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Russian court hears Navalny complaints on prison conditions | Courts News



Jailed Kremlin critic accuses prison authorities of censoring his newspapers and denying him access to books.

Alexey Navalny appeared in court via video link on Wednesday for the start of hearings into complaints against the conditions at the penal colony where he is being held, with the Kremlin critic claiming authorities are limiting his access to reading materials and denying him news.

The 44-year-old is currently imprisoned at a facility east of Moscow, where he is serving a two and a half year jail sentence for alleged parole violations relating to a 2014 embezzlement conviction he dismisses as fabricated.

He was arrested in January upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

He has alleged that since entering prison, authorities have refused to give him texts sent by relatives, including the Quran, and censored the newspapers he receives.

“It’s a bizarre situation”, the AFP news agency quoted Navalny as saying at Wednesday’s court hearing in the town of Petushki.

“I would like to be given the books that were sent to me.”

Navalny told the court he had only been able to obtain a copy of the Quran after he was transferred in April to a hospital in another penal colony, where he received treatment after conducting a weeks-long hunger strike to protest against an alleged lack of medical attention by prison authorities for acute back and leg pain.

He also complained that the newspapers he had received appeared to have had articles removed from them with scissors.

“I am not against Penal Colony No 2 reading my letters. But why cut out newspaper articles?” he said, referring to the facility where he was ordered to serve his sentence.

New criminal investigations

The hearing came after Navalny on Tuesday said Russian investigators had launched three new criminal investigations against him in a move his allies said they feared could keep him behind bars for many more years.

He said investigators were looking into his alleged mishandling of nearly $5m of donations given to his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), and had accused him of insulting judge Vera Akimova.

Navalny said he had also been accused of creating a non-commercial organisation and encouraging Russians to abandon “their civic duties” by publishing an investigation into President Vladimir Putin’s allegedly vast personal wealth earlier this year.

The new charges were announced as pressure builds on Russia’s political opposition ahead of parliamentary elections in the country that are scheduled to take place in September.

Moscow is seeking to have Navalny’s network of regional offices and his FBK categorised as “extremist”, with a court hearing on the possible designations due to take place next month.

In a bid to shield its members and supporters from possible prosecution, Navalny’s network has disbanded prior to the ruling.

Most of his top allies have since been placed under house arrest or left Russia.

Russia’s financial monitoring service Rosfinmonitoring has already added Navalny’s political network to its database of “terrorist and extremist” organisations.

Russian legislators approve election reforms

In an apparent further blow to Navalny’s movement, Russian legislators on Wednesday approved proposed election reforms that would ban people involved with organisations deemed “extremist” from being elected to the country’s lower house of parliament.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma quickly endorsed the bill during its third and final reading.

The bill will now need to be approved by the Russian parliament’s upper house and signed off by Putin to become law.

The measure has been interpreted by Navalny’s allies as intended to prevent them from seeking parliamentary seats and more widely to stifle Putin’s critics ahead of September’s vote.

“It is about deprivation of rights of hundreds of thousands or even millions of our citizens. Of course, this is unacceptable because every citizen has the right to participate in state governance,” Communist Party member Alexey Kurinny, who called on his colleagues to vote against the law, said on Wednesday.

Navalny’s initial imprisonment at the beginning of this year led to anti-government protests that were the biggest public show of defiance against Moscow in recent years.

The Kremlin denounced the rallies as illegal as authorities arrested thousands who took to the streets in towns and cities across Russia.

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Former Minister Tumubweine Burial Set for Thursday




Ephraim Manzi Tumubweine the Former Minister of Privatization and former Rukiga county Member of parliament is to be laid to rest on Thursday.

He will be buried at his ancestral home in Kigara, Kamwezi sub county in Rukiga district.

Manzi succumbed to Covid-19 on Friday at around 10pm at Case Clinic in Kampala where he has been admitted.

Tumubweine who was the Kabale University Council Chairperson collapsed during the 5th Graduation Ceremony at Kabale University on May 28th 2021 and was rushed to Kabale regional referral hospital. He was later referred to Case Clinic in Kampala from where he passed away on Friday.

Former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda described Tumubweine as a leader of integrity who served the government and the people of Rukiga with distinction.

Jack Sabiti, the former Rukiga County MP who is also the National chairman of the elderly council in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party says that the death of Tumubweine is a big blow to the people of Rukiga. Sabiti says that despite the deceased being his political rival they were close friends.

Pulikeria Mwine Muhindo, the Rukiga RDC says the burial function will be conducted under strict adherence to the Covid 19 guidelines, with only 20 people allowed at the  burial grounds



The post Former Minister Tumubweine Burial Set for Thursday first appeared on ChimpReports.

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Rwanda repatriates Ugandan soldier




Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier Pte Bakulu Muhuba has regained his freedom after being released by Rwandan security. Muhuba, who is attached to the 32nd Battalion Nyakabande in Kisoro district, was arrested by Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) soldiers at around 2:45 pm on Sunday while allegedly found loitering in Kamanyana-Majyambere village in Burera district, Rwanda. 

RDF soldiers on patrol, intercepted Muhuba who was donning a UPDF uniform and carrying a Medium Machine Gun (MMG) with 100 rounds of ammunition, a pair of binoculars, a cell phone, and his military ID documents.

However, a Ugandan security official at Chanika border who preferred anonymity refuted Rwanda’s claims, saying that Muhuba was with a group of fellow UPDF soldiers patrolling the Ugandan side of Chanika border on Saturday evening around 5:50 pm but stayed behind to ease himself.  

Later, he fell into an ambush of Rwandan soldiers who’d crossed to the Ugandan side. They allegedly placed him at gunpoint and whisked him off to the Rwandan side. On Sunday evening at around 9 pm, Rwandan security officials repatriated Muhuba and handed him over to Ugandan security officials at no-man’s land at Chanika border. 

Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, witnessed the repatriation and hailed RDF for releasing Muhuba unhurt. Such incidents are common along the Uganda-Rwanda border.

A mark stone that separates Uganda and Rwanda

On May 25 this year, two RDF soldiers crossed to Kazaza and Mukayaga villages in the Kamwezi sub-county, Rukiga district. The soldiers, who included a captain and his two escorts crossed to Uganda in pursuit of waragi smugglers. 

The soldiers returned to Rwanda without being arrested by Ugandan security authorities. The governments of Uganda and Rwanda have been feuding since 2019. On February 27, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame issued a travel advisory to his nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety is not guaranteed.      

He accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas. Kagame also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially from Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which have declared war on the Kigali government.

The Rwandan authorities advised the truck drivers to use the Mirama Hill border in Ntungamo district. The border closure took a huge toll on truck drivers and suffocated business along the border especially Katuna and Chanika town. This led to an increase in smuggling along the border with most Rwandan nationals crossing to Uganda through porous border points to buy food. 

Rwandan authorities, on accusations of smuggling, have shot dead at least eight people including Ugandan and Rwandan nationals. On July 30, 2019, President Museveni told journalists at Kabale State Lodge that they are discussing the impasse with his Rwandan counterpart.

However, to date, the negotiations mediated by the Angolan President, João Lourenço and his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi, are yet to bear positive results.

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India eases COVID rules as new cases dip to two-month low | Coronavirus pandemic News




Many states, including capital New Delhi, ease restrictions as new infections drop to the lowest since March 31.

Many Indian states have eased coronavirus restrictions, including the capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed all shops and shopping centres to open, as the number of new infections dropped to the lowest in more than two months.

Experts have cautioned against a full reopening as India has vaccinated only about 5 percent of its estimated 950 million adults with the necessary two doses, leaving millions vulnerable.

Infections peaked in India in May with about 400,000 new cases a day but that dropped to 70,421 new infections reported on Monday, the lowest daily increase since March 31, health ministry data showed.

The number of deaths went up by 3,921, the data showed.

India has had the second-highest tally of COVID-19 infections in the world after the United States, with 29.51 million cases and 374,305 deaths, according to ministry data.

Authorities in Delhi allowed all shops and shopping centres to reopen although bars, gyms, salons, cinemas and parks remained shut.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said markets and restaurants would be carefully watched this week.

“If we see coronavirus cases are going up, we will have to reimpose strict restrictions,” Kejriwal said in a televised address on Sunday.

Hospitals in Delhi had struggled to provide oxygen cylinders and beds to patients last month as infections surged but, earlier this month, the city allowed businesses to bring back 50 percent of employees and partially resumed public transport.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, known for automobile manufacturing, some businesses were allowed to bring back 50 percent of employees and salons and liquor shops re-opened. Bus services remained suspended until June 21.

In Bengaluru, the capital of neighbouring Karnataka state and a major tech hub, traffic returned to the streets as authorities allowed the partial re-opening of businesses though the strict night and weekend curfews remained in place.

The pressure to resume some economic activity has grown as millions depend on daily wages to pay for food and rent.

“India needs to reopen as the challenge of maintaining a fine balance between lives and livelihoods is very crucial,” said Rajib Dasgupta, head of the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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