Lebanon court orders six-month jail term for journalist

Hanin Ghaddar, a researcher known for her criticism of the powerful Hezbollah movement, was sentenced in absentia. (YouTube/Washington Institute)
Updated 18 January 2018
0

Lebanon court orders six-month jail term for journalist

BEIRUT: A Lebanese military court handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for presenting views critical of the army, a court official told AFP said Thursday.
Hanin Ghaddar, also a researcher known for her criticism of the powerful Hezbollah movement, was sentenced in absentia on Jan. 10 over an expose at a conference in the US, the source said.
Her sentence sparked outrage among fellow journalists and academics in Lebanon, where they said free speech and freedom of the press were once again being challenged.
The court official said the ruling found Ghaddar, a US resident, guilty of “defaming the Lebanese army, harming its reputation and accusing it of distinguishing between Lebanese citizens.”
During a conference session in Washington in 2014, a recording of which is available online, she described the situation in Lebanon as “Sunnis being clamped down by Hezbollah and the Lebanese army versus Hezbollah militia being the untouchables.”
Hezbollah is a Shiite organization backed by Iran which is represented in the Lebanese government and has a militia often considered more powerful than the national army itself.
The military courts in Lebanon have a very broad jurisdiction over civilians and rights groups have voiced concern that could be used as a tool for intimidation against free speech and activism.
— AFP


Amnesty faults electric vehicle batteries as carbon intensive, linked to child labor

Updated 23 min 8 sec ago
0

Amnesty faults electric vehicle batteries as carbon intensive, linked to child labor

  • Global automakers are investing billions of dollars to ramp up electric vehicle production
  • Many of the batteries are produced using polluting fossil fuels and unethically sourced minerals -— AI
LONDON: Amnesty International attacked the electric vehicle (EV) industry on Thursday for selling itself as environmentally friendly while producing many of its batteries using polluting fossil fuels and unethically sourced minerals.
Manufacturing batteries can be carbon intensive, while the extraction of minerals used in them has been linked to human rights violations such as child labor, a statement from the rights group said.
“Electric vehicles are key to shifting the motor industry away from fossil fuels, but they are currently not as ethical as some retailers would like us to believe,” it said, announcing the initiative at the Nordic Electric Vehicle Summit in Oslo.
Production of lithium-ion batteries for EVs is power intensive, and factories are concentrated in China, South Korea and Japan, where power generation is largely dependent on coal or other fossil fuels, Amnesty said.
Global automakers are investing billions of dollars to ramp up electric vehicle production. German giant Volkswagen for one plans to raise annual production of electric cars to 3 million by 2025, from 40,000 in 2018.
Amnesty demanded the EV industry come up with an ethical and clean battery within five years and in the meantime that carbon footprints be disclosed and supply chains of key minerals identified.
Last month, a letter seen by Reuters showed that 14 non-governmental organizations including Amnesty and Global Witness had opposed plans by the London Metal Exchange to ban cobalt tainted by human rights abuses.
Instead of banning the cobalt brands, the LME should work with firms that produce them to ensure responsible sourcing, they said.