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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News



The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet




FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.

According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.

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Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'




Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.

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Row in Africa over 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France




Namibia in action against New Zealand at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan
Namibia have appeared at every Rugby World Cup since 1999 and are among the field for July’s eight-team African qualifying tournament

African rugby’s governing body, Rugby Africa, has been accused of ignoring the interests of the game on the continent following a controversial decision to host its 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France.

In July eight African teams will compete in a tournament in two French cities, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, for one automatic ticket to the finals set to be hosted by France in September next year.

This will be the first time in the history of African rugby that its World Cup qualifiers have been held outside continental borders and the decision has been met with discontent in Africa.

One contender, Namibia, have spoken out against the move, saying they are “dissatisfied” with the decision.

“We did request Rugby Africa to revisit their decision,” Namibia rugby president Corrie Mensah said, but “the outcome was to remain with France as host.”

Kenya and Zimbabwe put in bids which the continental body described as “strong”, but it decided to award the hosting rights to France.

“Our main goal is to keep growing and progressing and taking our rightful place on the international stage,” Rugby Africa told BBC Sport Africa in a statement.

“In collaboration with our members and partners, Rugby Africa needs to invent new ways and create new opportunities to grow its revenue and redistribute it in African rugby.”

Former Uganda women’s international Helen Buteme told BBC Sport Africa that Rugby Africa “doesn’t have the interests of African rugby at heart”.

“There is no justification whatsoever for taking what is our biggest tournament to a European country,” she added. “Africa needs this tournament while France does not.”

Namibia will be aiming to clinch a seventh consecutive appearance at the global tournament, having made their debut in 1999.

The other teams set for the qualifying competition, to be held from 1-10 July, are Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

The runners-up will have a second chance to reach the World Cup via a final four-team round-robin global qualifier to be held in November.

‘Not in best interests’ of African rugby

Ivory Coast in action against France at the 1995 Rugby World Cup
Zimbabwe (1987 and 1991) and Ivory Coast (1995, pictured in orange) are the only African sides other than South Africa and Namibia to play at the Rugby World Cup

BBC Sport Africa understands that France2023, the local organiser for next year’s World Cup, will oversee the African qualifier but the reason France decided to bid for the event remains unclear.

BBC Sport Africa was earlier informed by a high-ranking official that the French Rugby Federation (FFR) was surprised by the bid, but its communication director Laurent Latour denied the claim, saying the FFR had not opposed it.

Our questions to France2023 went unanswered.

In Kenya, one rugby commentator believes the move negates the work done to grow the game from the grassroots level.

“This decision by Rugby Africa goes against the trend across the continent to spread the game to the grassroots,” Daudi Were said.

“Rugby Africa is attempting to undo all the good work by rugby development officers across the continent by hosting our most important tournament abroad.”

An official sponsor of Rugby Africa, APO, added to the growing criticism with its chairman and founder Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard saying: “We believe the decision is not in the best interest of African rugby. One can only wonder whether there are other interests at play.”

In response to the criticism, Rugby Africa told BBC Sport Africa that financial considerations played a part in the decision, with some of their members struggling for money.

“This event in France is seen as a springboard to kick-start a new dynamic of income generation that will help us grow,” Rugby Africa said.

Concerns among supporters

As Rugby Africa looks to appeal to an international fanbase, some on the continent feel deprived of an opportunity to watch their teams in stadiums, because travel to Europe is costly.

The governing body, however, argues that while they understand fans’ disappointment, the Covid-19 pandemic may not have allowed supporters to attend matches anyway. It has also promised high-quality broadcasts will be available.

However, Rugby Africa has 38 members across the continent – some of whom have hosted major continental events during the pandemic, including the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon – so it is unclear why it would settle for a European country.

The continent has also shown it has the capacity to host major international events in the past, including the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa and a World Under-20 Athletics Championships.

Fans across the continent moved their campaign online with a petition set up in the hope that it can influence Rugby Africa’s decision, but the page has only garnered 1,387 signatures in five months.

There have been calls for World Rugby, the custodians of the sport globally, to influence a reversal of the decision but the body told BBC Sport Africa it cannot interfere with its regional associations’ decisions, dimming any hope that the tournament will be held on African soil.

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