Over 80 dead in China floods

Updated 28 August 2013
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Over 80 dead in China floods

BEIJING: More than 80 people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled their homes after the worst floods to hit northeast China in more than a decade, state media said Tuesday.
At least 20 people died in Jilin province and 239,000 residents were evacuated after persistent rain “brought chaos” to 56 counties, Xinhua news agency reported.
Rainstorms have also swept Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces. A total of 85 people are now confirmed dead in the northeast with 105 missing, Xinhua said.
In Jilin, 585,000 hectares (1.4 million acres) of cropland had been damaged along with thousands of homes, it said, estimating losses at more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion).
The Jilin government has sent 824 tons of grain to the disaster areas, Xinhua quoted provincial officials as saying.


UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd’s death sentence

Updated 43 min 44 sec ago
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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.”