APPARENTLY IT’S GOOD TIMES FOR AL QAEDA AND AL SHABAB AS THEY’VE NOW DECIDED TO JOIN TOGETHER IN THEIR MISSION OF MURDERING, RAPING, AND PILLAGING THE NON MUSLIMS OF NIGERIA. THIS IS WHAT ARAB SPRING REALLY IS…THE WET DREAM OF THE UMMAH FOR THEIR NEW ISLAMIC CALIPHATE…
Al-Shabab throws parties, stages rallies across Somalia to celebrate recognition from Al-Qaeda
Agence France-Presse Feb 13, 2012 – 2:42 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 13, 2012 2:45 PM ET
ABDURASHID ABDULLE/AFP/Getty Images/Files
An Al-Shabab fighter pictured in 2011
MOGADISHU — Gun-toting Al-Shabab insurgents staged rallies across Somalia Monday to celebrate their group’s recognition by Osama bin Laden’s successor as a member of the Islamist Al-Qaeda network.
“The unification of Al-Shabab with Al-Qaeda breaks the hearts of the enemy,” Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told a crowd of several hundred in rebel-held Afgoye, just outside Somalia’s war-torn capital Mogadishu.
Extremists chanting anti-Western slogans ordered people to attend the rallies, witnesses said.
“At least 600 people gathered carrying placards supporting the unification of the two groups — people chanted Allahu Akbar (God is great)” said Abdikarin Adan, a witness.
“Businesses were shut after Shabab fighters in cars with loudspeakers ordered people to attend the demonstration,” said Mohamed Sufi, another witness.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in a video message posted on jihadist forums last week that Shabab fighters had joined ranks with the Islamist network.
Shabab insurgents, fighting to overthrow the weak Western-backed government in the war-torn Horn of Africa country, proclaimed their allegiance to then Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2009.
“Mujahideen fighters worldwide, I promise you that the unification is a sign of the return of the Islamic caliphate worldwide,” Rage added.
Several demonstrations also took place across Shabab-held southern Somalia including the port city of Merka, where the extremist gunmen ordered people to shut down businesses to attend the rally.
“Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri has regional leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan, and sub-Saharan Africa,” Rage added. “Here, where we are today, we will strengthen the unification of the mujahideen fighters.”
Shabab fighters still control large parts of central and southern Somalia but are facing increasing pressure from regional forces, with Kenya in the far south, Ethiopia in the south and west, and African Union troops in Mogadishu.
Kenya army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the rallies were a “forced demonstration.”
Somalia’s embattled government — which controls only Mogadishu with 10,000 AU troops from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti — repeated calls Monday for the lifting of a United Nations arms embargo so it can “defend the country.”
“We ask all the young people that have been misled by Al-Shabab to stop working with them,” the government statement added.
“The Somali government will not take lightly the danger from their official union and will put all its forces, as well as the general public, on the highest alert.”
There are about 200 foreign fighters in Somalia with the Shabab, Britain’s Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies said in a report earlier this month.
However, analysts have warned previously that Al-Qaeda faces significant challenges operating in Somalia, with its lack of resources, basic infrastructure and potential hostility from rival clan-based power structures.
I WANT EVERYONE TO THINK ABOUT THIS SCENARIO..HERE IN THE WEST WE BLOG ABOUT EVERYTHING, RELIGION, POLITICS, EVEN FISHING..AND WE DO IT RELATIVELY WORRY FREE. YET HERE WE HAVE A KID FROM THE HOME OF ISLAM WAITING TO BE RELIEVED OF HIS HEAD FOR WHAT MUSLIMS PERCEIVE AS AN INSULT TO MOHAMMED…NOW ASK YOURSELF, IS THIS A SYSTEM YOU’D WANT TO LIVE UNDER? THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU BLEAT ON ABOUT ISLAM’S ‘RIGHTS’ IN THE WEST..
Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari jailed, may face execution after tweets about Muhammad
Araminta Wordsworth Feb 13, 2012 – 8:37 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 13, 2012 8:42 PM ET
Hamza Kashgari, the young Saudi blogger whose foolhardy tweets about Prophet Muhammad left conservative clerics baying for his blood, is a poet and a dreamer, says a former colleague.
“Hamza always liked being alone, he wasn’t a social person,” said a senior editor at Al Bilad, the newspaper Mr. Kashgari used to work for.
“He had a broken look in his eyes and I think that was a sign of sadness or depression. He’s a poet and had a lot of philosophical ideas.”
He said the young writer had learned the Koran by heart and always had good manners, and none of his columns had touched on controversial religious ideas.
Now, the 23-year-old is Saudi Arabia’s most reviled man and could even face execution for blasphemy.
It’s all because of three tweets of an imagined conversation with the Prophet Muhammad.
Writing on the Prophet’s birthday, he said he “loved the rebel in you” and he “loved some aspects of you, hated others.”
The reaction on the Internet was swift and vitriolic.
First, there was a flurry of angry comments on Twitter — estimated at more than 30,000 in 24 hours. A Facebook page, “Saudi people want punishment for Hamza Kashgari,” has quickly grown to more than 20,000 members.
“The only choice is for Kashgari to be killed and crucified in order to be a lesson to other secularists,” commented Abu Abdulrahman, an online reader of al-Madina newspaper.
A YouTube video of a tearful Nasser al-Omar, a Saudi cleric, calling for Mr. Kashgari to be arrested and tried went viral.
Abdul-Aziz Khoja, the Saudi Information Minister, responded to the incident via Twitter.
“When I read what he posted, I wept and got very angry that someone in the country of the Two Holy Mosques attacks our Prophet in a manner that does not fit a Muslim.
“I have given instructions to ban him from writing for any Saudi newspaper or magazine, and there will be legal measures to guarantee that.”
In Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, such comments could be considered blasphemy and punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islam.
Spooked by the reactions, Mr. Kashgari deleted the postings after only six hours. But it was too late.
His attempt to flee to New Zealand was foiled by authorities in Malaysia, who detained him in transit. He is now back in Saudi Arabia.
Some observers suggest the country’s conservative clerics seized on Mr. Kashgari’s tweets as a way of pushing back against the modest reforms enacted by King Abdullah. These include allowing women to vote in local elections and to work in lingerie stores.
They also point out Saudi clerics have been quick to realize the potential of the Internet as a tool for proselytizing. They are now among some of the country’s most active tweeters.
Mr. Kashgari is a graduate of the University of King Abdulaziz, with a major in Islamic studies. He left Al Bilad newspaper five weeks before the incident because of disagreements over money and his writing.
Before his arrest, Mr. Kashgari said in an interview with the U.S. news website the Daily Beast he did not think he could ever go home because of the death threats, but was also defiant.
“I view my actions as part of a process toward freedom. I was demanding my right to practise the most basic human rights — freedom of expression and thought – so nothing was done in vain,” he said.
“I believe I’m just a scapegoat for a larger conflict. There are a lot of people like me in Saudi Arabia who are fighting for their rights.”
National Post, with files from Reuters and news services
CANADA UNDER NATO GOES OUT OF IT’S WAY TO RID LIBYA OF GADDAFI, ONLY TO BE ‘SHOCKED AND OUTRAGED’ AT THE REPORTS OF ABUSE AND TORTURE? HELLO? THIS IS WHAT YOU GET UNDER ISLAMIC RULE BOYS AND GIRLS…HOW MANY NATIONS DO YOU NEED TO SEE IT IN TO MAKE THE CONNECTION?
The Canadian government has called in Libya’s diplomats in Ottawa to express worry over torture in that country’s jails.
An aide to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada is “very concerned about these allegations” and a source said that message has already been delivered to diplomats in Ottawa representing Libya’s interim government.
“We will be raising these concerns with the interim Libyan government through official channels in Ottawa and Tripoli,” said Richard Roth, an aide to Mr. Baird. “Canada will continue to help Libyans build a fair and democratic society that respects human rights and the rule of law.”
Abubaker Karmos, The Libyan transitional government’s envoy to Ottawa — the acting ambassador — could not be reached for comment.
The United Nations and international rights groups have reported widespread torture and rape in jails, now under the authority of the interim government formed by the rebels who ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Canada played a substantial role in the NATO military mission that pinned back Col. Gadhafi’s military, helping the rebels win, under a UN mandate to protect civilians.
On Friday the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called on the transitional government to take control of as many as 60 makeshift prisons holding 8,000 detaines, which are controlled operated by a hodge-podge of rebel brigades. She expressed particular concerns for detainees from sub-Saharan Africa, who are assumed to be former Gadhafi fighters.
She told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that some detainees are subject to “torture, extrajudicial executions, rape of both men and women.”
On Thursday, the aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) suspended work in prisons in the Libyan city of Misrata because of widespread torture. It said that since August, it treated 115 people in Misrata, including cigarette burns, bone fractures, tissue bruns from electric shocks, and kidney failures from beatings.
Amnesty International said it has recorded widespread abuse in other cities that have led to the deaths of several inmates.
CONVERSION TO ISLAM REALLY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE…NOT…HERE WE HAVE THE LATEST WESTERN IDIOT FOR ISLAM PLEADING GUILTY FOR PLOTTING TO BOMB A U.S. RECRUITMENT CENTRE. IF IT’S ALREADY GOING ON SOUTH OF US, IT WON’T BE LONG BEFORE OUR IDIOTS FOR ISLAM START ACTING UP, BUT OF COURSE..THEY’RE MISUNDERSTANDING WHAT ISLAM REALLY TEACHES…
WASHINGTON – A Baltimore man angry about American policy toward Muslims pleaded guilty on Thursday as part of a plot to bomb a U.S. military recruitment centre in Maryland and faces a 25-year prison sentence, the Justice Department said.
It said Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad Hussain, pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, a car bomb, in what had been an FBI sting operation.
Martinez admitted in court that the bomb was intended to kill military service members who worked in the building in Catonsville, Maryland. But agents investigating him made sure the bomb was inert and there never was danger to the public.
Martinez was arrested in December of 2010. As part of his plea agreement, Martinez admitted that he talked about attacking military targets with an FBI confidential source, according to court documents.
In recorded conversations with the source and an FBI undercover agent, Martinez spoke about his anger toward America, his belief that Muslims were being unjustly killed by the U.S. military and his desire to send a message that soldiers would be killed unless the United States stopped its “war” against Islam.
Martinez had recently converted to Islam. Several people he initially attempted to recruit to join in the operation all declined and one of them attempted to persuade him to drop the idea, the Justice Department said.
It said Martinez then met with the source’s “Afghani brother,” who was really an undercover FBI agent. Before and during the investigation, Martinez stated his militant beliefs on his Facebook page, according to court documents.
The arrest of Martinez was one of a series of FBI sting operations involving terrorism plots. Around the same time, an Oregon man was arrested on charges he tried to detonate a car bomb near a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.
Martinez, 22, faces sentencing on April 8 in federal court in Baltimore. Both prosecutors and the defense have agreed as part of the deal that a 25-year prison sentence would be appropriate.
HOW MANY MORE TIMES ARE WE GOING TO READ ABOUT “CANADIANS’ LEAVING CANADA TO GO INTO KNOWN MUSLIM WAR ZONES TO ‘VACATION’, ‘CHECK ON THE FAMILY’, AND HEAR OF THEIR ARREST…AND HOW THEY ARE INNOCENT, AND NEED CANADA TO COME SAVE THEIR ASSES ONCE AGAIN..CAUSE YOU KNOW, HE WASN’T PARTICIPATING IN THE RIOTS..JUST OBSERVING…
Canadian in hiding after being charged, sentenced for ‘hatred’ against Bahraini regime
Tristin Hopper Jan 25, 2012 – 10:12 PM ET
Naser al-Raas has been sentenced to five years in prison
Stripped of his Canadian passport and pursued by security forces, Naser al-Raas remains a fugitive in Bahrain 10 months after he became caught up in the country’s crackdown on the Arab Spring.
“It is because I am foreign and they tried to link the demonstrations with foreign influence,” said the 29-year-old IT specialist by Skype from an undisclosed location in the tiny Persian Gulf nation. “Not even [my fiancée] knows where I am,” he said.
Originally from Ottawa, Mr. al-Raas was working in Kuwait when Arab Spring protests erupted in nearby Bahrain. As the situation worsened, on March 6 Mr. al-Raas flew to the island nation to check on his five sisters. In the course of two weeks, he paid several visits to Pearl Roundabout in the capital of Manama, the epicentre of the protests.
“I wasn’t participating, I considered myself an observer,” he said. Although he did witness — and videotape — security forces attacking unarmed protesters during a March 17 suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations. Thirteen people were killed by security forces during the crackdown, five more were killed through torture, according to government figures.
On March 20, when Mr. al-Raas arrived at the Bahrain International Airport to return to Kuwait, he said he was seized by four policemen in civilian clothes, beaten, stripped him of his passport and held at gunpoint. Mr. al-Raas was placed in solitary confinement at the country’s Al Qurain prison. Like dozens of others who were brought to the facility, Mr. al-Raas asserts he endured electric shocks and beatings.
When friends and Canadian officials asked where he was, Bahraini authorities reported only that he was “missing,” according to Mr. al-Raas.
Released without explanation on April 20, Mr. al-Raas was called back to the prison in June to retrieve his passport. Instead, he was arrested, beaten and charged with the kidnap of a police officer.
Suffering from pulmonary embolism, a heart and lung condition, Mr. al-Raas has had two open-heart surgeries and requires anti-clotting medication. Denied the medication while in custody, Mr. al-Raas needed to be hospitalized four times. He views further imprisonment as a “death sentence.”
“As a medical practitioner, I do not support the incarceration of this young man as I believe his life will be in danger,” wrote Dr. Fraser Rubens with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in a November letter to Bahraini authorities.
Mr. al-Raas was acquitted of the kidnapping charge on Oct. 4, but only weeks later a civilian court sentenced him to five years in prison on new charges of “disrupting the general security” and inciting “hatred and contempt against the regime,” according to an unofficial translation provided by Amnesty International.
Mr. al-Raas says he went into hiding after the conviction.
“In our view, there is absolutely no reasonable basis for the charges,” Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International in Ottawa, told Postmedia in October.
In late November, an inquiry commissioned by the Bahraini royal family concluded that security forces had used “excessive and unnecessary force,” in suppressing the demonstrations. In response, among other reforms, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa freed 310 jailed protesters.
Regardless, the charges against Mr. al-Raas remain. On Jan. 24, a Bahraini court turned down his appeal.
“Canada is … urging the Government of Bahrain to review the case in light of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, as well as urging that Mr. al-Raas’ conviction be reviewed and his sentence commuted,” Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for Consular Affairs, told the House of Commons on Dec. 14.
However, groups pressing for Mr. al-Raas’ release maintain that Canadian authorities have “done nothing.”
“They have not officially called for his release, or provided consular assistance,” wrote Calgary-based campaigner Katie Edwards in an email to the Post.
Meanwhile, Bahraini demonstrators continue to clash daily with police in small protests. A travel advisory on the Department of Foreign Affairs website advises Canadians to “avoid all political gatherings, crowds and demonstrations … as they can turn violent without warning,” adding that visitors exercise “particular caution” on Valentine’s Day, the first anniversary of the start of demonstrations.
“The revolution is escalating now,” said Mr. al-Raas. “If they wanted to arrest me, they could find me.”
National Post, with files from Postmedia News • Email: email@example.com
SO HOW MANY MORE SHIPS WILL BE TAKEN, HOW MANY MORE HOSTAGES KIDNAPPED AND USED FOR RANSOM? BEFORE WE FINALLY DEAL WITH WHAT THE PROBLEM IS? WE KNOW WHO IS COMMITTING THESE CRIMES ON THE SEA, WE KNOW ABOUT THEIR LINKS TO ALMOST EVERY KNOWN ISLAMIC TERROR GROUP, AND YET WE STILL REFUSE TO CALL IT WHAT IT IS…ISLAMIC PLUNDERING…BUT I AGREE WITH ONE PART OF THIS ARTICLE, WE MUST START USING FORCE IF WE ARE TO DETER THEM.
Matt Gurney: Bin Laden’s killers send a message to Somali pirates
Matt Gurney Jan 25, 2012 – 11:04 AM ET | Last Updated: Jan 25, 2012 11:38 AM ET
Three months ago, two aid workers helping to clear landmines out of Somalia were captured by local pirates. Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and Danish citizen Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, had been held for ransom ever since. Efforts by the Danish government to secure their release were unsuccessful. At some point over the last few months — when exactly is unclear — the United States developed intelligence on their location, and also discovered that Buchanan, the American, was ill with an undisclosed illness. With her condition deteriorating, U.S. President Barack Obama decided to attempt a military rescue. SEAL Team 6, the same unit that invaded Pakistan and took out bin Laden, was chosen for the job. On Tuesday night, they got it done.
The hostages were both rescued safely, and the 12 pirates guarding them were all dealt with swiftly: Nine were killed when the SEALs moved in, with three captured and taken prisoner. No U.S. troops were killed, and the hostages have been evacuated to a nearby U.S. base. This is exactly what needs to happen every time a Western citizen is abducted and held for ransom. Kidnappings for money can’t be eliminated, but the kidnappers can be. If anything will help reduce these terrible crimes, that’s what it will take.
For years, Somali pirates have roamed the seas off the Horn of Africa, seizing ships for their crews and cargo, and waiting for insurance companies or corporations to pay out huge sums of money to have their men and material released. Gradually, however, shipping companies adapted to the risk, and began putting heavily armed private security teams on their ships, sailing them around the area, or sticking close to warships operating in the threatened waters. Military forces in the area have also been much more assertive in dealing with the pirates found at sea.
That has led some of these pirate groups — criminal organizations by any other name — to begin seeking Westerners wherever they can find them. This has meant several risky abductions from the shore. In September, for example, a British couple at a beach resort in Kenya were attacked by al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali militants. The husband was shot dead, and the wife taken prisoner. She remains a captive. And according to the Associated Press, there are at least three other known Western hostages being held in Somalia currently: Two Spanish doctors, also abducted from Kenya, and an American journalist, seized while working in Somalia.
The explanation given for such crimes is always the same — even when Islamist terror cells are involved, it’s about the money. The hefty ransoms that can be paid can either pay off a crew of hired guns (while enriching the mastermind) or support anti-government operations by terror groups. And the West generally has paid up, or has at least had someone pay up on our behalf. This just feeds the cycle. The more money is handed over for hostages, the more hostages are likely to be taken. The Somali gangs are clearly intent on continuing this — when attacking ships at sea became too hard, they switched to seeking targets on land. Like any good capitalists, they adapted to changing market conditions in a way that helps them keep their business alive.
That’s why the choice to send in the SEALs was the right one. The message must be sent that going after Westerners meanings having Westerners come after you. Both France and the United States have large military bases in the region, and they should be used — not only as hostage-rescue launch points, but also as staging areas of air strikes against the criminal bosses who profit off these crimes (Helpful tip: Drop smart bombs on the guys with the nice cars in heavily guarded compounds).
Military power by itself will never be enough to put an end to kidnapping rings, but it can at least change the calculus for those who seek to profit by abducting Western citizens. Kill enough pirates, and even the prospect of a handsome payout may be insufficient incentive to convince anyone else to sign up for the job.
National Post firstname.lastname@example.org
DOES THIS GUY GOT TO GO? YES, ABSOLUTELY…BUT WHAT REALLY AMAZES ME IN THIS, IS HOW BLIND THE WORLD HAS BEEN TO WHO BENEFITTED THE MOST FROM THIS GENOCIDE..WHAT BETTER WAY THAN TO PIT TWO GROUPS AGAINST EACH OTHER OVER ETHNICS AND CLASS AND HAVE THEM DESTROY EACH OTHER. AND SIT BACK AND WAIT TO TAKE CHARGE…NOW THAT ISLAM IS IN CONTROL, IT ISN’T HARD TO SEE WHY THERE TAKING CHARGE EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE AREA…
Mugesera loses final deportation fight
Posted: Jan 23, 2012 7:16 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2012 3:30 PM ET
Léon Mugesera, the Quebec City resident accused of genocide in Rwanda, has lost his final bid to avoid deportation to his homeland and has been taken to an airport in Montreal – scheduled to fly out of Canada at 4 p.m. ET.
In a hearing on Monday afternoon, the Federal Court dismissed a motion for a stay of deportation.
Mugesera did not show up for a detention hearing Monday afternoon at the Immigration and Refugee Board hours after having lost an attempt earlier in the day to remain in Canada. The IRB then said he had been taken back to the immigration detention centre in Laval, Que., to prepare for his departure from the country.
Monday morning, a Quebec Superior Court judge rejected the Rwandan man’s bid to avoid deportation while the United Nations committee on torture examines the risks Mugesera would face if he’s returned to the East African nation.
A long court battle
Mugesera has been battling to stay in Canada since he was first ordered out of the country 16 years ago. He had been living in Quebec City before his recent transfer to the Laval immigration detention centre near Montreal after being deemed a flight risk.
Mugesera had seemingly exhausted his appeals less than two weeks ago and was on the verge of being deported.
But Ottawa’s deportation attempt was stalled when Mugesera was hospitalized and his lawyers appealed to the UN committee.
Mugesera’s lawyers argued in Quebec Superior Court last week that he should be allowed to remain in Canada while the UN body investigates his allegations he’d be harmed if returned to Rwanda.
His lawyers wanted the court to grant a permanent injunction on Mugesera’s impending deportation, and argued with federal lawyers over whether a UN treaty has any bearing on domestic laws.
Lawyers for the federal government insisted Quebec Superior Court has no jurisdiction over an immigration matter and questions of torture had been exhaustively considered by the government.
Federal lawyers also argued last week that the UN committee’s request is not binding and that Canadian officials have spent six years evaluating the risk of torture before ultimately deciding to return Mugesera to Rwanda in late 2011.
The federal government said it is not bound by UN treaties, even if the country ratified them, if they aren’t incorporated into domestic laws.
20 years later
Mugesera is wanted in Rwanda on charges of inciting genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from an inflammatory anti-Tutsi speech he gave in 1992.
The speech by the university professor and one-time Rwandan political operative was considered a key propaganda tool during a 100-day massacre of Tutsis and Hutu moderates some two years later. Between 800,000 and one million Rwandans died during the three-month slaughter in 1994.
Mugesera was initially ordered deported in July 1996. That triggered a legal battle that took him all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada where he ultimately lost in 2005.
Federal officials have been unwilling to deport him since because he faced death.
But they say they’ve been reassured by Rwandan officials and added the situation has changed in that country since Rwanda abolished the death penalty for convicted war criminals in 2007.
Mugesera, 59, and his supporters say it will be impossible for him to have a fair trial in Rwanda where he is considered an enemy of the current government.
I BET THE PRISON HE’S IN ISN’T ANYTHING LIKE A CELL IN CANADA. ANOTHER STORY THAT STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN. HE ‘WAS’ A CANADIAN CITIZEN, THEN DECIDES TO GO BACK TO JIHADLAND. WHERE GRANDPA JIHAD WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE TERRORIST GROUP DEMANDING MUSLIM AUTONOMY OF OGADEN. AND HE JUST HAPPENED TO GET PICKED UP FOR NO REASON..AND SENTENCED TO LIFE. AND NOW CANADA IS SUPPOSED TO FALL ALL OVER OURSELVES TO MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH TO GET HIM MOVED BACK HERE….YA…I DON’T THINK SO.
Ethiopian Court Sentences Canadian to Life in Prison
Last week, Makhtal Canadian lawyer, Lorne Waldman, called the court proceedings a “kangaroo court” because they ignored evidence from Makhtal, who has been locked up for more than two years already.
Makhtal was born in Ethiopia in 1969, and later, settled in Canada as a refugee. He then moved to Kenya opening a used-clothing business.
He was arrested at the border of Kenya and Somalia in 2007. Ethiopia had invaded the region as a move to help the Somali government fight Islamic militants. Defence lawyers said that Makhtal, “was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Last week, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon asked that Makhtal not receive the death penalty. Another Canadian diplomat, also attending the court proceedings, declined to comment on the case.
Human rights activists say that Makhtal’s case is not unusual. It’s believed, possibly hundreds like him, are being held in secret prisons in Ethiopia on suspicion of being involved with terrorist groups.
The defence has said that they believe that Makhtal is only being held because his grandfather was the co-founder of the terrorist group, Ogaden. Lawyer Gebreamlak, who is a part of the defence team, says he will appeal the verdict and sentence.