UK government threatens asylum seekers with war zone return if Rwanda plan rejected

UK government threatens asylum seekers with war zone return if Rwanda plan rejected
Migrants disembark from a lifeboat at Dungeness in Kent, after being picked-up following an attempted small boat crossing of the English Channel, July 20, 2021. (Getty Images)
Short Url
Updated 06 June 2022

UK government threatens asylum seekers with war zone return if Rwanda plan rejected

UK government threatens asylum seekers with war zone return if Rwanda plan rejected
  • The Home Office said that migrants had “inadmissible” asylum claims because they had crossed the English Channel by small boats
  • UK Home Office: “You have the option to leave the UK voluntarily; however, should you be removed it will be to Rwanda”

LONDON: The British Home Office is giving asylum seekers the option of being flown back to the conflict zones they escaped from or being sent to Rwanda, the east African nation that the UK has signed a deportation deal with. 

The Guardian has seen a document issued to the first set of asylum seekers expected to be sent to Rwanda, which says that the Home Office could send them to their home countries instead.

The document says: “You have the option to leave the UK voluntarily. However, should you be removed it will be to Rwanda.”

In a letter, the Home Office said that migrants had “inadmissible” asylum claims because they had crossed the English Channel by small boats. The letter added: “There is no right of appeal against the decision to treat your asylum claim as inadmissible.”

Those detained and awaiting offshoring to Rwanda include Syrians, Afghans, Iranians and Iraqis. Many of those expecting to be sent to the east African nation escaped from active conflict zones, with thousands of Afghans recently fleeing after the Taliban secured control of Kabul. Afghans were the largest group coming to Britain by small boats with 1,094 arrivals, followed by Iranians with 722 arrivals.

Karen Doyle, of Movement for Justice, said: “It’s as if the Home Office is saying to this group of asylum seekers: ‘Here’s a hell we created for you in Rwanda but you can choose to go back to the hell you escaped from instead.’ This is not a choice. These are refugees who cannot return home. In practice this is ripping up the UK’s stated commitment to refugees.”


Daesh ‘Beatle’ dodges US supermax prison in ‘kick in the teeth’ to victims

Daesh ‘Beatle’ dodges US supermax prison in ‘kick in the teeth’ to victims
Updated 8 sec ago

Daesh ‘Beatle’ dodges US supermax prison in ‘kick in the teeth’ to victims

Daesh ‘Beatle’ dodges US supermax prison in ‘kick in the teeth’ to victims
  • El Shafee El-Sheikh carried out brutal aid worker killings during Syria’s civil war

LONDON: Daesh “Beatle” El Shafee El-Sheikh has avoided serving prison time in a US supermax prison after being moved to a lesser penitentiary following conviction, The Mirror reported.

The terrorist, who grew up in Britain and had his citizenship stripped in 2018, was part of the four-man Daesh terror group dubbed the “Beatles” that carried out brutal high-profile killings during Syria’s civil war.

But after being convicted in the US, the 34-year-old has avoided being transferred to Colorado’s ADX Florence — the country’s most notorious supermax prison — as was expected.

Instead, the Sudan-born terrorist is being held at nearby USP Florence High, where he will stay as part of the general prison population rather than in solitary confinement.

Earlier this year in August, El-Sheikh’s legal team argued during sentencing that due to mental health issues, the man dubbed “Jihadi Ringo” should serve time in a lesser prison.

“Sending Mr. El-Sheikh, an individual who is already showing signs of mental and physical deterioration from his present and past detention, to ADX Florence, is not an appropriate sentence,” they said.

However, trial judge Thomas Selby Ellis dismissed the plea at the time.

El-Sheikh was found guilty on eight charges, including four counts of hostage-taking resulting in death, murder conspiracy and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

The “Beatles” group was responsible for the killings of British volunteers David Haines and Alan Henning, as well as US aid workers Kayla Mueller, James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig.

A US prison source told The Mirror: “Quite how El-Sheikh avoided the supermax, none of the victim’s families know.

“They were sure he was to see out his days at ADX, but they have now been told he has been sent to the lesser penitentiary. It’s a huge kick in the teeth.”

The source added: “The supermax is reserved for the worst of the worst, and El-Sheikh’s CV shows he is more than qualified.

“But he has avoided being kept alongside some of the world’s most dangerous men and dying alone.

“While El-Sheikh’s cohort (Alexanda) Kotey admitted his guilt, he thought he would beat the system and fool a jury over his innocence. They saw through his lies, and now payback has begun.”

Prisoners held at Florence High have included US serial killer Gary Ridgway, as well as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers.


Gulf, Arab delegations attend former Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

Gulf, Arab delegations attend former Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral
Updated 22 min 23 sec ago

Gulf, Arab delegations attend former Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

Gulf, Arab delegations attend former Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attended Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral on Tuesday.

During the funeral ceremony, Prince Faisal conveyed the condolences of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, also attended the funeral. He conveyed the condolences of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to the Japanese government.

Sheikh Khalid met with the widow Aki Abe and a number of family members to also offer his condolences.

Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa also attended Abe’s state funeral. 

Prince Salman bin Hamad was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and several senior officials.

The crown prince praised the late Abe’s role in strengthening Bahrain-Japan relations. He also emphasized Bahrain’s commitment to further strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Other Arab leaders were present at the state funeral including Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.


Jordan King Abdullah II meets Japan PM, mourns late Abe

Jordan King Abdullah II meets Japan PM, mourns late Abe
Updated 27 September 2022

Jordan King Abdullah II meets Japan PM, mourns late Abe

Jordan King Abdullah II meets Japan PM, mourns late Abe
  • The two leaders agreed to continue working together to ensure long-term stability and peace in the Middle East region

DUBAI: Jordan’s King Abdullah II paid his respects to former Japanese Prime Minister ABE Shinzo during a summit meeting with current Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on Tuesday.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, King Abdullah II, who attended the state funeral, said that Abe was a great friend of not only Jordan but also the region and shared the hope to develop the bilateral relationship based on his legacy.

Kishida expressed his hope to hold discussions to further develop the diplomatic legacy inherited from the late Abe.

The two leaders exchanged views on the regional situation including the Middle East Peace. Kishida expressed his concern about the impact of the price hike of food and fuel on Jordan, which is hosting a large number of Palestinian refugees, and stated that Japan would continue its support for Jordan, including its support to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA.)

Kishida also congratulated King Abdullah II Crown Prince Hussein’s engagement and expressed his wish for the long-lasting prosperity of the Jordanian Royal Family and further development of friendly relations with Japan’s Imperial Family.

The two leaders agreed to continue working together to ensure long-term stability and peace in the Middle East region.

This article was originally published on Arab News Japan. 


Bangladesh pilgrim boat tragedy death toll hits 61

Bangladesh pilgrim boat tragedy death toll hits 61
Updated 27 September 2022

Bangladesh pilgrim boat tragedy death toll hits 61

Bangladesh pilgrim boat tragedy death toll hits 61
  • Incident on Sunday near the northern town of Boda the deadliest in years
  • Mobile phone footage showed the overcrowded boat suddenly flipping over

BODA, Bangladesh: Rescuers and navy divers recovered 10 bodies Tuesday after a boat overloaded with religious pilgrims capsized in Bangladesh, police said, taking the death toll to 61 as anxious relatives waited for news of several people who were still missing.
The incident on Sunday near the northern town of Boda was the deadliest in years in the South Asian country, which is crisscrossed by rivers where overcrowding on aged vessels is common.
Seventeen of those killed were children, authorities said, with video footage suggesting some were as young as around four years old.
The small vessel on its way to a popular temple flipped over in a river as onlookers screamed from the shore, in horrific scenes captured on cellphones.
Boda police chief Sujay Kumar Roy said rescue workers including firefighters, navy divers and villagers were searching for miles downstream on the Karotoa River, where the tragedy occurred.
The boat was carrying around 90 people, of whom around 50 were pilgrims on their way to the centuries-old Hindu temple for a major festival, according to police.
“We resumed the search this morning and rescuers found a few more bodies downstream and also under the water... Still a few more people are missing,” Roy said.
Abdur Razzaque, a police inspector, said at least 30 of the dead were women.
“A committee has been formed to probe the incident,” he said.
Dozens of relatives of the missing people were still crowding the riverbank on Tuesday, although most had left after authorities handed over their family members’ bodies.
“Three women of my family were missing since the boat capsized,” said one distraught relative, Bikash Chandra, late on Monday.
“We found one in the morning around 10:00 am, who was rescued earlier. But I couldn’t find the other two yet.”
District police chief Sirajul Huda said Monday the boat was carrying three times its permitted capacity.
“The boatman asked some people to disembark in an effort to ease the weight-load. But no one listened,” he said.
Mobile phone footage aired by TV station Channel 24 showed the overcrowded boat suddenly flipping over, spilling the passengers into the muddy brown river.
Dozens of people watching from the shore started shouting and screaming. The weather was calm at the time.
Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the famous Bodeshwari Temple every year.
Sunday marked the start of Durga Puja, a major Hindu festival drawing large crowds at the temple.
Last December, around 40 people perished when a packed three-story ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh.
A ferry sank in Dhaka in June 2020 after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.
And at least 78 people perished in 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.


Ukrainians involved in Russian-backed referendums face treason charges, prison term

Ukrainians involved in Russian-backed referendums face treason charges, prison term
Updated 27 September 2022

Ukrainians involved in Russian-backed referendums face treason charges, prison term

Ukrainians involved in Russian-backed referendums face treason charges, prison term
  • Ukrainians who were forced to vote would not be punished
  • Moscow hopes to annex the provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia

KYIV, Ukraine: Ukrainians who help Russian-backed referendums to annex large swathes of the country will face treason charges and at least five years in jail, Ukraine’s presidential adviser said, as voting in four regions entered its last day.
“We have lists of names of people who have been involved in some way,” presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick.
“We are talking about hundreds of collaborators. They will be prosecuted for treason. They face prison sentences of at least five years.”
Podolyak said Ukrainians who were forced to vote would not be punished. Ukrainians officials have reported ballot boxes being taken door to door and residents being coerced into voting in front of Russian-backed security.
Moscow hopes to annex the provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, in the east and south, which make up about 15 percent of Ukraine.
None of the provinces are fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been under way along the entire front line, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which would include the four provinces if annexed.
Voting on whether to join Russia began on Friday in the regions and is due to end on Tuesday, with the Russian parliament possibly approving the annexation within days.
The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that Putin is likely to announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on Sept. 30.
Kyiv and the West have dismissed the referendums as a sham and pledged not to recognize the results.