Female Afghan judge wins landmark case against UK government

Female Afghan judge wins landmark case against UK government
The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme meant to help tens of thousands of people reach the UK after Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 23 July 2023
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Female Afghan judge wins landmark case against UK government

Female Afghan judge wins landmark case against UK government
  • Woman, 53, and son succeed in legal battle after two years in hiding in Pakistan

LONDON: A female Afghan judge has won a legal battle against the British government after she was refused entry to the UK, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

The 53-year-old judge, known only as Yosra, had fled to Pakistan in 2021 with her adult son where they were in hiding. 

For two decades, Yosra held several senior roles and presided over cases involving Taliban members in crimes such as murder, kidnapping, violence against women, rape, terrorism offenses and conspiring against the Afghan government.

The judge and her son were told they were eligible for resettlement under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy, but the Home Office initially refused to grant them permission to enter the UK. Her lawyers lodged an appeal.

The two have now been accepted into the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme and recently arrived in the country, where they were reunited with British relatives, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

The case could pave the way for many other vulnerable Afghans hiding in Pakistan who are eligible for one of the UK resettlement schemes, but have not been allowed to enter the country.

“We are overjoyed to finally be with our family in the UK,” Yosra told the newspaper. 

“The last almost two years have been the most gruelling time we’ve ever been through. Our initial hope to be granted a visa to come to the UK over time turned into hopelessness and despair

“In Pakistan, the fear for our life, and the restrictions we faced as a result, placed an enormous burden on us mentally and emotionally. 

“We only left the small apartment our family in the UK rented for us to go buy groceries or see the doctors.

“Two days before we flew to the UK, our apartment block got raided by police to arrest Afghan refugees — luckily, we were out at the doctor’s at the time. 

“Now that we are finally safe in the UK, we so much enjoy being able to walk around safely and freely, sitting in our family’s garden and feeling just peace around us, and sleeping quietly and comfortably, knowing next day we will wake up in our safe new home.”

A government spokesperson told the Guardian: “While we don’t comment on individual cases, we remain committed to providing protection for vulnerable and at-risk people fleeing Afghanistan, including female judges, and so far have brought around 24,500 people to the UK. 

“We continue to work with like-minded partners and countries neighboring Afghanistan on resettlement issues, and to support safe passage for eligible people.”


Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound
Updated 6 sec ago
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Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s former physician Ronny Jackson said on Saturday that the former president is recovering as expected from a gunshot wound to his ear that he suffered last week, but noted intermittent bleeding and said Trump may require a hearing exam.
The bullet fired by a would-be assassin at a July 13 Trump rally in Pennsylvania came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head” before striking the top of Trump’s right ear, said Jackson, a Republican congressman from Texas who served as physician to Presidents Trump and Barack Obama.
Five days after narrowly escaping assassination, Trump on Thursday accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the Nov. 5 election.
Jackson, providing what appeared to be the first public description by a medical professional of Trump’s gunshot wound, said in a letter posted on social media Saturday that “the bullet track produced a 2 (centimeter) wide wound that extended down to the cartilaginous surface of the ear.”
“There was initially significant bleeding, followed by marked swelling of the entire upper ear. The swelling has since resolved, and the wound is beginning to granulate and heal properly,” he wrote.
Jackson said he had provided daily evaluation and treatment of Trump’s wound since the shooting. He said no sutures were required, but noted that due to the “highly vascular nature of the ear, there is still intermittent bleeding requiring a dressing to be in place.”
“He will have further evaluations, including a comprehensive hearing exam, as needed,” Jackson added.
Trump recounted the assassination attempt to a rapt audience on Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, saying that he was only there “by the grace of Almighty God.”
“I heard a loud whizzing sound and felt something hit me really, really hard on my right ear,” he said, a thick bandage still covering his ear. “I said to myself, ‘Wow, what was that? It can only be a bullet.’”


Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye
Updated 4 min 12 sec ago
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Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

THESSALONIKI, Greece: A Greek border guard was shot in the abdomen Saturday while patrolling an area of the Greek-Turkish border where undocumented migrants seek to enter the European Union, Greek police said. The injuries are not life-threatening.
Four Greek border guard officers were on duty along the Evros River, the land border with Turkiye, shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, when three or four shots rang out from the Turkish side, police said.
A bullet hit one of the border guards in the lower abdomen. The injured man was taken to a hospital in the town of Didymoteicho, where he was operated on, police said.
Police added that the injured officer was in stable, non-life-threatening condition.
Greek media reported that police officials believe the shooter or shooters were probably human traffickers. Officials are not allowed to speak about cases under investigation and the officials requested anonymity.
A police statement said the bullet was fired from a pistol.
The patrolling officers had detected some movement on the Turkish side, but could not tell how many people were there because their view was blocked by thick vegetation. With several more border guards converging on the site, no crossing was made.
The border guards are a special unit of Greece’s police.


Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence

Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence
Updated 9 min 43 sec ago
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Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence

Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence
  • Azerbaijani authorities accuse France of bias in favor of Armenia in efforts to achieve a peace treaty to end three decades of conflict

SHUSHA, Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev pledged on Saturday to help France’s overseas territories secure independence, the latest in a series of incidents pitting his ex-Soviet state against Paris over long-running conflicts in the Caucasus region.
Aliyev accuses France of interfering in its affairs over its contacts with Armenia, against which it has waged two wars in 30 years linked to disputes over Baku’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In recent months, Azerbaijani leaders have focused on France’s South Pacific territory of New Caledonia, gripped by weeks of violence over the objections of Indigenous Kanak activists to a contentious electoral reform.
Aliyev made his latest comments at a media forum days before the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris and just after the staging in Baku of a congress bringing together pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories.
“We will support you until you are free,” Aliyev told the forum, citing French territories that he said were still subject to colonialism.
“Some countries are still suffering from this. The Comoros islands, Mayotte are still under colonial rule. It has been our duty to help these countries liberate themselves from this revolting remnant from the past.”
Earlier this week, an “initiative group” staged a congress in Baku attended by pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories, including Corsica and Caribbean and Pacific islands.
French media accounts of the meeting said participants sharply criticized French authorities and an Azerbaijani delegation was invited to visit New Caledonia.
France accused Azerbaijan in May of meddling and abetting unrest in New Caledonia by flooding social media with what it said were misleading photos and videos targeting French police.
Azerbaijan has denied the allegations.
Azerbaijani authorities accuse France of bias in favor of Armenia in efforts to achieve a peace treaty to end three decades of conflict and in signing defense contracts with authorities in Yerevan. Azerbaijan expelled two French diplomats last December.


Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says
Updated 9 min 17 sec ago
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Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

WASHINGTON: The gunman in the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump is believed to have flown a drone around the Pennsylvania rally site ahead of time in an apparent attempt to scope out the site before the event, a law enforcement official said Saturday.
The drone has been recovered by the FBI, which is leading the investigation into last Saturday’s shooting at the rally by 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks.
Crooks fired multiple rounds from the roof of a building adjacent to the Butler Farm Show grounds, where Trump was speaking, before being fatally shot by a Secret Service counter sniper. The existence of the device and its use at some point before the shooting could help explain why Crooks knew to fire from the point.
The official who described the drone was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Details of the drone were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Trump said this week that one bullet clipped his right ear. A memo released Saturday by the Trump campaign and authored by Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, who served as the GOP nominee’s White House physician, said that Trump sustained a gunshot wound to the right ear from a high-powered rifle that came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head, and struck the top of his right ear.”
One of the bullets aimed toward Trump killed 50-year-old firefighter Corey Comperatore, a spectator who was in the bleachers. Two others were seriously wounded.
The FBI is continuing to investigate what may have motivated Crooks to carry out the attack. So far, officials have not found any ideological bent that could help explain his actions.
Investigators who searched his phone found photos of Trump, President Joe Biden and other senior government officials, and also found that he had looked up the dates for the Democratic National Conventional as well as Trump’s appearances. He also searched for information about major depressive order.
More details about the investigation are expected to be made public in the coming week when FBI Director Chris Wray appears before the House Judiciary Committee.


French police clash with water demonstrators after port blockade

French police clash with water demonstrators after port blockade
Updated 40 min 43 sec ago
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French police clash with water demonstrators after port blockade

French police clash with water demonstrators after port blockade
  • Running battles erupted around barricades and burning rubbish bins as some protesters threw projectiles and police fired tear gas grenades

LA ROCHELLE, France: Protesters clashed with police in France’s western port of La Rochelle Saturday, as conservationists and small farmers mobilized against massive irrigation reservoirs under construction.
Local government officials had banned demonstrations in the city, which is a popular tourist site in summer.
A 2,000-strong march, one of two through the city, was charged by police at around 1:30 p.m. (1130 GMT).
Running battles erupted around barricades and burning rubbish bins as some protesters threw projectiles and police fired tear gas grenades.
“We were in the demo, they started blocking ahead and behind,” said Lilia, a 25-year-old who declined to give her full name. “They isolated us off to one side to charge everyone else.”
Police said around 500 participants in the march were so-called “black bloc” far-left radicals.
Prosecutors in La Rochelle said four members of the police and five demonstrators received medical care for minor injuries.
Several shops were damaged or looted, along with bus shelters and advertising hoardings. A building site was ransacked for cinder blocks and wood to construct barricades.
Police arrested seven people, mostly for trespassing.
The second, more peaceful march, made up of around 3,000 people family groups, moved from the city center toward the commercial port. Many wore costume disguises.
Some used kayaks or inflatable boats to approach the La Pallice agricultural export terminal, singled out by organizers as the target for the demonstrations.
The two marches joined up mid-afternoon along the waterfront before turning back and dispersing calmly.
Police had used tear gas earlier Saturday to clear around 200 people who entered the terminal at dawn, including farmers with old tractors.
That confrontation broke up mostly peacefully.
The protests in the city on France’s Atlantic coast were intended to show that new “reservoirs aren’t being built to grow food locally, but to feed international markets,” said Julien Le Guet, a spokesman for the “Reservoirs, No Thanks” movement.
Activists say the reservoirs, set to be filled from aquifers in winter to provide summer irrigation, benefit only large farmers at the expense of smaller operations and the environment.
Several dozen are under construction in western France, their supporters arguing that without them farms risk vanishing as they suffer through repeated droughts.
Last year, clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in Sainte-Soline, around 90 kilometers (56 miles) inland from La Rochelle, left two protesters in a coma and injured 30 officers.
Further scuffles broke out Saturday as demonstrators returned to La Rochelle’s center from the agricultural port, some launching fireworks at the police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.
“Cease fire, there are children in the march,” Le Guet shouted. “Don’t make the same mistake as at Sainte-Soline.”
Fears of clashes had been high all week. More than 3,000 police deployed around a “Water Village” protest camp in Melle, a few kilometers from Sainte-Soline, as authorities warned of a risk of “great violence.”
The prefecture banned the demonstrations in popular summer tourist destination La Rochelle, but organizers went ahead with them.
On Saturday, “our aim wasn’t to clash with law enforcement, it’s often law enforcement who aim to clash with us,” said Juliette Riviere, an SLT member.
Prosecutors said that six people had been taken into custody by mid-afternoon Saturday.