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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bombing in Russia Linked to Dagestan

Six people died and another 30 were injured in an explosion on a bus in the south Russian city of Volgograd, which was apparently caused by a woman from the North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan. A witness driving behind the bus told Rossiya-24 television “There was a blast — a bang — all the glass flew out of the windows. The cloud of smoke quickly dissipated and then I saw people start to fall out and run out to escape the bus. It was a horrible sight.”

This morning, Vladimir Markin of the Investigative Committee announced to the media, “A criminal case has been opened under articles outlining terrorism, murder and the illegal use of firearms.” Markin later announced the woman’s identity, Naida Akhiyalova, adding “according to investigators’ information, the woman entered the bus at one of the bus stops and, almost right after that, the bomb went off. That is also confirmed by one of the passengers who survived.”

In a separate incident, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee announced that a bomb, roughly 25 times more powerful than the one used by Akhiyalova, was deactivated in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt. “The homemade explosive device was filled with a mixture of saltpeter and aluminum powder, without shrapnel. The device had a detonating fuse and was ready for use,” said a NATC statement. Russian authorities have not yet named a suspect.

Mozambican Opposition Declares Peace Deal Void

Mozambique’s Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO), the conservative populist faction that fought the Marxist Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) during the bloody 17-year Mozambican Civil War, announced yesterday that it will no longer be abiding by the peace agreements set forth at the end of the war in 1992. Fernando Mazanga, a spokesperson for RENAMO said this action was necessary because government forces had captured a jungle base where its leader Afonso Dhlakama was staying. Dhlakama escaped into the surrounding mountains.

Mozambuique’s armed forces stormed the RENAMO base in the Gorongosa region of Sofala province after armed fighters killed seven Mozambican soldiers in an ambush last week. That attack was the latest in a spate of deadly strikes on military and civilian targets in the area. The recent increase in violence has also ground coal exports, a major segment of the local economy, to a halt.

Mazanga told Reuters that his party, which has 51 parliamentarians in the current FRELIMO-dominated national assembly, would congregate to decide its strategy going forward. After signing the peace accords in 1992 and agreeing to join in the representative democratic government, RENAMO has lost every single presidential election and has never held a majority in parliament, leading some to question the legitimacy of the elections. While he neglected to confirm whether or not his party would return to armed struggle, he did say, “Peace is over in the country … The responsibility lies with the FRELIMO government because they didn’t want to listen to RENAMO’s grievances.”

Florida Prisoners Forge Get Out of Jail Cards

At least six prisoners in Florida attempted to use forged documents to secure early release from their incarceration. Two of the prisoners, both convicted of murder, were successful. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker were freed on September 27 and October 8, respectively, with bogus papers reducing their life sentences to 15 years.

Both Jenkins and Walker were released from the same prison, two weeks apart, and followed proper procedures after their release, going so far as to register as ex-felons per Florida state law. The duo were recaptured this weekend at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City, Florida, but neither is assisting in ongoing investigations as to how the prisoners were able to fool prison officials. Florida law enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey bemoaned their noncooperation, “They’ve lawyered up. Should they choose to co-operate, we will have the answers we need, the answers we demand, sooner than later.”

ETA ‘Comando Madrid’ Member Released from Prison

Ines del Rio Prada, the famed Basque separatist convicted of terrorism nearly 30 years ago, has been released from prison today after the European Court of Human Rights agreed that keeping her in jail violated her human rights. In 1987, del Rio was sentenced to 3,828 years in jail for her part in a number of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) attacks that killed a total of 24 people. Under Spanish law, a prisoner may only serve 30 years in prison. But in 2008, as del Rio came up for release, Spanish prosecutors applied the controversial Parot Doctrine, which dictated any time off for good behavior should come off the number of years the prisoner is sentenced to, not the number of years which they will serve. The ECHR unanimously stuck down this interpretation, as being in violation of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the lawful detention of individuals. It also cited Article 7, which prohibits a “heavier penalty” from being imposed than at the time when a crime was committed. It also noted that Article 9 of the Spanish Constitution bars laws from being applied retroactively.

More than 50 other ETA members have been denied parole under the Parot Doctrine, and while the European Court of Human Rights’ decision on the del Rio case does not immediately apply to their cases, the court’s ruling is legally binding and will certainly have a number of ramifications.

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