving test, and pay to retake the test if they fail.

The information provided for the licenses, however, may not be used against them for purposes of enforcing immigration laws, a key provision in a state like Nevada where about a fourth of all residents are Latino.

Other states that have approved similar laws include Utah, Washington, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, California, New Mexico, and Illinois, along with the District of Columbia.
Said California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, in signing his state’s law last year: “No longer are undocumented people in the shadows. They are alive and well and respected in the State of California.”

The climate of permissiveness licenses for illegals follows a crackdown period after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacksthat came in response to widespread fears of foreign-born terrorists entering the country.

“After 9-11, things were tightening up. Now those states that are mainly run by Democrats are backtracking,” said Krikorian, noting that Congress has given leeway through the REAL ID law to states to issue immigrant driver’s cards, but those cannot be used for federal identification purposes like boarding planes.
New Mexico, with the nation’s largest Hispanic population, is one state attempting to buck the trend. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is hoping to convince the Democratic-led state legislature to repeal the state’s current law, which offers licenses to illegals.She has tried before and failed, but vows to continue.
Polling shows that Martinez has support for her position, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., a New Mexico firm that has polled for the Albuquerque Journal twice on the issue.

“Both times, the polls that we did for the Journal showed approximately 70 percent of registered voters opposed granting licenses to undocumented workers,” Sanderoff told Newsmax.

“I think it’s a significant issue to the extent that the governor is once again latching onto it,” he said.

New Mexico differs from its heavily Hispanic neighbor Arizona, where its governor, Republican Jan Brewer, has taken an aggressive stance against illegals in her state. In New Mexico, most Hispanic residents are natives, tracing their lineage back to Spain, said Sanderoff.

“Most New Mexicans are Americans, born and raised here, more so than the average state,” he said, which likely explains why voters there oppose the law by a wide margin.

The trend could continue as Congress renews its debate on immigration reform this year and proponents continue to push for the measure in more states.

“The push for it is nationally coordinated,” Krikorian said. “There is a broader push by national groups to have more say in the issue. They see it in two ways. First, as a practical matter, it helps to imbed the illegal immigrants in the U.S., making it less likely they will leave. Also, it will be presented as evidence of nationwide momentum for immigration ‘reform.'”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Andrea Billups

Ryan: I’ll Debate Anyone on Immigration.

Image: Ryan: I'll Debate Anyone on Immigration

By Melanie Batley

Rep. Paul Ryan says the proposal set out in the Senate’s immigration reform bill offering a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants is not “amnesty” as opponents have put it, but “earned legalization.”

The Republican from Wisconsin pledged he would “debate anybody” who believed otherwise, Yahoo News reported.

“Earned legalization is not amnesty,” Ryan said during a forum on immigration sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers. He pointed to conditions in the Senate immigration bill that would require illegal immigrants to pay a fine, back taxes, undergo extensive background checks, and sit out a probationary period before starting the path to citizenship, which could take up to 15 years.

“I will debate anybody who tried to suggest that these ideas that are moving through Congress are amnesty. They’re not. Amnesty is wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong.”

Ryan has become one of the House GOP’s most vocal supporters of immigration reform, especially since fellow Republican Raul Labrador of Idaho left the House’s own Gang of Eight.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted by a huge 82-15 majority to begin debate and amendments on the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration proposals.

Ryan said he expected the bill to be broken up into several pieces of legislation so as to allow its ultimate passage through the Senate. He said he expected the House would take a similar approach.

“One big bill usually crashes under its own weight. That’s what we had in 2006. But if we had a bill that’s broken up into a few pieces, all of which can join in the end of a process, then you can get all of these things moving,” he said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

“Boko Haram Threat To Islamize Nigeria Is A Gimmick” – Senator Khalifa Zanna.

In an exclusive interview on SaharaTV, Senator Khalifa Zanna discusses the reason Boko Haram has continued to thrive in Nigeria, and the cost of government’s negligence in fighting the terrorists. He also exposes their hiding place in Borno, where more than 2,000 members are presently being trained and much more. Lastly, the Senator explains why he no longer feels safe in his constituency.


Call for revolution in Nigeria misplaced – Abiara.

General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Prophet Kayode AbiaraGeneral Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Prophet Kayode Abiara
| credits:

General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church, Prophet Kayode Abiara, says the call by some Nigerians for revolution is misplaced.

However, he said instead of revolution, what the country needs to tackle the myriad of problems affecting it are prayers and godly living.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to pray fervently, saying it was prayers that had kept the country together.

Abiara said this in Lagos during a press conference to herald the church’s Power and Fire Night, with the theme, ‘He Will Do It Again with Signs and Wonders’.

The cleric said, “If not for prayers of the Christians and the Muslims, the country would have collapsed. We must thank God for the churches and mosques.

“The call by some people for revolution is misplaced. The situation in Nigeria does not require revolution but prayers.

“Instead of shedding blood through revolution, Nigerians should pray. God answers prayers. I believe God will answer our prayers. I believe in prayer, not in revolution.”

Abiara appealed to the Federal Government to compensate victims of Boko Haram’s attacks in the North.

He said though the compensation would not bring back lost lives, it would go a long way in making the victims or victims’ families happy.

On amnesty for members of the fundamentalist Boko Haram sect, the cleric said the programme would not solve the problems of terrorism in Nigeria.

Abiara said, “Whether they have amnesty or not, problems would never cease. When you grant them amnesty, another group will come up.

“If you grant them, you must be ready to grant amnesty to armed robbers and other militant groups. The Federal Government must think deeply. It must seek the face of God. Violence will not cease unless Jesus Christ comes. I urge those on the committee to seek the face of God.”

He said rather than the government scratching the problems of insecurity on the surface, it was proper to tackle the problems that threw up violence such as corruption, unemployment religious bigotry, among others.

He urged the government to reduce hunger, poverty and corruption in the land.

He lamented the poor power supply situation in the country and implored the government to provide electricity to increase industrial capacity.



Amnesty Committee: Jonathan Goofed By Abubakar Usman.

By Abubakar Usman

On Wednesday, the 17th of April 2013, the presidency announced the setting up of two presidential committees to engage members of the Boko Haram sect and look into the question of the amnesty as an option for ending the fighting.

The committees, made up of prominent Nigerians drawn the different spheres of life, seek to develop a framework for granting of amnesty to the Boko Haram sect; setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame as well as developing a comprehensive victims’ support programme, and mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insurgencies that will help to prevent future occurrences.

While the decision of the Federal Government on the setting up of the two committees is quite commendable, especially as it may bring about peace in the country, revelations coming from some persons as well as their rejection to serve in the committee gives cause for concern.

Two members of the Boko haram committee who were expected to play prominent roles in the success of the committee have already rejected the appointment, citing various reasons for doing so.

First was a human rights activist, Shehu Sani who in the past has repeatedly criticised the Federal Government over its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency. According to Sani, he was not consulted before being appointment into the committee. Apart from his belief that the best and easiest way to reach out to the leadership of the violent sect is to engage journalist Ahmad Salkida, who had reported extensively on the insurgency. He also thinks he has said enough on what the government should do to end the insurgency, but it seems the government is not ready to heed his advice.

While the dust over Shehu Sani’s rejection of the appointment was yet to settle, another prominent figure and head of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Mr. Datti Ahmad turned down the appointment. Mr. Ahmed said his decision was based on his past experience in dealing with the government on the Boko Haram issue. He cited two reasons, first that the government reneged on its agreement to grant the two conditions the Boko Haram sect demanded upon which successful dialogue will take place, thus displaying its insincerity and secondly, that the report of the committee which he was expected to serve in may be filled with lies considering the fact that the chairman and secretary of the committee are serving minister and civil servant respectively, who according to him will feel obligated to tell the government what it wants to hear.”

From the foregoing, one can conclude that the Federal Government is still far from convincing Nigerians that it has the capacity to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency. The fact that the situation got to a stage where amnesty is considered tells how much the government has failed in doing what is needed. Except for the fact that we are now looking the way of amnesty to restore peace to the northern part of the country, the ideal thing would ordinarily be that the insurgents be crushed and those who needs to face justice for the senseless killing of Nigerians and destruction of properties be made to face the full wrath of the law, but here we are considering amnesty because incompetence has brought us to that stage.

The questions are why on earth should you nominate people into committees that are expected to deal with issues as sensitive as Boko Haram without consulting them? Why do we need to have politicians that are most likely going to hide the truth if we are really interested in dealing with the insurgency? What is the big deal in having someone who has interfaced with the insurgent group a member of the committee if the government is really sincere in pursuing peace?

The government needs to understand that this issue at hand is beyond politics and must therefore not use it as an avenue to reward political loyalists. The entire situation may not have gotten this bad if government had not played politics with it when it first surfaced. Now that there is a window of opportunity to resolve the menace, the government must do all that is necessary to bring the sect’s members to the roundtable and not renege on any agreement reached with the sect. The government must be open in its dealing, engage the right people who can muster the courage to mediate between it and the sect and stay away from playing politics with the issue.

Although, President Jonathan told us the Boko Haram members are ghosts, but Datti Ahmed’s account indicates that the government had dialogued with the group more than once in the past. My take is that if this had been possible in the past, it can still happen again. All that is required is sincerity on the part of all those concerned.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman is an Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria. He blogs HERE and can be engaged directly on twitter @Abusidiqu


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Only Shekau-Led Boko Haram Will Decide Acceptance Of Amnesty.

By SaharaReporters, New York

A credible source has told SaharaReporters that only the Shura Council of Jama’atu Ahl-Sunnati Lil Da’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, can decide whether the sect will accept the proposed amnesty being advanced by Nigeria’s government. The council is led by Imam Abubakar Ibn Shekau.

The source explained that the Shura Council is Boko Haram’s apex council and highest decision-making organ of the sect. He added that all cells of the organization are represented in the council.

The source explained that everything about the proposed amnesty would be put to deliberation and thereafter subjected to the group’s Islamic theology and jurisprudence.

“Shura Council may surprise Nigerians, because they may agree and may not agree,” said the source. He added: “It depends on their understanding and Islamic theology and the jurisprudences they are following. They are above what people think about them, they are highly ideological and hold their beliefs high. They are committed Mujahideens and highly committed to their cause. I know this rather well.”

The source continued: “They are not jokers as others think about them; you need a serious and holistic approach to contain this ideology. You know the two people that repositioned the sect were Muhammad Yusuf and Muhammad Alli. They were both motivated by the 13th Islamic cleric  Ibn Taymiyya, who was a staunch defender of Sunni Islam based on strict adherence to the Qur’an and authentic Sunna (practices) of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibn Taymiyya believed that these two sources contain all the religious and spiritual guidance necessary for salvation in the hereafter. Thus he rejected the arguments and ideas of both philosophers and Sufis regarding religious knowledge, spiritual experiences and ritual practices.”

In addition, the source disclosed that the Shura Council would act according to the tenets of their faith. “Ibn Taymiyya was said to have disagreed with many of his fellow Sunni scholars because of his rejection of the rigidity of the schools of jurisprudence in Islam. He believed that the four accepted schools of jurisprudence had become stagnant and sectarian, and also that they were being improperly influenced by aspects of Greek logic and thought as well as Sufi mysticism. His challenge to the leading scholars of the day was to return to an understanding of Islam in practice and in faith, based solely on the Qur’an and Sunna,” our source noted.
The same source once disclosed that Boko Haram had developed a sophisticated leadership structure that includes several departments headed by highly trained personnel and charged with specific assignments. He revealed that the organization, which has carried out violent assaults in different parts of the North, had developed a layered organizational structure. “The Shura Council serves as the highest decision making body,” he said.

Boko Haram has recruited numerous members who have signed up to be suicide bombers. Other sub-groups include those specialized in stealing as well as disposal of expensive cars at gun point for use in terrorist activities; those who gather intelligence and carry out research for possible targets and modes of operation; those trained as ground troops to repel security agents and other counter actions.

Our source disclosed that Boko Haram maintains a department in charge of bomb making as well as the fixing of explosives for suicide bombers and bomb planters. He added that a different cell specializes in planting bombs at targeted sites. In addition, the sect has a department that handles the welfare of members as well as suicide bombers’ surviving wives and children.

Boko Haram’s public enlightenment department takes charge of outside communication, including all email, “youtube” and other video coverage. Another team is charged with recruitment and training of new members. Finally, the medical committee oversees the healthcare needs of members and their families.

Hard View: Sacrificing Peace Or Justice.


Hannatu Musawa

Hannatu Musawa

Justice or peace? Basically that’s what it boils down to. Since the beginning of the offensive by Boko Haram, there has been widespread debate about how to bring the bloody onslaught to an end. With so many divergent voices lending themselves to the debate of whether the particular strategy developed along the lines of amnesty is appropriate, given the surrounding circumstance; it’s anyone’s guess as to which side of the pendulum president Jonathan will ultimately land on the matter.

There is no doubt, the section of Boko Haram and other extremists that ignite this debate are a mob of ignorant, depraved, erroneous, wicked and misguided zealots  who have committed the most vile,  heinous, evil and immoral crimes against innocent people; women and children whom have done absolutely nothing to them. And for that, under any structure or belief system, there has to be retribution. In any country of the world, criminal prosecution of those accused of committing crimes is a fundamental aspect of a victim’s right to justice. However, sometimes the concept of remedial justice for victims often has to be balanced against the need to deal effectively and progressively with the atrocities and not provoke or maintain further violence. In such a circumstance, a restorative justice approach incorporating amnesty, focusing on the normative rather than the punitive objectives of criminal law, may be the more appropriate model. And that is how the issue of amnesty for Boko Haram comes into the fray, since the current situation we are in could be said to lend itself to such a circumstance.

From time immemorial, amnesty has been employed as a means of promoting settlement and advancing reconciliation in societies that have emerged from repression. But even though, it is a tool that was historically often utilized in conflict resolution, it was never entirely viewed as the best option; only a necessary one. When atrocities are committed with such impunity, as is the case with Boko Haram, and are merely dealt with by forgiveness and restorative justice, for the concept of human rights to have real legitimacy, they must connect up with retributive conceptions of justice. And a carte-blanche amnesty for Boko Haram, despite the atrocious mass murders and butchering they have subjected innocent Nigerians to, does not meet up with that standard.

Putting the issue of human rights aside for now, whether amnesty is the wisest course for the government to pursue with Boko Haram essentially remains a matter of debate and perception. Instead of examining the pros and cons of amnesty for Boko Haram on a large scale; instead of making arguments about setting bad precedents, previous amnesty agreements with criminal, renegade Niger Delta militants and not negotiating with ghosts, I opt to examine what the adoption or rejection of amnesty really means; what it would represent. Perhaps, if we remove all our emotional and sentimental blinkers, and break down the implications of any amnesty deal to their very basic indices, we might have a different way of assessing what the adoption or rejection of amnesty for Boko Haram really represents.

Fundamentally, in its simplest form, the adoption of amnesty for Boko Haram entails a choice between peace and justice. Peace and justice; two resolutions that inspire and give way to each other, would normally go together and complement each other. Ideally, any strategy adopted in this matter should incorporate both concepts. But when we are dealing with the kind of amnesty we are discussing at this immediate time within the backdrop of the atrocities that have been committed, the amnesty may only offer the best prospect for peace, not justice. Within this our particular impasse, unless Boko Haram surrender and offer them-selves up for trial and prosecution today, the two concepts certainly cannot be applied in a manner where they co-exist together. There is just no getting away from it, Peace verses Justice must be brought to a direct point when we talk about amnesty for Boko Haram. And if there is a dichotomy between the two, as suggested in this case, and a single choice has to be made, what ought we to prefer?

I have my own personal views on the issue and find that, for me, it is a battle of conscience for the past against the present. The past, because for the victims and for the crimes that have already been committed, justice should be served. The present, because the innocent people existing within the eye of the storm deserve some reprieve, deserve peace. But a third facet of this reasoning, the most important one, is the future. Given a singular choice between the concept of peace and justice, which option has the ability to actually change the status quo and provide the most stable and secure future for Nigerians?

History shows that in countries which have come out of oppressive regimes and trials where crimes against humanity were committed, the peace deals that sacrifice justice often fail to give way to the expected peace in the long run. Whereas justice initiates a fundamental change in society that adjusts the situations that allowed for the conflict, peace deals arguably only restore societies back to a state of non-war; principally one that allowed for the crisis in the first place. One would be hard pressed to find a case where a system that selects justice ever leads to a return to that conflict. Therefore based on this argument, peace should never be favored over justice, only to allow it to inspire justice.

On the other hand, while international and national criminal trials promote justice, the quest for justice can be a long winding road and can exacerbate divisions and may even hinder the achievement of peace. Usually, those who face the potential for prosecution may be reluctant to lay down arms, giving way for the violence to continue. Instead, amnesties for perpetrators are often thought to promote peace and reconciliation, though it is sought at the expense of retributive justice. Amnesties can also provide the calm environment necessary for reflection and dialogue to end the conflict.

It is essential for the government upon pondering their decision on whether to give amnesty to Boko Haram to gauge the views of the population most affected by the violence rather than instigating plans based on the views of politicians and dogmatists. The communities, the families, the businesses, the various ethnicities residing in the red zones, those that have been targeted, hounded and slaughtered should have the first-refusal to make an input into the decision government makes about amnesty. It is their views that should count first and foremost. Unless the government and security agencies have concrete plans to ensure the security of every family living in the target communities, it is their cries, their anguish and not those of the naysayers not directly affected by the violence or those politicizing and tribalizing the issue, which the government should take into account, in addition to providing full reparation to all the victims and their relatives.

Any initiative that the government eventually applies in regards to amnesty for terrorists should ideally balance the demand for justice against the need for peace and reconciliation. And while the lack of amnesty for Boko Haram can provide accountability and amnesty can provide stability, the attainment of both at this very point in time is almost impossible. A choice has to be made on the resolution the government will adopt. And the choice needs to be made pretty soon… People are dying.

So as we continue to unravel this morbid, dark drama that Boko Haram has visited upon us, we can be certain that the choice is not about which group of criminals deserve amnesty and which don’t, it’s not about a perverse allegiance to ethnicity or religion, it’s not even about an incompetent government lead by a president that does not seem to have a clue; it’s about what we are willing to sacrifice; Justice for the cause of Peace or Peace for the cause of Justice?

Over to you President Johnny, Sir! So what will it be…; Peace or Justice?
Written By Hannatu Musawa
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Source: Sahara Reporters.

Lawmakers debate treason charges against president.

PRAGUE (AP) — Lawmakers in the Czech parliament‘s upper house have gathered to do what they have never done before — decide whether to press high treason charges against outgoing PresidentVaclav Klaus over his controversial amnesty.

Klaus infuriated many Czechs when he halted court proceedings in several high-profile fraud cases and financial scams as part of his recent amnesty.

Only the Senate has the power to file high treason charges at the Constitutional Court. A majority of lawmakers in the 81-seat house, which is controlled by the left-wing opposition, has to approve that to happen. Monday’s session will be held behind closed doors.

The worst punishment Klaus faces is the loss of the presidential job and his final term in office ends Thursday.


Associated Press

Amnesty: Nigeria denies sect suspects their rights.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria is illegally holding hundreds of people suspected of participation in violence by a radical Islamist sect in inhumane conditions and without access to lawyers, a rights group warned Thursday.

The report released by Amnesty International alleges most of those imprisoned around the country are held without criminal charges and suggests that some have been summarily executed by security forces before facing trial. Some of those detained told the rights group that they were shackled for days, forced to sit in their own excrement in overcrowded cells while watching other prisoners get beaten and coerced into confessions.

Amnesty also blamed both the Nigerian government and the Islamist extremist sect, known as Boko Haram, in the report for likely committing crimes against humanity as the guerrilla conflict engulfing the nation’s Muslim north continues to kills civilians.

“There is a vicious cycle of violence currently taking place in Nigeria,” the report reads. “The Nigerian people are trapped in the middle.”

Security forces routinely deny committing abuses, though the nation has a long history of abuses and so-killed extrajudicial killings being carried out by police officers and soldiers. Military spokesman Col. Mohammed Yerima said soldiers do hold prisoners, but only to do a “thorough job” investigating their backgrounds. He said some had falsely reported neighbors as Boko Haram members out of petty disputes.

“We don’t torture people. We interrogate them and find out if they are members of the Boko Haram,” Yerima told The Associated Press. “We don’t have any concentration camp that they are talking about. All we have is offices where we work.”

Federal police spokesman Frank Mba did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday about the report’s claims.

The Amnesty report comes as both Nigeria’s government and Boko Haram faces increasing international condemnation. Violence blamed on Boko Haram has killed more than 720 people this year alone, according to an AP account — the deadliest year since the sect began its attacks in 2009. A Human Rights Watch report in October also accused Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram of likely committing crimes against humanity in their fighting.

The Amnesty report includes claims of killings, house burnings and rapes carried out by security forces, allegations that have trailed the government’s response to Boko Haram for months. Amnesty estimates that more than 200 suspected Boko Haram members are being held at a barracks in Maiduguri, while more than 100 others are being held at a police station in Abuja. Dozens of others probably are being held at the headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s secret police, and others elsewhere, Amnesty said.

Those held largely do not know where they are detained, cannot contact their families or speak to lawyers, in contravention of Nigerian law, Amnesty said. Many are shackled together for nearly the entire day, the report said. Those held at the police station in Abuja are kept in a former slaughterhouse where chains still hang from the ceiling, the rights group said.

“There were shots in the night. I was hearing the shot of guns but I didn’t know what they are doing,” said one former detainee at the police station quoted in the Amnesty report. “When (the police) were collecting statements, some of us cannot speak English, and some of the officers cannot speak our language, so those that have difficulty, they have been beaten … Our lives were — we were not alive. We had no food, no water and no bath.”

Others told Amnesty that soldiers beat at least one prisoner with an electrical cable, while others were denied access to medicine and care. In the report, Amnesty said it requested to see prisons, police stations, military detention centers and holding cells of the Nigeria’s secret police, but did not get access to the facilities.

Those arrested by police in Nigeria routinely face years of imprisonment before even being brought to court, due to the country’s creaking judicial system. That has only been exacerbated by the influx of new suspected Boko Haram members, many of whom remain held by a military that does not hand them over to civilian authorities, Amnesty said.

“The failure to prosecute Boko Haram suspects has meant that justice is not being seen to be done, and confidence in the security forces to address the crimes and human rights abuses committed by Boko Haram is being eroded,” the report reads.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has demanded the release of all its captive members and has called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces. Despite leaders enacting martial law and sending more troops into the region, the sect’s attacks continue unstopped.

Recently, the military claimed it killed a number of the sect’s senior leaders and it put out statements claiming to have killed dozens of other members in its operations. However, some worry those killed by the army include civilians, especially after soldiers in the northeast city of Maiduguri killed at least 32 civilians in a reprisal attack following a suspected Boko Haram bombing last month.

Meanwhile, the killings attributed to the Islamist sect continue unstopped. Attacks by Boko Haram on Tuesday killed at least four people and saw sect members burn a police station, a school, a church and a mobile phone tower, witnesses and the military said.


Associated Press writer Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria, contributed to this report.



Amnesty International:


By JON GAMBRELL | Associated Press

Civilians facing ‘horrific’ violence in Aleppo: Amnesty.


  • A man stands on posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the offices of a Free Syrian Army battalion in the town of Tal Rifaat, in the northern province of Aleppo. Syrian civilians are facing "horrific" violence as the battle for the commercial capital Aleppo rages, Amnesty International said Thursday, lashing out primarily at regime troops for launching indiscriminate attacks. (AFP Photo/Phil Moore)A man stands on posters of Syrian …

Syrian civilians are facing “horrific” violence as the battle for the commercial capital Aleppo rages, Amnesty International said Thursday, lashing out primarily at regime troops for launchingindiscriminate attacks.

“The use of imprecise weapons, such as unguided bombs, artillery shells and mortars by government forces has dramatically increased the danger for civilians,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who recently returned from Aleppo, said in a statement.

Amnesty said it investigated some 30 attacks during a recent visit to Aleppo by its team in which “scores of civilians not involved in hostilities, many of them children, were killed or injured” in their homes, while queuing for bread or in places where they had taken shelter.

It said that attacks often failed to distinguish between opposition fighters and civilian residents and appeared to be randomly directed at neighbourhoods which are under the de-facto control of opposition fighters, rather than at specific military objectives.

“Civilians face a daily barrage of air and artillery strikes by government forces in different parts of the city. For many there is simply nowhere safe and families live in fear of the next attack,” said Rovera.

Some of the victims died in the very places where they had sought shelter, having been forced to flee their homes by the fighting, the statement said.

Amnesty said civilians were killed and injured while queuing for bread and cited an example of a 13-year-old girl, Kifa Samra and her 11-year-old brother Zakarya who were killed along with their neighbour, a mother of 11, on August 12 while queuing for bread near their home.

“Those responsible for indiscriminate attacks against civilians and other war crimes should expect that they will be held to account,” said Rovera.

The overwhelming majority of victims were killed in air strikes and artillery attacks by government forces, while in some cases the source of the attack could not be established, the statement said.

Amnesty also said that a further deeply disturbing development was the sharp increase in extrajudicial and summary executions of civilians not involved in the conflict by government forces.

“Bodies of mostly young men, usually handcuffed and shot in the head, have been frequently found dumped near the headquarters of the Air Force Intelligence which is completely controlled by government forces,” Amnesty said.

It also raised concerns about increased abuses, including unlawful killings and ill-treatment of captives by opposition fighters belonging to a plethora of armed opposition group, including the Free Syrian Army operating in the city.

“It is shameful that the international community remains divided over Syria, disregarding the body of evidence of the scale and the gravity of the human rights abuses in Syria and effectively looking the other way while civilians are bearing the brunt,” it added.

More than 23,000 people have been killed since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011, according to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.



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