Tag Archives: the middle East

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Germany urges restraint after killing the Iranian nuclear scientist | Instant News


BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany urged all parties on Saturday to exercise restraint following the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and avoid escalating tensions that could derail talks about Iran’s nuclear program.

“In the weeks before the new US administration takes office, it is important to maintain the scope of talks with Iran so that disputes over Iran’s nuclear program can be resolved through negotiations,” said a spokesman for the State Ministry.

“We therefore urge all parties to refrain from any steps that could lead to further escalation of the situation,” he said in an emailed statement.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Caroline Copley; Edited by Edmund Blair

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Australia to lay off at least 10 soldiers for killings in Afghanistan: ABC | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: Members of the Australian special forces training during the Australian International Airshow in Melbourne 2 March 2011. REUTERS / Mick Tsikas / Files

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia has issued a halt notice to at least 10 special forces troops following the release of a report that found credible evidence of extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said on Thursday.

An independent report published last week in erased form said there was evidence that 39 Afghan prisoners and unarmed civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers.

None of the 19 soldiers were identified in the report, which was written by a state judge appointed by the inspector general of defense. 19 soldiers and former soldiers have been referred for possible prosecution.

Amid the immediate repercussions, the ABC said 10 soldiers had been formally informed they would be dismissed.

The broadcaster did not identify any of the 10 people but said they were all witnesses or accessories and were therefore not among 19 referred for possible criminal charges.

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ABC said the 10 soldiers would have at least 14 days to respond to the cessation notice. It did not say if any of them had legal representation.

Australia’s most senior military official apologized to Afghanistan last week following the release of the report.

Australia is sending troops to join US-led forces trying to defeat a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan in the years after the Islamist group was forced from power in 2001.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Edited by Robert Birsel

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The court overturned a ruling that Germany had to press the US on drones | Instant News


BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s highest administrative court has ruled that the country’s government cannot be forced to ensure that US drone attacks controlled through American military bases on German territory are in line with international law.

Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig overturned a last year’s verdict who hold the German government partly responsible for ensuring that such military operations comply with international law.

The ruling restores a lower court decision in 2015 which concluded that Germany was fulfilling its legal duty and in its right to balance it with “foreign and defense policy interests.”

The case is brought by human rights groups on behalf of three Yemeni plaintiffs who accuse their relatives of being killed in a US drone strike in 2012. They accuse the US air base in Ramstein, southern Germany, of playing a key role in the relay flights. controls the data used for armed drone strikes in Yemen.

Jennifer Gibson of the human rights group Reprieve said plaintiffs would continue to campaign against drone strikes.

“What we are talking about here is a covert murder program that kills many civilians every year,” said Gibson. “This is unsustainable, and apart from today’s decision, it is clearly against the law.”

Appealing the German government to last year’s verdict, the judge in Leipzig said Berlin could only be forced to take further action if “because of the number and circumstances of violations of international law that have occurred there should be further concrete hope. Actions illegal under international law would also be happen in the future. “

They also concluded that there was no direct connection to Germany in the case, arguing that the provision of technical relay capabilities was insufficient.

The judges noted that the German government had taken several steps to address this issue in its communications by asking for guarantees from Washington, thereby proving that Berlin had sought to ensure the plaintiffs’ rights were protected.

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Iran says Anglo-Australian academics were released for the 3 Iranians | Instant News


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran on Wednesday released a British-Australian academic who had been detained in the country for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians being held abroad, state TV announced.

The television report lacked detail, saying only that three Iranians released in the exchange had been jailed for trying to bypass sanctions against Iran.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 33, was a University of Melbourne lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was picked up at the Tehran airport while trying to leave the country after attending an academic conference in 2018.She was sent to Evin’s prison in Tehran, convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Moore-Gilbert vehemently denied the accusations and stated that she was innocent.

He is one of several Westerners detained in Iran on widely criticized espionage charges that UN activists and investigators believe are a systematic attempt to exploit their imprisonment for money or influence in negotiations with the West, which Tehran denies. Moore-Gilbert wrote in a series of letters to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison detailing his plight that he had been jailed “for blackmailing” the Australian government.

Moore-Gilbert’s detention has strained relations between Iran and the West at a time of heightened tensions, which peaked earlier this year after the assassination of an Iranian general in Baghdad and Iranian retaliatory attacks on US military bases.

It is not clear when Moore-Gilbert will return to Australia. State TV aired footage showing her wearing a gray headscarf sitting in what looked like a greeting room at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport. Accompanied by another Western woman in colorful headscarves, Moore-Gilbert wore a blue face mask tucked under her chin and a stoic expression. The timing of its release is also unclear, but TV footage shows faint sunlight streaming through the window during the swap. Later, footage showed Moore-Gilbert being escorted to a large gray van after nightfall.

The state TV report did not go into detail about the Iranians it described as “economic activists” who were released in exchange for Moore-Gilbert. They wore Iranian flags draped over their shoulders, black baseball caps pulled over their eyes and surgical masks, clothes apparently designed to hide their identities on screen. Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, welcomed the three Iranians at the airport.

International pressure has risen on Iran to release Moore-Gilbert. She has been on hunger strikes many times and her health has deteriorated during her long time in solitary confinement. Over the summer, he was transferred to the remote Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran, because of growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in the country’s notorious prison.

Moore-Gilbert has appealed to the Australian government to work harder for his release. In his letter to Prime Minister Morrison, he wrote that he had been subjected to “grave violations” of his rights, including psychological torture.

There has been no immediate comment from the Australian authorities on Moore-Gilbert’s release.

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Associated Press writer Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.

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