Interpol president reported missing during trip to China

A French judicial official says Friday Oct.5, 2018 Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, has been reported missing after traveling to China. (AP)
Updated 06 October 2018

Interpol president reported missing during trip to China

PARIS: The Chinese president of Interpol has been reported missing after he traveled to his native country at the end of September, a French judicial official said Friday.
Meng Hongwei’s wife reported Friday that she had not heard from her 64-year-old husband since he left Lyon, France, where Interpol is based, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of an ongoing investigation.
The French official said Meng did arrive in China. There was no further word on Meng’s schedule in China or what prompted his wife to wait until now to report his absence.
Meng, who has been president of Interpol for two years, still holds the post of vice minister for public security, according to the ministry’s website.
In a statement, Interpol said it was aware of reports about Meng’s disappearance and added “this is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.” The statement noted that Interpol’s secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the international police agency’s operations.
News of the investigation into Meng’s disappearance came during a weeklong public holiday in China. In Beijing, the foreign and public security ministries did not immediately respond to calls and faxed requests for comment Friday.
Meng was elected president of Interpol in November 2016. His term runs until 2020.
He has held a variety of positions within China’s security establishment, including as a vice minister of public security — the national police force — since 2004. In the meantime, he served as head and deputy head of branches of the coast guard, all while holding positions at Interpol.
Meng’s duties in China would have put him in close proximity to former leaders, some of whom had fallen afoul of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping crackdown on corruption. In particular, Meng likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.
Xi has also placed a premium on obtaining the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from abroad, making Meng’s position all the more sensitive.
When Meng was elected in 2016 as Interpol president, rights groups expressed concern that he would pursue an agenda of politicized policing that targeted Xi’s opponents.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.