Posted on January 27, 2010 by connectafrica
A Zimbabwe state witness said on Wednesday opposition politician Roy Bennett was not involved in a terrorism plot against President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Bennett — a white commercial farmer and treasurer-general in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) — faces a possible death penalty if convicted of illegal possession of arms for purposes of committing terrorism, banditry and sabotage.
On Wednesday key state witness Peter Hitschmann, who was this week declared hostile to the state’s case, said Bennett had nothing to do with firearms he kept and did not provide funds to buy the arms for an anti-government plot.
When asked by Bennett’s lawyer whether the MDC politician had deposited funds into his account to buy guns or whether he plotted terrorism, Hitschmann said: “No my Lord, he did not.”
The state charges that Bennett funded a plan in 2006 to blow up a major communication link in the country and assassinate key government figures. He is accused to have deposited funds in Hitschmann’s Mozambican account for the operation.
Bennett has branded the charges political persecution by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to stop him from taking office as deputy agriculture minister.
Arms dealer Hitschmann, 49, says he was tortured by state security agents to implicate Bennett. On Monday the court threw out confessions made by Hitschmann’s in 2006 because they were not made freely, weakening the state’s case.
Hitschmann, who served jail time for possessing dangerous weapons, said it was not normal that the state had never interviewed him or taken a statement from him before he was called to testify as a witness.
“It’s not only not normal but also dangerous, my Lord. I would have given an indication (to the state) that I would be of little use to the state,” Hitschmann said.
Hitschmann, a former police officer, said as a licenced arms dealer he collected guns from white commercial farmers who were forced off their land for safekeeping or for sale on commission.
Prosecutors have said the trial is likely to end next week.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS
Filed under: ZIMBABWE, ROBERT MUGABE | Tagged: ROBERT MUGABE, TERRORISM | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 8, 2010 by connectafrica
|The US is risking its ties with Nigeria by asking travellers from the country to undergo stiffer airport security, Nigeria’s information minister says.
Dora Akunyili said she was disappointed with the US decision, which came after a Nigerian man was charged with trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day.
Earlier senior Nigerian officials confirmed they had officially asked the US to scrap the new rules.
Another African nation subject to the new rule, Algeria, has also complained.
Algeria’s US ambassador Abdellah Baali wrote in a newspaper article that the measures discriminated against against Algerians, “who pose no particular risk to Americans”, the Associated Press reported.
The new security measures – involving pat-down body checks and extra baggage searches – will also affect nationals of 12 other countries.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Ms Akunyili said Nigeria did not deserve to be on the list of countries subject to the new checks.
“Nigeria views this action as having the potential of undermining longstanding and established US-Nigeria bilateral ties,” she said.
The alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, is accused of hiding explosives in his underpants and trying to detonate them over Detroit.
Nigerian officials have sought to distance the country from the alleged bomber – stressing that he left the country 10 years ago.
Nigeria has also said it has tightened its security measures since the alleged plot.
Sourced From The BBC
Filed under: AFRICAN NEWS, NIGERIA | Tagged: Airports Security, Nigerian Terrorists, Security Measures, TERRORISM, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 21, 2009 by connectafrica
Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki said renewed accusations that Asmara is arming Somalia’s Islamist rebels was the work of CIA agents in the region bent on blackening his government’s name.
“We don’t interfere (in Somalia) and we don’t want to see any terrorism prevail in Somalia,” Isaias told Reuters.
Somalia’s government has accused Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab insurgents with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.
To the anger of Asmara — which says there is no evidence in accusations that have been around for several years — the U.N. has ordered a probe and east African bloc IGAD wants sanctions on Eritrea including a no-fly zone.
“It’s CIA operatives … these people are liars,” Isaias, a former rebel commander in power since 1991, said during an interview at Asmara’s colonial-era presidential palace.
“This is a continuation of the old story. I know for sure, even the individuals behind these things. I don’t want to talk about that because it would poison the whole mood.”
Former U.S. president George W. Bush’s government had threatened to put Eritrea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and Isaias said old interest groups were still jostling for influence with President Barack Obama.
He said Asmara would wait to see the impact of the Bush-Obama transition, and what he termed a bigger historical transition of U.S. economic ties and international attitudes.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS
Filed under: AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS, SOMALIA | Tagged: CIA, EAST AFRICAN NEWS, ERITREA, PRESIDENT ISAIAS AFWERKI, TERRORISM | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 21, 2009 by connectafrica
An al-Qaeda suspect is to become the first Guantanamo inmate to stand trial in a US civilian court, reports say.
Ahmed Ghailani will be sent to New York to face charges over the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, the White House is expected to announce.
The news comes as the US Senate voted against funding President Obama’s plans to close down Guantanamo Bay detention centre and transfer its 240 detainees.
Mr Obama is due to address concerns in a major speech later on Thursday.
He is under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans over his pledge to shut the camp in Cuba by January 2010.
At the same time, former vice-president Dick Cheney is due to give his own address – explaining why President Obama’s national security policies are leaving Americans less safe.
Officials, on condition of anonymity, told US media the Obama administration would announce that Ahmed Ghailani will be sent to New York City for trial.
They did not specify when that might be. Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was seized in Pakistan in 2004 and was one of 14 so-called “high-value detainees” transferred from secret CIA prisons abroad to Guantanamo in September 2006.
He was indicted in New York on charges related to the August 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed more than 200 people.
According to the transcript of a closed-door hearing in March 2007, Mr Ghailani admitted delivering explosives used to blow up the US embassy in Dar Es Salaam.
However, he told the hearing he did not know about the attack beforehand and apologised to the US government and the victims’ families.
The expected announcement comes as Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete is to hold talks with President Obama – the first African head of state to meet the new US leader in Washington.
SOURCED FROM BBC
Filed under: AFRICAN JUDICIARY, AFRICAN NEWS | Tagged: AFRICAN NEWS, AHMED GHAILANI, AL QAEDA, BARACK OBAMA AND TERROR, GUANTANAMO BAY, TERRORISM | Leave a Comment »