Judicial authorities recognize illegality of the arrest

first_img EswatiniAfrica Reporters Without Borders welcomes yesterday’s decision by high court judge Mumcy Dlamini to quash an arrest order for Bheki Makhubu, the editor of The Nation, and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer who writes for the political monthly.Held since 18 March at the behest of Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi on a contempt of court charge for criticizing the Chief Justice, the two men were freed immediately.Their release was the result of an application by the two defendants disputing the legality of their detention. In her ruling, Judge Dlamini said the arrest warrant was illegal because it had not followed procedure and because it was issued by a court under the authority of one of the parties to the case.“In my considered view, the Chief Justice would not have issued the warrant of arrest had the above been brought to his attention,” she said.——————————————————————————————–04/04/2014 Detained journalist appears in court in leg ironsReporters Without Borders is appalled by the inhuman and degrading treatment of Bheki Makhubu, the editor of The Nation, an independent news monthly, who has been held for the past two weeks on a contempt of court charge for criticizing Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi. Makhubu was brought into court in leg irons on 1 April on the grounds that he represented a “security risk.” When relatives said they did not understand why he was seen as a security risk, government spokesperson Sanele Mngotmetulu Nxumalo replied mysteriously: “It is one of the things that remain a secret. Security is very secretive. Therefore, if I can disclose to you when, how, why and to who we use leg irons, that could compromise our security. Security is very important to us.”Makhubu and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer who writes opinion pieces for the magazine, have been detained since 18 March without being given a date for their trial.“This humiliation compounds the iniquitous treatment that this journalist has received since his arrest,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk. “Bringing Makhubu into court in shackles like a dangerous maniac is outrageous, not to speak of the illegality of an arrest warrant issued by the plaintiff, the chief justice, and the closed-door hearing that has resulted in their being detained for more than ten days.“The authorities must put an immediate stop to this degrading treatment, which violates the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Swaziland ratified in 2004.“The authorities must also, as a matter of urgency, correct the judicial abuses we have seen in this case, in which the judge in charge, Mpendulo Simelane, is himself criticized in the articles for which the two defendants are being prosecuted. If he does not recuse himself at the hearing scheduled for 9 April, he could find himself being plaintiff, witness and judge all at the same time“This grotesque situation is, paradoxically, evidence of the judicial system’s lack of independence and professionalism that The Nation criticized.”Kahn-Sriber added: “In all, this situation clearly shows that a concern for justice is farthest from the minds of these judges. What is going on here is a desire to crush the spirit of journalistic investigation and impose a state of totalitarian fear.”When Makhubu and Maseko appeared in court this morning, they lodged a complaint against the chief justice and the government, challenging the constitutionality of their arrest. The US ambassador attended the hearing, showing her support for the two defendants.During the 1 April hearing, Judge Simelane refused to recuse himself, postponed a hearing on his competence until 9 April, and ordered that the two defendants remain in detention.A local media expert told Reporters Without Borders: “You have the impression that the court is making things up as it goes along. This makes it very difficult for journalists to cover the hearings. Furthermore, the threat of a contempt of court charge has a deterrent effect on the media, which are scared of being prosecuted.”Africa’s only absolute monarchy, Swaziland is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.Photo:Bheki Makhubu, Inforrm Slideshow: Roi Mswati III (The Guardian) EswatiniAfrica Organisation News Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives to go further Receive email alerts News April 8, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Judicial authorities recognize illegality of the arrest Reportscenter_img June 15, 2020 Find out more November 27, 2020 Find out more News RSF_en The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa June 29, 2020 Find out more Nearly half of UN member countries have obstructed coronavirus coverage Follow the news on Eswatini Help by sharing this information last_img read more

Better beaches

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaJekyll and Tybee Island beach-goers are willing to pay more topark at the beach if it means the beaches will be wider andsandier at high tide.”Erosion is a major concern involved in managing coastal lands,”said Warren Kriesel, an agricultural economist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. To find out whether Georgia beach-goers would be willing to helppay to control shoreline erosion, Kriesel and his colleaguessurveyed tourists on Georgia’s Jekyll and Tybee Islands. Theyused funds from a Georgia Sea Grant.No beach at high tide”In developed areas, 55 percent of Georgia’s shoreline has beenarmored with concrete seawalls or large boulders in an effort tocontrol erosion,” Kriesel said. “Armoring degrades a beach’srecreation and natural habitat, because it disrupts the flow ofsand.”Preventing property losses with seawalls on developed coastlinesoften results in the beach disappearing at high tide.Kriesel said officials charged with managing the state’s publicbeaches typically use two strategies: artificially renourish thebeach by bringing in sand, or let nature take its course.”Poor-quality beaches can drive tourists away,” he said. “Wide,sandy beaches are vital to tourism in coastal communities. Andthe tourism industry is an important part of these localeconomies.”Georgia islands focus of studyJekyll Island, 8 miles from Brunswick, Ga., is about 5,000 acresof state-owned land. It’s managed by the Jekyll Island Authority.State law prohibits more than 35 percent of the island beingdeveloped.Tybee Island is 18 miles south of Savannah, Ga. and is visitedmore than Jekyll. Most of Tybee’s property is privately owned anddeveloped in single-family residences and condominiums.”Jekyll’s erosion has historically been controlled by seawalls,which were built following an extensive hurricane in 1964,”Kriesel said.”Tybee’s erosion was first managed with a seawall,” he said.”Then beach nourishments programs were done in conjunction withthe dredging of the Savannah River waterway. Every 10 years orso, there’s a nourishment program.”Beach-goers on each island were surveyed during spring, summerand fall. On each island, the people surveyed were shown a map ofthe island’s current conditions and a map of the island withimprovements resulting from erosion-control tactics.Pick one: As is, or betterThey were asked if they preferred the status quo with theexisting parking fee or the improved beach conditions with ahigher parking fee. “We also asked whether the increased parkingfee would affect the number of times they visit the beach,”Kriesel said.More than 1,000 usable surveys were collected on each island. The UGA study revealed that 71 percent of the beach-goerssurveyed on both islands would be willing to pay higher parkingfees to generate funds for shoreline erosion control.The UGA researchers estimated the cost of erosion control basedon the 1990 nourishment project on Sea Island, Ga., 8 miles northof Jekyll Island.”The nourishment on Sea Island initially cost $7.5 million for 2miles, with annual maintenance costs of $125,000,” he said. “Weassume these projects last about 10 years before the eroded sandis replenished by another project. We also adjusted our costestimation for inflation.”Kriesel estimated the cost of a beach nourishment program for the2.9 miles of Jekyll Island to be about $27.4 million. The cost ofbeach nourishment on Tybee Island’s 2 miles of eroded shore wouldbe about $18.9 million, he said.The respondents placed high value, too, on better qualitybeaches.”This value is significantly larger than the estimated cost ofachieving improved beach quality,” Kriesel said. “Thebenefit/cost ratio is at least 4:3. We hope local governmentswill use these results to plan preservation of Georgia’s coastalenvironment. Investing in better beaches is an economicallyattractive use of resources on the Georgia coast.”last_img read more

Flooding Prompts Humanitarian Response from Colombian Army

first_img BOGOTÁ — The gray skies over Bogotá herald rain. For Col. Henry Dussan of the Colombian Army’s Engineering division, this means work. Following three years of unseasonal climatic conditions in Colombia that in 2012 disrupted the lives of at least 61,000 people nationwide, the army engineers have been busy evacuating civilians and livestock from disaster zones, fixing roads, fighting landslides, building emergency bridges and — most recently here in Bogotá — blocking off a burst river bank. The flood plains around the Chicú River in Siberia (aptly named for its chillier climes) are rife with engineering problems. During a recent trip to this region, Dussan showed Diálogo huge potholes in the city’s streets, all the while lamenting that infrastructure was placed on preciously delicate and unstable wetland. Around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning due to heavy rains which created a backflow of water along the Bogotá River causing levels to rise uncontrollably, the Chicú River opened up here and flooded the surrounding area,” he said. The hole which opened measured roughly 100 feet in length. But in just three days, the capable engineers had succeeded in closing up half the opening by placing 300 wooden posts as ballasts in order to support sandbags and clay soil. Weather permitting, Ramírez believes that with the full team of 160 men working 24 hours a day for the coming days they’ll have the riverbank once again blocked within the week. And herein lies the principal problem with Bogotá, a city that at 2,600 meters above sea level can never be completely free from flooding and other natural disasters. That becomes obvious the close one comes to the disaster zone, as the nearby grazing cattle on the city’s edge search for high ground and dry pastures along the highway’s shoulder. Overcast Bogotá is reflected over a vast flooded area, making it difficult to distinguish the waterlogged ground from the skies. The bustle here along the banks of the Chicú River is one of controlled urgency. The waters continue to rise and as the skies darken, it’s understood that it is going to rain again — therefore impeding progress on this essential piece of disaster control. It’s an impressive sight to see the coordination of the Colombian Armed Forces, and as Ramírez said, “We are committed to supporting and assisting the Colombian people in times of disaster and need.” He then suggested that his country’s army is undergoing profound change. “Someday the conflict in Colombia has to end, yes or no?” Dussan insisted during the ride back to his battalion’s headquarters in Puente Aranda, Bogotá. “We have seen the need to commit ourselves to works that are of a more important impact, our depth of knowledge stemming from the conflict is immense and soon we can export and share our skills in international disaster zones,” he continued. Indeed, the colonel’s words rang true since the Colombian Army’s experiences and skills in the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake two years ago drew international praise. “We have to look at the post conflict situation,” he goes on. “Our engineers are showing their worth in peace.” Dussan offered his visitor a motorized dinghy so they could better understand the scale of the flooding. Printed on the boat’s hull were the words: Fe en la Causa — faith in the cause. Here in the mire, at the edge of the flood plain, the shallowest point of the floodwaters is three to five feet deep. Somewhere below, under water, there’s a highway referred to as the Ruta al Infierno or Road to Hell. Nearly 15 minutes later downriver, farmhouses submerged up to their rooftops appear on the horizon. As recently as a few weeks ago, this was grazing land for livestock on Bogotá’s western limits. At the “boquete” or hole in the Chicú River’s bank which opened to cause this mayhem, Dussan deferred immediately to Lt. Col. Luís Fernando Ramírez, the officer in charge of the Engineering Battalion’s Disaster Response division. By Dialogo May 21, 2012last_img read more

Four former winners, eight first-time starters elected to All-Star field

first_imgBOONE, Iowa – Four former race winners and eight first-time starters are among the 28 Modified driv­ers elected to the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.Eleven states are already represented in the 13th annual event, set for Friday, Sept. 9 during the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.Previous winners returning to Boone Speedway are Jay Noteboom (2005 and 2008) of Hinton, Chris Abelson (2011) of Sioux City, Kyle Strickler (2014) of Mooresville, N.C., and Jimmy Gustin (2015) of Marshalltown.Noteboom’s nine career All-Star starts are more than those of any other driver.First-time All-Stars are Kyle Brown of Madrid, Ethan Dotson of Bakersfield, Calif., Kevin Green of Waco, Texas, Travis Hagen of Williston, N.D., Brian Irvine of Oelwein, Cody Laney of Torrance, Calif., Lance Mari of Imperial, Calif., and Scott Sessions of Milton, Fla.Sessions is the first Florida driver voted into the All-Star race.Making career second All-Star starts will be Kellen Chadwick of Oakley, Calif., Corey Dripps of Rein­beck, Corey Gearhart of Turpin, Okla., Hunter Marriott of Brookfield, Mo., Ryan Ruter of Kanawha, Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Ricky Stephan of South Sioux City, Neb., and Jason Wolla of Ray, N.D.Chadwick was runner-up in 2007. Stephan ran sixth in the inaugural race in 2004.Three-time All-Star drivers are Richie Gustin of Gilman, 2005 runner-up Scott Hogan of Vinton, Jer­emy Mills of Garner and Kevin Sustaire of Emory, Texas.William Gould of Calera, Okla., Strickler and Ricky Thornton Jr., one of the Arizona natives racing in the Midwest this summer, each made their fourth All-Star grid.Jimmy Gustin is in the Friday show for the fifth time, Abelson, Pounds and 2009 runner-up Jeff Taylor of Cave City, Ark., each for the sixth.The 28 All-Stars were elected in two rounds of balloting conducted through the IMCA Facebook page.Two drivers were elected from each of the five Modified regions in the first round; 18 All-Stars were elected at-large in the second.Completing the 30-car starting grid will be All-Star candidates with the top national point total and the most 40-point feature wins as of Sept. 5 who are competing at Super Nationals.The All-Star Invitational is 30 laps and pays $1,000 to win and $200 to start.The initial field of 148 candidates included winners of events paying $1,000 or more, plus 2015 state and regional champions. If not already on the ballot, the winner of the upcoming Invitational becomes vote eligible to start the 2017 event.One hundred and eighteen drivers from 25 states and two Canadian provinces have now been All-Stars.last_img read more