Fri, Sep 30, 2016 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

N Korean soldier defects

A North Korean soldier defected yesterday morning, sneaking across the countries’ land border, which is heavily fortified with armed sentries, minefields and barbed wire. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said military officials were investigating the soldier, who defected across the central-east portion of the military demarcation line, which is inside the 4km-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the countries. The military provided no other details. The soldier is the second North Korean trooper to defect by crossing the Demilitarized Zone after another did so in June, the first in three years. He later told officials that he had fled because of widespread beatings and other abuse in the military.

FRANCE

Iranian activist jailed: RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) late on Wednesday condemned a decision by an Iranian appeals court to uphold a 10-year jail sentence against journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. One of Iran’s best-known journalists, Mohammadi was the spokesperson of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and campaigned for an end to the death penalty in Iran. Initially arrested in May last year, the mother-of-two was sentenced to a total of 16 years in April, an RSF statement said. RSF said her lawyers received the news as her colleague, 2003 Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi who founded the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, was meeting with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire in Paris. “I condemn this sentence imposed by the Iranian judicial system as Narges’ only crime is to be a human rights defender in a country that flouts these rights,” Ebadi told RSF.

AUSTRALIA

Alleged smuggler indicted

An Iranian citizen extradited from Indonesia was yesterday charged in Sydney Central Local Court with attempting to smuggle 73 asylum seekers by boat into the nation. Mohammad Naghi Karimi Azar, 56, on Wednesday became the eighth suspected people smuggler to be extradited from Indonesia since 2008, a government statement said. Azar was charged with 43 counts of people smuggling, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. He appeared by video from a Sydney police station and did not apply for bail. One of his lawyers told the court that Azar needed time to read the 100-page prosecution case against him. His next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday next week. Outside the court, another lawyer for Azar told reporters that his client intended to plead not guilty. The attorney said Azar told him he was a refugee registered with the UN and had fled Iran in fear of persecution because he was a member of an ethnic minority.

FRANCE

Printing plant reopens

A printing plant north of Paris reopened for the first time since it was damaged during a deadly standoff between police and two brothers who gunned down cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo newspaper. President Francois Hollande presided over yesterday’s reopening in a sign of the national significance of the drama that unfolded there in January last year. Cherif and Said Kouachi led police on a two-day manhunt after attacking Charlie Hebdo, then hid out in a printing plant in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele. Police surrounded the building and the brothers were killed in a shootout. The attacks that week on Charlie Hebdo, police and a kosher market killed 17 people.

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