Terrorism trial: 6 staffers of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet Newspaper return to jail





14 staffers of Cumhuriyet, some of the few remaining voices critical of the government, were sentenced in April 2018 to jail terms of up to eight years.

They were also sentenced to one month on charges of terrorism and supporting U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

They were similarly condemned for organising the 2016 attempted coup.

All the defendants, some of whom had been in prison for the duration of the trial, had been released pending an appeals process.

In February, another court rejected their appeals.

All the accused have denied the charges against them and argued the case is political and aimed at silencing opposition voices.

Gulen denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

Six Cumhuriyet staffers, whose sentences are less than five years, was returned to jail to serve out their terms.

Two others who were also sentenced to less than five years will remain free due to the time they served as the trial continued.

Tora Pekin, a lawyer for the defendants, said during a news conference on Monday that the appeals court had not granted their request for a hearing ahead of deciding whether to uphold the sentences.

Abbas Yalcin, another lawyer, said they had requested the sentences be suspended and were waiting for the request to be evaluated by the court.

Human rights organisations have voiced increasing concern about media freedom in Turkey, accusing Erdogan of using the abortive putsch as a pretext to quash dissent.

Since the failed coup, over 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while about 150,000 civil servants and military personnel have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.


Banditry/Terrorism: Buhari expresses regret over killings, seeks revamp of intelligence assets



President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday expressed regret over the killing of innocent citizens by insurgents and bandits in the country.

He challenged state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets to address the dastardly acts.

The president made his feelings known in a broadcast to commemorate the 2020 Democracy Day in Abuja on Friday.

He said: “I regret  recent sporadic incidents with tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.

“I must implore state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that the security agencies can nip in the bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas.

“I send my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives and communities affected.’’

The president observed that the Ministry of Police Affairs was created as part of efforts aimed at strengthening the nation’s internal security architecture.

According to him, ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.

“All the local governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.

“The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities,” he said.

He also revealed that the government had expanded the National Command and Control Centre to 19 states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy.

“Government has similarly established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund as a public-private sector vehicle for alternative sources of funding security activities.

“To reduce security challenges through our external borders, especially smuggling of oil products out of the country, inflow of small arms and drugs into the country and equally protect our local manufacturers, we introduced operation “Ex-Swift Response, ” he said.

He added that the closure of borders  from Aug. 20,  2019, had ” considerably succeeded in meeting its objectives as well as improving our national revenue.”

Buhari also disclosed that the Federal Government had continued to work to reduce social and economic inequality through targeted social investment programmes, education, technology and improved information.

“ Our Social Investment Programme has continued to be a model to other nations and has engaged 549,500 N-Power beneficiaries, 408,682 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and 2,238,334 beneficiaries of the Growth Enhancement and Empowerment Programme.

“This is being done in collaboration with the states.

“Similarly, “Marketmoni” and “Tradermoni” Programmes have provided affordable loans to small and micro scale enterprises to grow their businesses.

” Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, over 9,963,729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status,” the president said.

Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
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General news

Tinubu commiserates with Telegraph Newspaper over Editor’s death



Sen. Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), has commiserated with the family of late Waheed Bakare, Saturday Telegraph Editor, who died on Sunday.

Tinubu also condoled the management of Telegraph Newspaper and the Guild of Editors over the editor’s death.

In a condolence message by his Media Aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, on Tuesday in Lagos, the APC national leader also condoled with the Managing Director of Telegraph Newspaper, Mr Ayo Aminu.

He described the late Bakare as a diligent and committed journalist, who was devoted to the journalism profession.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the death of your colleague, Mr Waheed Bakare, the Saturday Telegraph Editor.

“I have been made to understand and appreciate Mr Bakare’s journalism trajectory, particularly his rise from being an assistant editor at Punch Newspapers to the zenith of the profession as an editor at Telegraph Newspaper.

“His career, as I learnt, was hallmarked by diligence, commitment, perseverance and professionalism.

“I recall his contributions on Journalist Hangout, TVC’s award-winning programme, where he engaged in an incisive analysis of national issues.

“Indeed, Mr Bakare’s demise is a sad loss, not only to his family, the Telegraph Newspaper, the Guild of Editors and the media industry generally but also a big loss to all of us.

“My thoughts are with his family and colleagues at Telegraph Newspaper at this moment,’’ Tinubu said.

The APC leader prayed Almighty Allah to comfort his wife and children and give them the strength to live with this demise.

“I pray that Allah SWT accept the soul of Waheed, reward his good deeds as a devout Muslim, forgive his sins and grant him Aljanna Fridaus Amin.’’

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service says IS leader in Iraq killed




The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) said Tuesday that Mu’taz al-Jubouri, leader of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq, was killed by international coalition airstrike.

Al-Jubouri, also known as Hajji Taysir, who is also assistant of the top IS leader, was killed in an airstrike in Deir al-Zour area in eastern Syria, according to accurate intelligence reports presented by the Iraqi CTS, a CTS statement said.

Al-Jubouri was tracked inside and outside Iraq, he has more than one passport and identity card, and he never used the phone, according to the statement.

On May 20, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) said in a statement that it has arrested Abdul-Nasser Qardash, a former candidate to succeed the dead IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Qardash was one of the most important leaders of IS, but the group later chose Abdul-Rahman al-Mawla to succeed al-Baghdadi.

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The Sun Newspaper management decries arrest of reporter in Ebonyi



The management of The Sun Newspaper has condemned the arrest of its correspondent in Abakaliki, Mr Chijioke Agwu on the orders of Gov. Dave Umahi.

A statement on Saturday in Enugu by the Head of The Sun, South East Bureau, Mr Magnus Eze, described the situation as `unfortunate and suppression of press freedom’.

Eze alleged that the governor did not want journalists to highlight the failures of his administration in the course of doing their legitimate reportage had become worrisome.

He said that Agwu was arrested on Saturday while honouring a press invitation at the Government House, Abakaliki.

“The governor does not want any report on failure of his government reported by the media. He gets offended when communal clash, robbery and killings in the state are reported.

“These things are replete in the state according to our sources and it is the duty of the media to report them,” he said.

“I was told that their grouse is a feature story our correspondent wrote on the endemic nature of Lassa fever in Ebonyi which centered mainly on a National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) statistics.

“Since the arrest of the reporter, the police have barred access to him,” Eze said.

Eze said that it was wrong to arrest a journalist for doing his job. Our correspondent was arrested as if he is a common criminal while doing his legitimate duty.

“It is unfortunate a governor can make such an order and a commissioner of police acted on it,” he said.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Awosola Awotinde confirmed arrest of the journalist.

He however, said that the command had initiated moves to resolve the matter.

Meanwhile, Umahi had during a statewide broadcast said that any person who peddled false information concerning COVID-19 in the state would be arrested.

Umahi said: “Any person who peddles false information on this matter will be arrested and prosecuted as I have ordered the arrest of the Sun newspapers Correspondent in the state for publishing false information on Lassa fever ravaging the state.”

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
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