Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for April 24, 2012

Newsline: U.S. Embassy Warns of Nairobi Terror Plot

The US Embassy in Nairobi has warned of impending terror attacks targeting hotels in Nairobi and government buildings. An advisory from the embassy said the timing of the attacks was unclear, but intelligence information showed the planning was in the final stages. American nationals have been cautioned to remain aware of their surroundings at all and be vigilant of their personal security. “The Embassy informs US citizens residing in or visiting Kenya that the US Embassy in Nairobi has received credible information regarding a possible attack on Nairobi hotels and prominent Kenyan government buildings,” the statement advised. Kenya has continuously been on high alert since defence forces launched an offensive against Somalia’s militia group, Al Shabaab, which has been blamed for a series of cross-border attacks. The Al Shabaab has however on several occasions circumvented police intelligence to launch grenade attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa and parts of northern Kenya. In the latest attack on April 1, one person was killed and 18 others wounded when explosives went off in the coastal city of Mombasa and a nearby town.



Newsline: Attorney of US Embassy now lawyer of Osama’s wife

It may be a coincidence, yet intriguing that a lawyer, enlisted among the attorneys of US Consulate in Peshawar, Atif Ali Khan, is now serving as the counsel for Osama’s Yemeni wife in the ongoing legal battle for deportation. In the deportation case, the lead lawyer is Amir Khalil and Atif served as an interpreter for interacting with Osama’s wife, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, as Atif is well-versed in Arabic. Atif, however, disputes this claim being only the interpreter, claiming he was the lead lawyer and confirmed his proficiency in Arabic language. He confirmed representing the US Consulate in a real estate case, saying he did so only once. When inquired why his name has been enlisted among the attorneys on the panel of the consulate, Atif said it is for the purpose of consulate use in case it needs to engage a counsel in Pakistani courts in future. Amir Khalil, the legal adviser of Yemen ambassador, was contacted first and he drafted the petitions on behalf of the family and later argued before the Islamabad High Court as well as in district court of the federal capital.


Newsline: Russian embassy accuses local Indian government of uncivilized behavior

After two unsuccessful attempts by Himachal government to remove a Russian national from the post of curator of International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), the Russian embassy has now accused Himachal Pradesh government of “uncivilized, rude and harassing behaviour” towards their nationals. Acting upon the complaint by executive director and curator of IRMT, Alena Adamkova, the Russian embassy has issued a statement that the legacy of Roerich does not belong to Naggar, Kullu, Himachal, India or Russia, but to the whole mankind and cannot be administered only by a deputy commissioner of the district. “The embassy strongly rejects aggressive attempts to take over IRMT in Naggar by officials of HP government and district administration representatives, the statement said. Claiming that Alena has made many irregularities in the trust and Russian nationals cannot be members of any trust in India, Himachal government has sent a one month notice to Alena to leave the post. A team of representatives from Kullu administration had arrived in IRMT Naggar to discharge Alena from her service on March 20 and again on April 17 this year but she refused to leave IRMT and asked for legal procedure as it was mentioned in the byelaws of the trust. “According to byelaws, a meeting should be called and all members should be present to take any such decision. I’m not going to leave IRMT unless all members make consent on the decision,” she said. The Russian government suspects that Alena was being removed intentionally and had even requested the government of India to work out an appropriate mechanism to take IRMT under central jurisdiction.


Newsline: British Embassy in hunger strike talks at Dubai prison

The British Embassy has met with prisoners in Dubai Central Prison to warn them against hunger strikes. The discussion came after an Irish inmate, Christopher Renehan, reportedly began a hunger strike last Monday to appeal his six-year conviction for issuing bad cheques. And while authorities at the prison said they had no knowledge of the hunger strike becoming a mass action, two prisoners said Renehan had been joined by 40 inmates convicted of similar charges, who were urging reform on cheque-fraud laws. Yesterday, the prison official Brig Omar Al Attar said the rumours of spreading strike action were unfounded and an issue with “a single inmate” had been resolved. British Embassy officials said they had heard about the hunger strike and decided to give an educational talk in the prison about the harm that can be done. Ruzina Hasan, from the British Embassy, said: “We are aware of the situation and consular officials visited them last Thursday to inform them about the implications of conducting a hunger strike.” Renehan’s cellmate, Oliver L from Belgium, said he had joined in the hunger strike. “I have been on strike now for six days with Chris,” Oliver, 51, a hotel supply company manager, said on Sunday. “There are 40 more prisoners now on strike. We have challenges and demands that need to be addressed.” The prisoners are calling for appraisal of the nation’s cheque laws, including enforcement of article 88 of federal law. Article 88 states that if more than one cheque has been issued in the same allegation then they would all be treated as the same case and not separate cases. Inmates say the notion of criminal intent in the bounced cheque law should be revisited. The men say dishonoured cheques issued by companies should not be viewed as crimes, but as civil cases.