Headlines for Wednesday, February 20, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 5:28 minutes (5.02 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Kidnappings point to deteriorating security situation in northern Cameroon
Cameroon’s president has instructed security forces to take every measure necessary to find seven French citizens taken hostage yesterday by gunmen in the Far North Region of the country. FSRN’S Ngala Killian Chimtom reports from Yaounde.
Because of the deteriorating security situation in Cameroon, France has instructed its citizens to leave the northern region. It’s blaming the kidnapping on the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, although the group has not claimed responsibility for the attack. French security forces are helping the government locate the family. John Mbah Akuroh is a Cameroonian journalist who has worked extensively in the northern regions.
“This is not the first time we have heard about the invasion of Boko Haram elements in the Far North Region. The first time was in Amshide, a border town between Cameroon and Nigeria. Too often the Cameroon side is not secure and Boko Haram has had the tendency to move in.”
Akuroh says the lack of security has also allowed Sudanese poachers to enter, kill elephants in Bouba-Djida National Park, and leave unchecked with the ivory. These poachers have also killed some park rangers. Ngala Killian Chimtom, FSRN, Yaounde.
Artists protest government crackdowns worldwide
Artists in several countries are participating in a day of action to “defend people’s culture” and protest states that suppress artistic expression through intimidation and imprisonment. Today’s action in the Philippines comes just 16 days after the government released poet Ericson Acosta after he served almost two years in prison. FSRN’s Madonna Virola reports.
Poet Ericson Acosta was arrested by the military in 2011. He says he was interrogated, tortured, jailed and falsely charged with illegally possessing explosives. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice dropped charges against him.
Despite this victory, Renan Ortiz with Concerned Artists of the Philippines says freedom still remains elusive for many artists. His group is calling for the release of more than 400 political prisoners in the country, many of whom are cultural workers. Ortiz sites the case of film student Maricon Montajes, who was arrested in 2010 on firearms charges.
Today’s “Artists Break the Chains” concert here in Quezon City brought together more than 100 artists, cultural workers and their supporters. Similar actions were held by artists in Los Angeles, Canada, the Netherlands, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan. Madonna Virola, FSRN, Quezon City.
Warren Hill given temporary stay of execution
A federal appeals court and the Georgia Court of Appeals have both issued temporary stays of execution for death row inmate Warren Hill. He was scheduled to be executed last night. Hill’s lawyers and several doctors say he is intellectually disabled, and the US Supreme Court has deemed it illegal for these executions to go forward. But Georgia sets the highest possible burden on defendants to prove they have a diminished mental capacity. The federal court requested the stay to further examine the intellectual disability issue. The state appeals court is looking at a challenge surrounding the use of lethal injection. Another execution is scheduled tomorrow in Texas. Carl Henry Blue’s lawyer is basing last minute appeals, in part, on previous trials ignoring evidence of intellectual disability.
Texas Activists Call for Elimination of “Operation Streamline”
A coalition of ten Texas civil rights, faith, and immigrant advocacy organizations delivered a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Texas Congressional delegation today, calling for an end to the criminalization of immigration. At a press conference in Austin, activists derided the Department of Homeland Security’s Operation Streamline. The 2005 policy mandates that most immigrants apprehended crossing the border in designated areas be referred for criminal prosecution in the federal justice system. This has channeled billions of dollars to the private prison industry and is fueling the explosive increase of Latinos in federal prison. Bob Libal is Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership.
“Groups from border states are sending a clear message to their elected representatives that we don’t want an expansion of criminalization of immigration. We want programs like Operation Streamline and Secure Communities ended.”
Streamline is just one of many immigration enforcement programs, including Secure Communities, that continue to flood jails and detention centers with undocumented immigrants.
Oscar-nominated Palestinian filmmaker detain by ICE in Los Angeles
US immigration officials detained Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat and his family at the Los Angeles airport last night. The co-director of “5 Broken Cameras” was travelling to the US to attend the Oscars. His film is nominated for Best Documentary. Michael Moore began posting updates of the situation after Burnat contacted him for help. Moore says ICE officials didn’t believe Burnat when he produced his invitation to the Oscars ceremony. Moore said Academy officials called lawyers on Burnat’s behalf and he was eventually released after about 1.5 hours. Burnat’s film chronicles life in the Palestinian village of Bil’in during the ongoing protests against Israeli settlement expansion in the area.