Trump says Michael White has left Iranian airspace on Swiss plane

Michael White, a US Navy veteran detained in Iran since 2018, was freed on Thursday. (White family photo)
Short Url
Updated 05 June 2020

Trump says Michael White has left Iranian airspace on Swiss plane

  • White was sentenced to prison in Iran in 2019
  • He was released temporarily on medical grounds in March

WASHINGTON: US president Donald Trump said on Thursday Michael White, a US citizen detained in Iran, had left Iranian airspace on a Swiss plane.

Trump said that he expected White to be home with his family "very soon."

 

 

"I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely on his way home," White's mother, Joanne, said in a statement.

White had tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and received treatment in Iran, said Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador who said he met senior Iranian officials to win his release.

White, a US Navy veteran detained in Iran since 2018, was freed on Thursday, a rare instance of cooperation between Tehran and Washington.

White was sentenced to prison in Iran in 2019, having been arrested while traveling to meet his girlfriend in Mashhad. 

In March, as Iran was being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, White was handed over to Swiss custody and flown to Tehran but told not to leave the country.

 


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.