Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

Poland’s Ambassador to Russia Wlodzimierz Marciniak arrives at the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters to attend a meeting with the ministry’s experts on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city this month, Mar 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

SALISBURY: Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have begun work at the scene of the nerve agent attack on former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury, a Reuters photographer said.
The inspectors were seen arriving at the Mill pub in Salisbury where Skripal and his daughter Yulia had a drink on March 4.
The pair were later found unconscious on a bench outside The Maltings shopping center. They remain critically ill in hospital.

But a senior Foreign Ministry official indicated that Russia won’t recognize results of the OPCW investigation.
Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation, was asked during a briefing whether Moscow would accept the results of the OPCW probe.
Yermakov said that “unscrupulous efforts” to investigate the attack without sharing the case files with Moscow “is not going to work for us.”
Yermakov went on to slam Britain for refusing to cooperate in a probe into the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy on English soil, criticizing its “Russophobia” and “island mentality.”
“Pull yourselves away a little bit from your Russophobia, your island mentality,” Vladimir Yermakov, told a briefing of representatives of foreign diplomatic missions.

Britain said Wednesday that its ambassador in Moscow has snubbed the meeting.
The Kremlin slammed the absence of British ambassador Laurie Bristow, saying it showed London’s unwillingness to cooperate.
On Tuesday, Moscow had invited all ambassadors to Russia to a meeting with foreign ministry experts to hear its views on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city earlier this month. Several western diplomatic missions said their chiefs did not attend the meeting in solidarity with the UK.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has called for “transparency from Russia” over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.
Merkel emphasized Germany’s solidarity with Britain in a speech to lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday. She said that “a lot of evidence points to Russia and so transparency from Russia is required to quell the suspicion.”
Merkel added: “I would be happy if I didn’t have to name Russia here, but we can’t disregard evidence because we don’t want to name Russia.”


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.