The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that Spain was not in violation of European rights law by immediately returning two migrants who scaled a border fence from Morocco.
The court’s 17-member Grand Chamber accepted Spain’s appeal against a 2017 ruling by a seven-judge chamber that the expulsions had violated a ban on collective expulsions of aliens.
The Grand Chamber ruled that the two applicants had placed themselves in an unlawful situation by “storming” the border fence around the Spanish enclave of Melilla as part of a large group, using force.
The enclave is surrounded by three parallel fences up to six metres high.
Large groups of migrants regularly try to make their way across, and Spanish authorities have systematically returned them immediately to Morocco.
The two – from Cote d’Ivoire and Mali – had not made any attempt to enter Spain legally, whether by applying for visas or by seeking protection at an official border post.
It was therefore their own fault that Spanish authorities did not justify their expulsions with individual decisions, the court ruled.
Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic had told the court that applying for asylum in Melilla through regular channels or reaching the official border post “seems practically impossible for Sub-Saharan Africans.”
They were “left with the option of climbing over the fence, taking the sea or using irregular means of crossing the border point,” Mijatovic argued in a submission to the court.
Summary expulsions of migrants and potential asylum seekers were increasing across Europe, Mijatovic warned.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide
Spanish triathlete grateful for praise after incredible act of selflessness
Diego Mentrida, a Spanish triathlete, has played down the significance of his sporting gesture in last week’s Santander Triathlon.
His act of selflessness was reflected in his surrendering third-place by slowing down to allow a fellow competitor who had taken a wrong turn to overtake him.
Mentrida was in fourth place and trailing James Teagle heading into the final stretch when Teagle accidentally headed for the barriers.
This allowed Mentrida to dart ahead and move within sight of a podium finish.
But once he had realised Teagle’s mistake, the 21-year-old Mentrida paused to allow the Briton to retake his place in third just before the finish line.
Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas was among those who praised Mentrida’s selfless act on social media.
But, while the Spaniard appreciated the recognition, he reiterated it was the right thing to do.
“This is something my parents and my club have taught me since I was a child,” Mentrida wrote on Instagram.
“In my opinion it should be considered as a normal situation. I never thought that something like that would be so far reaching and would be repeated by so much media.
“But it makes me proud to receive so much affection.”
After the incident received global media coverage, race organisers decided to give Mentrida an honorary third-place and award him 300 euros in prize money.
It was the same amount Teagle had earned for coming third.
Teagle praised Mentrida for showing “incredible sportsmanship and integrity”.
”Moral of the story is that sportsmanship is a highly regarded trait. And British kids pay attention in language class… or you may end up looking like a fool worldwide.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer
Defending champion Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Italian Open with a stunning 6-2 7-5 defeat by Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
The nine-times Rome champion, who had won all nine previous meetings against Schwartzman, struggled with his serve throughout the match.
He made a series of uncharacteristic unforced errors that proved to be his undoing.
The Italian Open was the Spaniard’s first tournament in over seven months and while he cruised through the previous two rounds, his rustiness showed from the outset against the 15th-ranked Schwartzman.
Nadal committed 30 unforced errors to Schwartzman’s 17 and had his serve broken five times.
“Losing that many serves, you can’t expect to win a match,” Nadal said. “So that’s something that I have to fix. I know how to do it.”
Nadal will now travel to Paris, where he will look to clinch a record-extending 13th French Open title.
Schwartzman will face Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals after the Canadian defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 3-6 6-2 for his 100th tour-level match win.
Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic overcame a mid-match wobble against Dominik Koepfer before securing a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over the unseeded German and a semi-final spot.
The top-ranked Serb had sailed through the previous two rounds, his first matches since being defaulted at the United States Open for hitting a line judge with a ball.
But he faced a potentially tricky test when Koepfer levelled the contest at one set apiece.
However, Djokovic regained his focus to close out the victory and stay on course for his 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown.
He takes on Casper Ruud for a place in the final after the Norwegian battled past fourth seed and local hope Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in their last-eight clash.
“Clay is definitely Casper’s preferred surface. This is where he feels most comfortable. It’s semi-finals and it’s anybody’s game,” said Djokovic, who will be targeting his 30th victory from 31 matches this year.
“I’ll do some homework and be ready for that one.”
In the women’s draw, 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep advanced to the semi-finals when her opponent Yulia Putintseva retired due to a lower back injury while trailing 6-2 2-0.
The top-seeded Romanian will now meet Spain’s ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, who survived an early scare against Victoria Azarenka to beat the United States Open runner-up 3-6 6-3 6-4.
Halep said: “Every time I played well against her (Muguruza), I was as much as possible aggressive.
“If I play my best game, and if I feel great physically on court, I have a big chance to win the match. But every time is different, because she’s playing so hard. You don’t really know what to expect. It’s tough.”
Two-times champion and fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who skipped the United States Open to prepare for the claycourt swing, was stunned by Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-0.
Number 12 seed Vondrousova will face compatriot Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the defending champion survived a mid-match scare to beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Liverpool sign Portugal winger Jota from Wolves
Liverpool have completed the signing of Portugal forward Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a long term contract, the English Premier League (EPL) champions said on Saturday.
Liverpool’s versatile 18-year-old defender Ki-Jana Hoever moved in the other direction on a five-year contract.
He played four senior games for the Anfield club following his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2018.
British media reported that Liverpool agreed a five-year deal worth about 41 million pounds for Jota.
It is expected that his versatility and work rate should fit in well with manager Juergen Klopp’s hard-pressing style of play.
“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool —— the world champions —— is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.”
The 23-year-old Jota was left out of Wolves’ League Cup defeat by Stoke City on Thursday and was an unused substitute in their 2-0 league win over Sheffield United last weekend.
Initially arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2017, Jota has scored 16 goals and provided six assists for Wolves in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
“I think I’m a team player,” Jota said. “I play upfront and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me…I’ll always try to help the team in the best way possible.”
Jota is Liverpool’s third signing of the close season following the arrival of Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed put his sterling short game on display to grab the United States Open halfway lead on Friday.
Tiger Woods finished well outside the cut in windy conditions which humbled many of the game’s top golfers.
Reed only hit five fairways on a tough scoring day at Winged Foot but made a slew of stunning recoveries.
He then needed only 25 putts en route to an even-par 70 that left him at four under on the week and one shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau (68).
“I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good,” said world number 10 Reed. “I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that’s what you need.”
Reed, who started the day one shot back of overnight leader Justin Thomas, grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on his final hole, the par-five ninth.
That was where his shot from a greenside bunker settled five feet from the cup.
Unlike the first round when 21 players finished under par in soft conditions, Winged Foot proved a much sterner test on Friday.
DeChambeau, Bubba Watson (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (69) were the only players from a 144-player field to break par.
DeChambeau, who has turned heads this year with his new physique and prodigious length off the tee, went out in the morning wave.
He muscled his way around a scorecard-shredding Winged Foot course like few others can.
The world number nine finished his round with a monstrous eagle at the par-five ninth hole where, after a 380-yard drive, he stuffed a pitching wedge to six feet.
“Confidence is at an all-time high right now, driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I’m putting it like I know I can,” said DeChambeau, whose best major finish was a share of fourth place at this year’s PGA Championship.
Thomas (73), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (70) and Harris English (70) were all two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.
This was a tournament that was originally scheduled for mid-June but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masters champion Woods (77) missed the cut for the eighth time in his last 15 majors after a round during which he made five bogeys and two double-bogeys over a miserable 11-hole run.
“Physically it was frustrating that I didn’t drive the ball as well as I needed to,” said Woods.
“Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It’s been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that.”
Phil Mickelson’s latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors fell apart as the six-times runner-up carded a 74
He missed the cut after posting one of the worst 36-hole scores of his major career.
Among the others to miss the cut were defending champion Gary Woodland, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and top-20 players Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)