The Washigtnon Post - 03.04.2020

(Joyce) #1

friday, april 3 , 2020. the washington post ez re A


The World


eUROPeAN UNiON


Court: 3 bloc members


broke law over refugees


The European Union’s t op court
ruled Thursday that the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland
broke E.U. l aw b y refusing to
comply with a refugee quota
program launched after well over
a million migrants entered the
bloc, most fleeing war in Syria and
Iraq.
In a n emergency move in 2015,
E.U. n ations agreed to relocate up
to 160,000 refugees from Italy and
Greece as those two countries
buckled under the number of
migrant arrivals. Five years on,
Greece is still struggling to
manage the burden, with
thousands of people held in
deplorable conditions on the
Greek islands.
That “ temporary relocation
mechanism” decision was made in
a vote requiring about a two-
thirds majority among the E.U.
countries. The Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland were among
a small group of nations that voted


against the move.
In t he end, only about 40,
refugees were relocated. The
Czech Republic, Hungary and
Poland took in almost none over
the two years that the scheme was
in operation.
In i ts ruling, the European
Court of Justice said that “by
refusing to comply with the
temporary mechanism for the
relocation of applicants for
international protection, Poland,
Hungary and the Czech Republic
have failed to fulfill their
obligations under European
Union law.”
The three had argued that E.U.
countries alone are responsible f or
ensuring public safety a nd not the
European Commission, the E.U
executive arm, which drew up the
quota scheme and took the
countries to court.
But the top E .U. court s aid the
three nations “can rely neither on
their responsibilities concerning
the maintenance of law and order
and the safeguarding of internal
security, n or on the alleged
malfunctioning of the relocation
mechanism to avoid

implementing t hat mechanism.”
The failure of nations to take
part in a burden-sharing measure
meant to help E.U. p artners in
distress was at t he heart of one of
the bloc’s b iggest p olitical crises.
The issue of immigration then
became a major vote-winner for
far-right parties.
— Associated Press

eNViRONMeNt

Study links climate ills,
conflict in large nations

C ountries with large
populations and low levels of
development are most likely to see
a rise in the risk of armed conflict
after extreme weather events,
according to a new study that
researchers said underscored the
need to boost these nations’
resilience.
Almost one in three conflicts in
large countries with ethnic
tensions and low levels of
development over the past 25
years broke out within seven days
of such a disaster, said scientists
from Germany, S weden and

Australia.
Even small-scale disasters can
increase the risk of conflict in
vulnerable places, according to
the research paper, published this
week in the journal Global
Environmental Change.
The researchers cited Mali,
where the militant group
a l-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
exploited a weak state and
people’s d esperation after a severe
drought in 2009 to recruit fighters
to expand its area of operation.
Co-author Jonathan Donges
said it was the first time scientists
had conducted such a broad study
of conflicts preceded by climate
disaster, combining statistical
analysis, observation data and
regional case study assessments.
Donges, a researcher with the
Potsdam Institute for Climate
Impact Research in Germany, s aid
the research showed the link was
much stronger in countries with
large populations, ethnic
exclusion and low levels of
development.
Researchers have long warned
that climate change is likely to
increase the frequency and

intensity of disasters, with some
fearing a vicious cycle — disasters
fueling conflicts that, in turn,
make populations more
vulnerable to disasters.
A 2019 study led by Stanford
University said a 4-degree Celsius
(7.2-degree Fahrenheit) increase
in global temperatures — a
possible scenario as greenhouse
gas emissions continue to rise —
could dramatically increase the
risk of armed conflict.
— Reuters

sOUtH AFRiCA

Police raid Cape Town
church, expel migrants

South African police wearing
riot gear forced their way into a
church in central Cape To wn on
Thursday to remove h undreds o f
migrants who had been
sheltering t here for m onths.
The operation at C entral
Methodist Church was a imed at
ending a long standoff between
the g roup of foreign nationals and
city authorities. The migrants
refused t o leave t he church and

had p reviously demanded that
the S outh African government
relocate them t o other countries,
including t he United S tates a nd
Canada, b ecause t hey had b een
victims o f xenophobic threats in
South Africa last year.
Local media reported t hat
officers broke down the f ront and
rear doors of the c hurch in the
historic Greenmarket S quare t o
remove t he m igrants. The
migrants were l ed o nto buses and
driven away, r eportedly t o a
temporary camp outside t he city.
South Africa is in the m idst of a
21-day lockdown b ecause of t he
coronavirus pandemic, and
people are allowed t o leave their
homes only t o buy food, medical
supplies a nd o ther essential
items, or to perform essential
work.
The migrants will h ave to
remain a t the t emporary camp for
at l east t he remaining two weeks
of the lockdown. S outh African
authorities h ave said t hey will
verify the identities of the
migrants and properly process
those seeking a sylum.
— A ssociated Press

Digest

In Hungary, Orban scrambles as emergency rule sparks backlash


BLOOMBERG NEWS

Hungarian Prime Minister Vik-
tor Orban is backpedaling to stem
the sell-off of his virus-battered
currency and respond to a rare
rebuke from the European Union’s
most powerful members.
Orban is facing a backlash
against what is perceived as a pow-
er grab made under the cover of the
novel coronavirus crisis. Half of the
E.U. governments have urged Or-
ban to respect the rule of law, w hile
the E.U.’s largest political group
revived calls to expel his party.
In l ess than 24 h ours, Hungary’s
central bank swung from mone-
tary easing to tightening to arrest
the forint’s free fall. The govern-
ment rescinded a plan to strip pow-
er from mayors during the pan-
demic. And the cabinet postponed
a weekly briefing Thursday with-
out explanation.
The moves come as some inves-
tors believe that Orban is laying the
groundwork for a dictatorial re-
gime.
Vera Jourova, vice president of
the European Commission, the ex-
ecutive branch of the E.U., said it
will analyze the new Hungarian
measures as well as other member
states’ emergency laws.
Orban won parliamentary ap-
proval Monday to rule by decree
for as long as he sees fit. His gov-
ernment has since filed a raft of
legislation that, aside from target-
ing mayors, moved to expand con-
trol over theaters, unblock a large
construction project he backs and
classify contracts tied to a $2 bil-
lion, Chinese-funded rail invest-
ment for a decade.
That appeared to vindicate
those who have long warned that
fecklessness from E.U. leaders
would embolden Orban and give
other nationalist governments,
such as Poland’s, a model in rebel-
ling against the bloc’s v alues.
Hungary is already in the midst
of an Article 7 probe, which techni-
cally can lead to the suspension of
E.U. voting rights for the country
but can be vetoed by any bloc mem-
ber. Cutting the billions of euros
that Budapest receives under the
E.U.’s b udget a lso requires a unani-
mous vote.


Financial, political


fallout after leader’s


perceived power grab


Orban has said he won’t threat-
en democracy and that he would
hand his indefinite lock on deci-
sion-making back to lawmakers
when the pandemic passes.
Donald Tusk, president of the
European People’s Party, Europe’s
biggest umbrella political group,
called for it to reassess whether to
expel Orban’s Fidesz party, calling
his indefinite decree-rule “politi-
cally dangerous and morally unac-
ceptable.” The EPP, which includes
German Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s Christian Democratic
Union, suspended Fidesz last year.
On Thursday, 13 EPP member
parties called for the expulsion of
Fidesz in an open letter.

akos stiller/bloomberg news

michal cizek/agence France-Presse/getty images

ABOVE: A pedestrian on the stairs of the deserted Citadella in
Budapest this week. LEFT: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor
Orban, shown last month, won parliamentary approval Monday to
rule by decree for as long as he sees fit.

BY SHAIQ HUSSAIN
AND SUSANNAH GEORGE

ISLAMABAD, PAkIStAn — A re-
gional Pakistani court on Thurs-
day overturned the murder con-
viction and death sentence of
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the
man convicted in the 2002 killing
of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
The court also overturned the
convictions of three other men
connected to Pearl’s death.
Prosecutor Faiz Shah said he
would appeal the decision in
Pakistan’s Supreme Court. All
four men will remain in custody
for at least 90 days on the


grounds of “public safety,” ac-
cording to a ruling issued by the
Home Department of Sindh prov-
ince.
Pearl, a Wall Street Journal
reporter, was kidnapped in Janu-
ary 2002 in Pakistan, where he
was researching the connection
between a radical Islamic preach-
er and Richard Reid, who at-
tempted to blow up an airliner
with explosives in his shoes.
Saeed, a British-born Pakistani
who was implicated in other kid-
nappings, had been sentenced to
death for Pearl’s murder and kid-
napping. The High Court of
Sindh on Thursday overturned
the murder conviction and down-
graded the kidnapping charge,
which carries a seven-year sen-
tence.
Because Saeed has served
18 years, he is eligible for release,
as are the other three men whose
convictions were overturned: Fa-

had Naseem, a computer expert;
Salman Saqib, a religious activist;
and Sheikh Adil, a police officer.
The defendants’ lawyer, Kha-
waja Naveed, said the evidence
against Saeed “was very weak”
and could prove only kidnapping,
not murder.
In a statement Thursday, the
Wall Street Journal said: “We
continue to seek justice for the
murder of Daniel Pearl. Danny
was a cherished colleague and we
will always honor his memory
and service.”
Pearl was told he was meeting
with a radical cleric when instead
he was kidnapped, held for days
and beheaded. When Saeed was
convicted months later, he was
sentenced for planning Pearl’s
kidnapping and murder.
But a 2011 investigation by the
Center for Public Integrity’s Pearl
Project found that Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, the self-proclaimed

mastermind of the 9/11 attacks,
killed Pearl. Mohammed was cap-
tured in Pakistan in 2003 and is
being held at the U.S. military
prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
He is not charged in the journal-
ist’s killing.
Pakistan was under immense
pressure in 2002 to find the
people responsible for Pearl’s k ill-
ing. At the time of Saeed’s convic-
tion, defense attorneys raised
questions about the weight of
evidence against him.
The murder has been seen as
marking the beginning of a trend
of militant groups targeting jour-
nalists in conflict zones. In 2014,
the Islamic State filmed the be-
headings of several its hostages,
including journalist James Foley.
susannah.george@washpost.com

george reported from london. Paul
schemm in Dubai contributed to this
report.

Pakistani court overturns convictions in killing of journalist Daniel Pearl


aamir Qureshi/agence France-Presse/getty images
Pakistani police escort Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in 2002 as he
exits a court in Karachi. Saeed was given a death sentence in the
killing that year of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, but a
regional court has now overturned that and other convictions.

Decision t o be appealed,
and the four men will
remain in custody
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