China ‘harvesting’ Falun Gong organs: report

Members of the Falun Gong group act out a scene of forced organ harvesting. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 June 2019

China ‘harvesting’ Falun Gong organs: report

  • The panel said a considerable amount of people were affected by the forced organ collection
  • The report said the waiting time for organ transplants is considerably short

LONDON: Forced organ harvesting has been carried out “for years throughout China” and members of the Falun Gong spiritual group have “probably” been the main victims, according to a panel of lawyers.
A report by the London-based China Tribunal, released to journalists ahead of a summary to be published online on Wednesday, concluded that “forced organ harvesting continues till today.”
The panel said it was “unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt — that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.”
“Falun Gong practitioners have been one — and probably the main — source of organ supply,” it added.
The China Tribunal was set up by campaign group the “International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China” to examine the issue.
The panel, headed by British lawyer Geoffrey Nice, warned that the “concerted persecution and medical testing” of China’s Muslim Uighurs meant “evidence of forced organ harvesting of this group may emerge in due course.”
The report cited “extraordinarily short waiting times” for organs and the number of transplant operations performed as evidence, highlighting the “impossibility of there being anything like sufficient ‘eligible donors’.”
China has repeatedly denied accusations that it takes organs from prisoners of conscience.
A government spokesman issued a statement before the report’s release saying “we hope that the British people will not be misled by rumors.”

Indonesian couple identified as Philippine church suicide bombers

Updated 14 min 13 sec ago

Indonesian couple identified as Philippine church suicide bombers

  • Information obtained from two captured militants helped to confirm bombers’ identities
  • 22 people were killed by the blasts at a Catholic church on Jolo island in the Philippines in January

JAKARTA: Police in Indonesia on Tuesday announced that the suicide bombers who killed 22 people in a Catholic church in the Philippines were a married couple thought to be from the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. They were named as Rullie Rian Zeke and his wife, Ulfah Handayani Saleh.

It follows months of speculation after authorities in the Philippines said that they believed two Indonesians were responsible for the attack on Jolo Island in January.

Indonesian National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said that officers were able to confirm the information that strongly suggested this through statements from two suspected militants: Novendri, who was arrested in Padang, West Sumatra, in July, and Yoga Febrianto, who was arrested in Malaysia last month.

He added that Indonesian anti-terrorism squad Densus 88 had worked with Filipino counterparts to try to identify the bombers using DNA tests but were hampered by a lack of other samples to compare with their remains.

“They entered the Philippines illegally, so their identities were not well recorded,” said Dedi. “There were strong indications that they were Indonesians because they spoke and behaved liked Indonesians. After we arrested Novendri and Yoga Febrianto...they revealed that the two suicide bombers in the Philippines were Indonesians.

“There are indications that the bombers were from Sulawesi but Densus 88 is probing further into their background and addresses, to compare with the DNA results we have.”

Police said Novendri is part of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a pro-Daesh Indonesian militant group that carried out a fatal bombing in central Jakarta in January 2016 and a series of bomb attacks in Surabaya, East Java in May 2018, including three on churches. With his arrest, police said they had foiled attacks targeting police in West Sumatra, which were planned for Aug. 17: Indonesia’s Independence Day.

They added that he received orders from Syaifullah, a suspected terrorist mastermind who is on the anti-terror squad’s hit list and is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan's Khorasan province.

Dedi said Syaifullah had received money transfers totaling more than US$28,000 from Western Union between March 2016 and September 2017 from countries including Trinidad and Tobago, the Maldives, Germany, Malaysia and Venezuela.

“These were the funds he received to move the JAD cells in Indonesia,” he added.

“Densus 88 is remapping former terror convicts, those who were deported and returned from Syria, and hunting down those on the hit list in cooperation with counterparts from the Philippines, Malaysia and Afghanistan. This is our preventive action to thwart JAD’s structured terror attacks.”