Yemen army makes strategic advances against Houthis

Tribal gunmen brandish their weapons during a gathering to show support to the the Shiite Houthi movement against Yemen in the northwestern city of Saada. (AFP/File)
Updated 17 January 2019

Yemen army makes strategic advances against Houthis

  • The Yemeni army also clashed with Houthi militia in Taiz
  • Several Houthis were killed during the fighting

DUBAI: The Yemeni army has continued in its advances against the Houthis, liberating strategic areas in Saada that were strong-holds of the militia, the armed forces media center said Thursday.

Backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the army advanced in the western part of Saada province, northwestern Yemen, making gains in Baqem district.

The forces also liberated Mount Al-Omani during the attack.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Yemeni army clashed with Houthi militia in Taiz, where dozens of Houthis died and several others were injured.

The Yemeni army also attacked Houthi posts in other areas in Taiz, killing 11 and wounding several others, Colonel Hamid Al-Khalidi told the Yemen News Agency.


Turkish lawyers threaten boycott of Erdogan’s courts ceremony

Updated 18 August 2019

Turkish lawyers threaten boycott of Erdogan’s courts ceremony

  • The boycott protest would be a first by law associations against Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • EU: Turkey’s judicial independence and the principle of separation of powers have been eroded since 2014

ISTANBUL: Dozens of Turkish bar associations are threatening to boycott President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned ceremony to open the judicial year at the presidential palace, saying it would be another violation of the judiciary’s independence.
The boycott protest would be a first by law associations against Erdogan, who has faced increasing criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and rights activists over media freedoms and interference in the courts.
The European Union says Turkey’s judicial independence and the principle of separation of powers have been eroded since 2014 and that judges and prosecutors have come under increasing political pressure.
At least 42 bar associations including those for Istanbul and the capital Ankara said they would not attend the event on September 2 because they believe the ceremony should take place at the Supreme Court building, not the presidential palace.
“These past years have seen judicial independence being seriously undermined... The judiciary is under pressure from the executive,” Mehmet Durakoglu, head of the Istanbul bar association, said on Sunday.
“Under these circumstances, we would expect the ceremony for the opening of the judicial year to take place at a venue that represents the separation of powers, rather than a political location.”
Erdogan’s supporters dismiss criticism he has undermined Turkish democracy, saying his government faces domestic threats especially since a failed 2016 coup against him.
For many of his more conservative backers, he has brought prosperity and defended Turkey’s interests in his decade and a half in power.
The opening ceremony for the new judicial year was first held at the presidential palace in 2016 after the failed coup.
Since then authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people for alleged ties to the coup plotters, in what rights groups say is an unprecedented crackdown.
Erdogan has dismissed criticism over the ceremony, describing the presidential palace on the outskirts of Ankara as “the place of the people.”
“The ceremony taking place in the place of the people would only strengthen judicial independence,” the Turkish leader has said.
But for attorneys, the boycott decision represents a “reaction against violation of freedom of expression, rule of law and judicial independence,” said Dogus Aygun, another lawyer from the Istanbul bar association.
Critics say Turkey’s courts have bowed to pressure, often making rulings that favor authorities since massive purges in the judiciary following a corruption scandal in 2013 and the 2016 coup bid.
Durakoglu said the bar associations would keep up with their campaign for more judicial independence in Turkey even “at the expense of paying a heavy price.”
“We have no fear nor hesitation,” he said. “We see no solution other than keep on fighting.”