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British Council worker freed from Iranian prison, back in UK

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British Council worker freed from Iranian prison, back in UK
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British Council worker freed from Iranian prison, back in UK

An Iranian employee of the British Council jailed for more than three years in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison over widely criticised espionage charges has returned to the United Kingdom after being freed, the organisation said.

Aras Amiri won her appeal to Iran’s Supreme Court, the British Council announced on Wednesday. She was arrested in March 2018 during a private trip to visit family in Tehran that did not involve her work at the government-founded cultural organisation, it previously said.

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“We have always refuted the original charges made against Aras,” the council said in a statement. “We are very proud of her work in our London office as an arts programme officer supporting a greater understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK.”

Due to tensions with Western powers, Iranian authorities banned cooperation with the British Council in 2019 and warned that such activity would result in prosecution.

There was no immediate word on her release from Iranian authorities.

But from Tehran, Amiri’s lawyer Hojjat Kermani, confirmed her acquittal to The Associated Press news agency, saying that Iran’s Supreme Court had determined that her earlier espionage conviction in the country’s Revolutionary Court was “against Shariah”, or Islamic law. He did not elaborate.

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Kermani said Amiri flew out of Tehran on Monday but had been free in recent months as she appealed a travel ban.

After holding Amiri for months, Iran in 2019 sentenced the British Council worker to 10 years in prison on charges of spying on cultural activities in Iran.

Her arrest highlighted the dangers faced by those with Western ties in Iran after former US President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers and piled crushing sanctions on the country.

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China Says Guantanamo Bay Is The Real “Detention Camp” For Muslims

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China Says Guantanamo Bay Is The Real "Detention Camp" For Muslims
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China Says Guantanamo Bay Is The Real “Detention Camp” For Muslims

Beijing has weighed in on the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay by calling on the United States to address its human rights violations and finally close the notorious offshore military prison.

Some 39 detainees—many without charges—remain at the facility in southern Cuba.

The question of whether to shut down “Gitmo” for good has carried over successive administrations, with the United Nations among several leading organizations calling for a swift and conclusive resolution by the U.S.

At a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, called the continued operation of the prison “a dark chapter” in the world’s human rights record.

“If ever there was a ‘detention camp’ that holds Muslims, it would be Guantanamo Bay,” he said, alluding to allegations that the Chinese government has interned over a million Uyghur Muslims in mass detention centers in Xinjiang in the country’s northwest—a charge Beijing denies.

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China Says Guantanamo Bay Is The Real “Detention Camp” For Muslims

“The United States has promised more than once that it would close the prison,” said Wang. “However, 20 years later, 39 people are still being kept there, while few of them have been charged with or convicted of crimes.”

Wang accused the U.S. of operating “black sites” such as Guantanamo Bay all over the world. The prison, the official said, is “only the tip of the iceberg.”

“The U.S. should sincerely reflect on itself, immediately close Guantanamo Bay and all other secret prisons across the world,” he said.

“It should stop atrocities including arbitrary detention and the torture of prisoners, deliver apologies and compensations to the victims and bring to justice those who authorized and committed the torture.”

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Guantanamo Bay, which is located within a U.S. naval base, was opened on January 11, 2002, during George W. Bush’s first administration, as part of the “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks.

In the two decades since, some 780 inmates have been held at the facility, including a peak of 684 detainees in June 2003.

Former President Barack Obama vowed to close the military prison in his first year, but opposition from Congress and challenges related to the secure transfer of inmates meant the otherwise historic decision dragged on indefinitely until it was reversed by his successor, Donald Trump.

President Joe Biden has committed to closing Gitmo by the time he leaves office.

On Monday, a report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, of which the U.S. is a member, found that only nine of the the prison’s 39 detainees have been charged or convicted of crimes.

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“Between 2002 and 2021, nine detainees died in custody, two from natural causes and seven reportedly committed suicide. None had been charged or convicted of a crime,” said the report authored by a panel of independent human rights experts.

“Despite forceful, repeated and unequivocal condemnation of the operation of this horrific detention and prison complex with its associated trial processes, the United States continues to detain persons, many of whom have never been charged with any crime,” they wrote.

They report said: “Guantanamo Bay is a site of unparalleled notoriety, defined by the systematic use of torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against hundreds of men brought to the site and deprived of their most fundamental rights.”

The Department of Defense says torture is prohibited and investigated whenever reported.

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Russia Arrests, Dismantles Revil Hacking Group At US Request

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Russia Arrests, Dismantles Revil Hacking Group At US Request
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Russia Arrests, Dismantles Revil Hacking Group At US Request

The source said that hacker from REvil with Russian citizenship will not be extradited to the US

The members of the REvil hacker group, involved in a number of attacks on large American companies, have been charged in Russia; now the community and its infrastructure have been liquidated, the FSB’s Public Relations Center (DSP) told Interfax.

“The FSB of Russia has established the full composition of the REvil criminal community and the involvement of its members in the illegal circulation of means of payment, and has documented illegal activities,” the intelligence service said.

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The reason was the appeal of the competent US authorities, who reported on the leader of the criminal community and his involvement in encroaching on the information resources of foreign high-tech companies by introducing malicious software, encrypting information and extorting money for its decryption, the FSB recalled.

More than 426 million rubles were seized at the places of stay of 14 members of the hacker group, including in cryptocurrency, 600 thousand dollars, 500 thousand euros, as well as computer equipment, crypto wallets used to commit crimes, 20 premium cars bought with money, obtained by criminal means.

Russia Arrests, Dismantles Revil Hacking Group At US Request

The detained members of the criminal community were charged under Part 2 of Art. 187 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal circulation of means of payments).

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“Representatives of the US competent authorities have been informed about the results of the operation,” the DSP said.

According to the FSB, the detainees developed malicious software, organized the theft of funds from the bank accounts of foreign citizens and cashing them out, including by purchasing expensive goods on the Internet. The secret service did not disclose the identity of the detainees.

In July 2021, the US-based company Kaseya was subjected to a massive cyberattack using a ransomware virus. The hacker attack affected companies directly or indirectly associated with Kaseya, which remotely controls the programs of its customers: Internet service providers for businesses. It was reported that the cyberattack was carried out by the REvil hacker group, which is credited with having links with the Russian Federation.

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In November, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Monday that Russian Yevgeny Polyanin, who is considered one of the leaders of REvil, received about $ 13 million from the victims of his hacker attacks using ransomware, but of which $ 6.1 million was returned to Washington.

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Prime Minister set to be sacked for breaking Covid19 rules

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Boris Johnson set to be sacked for breaking Covid19 rules
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Prime Minister set to be sacked for breaking Covid19 rules

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is under fire and facing numerous calls to quit his post as the nation’s leader after he apologized for attending a party during the first coronavirus pandemic in May 2020. The calls for him to vacate his position has been growing louder since he admitted to attending the party which is viewed as distasteful by the British public as it implies that he violated the very rules that his own office put in place to ensure the safety of British citizens against the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The admission and apology came during his Prime Minister’s Questions sessions at the House of Commons where he said, “I know the rage they feel with me and the government I lead,”… “when they think that in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”

Prime Minister set to be sacked for breaking Covid19 rules

The calls for him to vacate his position has been growing since it was established that he seemed to be holding back the truth when he was initially questioned about the parties. His refusal to initially admit to the parliament that he was present at those parties, implies that he intentionally misled the Parliament, an offence that is enough to earn him his exit according to Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer who led the call for the Prime Minister’s untenable position.

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