Japan says China ships in disputed waters

Updated 18 February 2013
0

Japan says China ships in disputed waters

TOKYO: Chinese government ships were in waters around disputed East China Sea islands yesterday, Japan’s coastguard said, as a senior Japanese diplomat prepared for meetings in Beijing aimed at mending frayed ties.
Three state-run Maritime Surveillance vessels were clocked in seas off the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus and claims as its own, around 0000 GMT, the coastguard said.
Kyodo News Agency reported that Japan had made a formal protest to China about what it believes is an incursion into its sovereign waters.
It was the latest in a series of incidents at sea that have also included confrontations between warships, with Japan claiming Chinese vessels locked their weapons-targeting radar onto a ship and a helicopter.
Beijing has denied the charge, which rang alarm bells for commentators already warning of the growing possibility of a military exchange that could have disastrous consequences for the region.
The row between Asia’s two largest economies blistered in September when Tokyo nationalized three islands in the chain, in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership.


Months of angry exchanges followed, with the diplomatic temperature rising all the time.
But North Korea’s nuclear test last week somewhat dampened the rhetoric, with the international community keen for China to come onboard a broad move to pressure its sometimes-irksome ally.
The Japanese foreign ministry is planning to dispatch Shinsuke Sugiyama, in charge of Asian and Oceanian affairs, on Tuesday for talks with Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, local media said.
Sugiyama was also expected to meet Luo Zhaohui, chief of Asian affairs at the Chinese foreign ministry, to discuss Tokyo’s concerns about the radar incident.
The Japanese foreign ministry said Sugiyama was going to China for a meeting, but declined to discuss whether he would meet with his Chinese counterparts.


UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd’s death sentence

Updated 31 min 58 sec ago
0

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd’s death sentence

  • Ramin Hossein Panahi was arrested last June for alleged membership in the Kurdish nationalist group Komala.
  • Three United Nations human rights experts warned that executing Panahi “would be unconscionable.”

Geneva: Three United Nations human rights experts called on Iran Thursday to annul a death sentence handed to an Iranian Kurdish prisoner, citing concerns he had been tortured in detention.
The experts warned that executing Ramin Hossein Panahi, who they said was arrested last June for alleged membership in the Kurdish nationalist group Komala, “would be unconscionable.”
In a joint statement, they said he had been “sentenced to death for taking up arms against the state” due to his alleged membership of the group.
Iran’s Supreme Court apparently reaffirmed the death sentence earlier this month, they said, adding that his case was due to be passed to the country’s Office of Implementation.
“We are deeply disturbed by reports that Mr. Panahi has suffered human rights violations before and during his trial, including incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment, and denial of access to a lawyer and adequate medical care,” they said.
They pointed to reports that he had been denied medical care for injuries suffered during his imprisonment, including from reported beating with cables.
He also reportedly started a hunger strike at the beginning of this year.
“The death sentence was imposed on Mr. Panahi after judicial proceedings which do not appear to have fulfilled the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process,” they said.
The experts, including the UN special rapporteur on torture and the expert on summary executions, stressed that “the only thing that distinguishes capital punishment from arbitrary execution is full respect for stringent due process guarantees.”
“We urge the government of Iran to annul the death sentence.”
The experts also raised concern that members of Panahi’s family appeared to have been convicted in “summary trials, and sentenced to long prison terms, in apparent reprisals for their efforts to obtain further information on his situation.”