All Foreign Militants must leave Syria

Militants must leave Syria: Iran’s Zarif


Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged the withdrawal of all foreign-backed militants from Syria, saying the Syrian people should be allowed to determine their own destiny without foreign interference.

“I can ask all foreign forces to withdraw… to allow the Syrian people to decide their own future,” Zarif told a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday.

Foreign forces should stop funding and supplying weapons to militants in Syria, said the top Iranian diplomat.

He also stated that any military option to end the Syrian crisis should be off the table.

Zarif further dismissed claims by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of preparing the ground for terrorists to enter the country.

“Extremism is a product of foreign intervention and product of short-sightedness. Those who created the Taliban [in Afghanistan] ended up paying their blood for what they have created. The flames that have been created in our region will engulf everybody,” Zarif said.

He emphasized that those who are calling on President Assad to step down are responsible for the crisis in the Middle East region, which has caused innumerable deaths.

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Swiss TV station RTS on the sidelines of the WEF that the fate of Syria needs to be determined solely by the Syrian people, rejecting any foreign interference in the future of the Arab country.

“I believe that only Syrian people are allowed to decide and nobody else can pass a judgment on the future of Syria,” President Rouhani said.

“Decision-making is for the Syrian people to do and they are the ones who should determine their own future, and in doing so, the first condition is that bloodshed be stopped and certain countries give up supporting terrorism,” the Iranian president added.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly crisis since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

The UN says more than four million Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country that has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions so far.

February Trial of Saudi Royals Who Are Accused of Aiding Hezbollah and Sunni Terrorists

Apex Global Management Ltd v (1) FI Call Ltd (2) Global Torch Ltd (3) HRH Prince Abdulaziz Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4) Emad Mahmoud Ahmed Abu-Ayshih (5) HRH Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 

When? February 2014, 25 days

Where? Chancery Division, judge TBC

This top-drawer spat will see Saudi royalty appear in a London court to defend claims of gross misconduct.

Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mishal Bin Al Saud, who both claim to be close to the Saudi Royal Family, have already attempted to have the case heard in camera. Clifford Chance partner Ian Roxborough led the High Court case before being replaced by Irwin Mitchell at the Court of Appeal hearing. Both applications were refused.

They are alleged to have colluded with fellow shareholders to fund terrorists such as Hezbollah as well as being responsible for smuggling about $3.5bn-worth of precious stones out of the Congo.

The Saudi defendants vigorously deny the allegations which, they say, have been brought by a notorious fraudster who has forged emails and other allegedly incriminating documents as well as stealing monies belonging to Global Torch.

This five-week case will no doubt generate headlines at home and across the Middle East.

For the claimant Apex Global Management Ltd

Blackstone Chambers’ Robert Howe QC and Maitland Chambers’ Matthew Collings QC leading Serle Court’s Daniel Lightman and Maitland Chambers’ Oliver Phillips, instructed by HowardKennedyFsi’s partners Steven Morris and Louise Bennett

For the defendants (1) FI Call Ltd (2) Global Torch Ltd (3) HRH Prince Abdulaziz Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4) Emad Mahmoud Ahmed Abu-Ayshih (5) HRH Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 

Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC leading 4 New Square’s Daniel Saoul, instructed by Irwin Mitchell’s Jeremy Marshall


Evans v the Attorney General & Ors and Evans v The Information Commissioner & Ors

When? February 2014, 3-4 days

Where? CoA, Judicial panel TBC

This high-profile case has already created several headlines on its journey to the CoA. Guardian journalist Rob Evans is fighting for the release of correspondence between the Government and the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and to see lists and schedules of the correspondence.

Evans’ request has already been refused by the Government, prompting him to go to the Information Commissioner, which also rejected the request in 2009.

A further appeal to the Upper Tribunal was more successful for Evans, after it ruled the information should be released. However, in October 2012 the Attorney General exercised the veto power under the Freedom of Information Act to prevent release of the correspondence.

Evans brought a judicial review of the decision and lost, but the Lord Chief Justice Sir John Thomas and Lord Justices David and Globe granted permission to appeal the ruling.

A cross appeal is being brought by the Government against the Upper Tribunal decision to allow the lists and schedules to be published.

Not only will this be a high-profile case because it concerns royalty, it will also allow the court to examine the Attorney General’s right to exercise a veto to avoid complying with an order to disclose information.

For appellant Evans

Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC leading One Brick Court’s Aidan Eardley, instructed by Guardian News and Media in-house lawyer Jan Clements

For the respondent HM Attorney General

11KBW’s Jonathan Swift QC and Julian Milford instructed by The Treasury Solicitor

For the intervener Information Commissioner

11KBW’s Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, instructed by the Information Commissioner’s Office

Saudi preacher who ‘raped and tortured’ his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying ‘blood money’

[SEE:  Saudi Authorities Rush To Quiet Global Outrage Over Child-Rapist/Murderer/”Preacher,” Hold His Sorry Ass In Jail]

Saudi preacher who ‘raped and tortured’ his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying ‘blood money’

the independent

saudi rape kill preacher

A ‘celebrity’ Saudi preacher accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter has reportedly been released from custody after agreeing to pay ‘blood money’.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi had been accused of killing his daughter Lama, who suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been repeatedly raped and burnt.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitted using a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting his five-year-old daughter’s virginity and taking her to a doctor, according to the campaign group Women to Drive.

Rather than getting the death penalty or receiving a long prison sentence for the crime, Fayhan al-Ghamdi served only a few months in jail before a judge ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’.

Albawaba News reported the judge as saying: “Blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment.”

Fayhan al-Ghamdi, who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, is said to have agreed to pay £31,000 to Lama’s mother.

The money is considered compensation under Islamic law, although it is only half the amount that would have been paid had Lama been a boy.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s famously strict legal system, Women to Drive say fathers cannot be executed for murdering their children in the country. Equally, husbands cannot be executed for murdering their wives.

Formal objections to the ruling have been raised by three Saudi activists, and the twitter hashtag #AnaLama (which translates as I Am Lama) has been set up.

Local reports say public anger over the settlement is growing across Saudi Arabia, with authorities planning to set up a 24-hour hotline to take calls about child abuse.