Ecuador orders removal of extra security at London embassy where Assange resides

Policemen and members of the media stand outside the Embassy of Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 18 May 2018

Ecuador orders removal of extra security at London embassy where Assange resides

QUITO: Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno has ordered the immediate withdrawal of extra security assigned to the country’s embassy in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has resided since 2012.
A brief statement from Ecuador’s National Communications Secretariat said from now on the diplomatic mission would have “normal security similar to the rest of Ecuador’s embassies in the world.”
The statement did not say why the decision was made.
In March, Ecuador’s government cut off Assange’s Internet connection following his activity on social media decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.
Ecuador granted Assange asylum in its London embassy in 2012 where he has remained cooped up ever since. Ecuador has tried to find a solution that would allow Assange to leave without the threat of arrest, but with no success.


Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

Updated 28 min 30 sec ago

Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

  • Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi
  • Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: A Pakistan couple have been arrested for allegedly murdering their seven-year-old maid after she was blamed for letting a pet bird escape, police said, the latest case of violence against child domestic workers in the country.
Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, to care for their son of a similar same age.
“The poor girl was subjected to torture by Siddiqui and his wife who accused her of freeing one of the four pet Macao parrots,” investigating officer Mukhtar Ahmad said on Thursday.
“Siddiqui kicked her in the lower abdomen which proved fatal.”
Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan, according to the International Labour Organization.
Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15, but it remains common practice.
Zohra was taken to hospital by the couple on Sunday, but died the following day. The incident was reported to the police by staff at the hospital.
The young girl’s body was handed over to her parents, who live in Muzaffargarh, near the city of Multan, more than 500 kilometers away from where she was working.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari confirmed the arrests in a tweet and said the ministry was in touch with police.
“Violence and physical torture against children will not be tolerated and all those involved in such incidents will be dealt with,” city police chief Muhammad Ahsan Younus added.
Domestic workers frequently face exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, with Pakistan’s patriarchal and rigid social-class structure leaving them without a voice.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and Bibi’s case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.
In December 2018, the rising number of abuse cases led the provincial legislature in Punjab to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.