Mounting concern about Iranian refugee journalists in Turkey

first_img RSF_en As Turkey neighbours Iran, these refugees and their families continue to be exposed to the possibility of persecution by the Iranian intelligence agencies. At the same time, the Turkish immigration services are extremely reluctant to provide them with the administrative cooperation they need to complete their applications for asylum and resettlement in safer countries. And the coronavirus crisis is compounding all of their problems.Intractable red tapeUntil the end of 2018, refugees arriving in Turkey applied directly to UNHCR for asylum. But this is no longer the case, as UNHCR says on its website: “The State of Turkey is the principal provider of protection in Turkey. Registration with the Turkish authorities is therefore the most important way of securing your rights in Turkey.”This change has had a big impact on refugees. The applications of Iranian journalists now have to be examined by the Turkish immigration authorities and police, who take their time. The waiting time is now even longer because the United States, which used to accept asylum and resettlement applications under President Obama, has ceased to do so on President Trump’s orders.Resettlement proposals are no longer being submitted to the United States. At the same time, many Iranian refugees have ceased to benefit from the various forms of assistance accorded to asylum seekers, including the health card that significantly reduced their medical expenses. Its loss makes them more vulnerable if they catch Covid-19. News March 18, 2021 Find out more One of the men who spoke Persian told him that the Turkish police had decided to protect him because he was threatened with being kidnapped by Iranians. At the same time, he was repeatedly interrogated about his journalistic activities and his family in Iran. He was finally told that he was in danger and that “either you cooperate and you will be transferred to Ankara, or you will be sent back to Iran.”When he refused to cooperate, he was immediately driven across the border into the northern Iran and was handed over to Revolutionary Guards in the city of Tabriz that same evening. This outcome showed that his abductors had been Iranians all along.Iranian journalists in Turkey are also familiar with the murder of Masoud Molavi Vardanjani, the controversial editor of The Black Box website, who had worked for the Revolutionary Guards before fleeing Iran and who had published allegations about corruption within the Revolutionary Guards and in Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s family, including his son Mojtaba. He was gunned down on an Istanbul street in November 2019, a year after his arrival in Turkey. Reuters quoted two senior Turkish officials as saying the murder was instigated by two intelligence officers stationed in Iran’s consulate in Turkey.Coronavirus, a new threatThe fear and anxiety of Iranian refugees in Turkey has grown since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic. Alireza Roshan, a poet, writer and journalist with the Majzoban Noor website who fled to Turkey with his wife and son in March 2018, said the epidemic has made his future much more uncertain, especially as “the immigration services have stopped all processing and UNHCR is powerless.”The situation for some exiles began deteriorating long before the epidemic. An Iranian journalist who has been in Turkey since 2014 and who asked not to be identified said his application for resettlement in the United States was initially accepted, only to be suspended, like the refugee reception programme, by the Trump administration in 2017.No agency has taken on his case since then, with the result that the only certainties left to him are extremely sombre. He is no longer able to enjoy the benefits accorded to asylum seekers, while he faces both the threats the Iranian authorities are making against him on social media and the threat of catching the coronavirus.Iran is ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index, while Turkey is ranked 154th. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Turkish authorities and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of Iranian journalists who have fled to Turkey and to speed up their resettlement in third countries because their situation has worsened as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. IranMiddle East – North Africa Covid19ImprisonedCitizen-journalistsUnited Nations Twelve Iranian journalists and citizen-journalists who fled Iran to escape violence and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment are currently in an extremely difficult situation in Turkey. Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information The plight of Iranian journalists trapped in Turkey is all the more urgent and worrying because they continue to be exposed to danger from neighbouring Iran. The various Iranian intelligences services, including the Revolutionary Guards, continue to directly threaten these journalists and the families they have left behind.“Turkey must provide refugee journalists with effective protection and, together with UNHCR, must provide them with all the assistance they need so that their asylum applications can be completed within a reasonable period of time,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran desk. “We remind the Turkish authorities and UNHCR of the urgent need to speed up resettlement procedures or to establish a mechanism for evacuating them to third countries where their safety can be guaranteed.”Living “in the shadow of fear”“I have always been threatened by the Iranian regime in Turkey,” the journalist, blogger and satirical writer Sharagim Zand said in a recent email to RSF. Threatened with arrest in Iran, Zand fled to Turkey in 2014 and applied for asylum, while continuing to work for various media outlets such as IranWire and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and often posting on social media.After living “in the shadow of fear” for the past five and a half years, Zand says he has seen a recent increase in the Iranian regime’s threats. “They are now threatening to find me and kill me,” he says, with the result that he is “more and more afraid” to leave his home.Recent cases of abduction and murder within the Iranian exile community have shown that such threats must be taken seriously because Iran has the ability to carry them out.Kidnapped or murdered by Iranian agentsGilan Noo news website editor Arash Shoa-e Shargh, who fled Iran after being convicted of “spreading false news” and “publishing without permission,” was abducted outside his home in Van, in eastern Turkey, on 5 February 2018 and resurfaced 25 days later in a prison in Iran. One of his relatives told RSF: “He was arrested outside his home by armed men who identified themselves as police officers” and was taken, handcuffed and blindfolded, to an underground car park with three cells, where he was held for the next three weeks. Behnam Mohammadi, Kayhan london After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists April 30, 2020 Mounting concern about Iranian refugee journalists in Turkey Follow the news on Iran to go further News Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 June 9, 2021 Find out more News IranMiddle East – North Africa Covid19ImprisonedCitizen-journalistsUnited Nations Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists News Organisation February 25, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

November 1, 2003 Letters

first_img November 1, 2003 Regular News Workers’ CompAmendments to Ch. 440, the workers’ compensation law, went into effect on October 1. Those of us who represent injured workers predict that the responsibility for medical care and lost income from injuries on the job will be shifted from the industry served to the taxpayers in general.Fewer and fewer injuries related to employment will be covered by the act. An unintended consequence will be more and more situations where injured workers will be able to escape from under the thumb of the “exclusive remedy” and bring their grievances into the court system. This will shift the cost of adjudication from the Administrative Trust Fund set up under Ch. 440 to pay the cost of the administration of the system from a premium tax on carriers and self-insurers, to the taxpayers. Court funding will need an increase, not a decrease, if the predictions come true. Mark Zientz Miami Legal Needs of ChildrenI am a retired attorney and a volunteer guardian ad litem in Brevard County. I have been following all the letters and articles in the recent issues of the News, and am pleased to see that so much interest has been generated on the problems of underrepresented children.I agree that something is very wrong with a system that takes seven attorneys two years (and countless appeals) to effect the adoption of one child. How many of these children will ever find themselves in the serendipitous circumstances of this little boy? And what are the rest of them supposed to do?Here in Brevard County we have only enough GALs to appoint one in approximately 50 percent of the cases.Mr. Dutkiewicz’s letter in the October 1 News points out several of the problems, but, as he himself admits, most people would find his solutions too draconian. It’s the age-old problem of finding a balance between the “rights” of the parents to “possession” of their children, and protecting those innocent children.Oftentimes (sometimes justifiably) parents who have been caught up in the “system,” and have had their children removed, accuse DCF of Gestapo tactics. But at the same time, children are returned to their parents prematurely and end up dead. Even though the legislature has acted to change the language of the statutes to emphasize “the best interests of the child,” all too often there still seems to be an inexorable push to return the child to the parents at any cost. It seems the “rights” of the parents have to be protected at all costs, much like in the criminal system where the alleged criminal’s rights take precedence over the innocent victim.I guess if we want to be truly draconian, we could just scrap the entire dependency process altogether. (Getting rid of DCF would make a lot of people happy, and balance the budget overnight.) We could just apply property law, since it seems that these children are viewed as the rightful property of their parents anyway.Finding a solution is going to require the involvement of every concerned citizen. New laws are not the answer, as the laws we have aren’t being properly applied. We need education and awareness so that we can find a workable process for balancing these ever-conflicting interests. Marjorie S. Green Satellite Beach Family LawThe Family Law Section is seeking comments on whether there should be a presumption that children of divorcing couples should spend equal time with each parent.The answer is obviously no. We are all different. Children are all different. There should be no presumption whatsoever regarding anything to do with children.The presumption that children of divorcing couples should spend equal time with each parent is intrusive, not in the best interest of the children, not in the best interest of the parents, et cetera. The presumption would negatively impact upon all of those parents who work five days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do they have to leave work early to pick up the children at school? Do they have to hire a stranger to pick up the children at school while they finish their work day? What about parents who travel, such as airline pilots, professional athletes, entertainers, and the like? Should they look for another career because they have to spend 50 percent of their time with their children? If there is a presumption and they don’t spend 50 percent of their time with their children, are they bad parents? Stephen H. Buttler Aventura Conflict CounselAs part of Revision 7 to Article V of the Florida Constitution, in July the state will assume responsibility for funding “conflict defense legal services.”The Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board, created by the legislature to help guide this transition, is currently preparing its recommendations, including which “due process services for indigents. . . should be. . . bid competitively on a circuit, region, or statewide basis.”Cutting through the legislative jargon, the state is considering whether to assign “conflict defense counsel” on a “low bid” selection process.As a criminal defense attorney with 22 years experience, I find this proposal highly inconsistent with Florida’s constitutional obligation to provide “effective assistance of counsel.”The “low bid” selection process is a bad idea, giving the appearance of fiscal responsibility while hiding significant costs — wasted court time, expenditure of finite court resources, additional delays, and larger court dockets.Implementing a statewide “low bid” selection process would institutionalize a practice, presently only in limited use, that is designed to assign too many cases and clients to too few (and sometimes the least experienced) attorneys.For the system to function optimally, the accused individual’s choice to enter a plea, exercise the right to a jury trial, or to assert a particular defense must be a knowing and voluntary decision, a decision that the accused must acknowledge as his own and accept its consequences completely. For that decision to be sufficiently “knowing,” the accused must have adequate time to consult with the assigned conflict attorney. The “low bid” approach negates the attorney’s most precious asset, the time he or she has available to consult with and advise their client.The most frequent complaint by an accused individual is the lack of opportunity to consult with their appointed attorney. When this complaint arises, the trial court judge must devote valuable courtroom time allowing the accused individual to state his complaint.Implementing a “conflict defense counsel” system that emphasizes the appointed attorney’s qualifications and maximizes that attorney’s time available for clients will reduce the most common complaint that diminishes the effectiveness of the criminal court system.A second related problem is that the board, and probably the legislature, will likely attach only minimal qualifications for conflict defense counsel. Presently, only “participation” in five criminal trials and being a member of The Florida Bar will allow an attorney to “bid competitively” for conflict cases. A conflict defense attorney with no felony trial experience might be assigned to a serious and complex case involving life felonies.There is another option: a registry of qualified attorneys who accept cases on a rotation basis. This proposal increases the number of private attorneys available to accept conflict assignments and maximizes the time those attorneys have for clients. In the “registry” option, more emphasis can be placed on the qualifications of the attorneys and fiscal responsibility is maintained by legislating fair hourly rates and realistic caps on attorneys’ fees.To the Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board and the Florida Legislature, I say, “I am more than a ‘due process service provider,’ ” a term that implies only a passive role in the criminal justice system deserving a mere pittance in compensation. I am an advocate, actively representing my client and ensuring that the criminal justice system operates within constitutional and statutory bounds. Most important, I am the legal advisor to my client. I, and other private practice conflict defense counsel, must be given the time to properly advise our clients. Otherwise, recurring litigation over “ineffective assistance of counsel” complaints will further tax an already overburdened and underfunded criminal justice system. Without time to advise our clients, “justice for all” can never be achieved.Joe D’Achille Titusville Inventory AttorneyThe August 15 News article “When lawyers die are the clients protected?” makes valid points for the requirement of each attorney to designate an inventory attorney. However, the Bar should recognize that a requirement for designation of an inventory attorney for each and every attorney is unnecessary.From my own recent experience, where an attorney died unexpectedly, and I was appointed as the inventory attorney to reconcile the firm, I appreciate the desirability for pre-designation of an inventory attorney as recommended by the Bar. I suggest that this requirement should be limited to those attorneys whose position, practice structure, or business designation makes him or her solely and directly responsible for his or her clients’ interests.A lawyer employed at a large incorporated firm, partnership, or in the public sector would necessarily have a framework to assure the lawyer’s obligations to its clients are protected with competence and care. Indeed, depending on the category of the practitioner (sole practitioner, sole shareholder in an incorporated firm) the mandatory requirement for inventory attorney designation is not only desirable, but a must. The circumstances where this designation should be required would be determined by the information identified in each attorney’s membership dues form because of the predictability and/or presumption that client protection issues would be built-in based on the attorney’s form of practice. Those in public employment, large firms, or partnerships would presumably have an inherent framework to deal with client protection issues upon the death, disability, or disbarment of a lawyer in such practice structures.While the requirement for inventory attorney designation is a legitimate and effective means to protect the paramount interests of an attorney’s clients, the preferred course would be to decide this requirement’s applicability, based on the attorney’s practice designation on any membership dues form, membership records change of address form, etc., based on the type and ownership of the practice.The mandatory requirement for inventory attorney designation should be limited to those lawyers whose practice structure makes him or her the only lawyer responsible for his or her clients.Hopefully, the Bar will recognize the appropriate circumstances where lawyers would be required to designate their inventory attorney. Andrew M. Bragg Tallahassee November 1, 2003 Letterslast_img read more

CUNA reiterates push against rent-free bank access to military bases

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » CUNA would be concerned with the inclusion of any language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 that would allow banks rent-free access to military installations, CUNA wrote to House and Senate Armed Forces Committee leadership Monday. There is no such language in the FY2020 NDAA, CUNA and the Defense Credit Union Council successfully fought for similar language to be removed from last year’s NDAA, it was included in an early version of the bill.“CUNA and its members would be concerned with the inclusion of any similar language in the FY 2020 NDAA that would go beyond DOD’s current authority in regard to exemptions from the costs related to leases, utilities, and services on military bases for financial institutions or other more complex profit-centered entities,” the letter reads.The Department of Defense (DOD) has discretionary authority to waive the cost for credit union land leases, as well as administrative and logistical fees, for credit unions if certain standards are met.last_img read more

CDC braces for back-to-school flu spike, addresses vaccine worries

first_imgJul 17 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Novel flu activity is still going strong but dropped for the third week in a row, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today during a media briefing that also sought to calm fears about vaccine availability.Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the CDC will probably follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) lead and phase out weekly reports of lab-confirmed cases, which grossly underestimate the true disease burden and divert resources from other pandemic response activities. She said over the next several weeks the agency will start adding new data and other enhancements to its weekly flu report to provide a more detailed profile of the nation’s activity.The CDC’s update today, however, reports that the country’s number of lab-confirmed cases has reached 40,617, of which 263 were fatal.In its flu surveillance report for the week ending Jun 11, the CDC said nine states reported widespread activity: California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and New York. Twelve states and Puerto Rico reported regional influenza activity.More than 99% of flu isolates that have been subtyped are the novel H1N1 virus, the CDC reported. One of three cases of oseltamivir-resistant viruses detected worldwide was from a child who got sick in California and traveled to Hong Kong. Enhanced antiviral-resistance testing in California has not revealed any oseltamivir-resistant novel H1N1 viruses, the CDC said.One pediatric death from the new virus was reported during the past week, in a child from Massachusetts. Of the 90 fatal pediatric flu cases that have been reported to the CDC so far this season, 23 were novel H1N1 infections.Schuchat said the virus might be persisting through the summer, despite the heat and humidity, because of the US population’s low immunity to the novel virus rather than because the virus has mechanisms for coping with the conditions. However, she said the CDC doesn’t have the data to flesh out its theory about the summer spread.The CDC expects flu activity to start rising again in September, ahead of the regular flu season, which would coincide with kids congregating in greater numbers as school resumes, she said. The CDC and its partners are in the active stage of planning for a spike in pandemic H1N1 flu activity in early fall, she added.The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will hold an emergency meeting on Jul 29 to discuss recommendations for which populations should be targeted for novel H1N1 flu vaccination and whether tiering the vaccine prioritization would be appropriate, Schuchat told reporters.Two federal officials who are involved in high-level vaccine decisions were on hand at the press conference to address recent questions that have cropped up about disappointingly low novel flu vaccine yield and potential international squabbles over vaccine supplies. The officials were Jesse Goodman, MD, the Food and Drug Administration’s acting chief scientist and deputy commissioner for scientific and medical programs, and Bruce Gellin, MD, director of the National Vaccine Program, Department of Health and Human Services.Gellin said federal officials have stockpiled antigen and adjuvant and that National Institutes of Health investigators, as well as researchers at vaccine companies, are starting to test both adjuvanted and nonadjuvanted versions of the novel flu vaccine. Stockpiling the bulk ingredients gives US officials greater flexibility in pulling together a safe and effective vaccine for its citizens, he said.Schuchat said the CDC has heard concerns about vaccine manufacturers in foreign countries diverting vaccine orders to their own populations. “From our own planning, this is not one of our current concerns,” she said. “We haven’t received any information that makes us question the supply of what’s been promised.”As for poor antigen yields that some manufacturers are reporting for the new virus, Schuchat said the CDC is not surprised and has already incorporated such yields into its planning and vaccine production expectations. “It’s within the range of our planning assumptions, but of course there could always be some surprises,” she said.last_img read more

Football: Wisconsin loses nose tackle Olive Sagapolu for remainder of season

first_imgIn what has already been a season replete with adversity, the Wisconsin defense was dealt yet another unfortunate blow Thursday after it was announced senior nose tackle Olive Sagapolu will miss the remainder of the 2018 season because of an arm injury requiring surgery. The senior has played his final snap as a Badger.The Wisconsin State Journal covered responses from the Badger coaches as they offered their sympathies to Sagapolu today.“He’s been great how he’s handling it, but you feel bad for him — any time guys miss games, but particularly seniors,” Head Coach Paul Chryst said. “He was playing really good, and he’s done that for a long time. He played as a true freshman, and he got understandably overshadowed with Conor (Sheehy) and Chikwe (Obasih) and Alec (James). He was playing really well this year.”Men’s hockey: Badgers begin 2018-19 Border Battle with Golden GophersThe battle for the border is coming to Madison. This weekend, the No. 20 University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team Read…Sagapolu suffered the injury at Northwestern Oct. 27. The Badgers had hoped for a quick recovery and return this season, but with the decision to undergo surgery Wednesday, Sagapolu’s Badger career has come to an unfortunate end, and the team must now move on.Sagapolu will be replaced by true freshman Bryson Williams, who made his first career start last week in Wisconsin’s 31-17 victory over Rutgers.“We’ve loved the way he’s progressed throughout the season,” UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said of Williams. “Just with his understanding of the scheme, and then just gaining confidence and learning what I can and can’t do as a player at this level as a true freshman.”Football: AJ Taylor’s unexpected season as No. 1 receiving optionSo far this season, University of Wisconsin receiver AJ Taylor has accumulated 406 yards and three touchdowns on 24 receptions Read…Williams will plug a crucial hole at nose tackle for the remainder of the Badgers’ season, as Wisconsin ranks 62nd in the nation in total rushing defense heading into the final three games of the season.Sagapolu appeared in eight games this season and recorded 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.last_img read more