Tag Archives: Amnesty

Venezuela's 'interim president' urges military to defect amid promise of possible amnesty for Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela's 'interim president' urges military to defect amid promise of possible amnesty for Nicolas MaduroVenezuela’s self-proclaimed “interim president” has appealed to the country’s military to abandon President Nicolas Maduro and join his side, asking citizens to “extend a hand of friendship” to soldiers to convince them to defect. Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the opposition-controlled national assembly, called for massive protests next week at an open-air press conference in Caracas, interrupted by frequent cheers of “presidente”. Hours before, in an interview aired by Latino broadcaster Univision, he suggested to Mr Maduro that he would guarantee safe passage out of the country. “This amnesty, these guarantees are on the table for everyone who is prepared to put themselves on the side of the constitution in order to recover the democratic order,” he said. Some American diplomats on Friday evacuated Caracas under police escort, obeying an order from Mr Maduro to leave despite Mr Guido urging them not to.  It was also reported that Russian military contractors had flown into Venezuela to beef up security for Mr Maduro.  Nicolas Maduro holding a news conference inside the presidential palace on Friday, as his rival Juan Guaido called a press conference of his own  Mr Guaido called on members of the military – who on Thursday pledged their loyalty to Mr Maduro – saying "it is the moment" for them to come out in defence of the constitution. He told Cuban advisers, embedded with the Venezuelan forces, that they should leave the military, although they were welcome to remain in the country. Mr Guaido was recognised by the United States as the country’s legitimate leader on Wednesday – a move which was swiftly followed by a series of countries in the Americas, including Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, said Britain believed Mr Guaido was “the right person to take Venezuela forward”. It was reported on Friday that Mr Maduro's government had been stymied in an attempt to withdraw $ 1.2 billion in gold it holds in the Bank of England. The bank denied Venezuela's withdrawal request after US officials asked their UK counterparts to help block the regime's access to overseas assets, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The US on Thursday said it wanted to divert such funds to Mr Guaido. The Washington-led move has put the US on collision course with both Venezuela and Russia, which has stationed its planes in Venezuela. Mr Maduro has frequently visited Moscow to seek support from Mr Putin, and Moscow now accuses the US of trying to usurp power in Venezuela. Vladimir Putin attends the talks with Nicolas Maduro during meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Dec 5, 2018 Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, is to speak at a UN Security Council meeting on Venezuela on Saturday, in an attempt to drum up support for Mr Guaido. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said Moscow would insist on “compliance with international law”.    Reuters reported that Kremlin-linked military contractors who have conducted secret missions for Russia in Ukraine and Syria had flown into Venezuela in recent days, citing multiple sources close to them. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said he had "no such information".  Mr Maduro also retains some allies in Latin America. Mexico, which under leftist leader Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, who took office a month ago, has charted a more conciliatory course with Venezuela, said they would not be changing their position towards President Nicolas Maduro. They offered on Friday to mediate between the opposition and Mr Maduro’s government. At least seven people have died in a week of unrest and protests, with some NGOs giving the toll as high as 26. Riots in Caracas on January 23 Mr Guaido’s assumption of power on Wednesday was greeted with jubilation at home by opponents of the embattled Mr Maduro. On Friday hundreds gathered for Mr Guaido’s press conference, excited to see what would happen. The youthful politician, who was briefly detained earlier this month by security services, said he hoped to hold free and fair elections to designate the official president. Gustavo Misle, a retired university professor, was holding a sign that had a skeleton attached to the back of it.  The cardboard said “we are hungry” and had legal currency stapled to it and gun casings. Inflation in Venezuela is currently at a million per cent, and the years of chronic shortages of food and essential items show no signs of abating. "People like me are hungry,” he told The Telegraph. “We either buy food or medicines, and our retirement isn’t worth anything. "I support Guaido because it’s the first time I’ve seen that we can have changes and complete changes."



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Venezuela shadow government leader offers amnesty to Maduro as death toll rises from rival clashes

Venezuela shadow government leader offers amnesty to Maduro as death toll rises from rival clashesThe self-declared interim president of Venezuela has promised Nicolas Maduro amnesty if he cedes power in a peaceful transition. Juan Guaido has been in hiding since the 35-year-old was symbolically sworn in Wednesday before tens of thousands of cheering supporters, promising to uphold the constitution and rid Venezuela of Mr Maduro's dictatorship. Speaking from an undisclosed location, Mr Guaido told Univision he would consider granting amnesty to Maduro and his allies if they helped return Venezuela to democracy. "Amnesty is on the table," said Mr Guaido, who just weeks earlier was named head of the opposition-controlled congress. "Those guarantees are for all those who are willing to side with the constitution to recover the constitutional order." He added that a similar move had played a role in Chile's democratic transition. Guaido vs Maduro | Who is backing Venezuela's two presidents Venezuela's powerful military threw its weight behind Mr Maduro on Thursday as the US-backed opposition leader Mr Guaido pressed a direct challenge to his authority. As the death toll from days of street protests jumped to 26, a defiant Maduro announced the closure of Venezuela's embassy and consulates in the United States, a day after President Donald Trump's administration declared his regime "illegitimate." The oil-rich but economically devastated country was plunged into uncertainty Wednesday when Mr Guaido, head of the National Assembly, proclaimed himself "acting president" – earning swift endorsement from Washington, the UK, and a dozen regional powers including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said: “The United Kingdom believes Juan Guaidó is the right person to take Venezuela forward. We are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen.” Jeremy Corbyn, who has previously declined to condemn the regime, did not back Mr Hunt's position. A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “[Mr Maduro] is still the president of the country. We don’t support outside interference.” He added: “We think that dialogue and a negotiated settlement are needed to overcome the crisis in Venezuela. The future of Venezuela is for Venezuelans.” Security forces run after a demonstrator during a protest of opposition supporters against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas Credit:  Carlos Garcia Rawlins/ REUTERS Russia accused the United States of trying to usurp power in Venezuela and warned against US military intervention there. Mr Maduro's reelection last year was contested by the opposition, and criticized internationally – but the socialist leader has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military, whose response was being keenly watched. Flanked by military top brass, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, himself a general, declared the 56-year-old Maduro "the legitimate president" – and vowed to defend his authority against an attempted "coup d'etat." Following Padrino's lead, eight generals in turn reiterated their "absolute loyalty and subordination" to the socialist leader in messages carried on state television. And the Supreme Court – made up of regime loyalists – doubled down by reaffirming its allegiance to Maduro's "legitimate authority." "A coup is brewing in Venezuela with the consent of foreign governments," charged the court's president Maikel Moreno.



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Trump says no amnesty for 'Dreamers,' signals support in broader deal

Trump says no amnesty for 'Dreamers,' signals support in broader dealIn a morning Twitter storm, Trump also said he would not seek the removal of millions of illegal aliens living in the United States, while bashing House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for turning down his offer on Saturday. “No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3-year extension of DACA.



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Netflix censorship risks helping Saudi crackdown: Amnesty

Netflix censorship risks helping Saudi crackdown: AmnestyNetflix’s decision to pull an episode of a show critical of Saudi authorities risks facilitating a crackdown on freedom of expression in the kingdom, Amnesty International said Wednesday. “Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix… is further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression in the kingdom,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s Middle East campaigns director.



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Amnesty highlights sex-for-food claims in Boko Haram-hit Nigeria

Amnesty highlights sex-for-food claims in Boko Haram-hit NigeriaAmnesty International on Thursday urged Nigeria to act on claims soldiers and members of the civilian militia have raped women and girls in remote camps for people displaced by Boko Haram but the government said the rights monitor was repeating false accusations. Amnesty said it had gathered multiple testimonies about alleged abuse by the security forces, including claimed that soldiers coerced vulnerable survivors into having sex in exchange for food. In November 2016, police vowed to look into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the camps but several months later, the military rejected the allegations.



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Colin Kaepernick Receives Amnesty International's Highest Honor For Activism

Colin Kaepernick Receives Amnesty International's Highest Honor For ActivismAmnesty International on Saturday named former San Francisco 49ers quarterback



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Australian amnesty nets 57,000 firearms and rocket launcher

Australian amnesty nets 57,000 firearms and rocket launcherCANBERRA, Australia (AP) — More than 57,000 illegal firearms including a rocket launcher and machine guns were handed in during a recent Australian amnesty in which gun owners could surrender such weapons without penalty.



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Rocket Launcher and Machine Guns Among 57,000 Firearms Surrendered in Australian Amnesty

Rocket Launcher and Machine Guns Among 57,000 Firearms Surrendered in Australian AmnestyWeapons including a rocket launcher and machine guns were handed in with no penalty



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Amnesty condemns 'forced' returns of Afghan asylum seekers

Amnesty condemns 'forced' returns of Afghan asylum seekersA surge of failed Afghan asylum seekers “forcibly” returned from Europe are at risk of torture, kidnapping and death in war-torn Afghanistan, Amnesty International said Thursday. Almost 9,500 Afghans went back to their homeland in 2016 after their applications for asylum in Europe were rejected, compared with nearly 3,300 a year earlier, the human rights group said. The figure covers asylum seekers who were detained and then deported from European countries, and those who “ostensibly voluntarily” returned with financial assistance, Amnesty said.



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Boko Haram suspects killed, tortured in Cameroon custody: Amnesty Cameroun: Amnesty accuse les forces de sécurité de torture entraînant la mort

Boko Haram suspects killed, tortured in Cameroon custody: Amnesty</p>
<p>Cameroun: Amnesty accuse les forces de sécurité de torture entraînant la mortDozens of Boko Haram suspects have died in Cameroon custody, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday, with security forces brutally torturing them in the fight against the jihadist group. The NGO said it had found 101 people who said they were held in secret and tortured by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) and the General Directorate of External Research (DGRE), Cameroon’s intelligence services, between March 2013 and March 2017.



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