Weekly update: 28 November – 4 December 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 28 November to 4 December 2022.
Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at email@example.com for consideration.
Europol – 28 November 2022
A “super-cartel” that controlled one-third of the cocaine trade in Europe has been taken down in six countries, police have said. The EU police agency, Europol, announced that 49 suspects were arrested during the investigation, after raids in Europe and the United Arab Emirates targeting the cartel’s “command and control centre” and logistics network. One of the suspects is a British national, who is thought to have led the cartel.
United Kingdom (UK) / China – 28 November 2022
China will be asked to rule on whether counsel can participate in national security law proceedings in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government has announced. Hong Kong’s chief executive, John Lee, said he would seek a ruling from Beijing following a ruling by the Special Administrative Region’s Court of Final Appeal on Monday. The SAR’s apex court had upheld an earlier decision by the courts to allow Matrix Chambers barrister, Tim Owen KC, to represent former Apple Daily owner, Jimmy Lai, in his national security law (NSL) trial, which is due to begin on Thursday. Lai faces multiple charges under the NSL, including conspiracy to collude and collusion with foreign forces under the national security law, and one under colonial-era sedition law. Addressing reporters, Lee said he was targeting overseas counsel with no right to practise in Hong Kong, as there was no effective means of being able to prevent any conflicts of interest between their nationality and Hong Kong.
United Kingdom (UK) – 29 November 2022
A coalition of senior journalists and editors from across the political spectrum are calling on the justice secretary, Dominic Raab, to back a proposed law to tackle the global super-rich’s use of “abusive legal tactics to shut down investigations”. More than 70 newspaper editors, publishers and media lawyers wrote to Raab on Tuesday demanding that the government take urgent action to stop oligarchs and kleptocrats from using their fortunes to exploit British courts, intimidating and silencing investigative journalists with strategic lawsuits against public participation (Slapps).
Somalia – 29 November 2022
Somali security forces have stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, ending an occupation by al-Shabaab militants after a nearly daylong battle in which at least nine people were killed. Gunfire crackled from inside the building as the special forces fought the militants more than 12 hours after the Islamist group stormed the building in the centre of the city. The assault underscores the continuing ability of the al-Qaida-allied militants to stage deadly attacks with sometimes high casualties inside the capital even as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government presses an offensive against them.
South Africa – 29 November 2022
The killer of the South African anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani has been stabbed in prison, days after the country’s top court ordered him to be released on parole, the prison service said. In a statement, the Department of Correctional Services said on Tuesday it was “able to confirm an unfortunate stabbing incident” involving Janusz Waluś, who has spent nearly three decades in jail for the 1993 killing.
United Kingdom (UK) / Russia – 30 November 2022
The UK has announced a fresh round of sanctions against 22 Russians, including those the Foreign Office says were involved in enlisting criminals to fight in Ukraine. James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, said that his department would target a new set of officials, including Denis Manturov, the deputy prime minister, who is responsible for troop equipment supplies. The Russian officials join more than 1,000 others, including 120 the UK has sanctioned since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, among them Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian prime minister, and Roman Abramovich, the former owner of Chelsea FC.
Iran – 30 November 2022
An Iranian man was shot dead by security forces after Iran’s national team lost to the US and exited the World Cup, as anti-government demonstrations took place inside and outside the stadium in Qatar and across Iran. Mehran Samak, 27, was shot dead after honking his car horn in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea coast, north-west of Tehran, according to human rights activists. Samak “was targeted directly and shot in the head by security forces … following the defeat of the national team against America”, said the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).
United Kingdom (UK) – 1 December 2022
The Metropolitan police has settled a complaint by black brothers who were stopped, searched and handcuffed outside their family home. Nicholas Peart, 24, and Leon Peart, 20, both black, are Christians who regularly attend church and say they have never smoked tobacco let alone taken drugs. They told of their feelings of trauma and humiliation after about 20 minutes in handcuffs when arrested outside in Chingford, east London.
United Kingdom (UK) / Russia – 2 December 2022
BP stands to receive "blood money" through its investments in Russia, a leading adviser to Ukraine's president has warned. Oleg Ustenko said BP is entitled to hundreds of millions of pounds from its stake in Russian energy giant Rosneft. BP said it was no longer receiving any profits from Rosneft. It still planned to sell its shareholding in Rosneft, a move it announced immediately after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it added. Russian energy firms have made bumper profits this year, despite sanctions against the country, because the invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent sanctions, have pushed up the price of oil and gas on the global market. Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, BP had a 19.75% shareholding in Rosneft. In the early days of the conflict BP announced plans to get rid of that stake, gave up its two seats on the Rosneft board, and wrote off the value of the investment in its accounts. However, BP remains a shareholder in Rosneft. Insiders argue that the divestment process is ongoing, but has been far from simple due to the political situation.
Russia – 2 December 2022
Russia says the West's refusal to recognise "new territories" seized from Ukraine makes peace talks harder, after President Joe Biden indicated he would be ready to meet Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin said it was open to negotiations, but not on the West's demand to pull out of Ukraine. Russia illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions at the end of September, without controlling any of them. Nine months into its invasion, it has lost more than half the land it seized. President Biden told reporters on Thursday night that he was ready to meet the Russian leader "if in fact there is an interest in him deciding that he's looking for a way to end the war".