Women Held in Slavery in London for 30 Years
Three women were rescued from a house in Lambeth, south London, as the Metropolitan Police investigates claims they were held as slaves for about 30 years. One is a Malaysian woman, aged 69, the second is an Irish woman, aged 57, and the third is a British woman, aged 30. The third woman is believed to have been born in the house without any medical supervision. They are all said be “highly traumatised” and are now in safe accommodation. One of the women contacted the Freedom Charity after seeing a television programme about forced marriages in the Islamic community and seeing the charity mentioned. “We started in-depth talks with them when they could, it had to be pre-arranged. They gave us set times when they were able to speak to us”, said Aneeta Prem, from the charity. “It was planned that they would be able to walk out of the property. The police were on standby”, she added. The police arrested two suspects at the house, a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman, considered by police to be the “heads of the family”.
Afghan Tribal Elders Debate US Security Deal
The Grand Council of Afghanistan, the Loya Jirga, composed of approximately 2,500 tribal elders and political leaders from across the country, begun debating on Thursday whether US troops should be allowed to stay in Afghanistan past the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of foreign forces. The US has said it could pull all its troops out by the end of 2014 and leave Afghan forces to tackle the Taliban on their won unless a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is signed between the two countries, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai said any agreement would have to wait the country’s presidential elections in April. “This pact should be signed when the election has already taken place, properly and with dignity”, he said. His spokesman, Aimal Faizi, added that Karzai would only sign the treaty “if this is approved by the Loya Jirga and passed by the parliament”.
Paris Gunman Left ‘Confused Letters’
The gunman suspected of targeting two French media outlets and a bank headquarters in Paris was arrested last night by police in an underground car park in the same city. Abdelhakim Dekhar, aged 48, was found semi-conscious in a vehicle. He had apparently attempted suicide and was taken to a hospital. “He’s incarcerated, but in a medical environment”, said police union official Christophe Crépin. It also emerged that he was known to police for his part in the so-called Bonnie and Clyde shootings in 1994, which left five people dead, including three police officers. A letter was found in the vehicle alongside Dekhar, where the suspect complained about social problems in France and the wars in Syria and Libya. A police source told the France 24 news channel that the letter demonstrated a “clear lack of mental coherence”.
British Army ‘Killed Unarmed Civilians’ in Northern Ireland
The BBC’s Panorama investigative news programme has been told by former soldiers that members of an undercover British Army unit killed unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland while “hunting down” IRA members in Belfast. The Military Reaction Force (MRF), as the unit was called, was disbanded in 1973. The soldiers in the MRF posed as Belfast City Council road sweepers, dustmen and even “meths drinkers” while carrying out surveillance. Their mission was, in the words of one former soldier, to “draw out the IRA and to minimise their activities. If they needed shooting, they’d be shot”. The MRF’s records have been destroyed former members interviewed by Panorama refused to incriminate themselves or their comrades. A Ministry of Defense review concluded the unit had “no provision for detailed command and control”.