Harvey Weinstein trial postponed to September

Harvey Weinstein has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

Harvey Weinstein trial postponed to September

NEW YORK: The sexual assault trial of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein will take place on September 9, three months later than expected, a New York judge said Friday.
Weinstein — a catalyst for the #MeToo anti-harassment movement-- has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial, which could last for five weeks.
One of the 67-year-old’s lawyers, Jose Baez, welcomed the postponement, saying: “This is going to give us ample opportunity to dig into the case, talk to those people who are coming forward and telling us about other matters that are very helpful to Mr.Weinstein’s case.”
The delay was announced after a four-hour closed-door hearing to decide whether women other than the two accusers could give evidence at the trial.
Judge James Burke suggested that his decision on this key point may not be made public until the start of the trial.
Since October 2017, Weinstein — one of the most powerful men in Hollywood before a cascade of sexual misconduct allegations precipitated his downfall — has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 80 women, including prominent actresses such as Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.
Because the session was closed, it is unclear how many of those women — many of whose allegations are too old to be brought to trial — prosecutor Joan Orbon-Illuzzi would like to call on.
Their testimony could be key, as it was at the trial of former television star Bill Cosby, who was sentenced to at least three years in prison in the first courtroom victory of the #MeToo era.
But Baez said after the hearing that when prosecutors want testimony from women other than the alleged victims in the charges, it is generally “good for the defense.”
That is because it means the prosecution can’t prove their case based on the complainants’ testimony alone, he said.


Riot police on Greek islands as work begins on new migrant camps

Updated 25 February 2020

Riot police on Greek islands as work begins on new migrant camps

  • There are more than 38,000 migrants crowded into camps on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos
  • The UN’s refugee chief on Friday called for urgent action to address the “shocking and shameful” conditions migrants are forced to live in

ATHENS: Riot police were dispatched to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios on Tuesday as the government plowed ahead with the construction of controversial new migrant camps, officials said.

At the harbors of both islands, where hundreds of local residents had gathered, police used tear gas to clear the way for security force reinforcements and construction machinery, a police source told AFP.

At Chios harbor on Mesta, some hooded protesters threw stones as scores of riot police disembarked, TV footage showed.

Residents have parked cars and garbage trucks on roads leading to the camp sites, which are to house up to 7,000 people each, in an attempt to hobble their construction.

“There are roadblocks. We will intervene where necessary,” a police source told AFP.

After weeks of fruitless talks with local authorities, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the weekend insisted that the plan would go ahead despite opposition.

“The works will begin immediately and will be completed. There is no turning back,” he told conservative party cadres on Sunday.
Main opposition leftist party Syriza has accused the government of undemocratic behavior.

“We will not allow Mr. Mitsotakis and his government to turn the islands into a battle ground,” said Syriza spokesman Alexis Charitsis.

There are more than 38,000 migrants crowded into camps on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos despite an official capacity of just 6,200.

Island officials and residents have told the Greek government that after five years on the front lines of the European migration crisis, they are no longer prepared to accept thousands of asylum-seekers.

The conservative government which came to power in July has announced that the camps on Lesbos, Samos and Chios will be shut down this year, to be replaced with new, smaller facilities that are to be operational by mid-2020.

But while the Mitsotakis administration tries to alleviate the problem by relocating thousands of migrants to other parts of Greece, many communities on the mainland have also stonewalled the move.

The UN’s refugee chief on Friday called for urgent action to address the “shocking and shameful” conditions migrants are forced to live in at reception centers on the Greek islands.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said swift measures were needed to reduce overcrowding and improve living conditions on the islands prioritising water, sanitation and health care, as the winter weather was exacerbating the situation.