Ecuador gives kidnappers 12 hours for news on abducted reporters

Relatives and friends of journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas and their driver Efrain Segarra, who were abducted by dissident Colombian rebels on the troubled border with Colombia last March 26, take part in a mass at the Basilica of Quito on April 5, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2018
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Ecuador gives kidnappers 12 hours for news on abducted reporters

QUITO, Ecuador: Ecuador’s president gave renegade Colombian rebels 12 hours Thursday night to show whether three abducted reporters are alive, or face a forceful response.
The government Thursday received photos Thursday from the Colombian TV station RCN suggesting the three had been killed.
The journalists were abducted by rogue forces of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas along the countries’ shared border on March 26.
President Lenin Moreno, in an emotional speech, said if the government does not receive word on the team’s status “we will move forcefully ... not hesitating to punish these human rights violators,” the president said.
He spoke at Quito airport upon his return from a regional summit in Peru. “The clock starts clicking right now,” Moreno said.
Reporter Javier Ortega, 32, photographer Paul Rivas, 45, and their driver Efrain Segarra, 60, were kidnapped by rogue Colombian FARC guerrillas on March 26 at the Ecuador-Colombia border.
On April 3, Colombia’s RCN television aired a 23-second video showing the trio wearing chains with locks around their necks, the first proof of being alive.
One of the hostages asked Moreno to reach an agreement for their release.
Moreno in turn announced his government “will do everything possible and impossible so that they return safe and sound,” according to a spokesman.
Moreno decided to return urgently to Quito after a Colombian television channel announced it had received photographs that show the three journalists may be dead.
The journalists were on assignment in the border area where Ecuadoran security forces have come under a series of deadly attacks blamed on rogue FARC elements involved in drug trafficking.
The larger FARC movement reached a historic peace agreement with the Colombian government in 2016.


Myanmar evicts family of officer who testified on entrapment

Updated 21 April 2018
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Myanmar evicts family of officer who testified on entrapment

  • Two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been detained since December 12 on charges of violating the Official Secrets Act.
  • Police Capt. Moe Yan Naing told a court that his superior had arranged for two policemen to meet the reporters and hand over documents described as “important secret papers” in order to entrap them.

Yangon: Myanmar police on Saturday evicted the family of a police officer who testified that he and others had been ordered to entrap two reporters working for the Reuters news agency who are facing charges that could get them up to 14 years in prison, the officer’s wife said.
The reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been detained since Dec. 12 on charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The two helped cover the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where a brutal counterinsurgency operation last year drove about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh.
Police Capt. Moe Yan Naing told a court Friday that his superior had arranged for two policemen to meet the reporters at a restaurant and hand over documents described as “important secret papers” in order to entrap them.
On Saturday, Moe Yan Naing’s wife, Daw Tuu, said she and her daughter were ordered to move out of their police housing in the capital, Naypyitaw.
“A police officer called us this morning and said we have to move out of the housing immediately and that’s the order from the superior,” Daw Tuu said, sobbing.
Moe Yan Naing said he and other colleagues who had been interviewed earlier by Wa Lone about their activities in Rakhine had been interrogated under the direction of Brig. Gen. Tin Ko Ko of the 8th Security Police Battalion.
The police department’s action against Moe Yan Naing’s family caused an outcry in Myanmar.
“This is an outrageous move,” said Robert Sann Aung, a human rights lawyer. “This is to give an example to other police in the country to keep silent from telling the truth.”
The court in Yangon has been holding hearings since January. The defendants’ lawyers have asked the court to drop the case against the pair, saying prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to support the case, but the judge denied the motion.