International brief ~ Kenya police raid newspaper offices, smash printing equipment

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, Kenyan police have conducted a night-time raid on the Standard Group, Kenya's second largest journalistic company, during which they confiscated television and radio broadcast equipment and destroyed several printing presses while allegedly searching for evidence of a specific journalistic investigation. Internal Security Minister John Michuki told a press meeting that the actions were justified under national security concerns [KBC report] and raised the possibility of more such raids if heightened criticism of the scandals surrounding Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] does not abate. The raid follows the arrest of two Standard journalists [JURIST report] for their investigative reporting into governmental actions. The Standard was able to cobble together enough equipment to release a late afternoon report about the raid and its television and radio branches have managed to restore broadcast services. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. The Standard has local coverage, including pictures of the raiding police officers. AP has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • Sudan [government website] has reportedly filed an official complaint with the UN Security Council [official website] over the leak to the press [JURIST report] of a list of names of Sudanese government officials facing possible UN sanctions [JURIST report]. Sudanese Foreign Minister Laam Lakul issued the complaint to this month's president of the UN Security Council, alleging that the leak of names on the list has already had a negative impact on the ability of any of the individuals named to receive a fair trial should they indeed be sanctioned and eventually prosecuted. Lakul also charged the Security Council with failing its responsibility to treat serious issues with care and discretion. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage. Arabic News has more.

  • Indonesian government officials, academics, and advocacy group leaders have urged the Indonesian Parliament [official website] to enact significant changes to the Witness and Victim Protection Bill to allow whistle-blowers and accused or convicted criminals access to witness protection programs. Currently, the bill does not recognize those categories of individuals as being in need of protection, a fact which senior anti-corruption officials, legal academics, and transparency and anti-corruption activists say makes prosecuting government graft and corruption almost impossible. The statements also warned that plea-bargaining should be more specifically addressed by the bill and recommended that an independent body, rather than the police, be in charge of setting up witness protection programs. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.

  • Democratic party legislators in Hong Kong have warned the government that its new draft of the Interception of Communications and Covert Surveillance Bill was still too weak on safeguards for the rights of citizens and that unless serious changes were made to the bill, the opposition parties in Hong Kong's Legislative Council [official website] would vote against its passage. The bill has until the beginning of August to be passed or, under a Hong Kong High Court ruling [JURIST report], a current executive order from Chief Executive Donald Tsang [official profile] would be annulled and all governmental surveillance on citizens would be unlawful. The main complaint against the legislation by opposition members is the complete lack of sanctions against the government for wrongful use of the bill's provisions. Currently, a government official found to have purposefully abused surveillance tactics faces no punishment. AsiaMedia has local coverage.


 

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