40 imams deported from France since 2012 for ‘preaching hatred’

Updated 30 June 2015
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40 imams deported from France since 2012 for ‘preaching hatred’

PARIS: France has deported 40 foreign imams for “preaching hatred” in the past three years, a quarter of them in the last six months, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday.
The minister vowed to clamp down on mosques and preachers inciting hatred after a suspected Islamist beheaded his boss during an attack on a gas factory last week.
The attack, which had the hallmarks of a terrorist act but is also believed to have personal motivations, was the second in six months in France which is battling to curb radicalization that has seen hundreds of citizens leave to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria.
Any “foreign preacher of hate will be deported,” said Cazeneuve, adding that several mosques were being investigated for inciting terrorism and if found to be doing so, “will be shut down.”
“We have deported 40 preachers of hatred since 2012. Since the beginning of the year we have examined 22 cases, and around 10 imams and preachers of hatred have been expelled,” said Cazeneuve.
Yassin Salhi, 35, on Sunday confessed during interrogation to killing his boss and pinning his head to a fence of the Air Products factory near the eastern city of Lyon.
The severed head was discovered flanked by two Islamic flags and it later emerged he had sent a selfie of himself with the head to a number believed to belong to a French jihadist currently in Syria.
While Salhi was known to security services for links to radical Islamists in France, and his crime bore the hallmarks of a terrorist act, sources close to the investigation have suggested a personal dimension after a dispute with his employer two days earlier.
“There is no doubt of the personal motivations but there is a symbolism taken from the most atrocious, abject images of terrorism,” said Cazeneuve.


Sri Lanka’s president orders execution of 4 drug convicts

Updated 2 min 16 sec ago
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Sri Lanka’s president orders execution of 4 drug convicts

  • The executions if carried out will end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment
  • President Maithripala Sirisena says narcotic drugs have become a serious menace across the country with 300,000 addicts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s president said on Wednesday that he has ordered the executions of four drug offenders who will be hanged in prison soon, amid alarm over drug-related crimes in this Indian Ocean island nation.
The executions if carried out will end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment.
President Maithripala Sirisena told a media discussion on Wednesday that he has signed the death warrants including the days of the executions and sent them to prison authorities.
He said narcotic drugs have become a serious menace across the country with 300,000 addicts. According to Sirisena, 60 percent of 24,000 inmates have been jailed for drug-related offenses. Sri Lanka prisons are built to accommodate 11,000 people.
Sri Lanka last executed a prisoner in 1976. Currently, 1,299 prisoners are on death row, including 48 convicted of drug offenses.
Prison authorities are now in the process of recruiting two hangmen after two others quit without executing anyone.
At present, 26 people have been shortlisted for a two-day training, said Bandula Jayasinghe, an official at the Justice and Prison Reforms Ministry.
Drug trafficking is a capital offense in Sri Lanka, which authorities believe is used by peddlers as a transit hub.
Rights groups and foreign governments including the EU have previously criticized Sirisena’s suggestions to revive the death penalty, saying there is no perfect criminal justice system and the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated.
Sirisena, who visited the Philippines in January, praised President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs as “an example to the world.” Thousands of suspects, mostly urban poor, have been slain since Duterte took office in 2016. Rights groups have denounced what they say are extrajudicial killings. Police say most of the suspects were killed in encounters with officers.
Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist, a religion that advocates non-violence. Sirisena has previously said the country has had positive influences from all religions but tough law enforcement is necessary to curb crime and maintain order.
In April, police publicly destroyed 770 kilograms (1,695 pounds) of drugs seized in 2016 and 2017. Police have seized 731 kilograms (1,608 pounds) of heroin, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine and 1,607 kilograms (3,535 pounds) of marijuana so far this year.
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in Sri Lanka, followed by heroin and cocaine. Drug-related arrests rose 2 percent in 2017 from the previous year to 81,156.