In Judge Dursun Genel's snug little courtroom, the feuding couples shuttle in and out with stories of exhausted dreams and unhappy marriages. \n"We'll never have peace," a young woman recently told the judge, agreeing with her estranged husband that the only solution to their problems was divorce. \n"But who will look after you?" Genel asked. "Under the law, you know, you have the right to make a financial claim." \n"I don't want anything from him," the woman responded. "I just want you to make sure he doesn't threaten me anymore." \nSo it goes in Turkey's newly established family courts where women now have equal rights in marriage, and courts are obligated to put restraining orders on bullying spouses. \nFamily courts are just one product of the sweeping changes that have both transformed and swamped Turkey's legal system. An avalanche of new laws, geared to bring the nation closer to EU norms, has altered the way the state treats everything from police brutality and juvenile delinquents to commercial transactions and industrial pollution. \n"We all have to work harder to stay abreast of the changes," said Genel, the chief judge of a district family court in downtown Ankara and the host of a new television show that teaches the public about the laws. "But there have been excellent steps taken, and I think, from the reaction I've seen, that society was ready for them." \nThe changes started three years ago but were accelerated under Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan, who has used a hefty parliamentary majority to rewrite hundreds of laws since taking office 21 months ago. In addition, a third of the articles in the Turkish Constitution have been amended. \nThe government's aim was to meet the eligibility criteria for starting membership talks with the EU, which required stronger protection of free speech and human rights, and greater civilian control over the powerful military. \nAs a result, Turkey abolished the death penalty and the feared state security court. It created intellectual property courts, consumer courts, juvenile courts and family courts. \nTreason was redefined, police powers limited, criminal penalties revised, trademark laws created and press laws revamped. \nIn short, just about every field of law changed. Even the most experienced lawyers and judges have found themselves cramming like first-year law students and signing up for training seminars while cases pile up by the tens of thousands at courthouses. \nWhile complaints about the substance of the changes have been few, the velocity has prompted concern. \n"Nowhere in the world have so many laws that effect you from the day you are born until the day you die, been passed in such a rush," said Sezgin Tanrikulu, president of the bar association in Diyarbakir. \n"Unfortunately the civil code that regulates social and civil life was issued and put into practice in one month and the new penal code changes will come into effect in six months," he said. "This is not enough time for either the judges or for society to adapt."
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications