Indian doctor-imposter charged with illegal abortion

Indian doctor-imposter charged with illegal abortion

Indian police have arrested a man posing as a doctor, charging him with illegally aborting female fetuses and then flushing them down the toilet. A.K. Singh ran an illegal clinic in Gurgaon (a Delhi suburb) offering sex-determination tests and abortions.

Abortion is legal in India, but the government outlawed abortion based on the sex of the fetus in 1994. Police found tiny skulls and bones in the clinic’s septic tank, as well as a pile of partly burned fetuses in the clinic building. Singh confessed to the crime, but Indian law does not accept confessions made in police custody unless they are repeated in court.

The Indian government reports that about 10 million girls have been killed over the past 20 years.  Many regions of India, including Gurgaon, report only 800 girls born for every 1,000 boys. Indian parents tend to prefer sons because daughters are expensive to marry off.

For more information, please see:

Zimbabwe’s Spiraling Inflation

By Myriam Clerge
Impunity Watch, Africa

Zimbabwe is battling a down spiraling inflation rate. The official rate is 4,500 %, the highest in the world for a country not in war.

In an effort to curb inflation rates, which increased by 300 % in the last week alone, the government ordered a price cut on basic commodities such as bread, milk and oil. The price cut took effect on Tuesday. However, several struggling companies have ignored the governments order and continued raising prices.

In essence, the government is ordering factories to sell goods at prices lower than production costs. Reluctant to violate new laws prohibiting criticism of the government, one storeowner explained that it could not simply slash prices in the middle of production.

President Mugabe is blaming the West, specifically Britain, for persuading factories to defy price reduction in an effort to overthrow him. During the funeral of a top military official, Mugabe warned that if factories continued their “dirty tricks” he would seize and nationalize all companies.

In 2000, Mugabe forcibly seized white owned farms and gave them to the landless blacks. Critics blame this seizure for the present state of the economy. Furthermore, economists warn that price cut strategies will likely lead to shortages and factory closures. Economic analyst Tony Hawkins, suggests that Mugabe’s threat to seize companies is another ploy to win the 2008 election.

In the meantime, the United States and the European Union has imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on President Mugabe and other leading officials.

For more information please see:

Yahoo – Mugabe Threatens to Seize Firms Over ‘Dirty Tricks’ – 27 June 2007

BBC – Zimbabwe to Cut Prices ‘By Half’ – 26 June 2007

Yahoo – Zimbabwe Government Orders Price Cuts – 26 June 2007

Kurds Continue to Battle

    The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (“PKK”) have become more frequent in their attacks. Thus, Gen. İlker Başbuğ, the commander of the Turkish Land Forces promised to increase his force to crush the rebels.

    The Kurds are the largest people group in the Middle East without their own nation. They originate from an area located within Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria.  In 1920, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Allies, the Kurds were split up into multiple different nations. Their strong desire for an independent nation has remained since 1920.  The Kurdistan Workers’ Party has actively tried to make that desire into a reality.

    The PKK was founded in 1978 by Abdullah Ocalan. He was a Leninist revolutionary. He has fought the Turkish government since 1984, using guerrilla warfare tactics. Recently, some of their members were arrested trying to place bombs.  Their leader, Ocalan, was captured by Turkey and was placed in prison for life in 1999.  The group currently has more than 5,000 members, and has its own unrecognized parliament.

    In response to the actions by the PKK the Turkish government has promised to quell the rebellious Kurds.  In just his year alone, the PKK has killed 65-70 of the Turkish soldiers.  The weapon of choice for the PKK is land mines. The Turkish Government hopes its response  will be able to completely defeat the PKK and avenge some of the 30,000 lives lost since the party’s inception.

    This new major offensive will be long, brutal and demanding. It will force the Turkish government and the Kurds into a deep civil war, which cannot not be resolved soon.  It will cause many to die, and will create more open hostility in an already unstable region.  The Kurds will not be satisfied until they get their own land. And so even if the Turkish government is successful in accomplishing its goal, it will only be a stop-gap measure.

Time Magazine. Nationalists without a Nation. 1 March 1999.
Washington Post. Who are the Kurds? 1999.
Reuters.  Turkey’s army chief renews call to crush Kurd rebels in Iraq. 27 June 2007.
Today’s Zaman. Army to restructure to step up fight against PKK. 28 June 2007.
Trend News Agency. PKK terrorists fail to plant mine trap on highway in eastern Turkey. 26 June 2007.
Associated Press. 2 Kurds Die in Failed Suicide Attack. 24 June 2007.

Fujimori agrees to run in Japan race despite allegations of human rights abuses

Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, has decided to run for a seat in Japan’s upper parliament in July, according to the country’s NTV network’s website.  Fujimori, 68, is quoted as saying that he wants “to make use of [his] 10-year experience as president to work for Japan and the world.”

The People’s New Party, a minor party, asked Fujimori to run.  According to Fujimori, his top policy objectives would be to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and the campaign to resolve the country’s abductions of Japanese citizens.   “I think I can do it,” Fujimori told NTV.

It is not clear whether Fujimori would be eligible to register as a candidate. In 2000, the Japanese government came to the conclusion that Fujimori was a Japanese citizen because his birth was registered with a Japanese consulate in Peru, and he had never renounced his citizenship.  Japan’s Kyodo News reported that no regulations under Japan’s Public Offices Election Law prohibit a candidate under house arrest overseas from running in an election in Japan, according to the Associated Press.

Peru wants to try Fujimori for bribery, wire tapping, the sanctioning of 25 killings and other charges accrued during his ten-year administration, which ended in 2000 following a corruption scandal.  Fujimori spent the following five years in Japan in exile, and has renounced any wrongdoing.  After returning to South America in an apparent bid to run for Peruvian office, he was arrested by Chilean authorities and put under house arrest.  Fujimori was freed for a time, on the condition he not leave the country, but recently a Chilean prosecutor recommended that he be extradited to Peru to face charges of human rights abuses and corruption.  He is currently under house arrest in Chile.

Jose Garcia Belaunde, Peru’s Foreign Minister, dismissed the proposal as “a maneuver by that party and by ex-President Fujimori to try to avoid extradition,” reported BBC News.  Chilean legal experts claim that Fujimori’s candidacy will not affect a final deportation ruling.

For more information, please see:

“Fujimori mulls Japan party offer” BBC News 20 June 2007

“Report: Ex-Peruvian Leader to run in Japan Race” CNN 27 June 2007

“Japanese Party says Fujimori to run in Japanese Parliamentary Race” International Herald Tribune 27 June 2007

“Peruvian Ex-President Fujimori Under House Arrest in Chile” Impunity Watch; 14 June 2007

Charles Taylor Trial Delayed

By Impunity Watch Africa

The trial against former Liberian President Charles Taylor was set to resume Monday in The Hague, however Taylor once again refused to attend.  When opening statements began on June 4, Taylor refused to appear in court, instead sending a letter to the judge calling the court “a charade that does injustice to the people of Sierra Leone.”  Taylor claimed he could not receive a fair trial and fired his attorney, Karim Khan, stating he wished to represent himself.  Following opening statements the trial was in recess until Monday, when witness testimony was scheduled to begin.

Monday brought neither new defense attorneys for Taylor, nor an appearance by the accused, and the trial was once again put on hold.  Justice Julie Sebutinde issued a terse warning against “undue delay” but was nevertheless forced to continue the trial until July 3.  The purpose of the delay is to appoint a new defense team to Taylor, who has claimed he will not appear in court until he is provided with enough resources to match those of the prosecution. He continues to assert that he will act as his own attorney unless he can be represented by a Queen’s Counsel (a high-level British lawyer).

The prosecution objected to the delay, stating that Taylor had intentionally tried to delay proceedings by waiting until the start of trial to fire his lawyer.  However, Justice Sebutinde ruled that adequate resources had to be provided to the defense and that the court’s registry has not moved quickly enough to ensure they were in place.

Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian law for acts which allegedly occurred during his involvement with the Sierra Leone civil war.

Last week the Sierra Leone Court issued its first verdicts, convicting three former Sierra Leonean military leaders on multiple counts of war crimes, including the first ever conviction by an international court for the use of child soldiers. The three men convicted were former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, a group of former military officers who overthrew Sierra Leone’s government in 1997 and then teamed up with rebels to control the country.  Prosecutors allege the rebels were among those supported by Taylor.

For more information, please see:

AllAfrica – Liberia: Sebutinde Warns Taylor On Boycott – 26 June 2007

AllAfrica – Liberia: Defiant Taylor’s Request Granted – 26 June 2007

BBC – Liberia’s Taylor trial adjourned – 25 June 2007

CNN – Taylor Boycott Forces Delay – 25 June 2007