800 Yazidis refugees resettled in Canada: Minister

A displaced Yazidi family flees violence from forces loyal to Daesh in Sinjar town, in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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800 Yazidis refugees resettled in Canada: Minister

OTTAWA: Nearly 800 Yazidi women and girls and others who fled persecution by the Daesh group in northern Iraq have been resettled in Canada, the immigration minister said Thursday.
Canada’s Parliament last year, with Iraqi activist Nadia Murad on hand, declared the persecution of Yazidis a genocide and said this country would take in up to 1,200.
“Today, I am proud (to say that) almost 800 Yazidi women and girls, and other survivors of Daesh have already arrived, and have begun the process of rebuilding their lives with the assistance of private sponsors and community groups all across Canada,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the House of Commons.
“I continue to be amazed by the generosity and compassion extended to this highly vulnerable group by all Canadians,” he added.
Thousands of women and girls, especially from the Yazidi minority, suffered horrific abuse in Daesh controlled areas, including rape, abduction, slavery and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Many were captured as spoils of war to be used as sex slaves after Daesh militants massacred Yazidis in Sinjar in 2014.
The women were sold and traded across the militants’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.
Around 3,000 are believed to remain in captivity, the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN rights office said in an August report.
The report also raised particular concerns over the situation of hundreds of children born from the sexual violence risked facing a lifetime of discrimination and abuse.
On Tuesday, another Yazidi survivor, Shireen Jerdo Ibrahim, testified before a US congressional committee, seeking US help for her community.


Pakistan court rejects Sharif family’s bail pleas

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago
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Pakistan court rejects Sharif family’s bail pleas

  • Court adjourned hearing into the case until end of July, seeking complete record of trial against Sharif family
  • Ex-premier’s close aide, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, still expects the high court will set aside the convictions

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court on Tuesday rejected appeals of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt. (retd) Mohammad Safdar for bail and suspension of their convictions in a corruption reference.
A divisional bench of Islamabad High Court has taken up the Sharif family’s appeals against an accountability court verdict in Avenfield properties reference and later adjourned the hearing until the last week of July.
The two-member bench comprising Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb, however, issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor and investigator to present a complete record of the trial in the court at the time of the next hearing.
The ex-premier, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are currently in jail after the accountability court in Islamabad on July 6 sentenced Nawaz and Maryam in absentia to 10 years and seven years respectively with a $8 million and $2 million fine respectively on corruption charges.
Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
The Islamabad High Court has now summoned a NAB prosecutor and investigation officer on the next hearing to record their arguments on the Sharif family’s appeals seeking bail and suspension of the accountability court verdict.
The court was packed to its capacity when hearing into the appeals started in the afternoon. Scores of supporters and leaders of the ex-premier have turned up in the court to observe the hearing into the appeals.
Lawyers of the convicts highlighted legal lacunae in the accountability court verdict during the hearing and urged the court to suspend the imprisonment sentences of their clients until a final decision of the Islamabad High Court.
Khawaja Harris, legal counsel of Nawaz Sharif, argued that it was a case of having assets beyond known sources of income but the NAB prosecutor and investigator failed to provide valuation of the Avenfield properties during the trial.
He said the accountability court verdict is also based on presumptions that Nawaz Sharif’s children were dependent on him and had no monetary resources to buy the London flats. He said the prosecution also failed to prove this assumption during the trial.
Likewise, Amjad Pervez, legal counsel of Maryam and Safdar, also highlighted flaws in the accountability court’s verdict and urged the court to set aside the ruling.
The court also dismissed the Sharif family’s request to stay corruption trial in remaining two references in the accountability court till their appeals are decided.
Talking to the media outside the court, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, a close aide of Nawaz Sharif, said the people expect the high court to decide on the appeals at the same speed with which corruption proceedings were conducted against the Sharif family in the accountability court.
“We expect justice from the court,” he said. “We hope the high court will declare the convictions of Nawaz Sharif and his family void after hearing the arguments of our lawyers.”
On July 13, both Nawaz and Maryam were arrested at Lahore airport on their arrival from London and sent to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, to serve their sentence.
The two leaders were in London at the time of the verdict with Nawaz’s wife and Maryam’s mother Kulsoom Nawaz, who is battling cancer. She has reportedly been on life support since June 14.
Earlier, Shahbaz Sharif, younger brother of Nawaz Sharif and ex-chief minister Punjab province, has written a letter to the caretaker chief minister to complain about “abysmal conditions” under which the ex-premier was languishing in a high-security Adiala jail.
He demanded the government provide all basic facilities, including access to a personal doctor and air-conditioning, to Nawaz Sharif.
“It is very unfortunate that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, three-time prime minister of Pakistan, is being treated in such a shabby manner,” the letter available to Arab News reads.