Appeal Court Grants PDP Right To Hold National Convention

A combination of file photos of the PDP logo and Mr Uche Secondus

 

The Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the right to hold its national convention scheduled for October 30 and 31, 2021.

Delivering the ruling on behalf of two other justices on Friday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the attempt by the applicant, Uche Secondus, to suspend the planned convention is an act of “self-induced urgency” to disrupt an ongoing lawful process of the party.

He wondered why Uche Secondus waited for too long to seek the stoppage of the process which had been communicated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the acting national chairman of the party, Yemi Akinwonmi, who Secondus duly handed over to.

The judge also held that Secondus did not oppose the notice of the convention written by the acting chairman to INEC and did not also oppose INEC replying to the PDP through the acting chairman.


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Meanwhile, the lawyer to Secondus, Tayo Oyetibo, said his client will wait for the outcome of the main suit on his status as the chairman and a member of the party before the same court to determine whether or not to go on appeal.

He, however, maintained that an outcome in favour of his client will definitely have a consequential effect on the convention slated for Abuja.

Wike reacts

A chieftain of the PDP and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has reacted to the ruling.

Mr. Wike said the ruling was a victory for every member of the PDP.

“It is a victory for every member of PDP,” Wike told reporters. “It is a sign that PDP is prepared for 2023.”

The Governor said Mr Secondus had already handed over his chairmanship to PDP National Deputy Chairman (South), Yemi Akinwonmi, and had no right to seek the postponement of the convention.

 

“We will not allow any individual or groups to derail the rescue mission of the PDP,” he said. “The title of our convention is ‘Join us to rescue Nigeria’.

“Nigeria is in problem and we cannot do it alone. We require everybody to work with us for collectively and see how this country can be rescued.

“So, if there is anybody or group who are being used to derail us, PDP will not take it lightly. We are serious about it and nothing will stop us from rescuing this country.

“PDP should be thanking God Almighty. We should be jubilating and praising God for bringing unity to this country.”

He also noted that the Court of Appeal judgement granted PDP an “unrestrained” right to hold the convention, making any other court judgement obtained to halt the process irrelevant.

Secondus vows to appeal

Meanwhile, Mr Secondus has said he will challenge the ruling of the Appeal Court, according to a statement obtained by Channels Television.

“I have just been briefed of the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt dismissing my motion to halt the National Convention of the party,” he said. “I respect the position of the court even though I disagree totally with it.

“Even as the substantive case is still pending at the Court of Appeal I have instructed my lawyers to study the ruling with a view to appealing it immediately as no abuse of the constitution of our dear party should be allowed to stand.

A file photo of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus
A file photo of Mr Secondus

 

“The issue is not about Prince Uche Secondus but about the sanctity of our party constitution and core democratic principles of justice and rule of law not only in PDP but in our democracy. No impunity must be condoned.

“I will therefore wish to emphasis the fact that I did not take the party to court and would not have done that. As a foundation member of this party who has served at various levels, State Chairman, Chairman of state Chairmen, National Organizing Secretary, Deputy National Chairman, Acting National Chairman and now National Chairman, am very much abreast with the workings of the party. I have been a witness to how much harm litigations have done to our party in the past and as a result I have been a strong advocate against settling issues in courts.

“This was why I resisted and rejected entreaties of those who wanted me to go to court to halt these forces when it was obvious that they were determined to disrupt my leadership and truncate my tenure in office with the sole objective of hijacking the party for their selfish ulterior motives.

“To allow this travesty to stand is to reduce our beloved party to a level where anybody can wake up over night and remove officers against the proscribed constitutional process and the National Chairman for that matter. And purporting to use the judiciary through an experte order to legitimize same.

“As a major practitioner in our democracy, I am duty bound to protect and defend the sanctity of the provisions of our constitution of which am the custodian.

“I wish to therefore at this juncture thank and appreciate leaders and other stakeholders of our party who have called in to express their concerns on this matter and appeal for the understanding of all.

“If those who orchestrated and fostered this avoidable crisis had listened to wise counsel of party leaders and elders who advised the withdrawal of cases, this situation would have been avoidable. I wish the party well as always.”

 

Drug Trafficking: Singapore’s Appeal Court Frees Nigerian After Nine Years

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

The Court of Appeal in Singapore has acquitted and discharged a Nigerian, Ilechukwu Uchechukwu Chukwudi, on death row for drug trafficking, nearly a decade after he was arrested.

The country’s apex court, in a rare decision, reversed itself and found Ilechukwu not guilty, five years after the same court convicted him of the offence.

Ilechukwu faced a charge of trafficking almost 2kg (1,963.3g) of methamphetamine found in a black trolley bag he brought with him from Nigeria into Singapore on November 13, 2011.

The charge was punishable by death.

He had collected the luggage at the airport in Nigeria, found only clothes in it. The luggage passed several immigration checks in both countries without problems.

The Nigerian was said to have handed the bag to a Singaporean stall assistant named Hamidah Awang at a Clarke Quay bus stop.

Hamidah’s car was then searched at Woodlands Checkpoint in River Valley Road, Singapore and drugs were discovered in the luggage.

Ilechukwu was initially acquitted after a trial in the High Court in 2014 but the appellate court reversed that decision in 2015 and found him guilty of drug trafficking.

His lawyers — Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, Mr Suang Wijaya and Mr Johannes Hadi from Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, as well as Ms Jerrie Tan from K&L Gates Straits Law — argued for the decision to be reviewed.

At the sentencing stage, they provided “material evidence” showing that Ilechukwu was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with dissociative symptoms.

The Court of Appeal then ordered a review of the case in light of the fresh evidence, given by the psychiatrist who was a prosecution witness.

At the review, the court upheld their submissions and found that Ilechukwu experienced PTSD symptoms while giving statements to authorities.

In a split decision on Thursday, four out of five justices on the case found that Ilechukwu did not know there were drugs in the bag, finding that he had been “deceived” unwittingly into transporting drugs.

The apex court quashed its own decision, setting the Nigerian free.

“The picture that emerges from the evidence is that he had grossly misjudged (his childhood friend and acquaintance), and naively believed that he was doing a simple favour in return for promised business contacts.

“Unwittingly, he had been deceived into transporting drugs on their behalf to (their) contact in Singapore,” the judges added.

Judge of Appeal, Tay Yong Kwang dissented, while Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Senior Judge Chao Hick Tin, and Judges of Appeal, Judith Prakash and Andrew Phang ruled in Ilechukwu’s favour.

In a statement, Ilechukwu’s lawyers said: “It has been a long and hard-fought pro bono case, involving specialist psychiatric evidence and issues of cross-cultural sensitivities…

“Had it not been for the fortuitous production of the IMH report, our client would have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment. We are delighted that justice has prevailed to acquit our client this morning.”

Ilechukwu’s acquittal makes it the second time in the last two years that a Nigerian citizen has defeated a capital drugs-related offence in Singapore.

In May 2019, Adili Chibuike Ejike, who had been sentenced to hanging for importing almost 2kg of methamphetamine, was cleared by the Court of Appeal.

Adili had similarly been arrested in 2011 in a related case.

Manchester City To Learn UEFA Appeal Fate On Monday

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) is caught by Newcastle United's English defender Danny Rose (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on July 8, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)
Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) is caught by Newcastle United’s English defender Danny Rose (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on July 8, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)

 

Manchester City will discover the result of their appeal against a two-year ban from UEFA competitions on Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Friday.

City were banned by UEFA and handed a 30 million euro ($34 million, £27 million) fine for allegedly overstating sponsorship revenue to hide that they had not complied with financial fair-play (FFP) rules between 2012 and 2016.

The English side steadfastly refuted the allegations and a three-day hearing on the case was held by videoconference last month.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will announce the decision taken in the arbitration procedure between Manchester City Football Club and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Monday, 13 July 2020,” CAS said in a statement.

CAS added that the decision would be announced at 10:30 am local time (0830 GMT).

City hold an 11-point lead over fifth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League and need just one win from their remaining four games of the season to be sure of Champions League qualification.

But, if their ban is upheld or only reduced to one season, whoever finishes fifth will take their Champions League spot.

No matter the outcome of the appeal, City will be able to complete their 2019/20 Champions League campaign.

They hold a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid after the first leg of the last 16 and host the Spanish giants on August 7 in the return match.

The tournament will be concluded with a ‘Final 8’ event in Lisbon, with City to face either Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals if they get past Real.

AFP

Tottenham Manager Pochettino Could Appeal Against Touchline Ban

Pochettino Warned Tottenham Players To Keep Cool During Derby Brawl
Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline. Credit:  Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he could appeal against the two-game touchline ban he received for his furious blast at the referee in last month’s defeat at Burnley.

Pochettino accepted a Football Association charge of improper conduct and apologised for the incident that followed Tottenham’s controversial 2-1 loss on February 23.

Infuriated by Burnley’s first goal coming from a corner that he believed shouldn’t have been given, the Argentine stormed onto the pitch to confront Mike Dean at the final whistle.

But Pochettino was shocked at the extent of a punishment, which also included a £10,000 fine and would leave him in the stands for both Saturday’s fixture at his former club Southampton and against Liverpool on March 31.

He is still waiting for the FA’s explanation and is considering his options, partly because he believes the indiscretion to be his first in English football.

READ ALSO: Messi Returns To Argentina Team After Eight-Month Absence

“It wasn’t the idea to appeal. Because in my mind it wasn’t a big deal and it wasn’t the best way to complain or talk with the referee, but I never expected this type of situation,” Pochettino told reporters on Thursday.

“Now I need to think. I need to see the reasons why and then we’ll see what happens.

“I am a little bit in shock because it is completely unfair. It’s my seventh season in England and you can see my behaviour from day one.

“It is my first time here that I’m maybe not completely right in my behaviour but I feel this is too much. I feel a little bit sad and disappointed. It’s unbelievable, no?”

Tottenham could be strengthened for Saturday’s fixture by the return to fitness of England midfielder Dele Alli, who has trained following a hamstring injury and faces a late fitness test.

Harry Winks will be assessed because of a potential groin problem before Pochettino selects his starting line-up.

Pochettino’s impressive spell as Southampton’s manager led the Argentine to be recruited by Spurs, and he revealed the heartache that followed his move from St Mary’s

“Of course a lot aren’t going to forgive me, but I still love them,” he said. “I love Southampton. The time I spent there was a great experience; I enjoyed it a lot.

“I cried a lot when I left. My family, too. It was one of the most important periods of my life with my family, that I enjoyed the most, which is why it was so tough.”

AFP

ICC Prosecutors To Appeal Gbagbo’s Acquittal

Former Cote d’Ivore’s President Laurent Gbagbo

 

Prosecutors will appeal the International Criminal Court’s shock acquittal of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo over post-election violence, according to a court document seen by AFP on Wednesday.

ICC judges cleared Gbagbo and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude of charges of crimes against humanity on Tuesday.

They also ordered their release but postponed it pending a fresh hearing on Wednesday where prosecutors would lay out objections.

The prosecution filed an “urgent request” saying that it “has determined that it intends to appeal… following the acquittals”, the document said.

Prosecutors also said there were “exceptional reasons” to oppose Gbagbo’s unconditional release, citing a “concrete risk” that he would not come back if its appeal was successful and the trial was to continue.

But they said they would accept release to an ICC member country — excluding Ivory Coast — “if the flight risk can be mitigated by imposing a series of conditions”.

Gbagbo stands accused over the deaths of 3,000 people killed in months of clashes in the West African nation when he refused to accept defeat after elections in late 2010.

Gbagbo has already been in detention since 2011, and his trial at the ICC started in 2016.

In a majority decision by two judges to one, the ICC said on Tuesday that prosecutors “failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard”.

AFP

Myanmar Reuters Journalists Lose Appeal Against 7-Year Sentence

Myanmar journalist Wa Lone (C) is escorted by police after being sentenced by a court to jail in Yangon on September 3, 2018. Ye Aung THU / AFP

 

A Myanmar judge dismissed an appeal Friday by two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years while investigating atrocities committed against the Rohingya, dashing slim hopes that the pair could be freed early.

Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said was trumped up to muzzle their reporting.

Prosecutors say the two had classified information regarding security operations in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during an army-led crackdown the United Nations has dubbed “ethnic cleansing”.

Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said Friday the original verdict was “not wrong according to the law” and was a “reasonable decision”.

“The court decides to dismiss the appeal,” he said.

Lawyers can now appeal to the Supreme Court in Myanmar, a process that could take an estimated six months.

The reporters’ wives cried after the decision which condemns the pair to continue their stay at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison, where they have been held for the last 13 months.

The two men — who were not present for the decision — have insisted they were victims of a police set-up, pointing to testimony from a serving officer who said superior ordered other to entrap them.

At the time of the arrest, they were probing a massacre of 10 Rohingya.

The original trial was widely regarded as a sham and seen as punishment for their investigation, sparking outrage around the world including from US Vice President Mike Pence.

Outside the country, the two men have been hailed as media freedom heroes and jointly named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, alongside other persecuted and slain journalists.

But they have gained little sympathy within Myanmar.

The violent military campaign in 2017 forced more than 720,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh, with refugees bringing accounts of murder, rape and arson.

UN investigators have called for top generals to be investigated for a genocide and singled out civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi for criticism for failing to stop the crackdown.

The image of the formerly renowned champion of human rights has been further damaged by the Reuters trial, and she has yet to speak up in their defence.

Reacting to the verdict outside the court the European Union ambassador to Myanmar Kristian Schmidt said he looked to the president of Myanmar to “correct” the injustice with a possible pardon.

AFP

Jailed Myanmar Reuters Reporters File Appeal

Myanmar reporters take pictures as police escort away Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo after being sentenced by a court to jail in Yangon on September 3, 2018. Ye Aung THU / AFP

 

Lawyers for two Myanmar Reuters journalists filed an appeal Monday against their seven-year jail sentence linked to their reporting on the Rohingya crisis, the news agency said.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were found guilty under a state secrets act in September after exposing the extrajudicial killing of 10 Rohingya men during a brutal military crackdown last year.

The verdict — following what was widely viewed as a sham trial held to intimidate Myanmar’s nascent community of journalists — sparked widespread condemnation.

Reuters president and editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler said in a statement the ruling ignored “compelling evidence” that the two reporters had been framed by the authorities.

“We filed an appeal today on behalf of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo because the trial court’s ruling was wrong,” he said.

“In condemning them as spies, it ignored compelling evidence of a police set-up, serious due process violations and the prosecution’s failure to prove any of the key elements of the crime.”

During the trial, one whistleblowing police officer told the court how a superior had ordered his men to set up a sting to entrap the reporters — testimony the judge chose to ignore.

Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was widely criticised for refusing to intervene even though her government had the power to drop the charges.

President Win Myint — a proxy of Suu Kyi — has the power to pardon the reporters but has so far not commented on the case.

The High Court is likely to take up to five or six months to rule on the appeal, during which time the reporters will remain in prison.

The pair were investigating the massacre of 10 Rohingya men by security forces in Inn Din village in western Rakhine state, an atrocity to which the military later admitted in a rare acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

Myanmar troops, aided by mobs of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, drove out more than 720,000 Rohingya from Rakhine state last year, forcing them into sprawling camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The refugees brought with them the consistent testimony of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson.

UN investigators say the violence warrants the prosecution of top generals for an “ongoing genocide”, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Myanmar insists that the campaign in Rakhine was a proportionate response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces and vehemently rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction over the country.

After numerous delays, the first significant group of Rohingya — some 2,000 strong — is due to return to Myanmar on November 15 as part of a repatriation deal signed with Bangladesh a year ago.

However, the UN and rights groups maintain that conditions for their “safe, dignified and sustainable” return are still not in place.

AFP

Brazil Judge Rejects Jailed Lula’s Appeal On Election Ban

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil
Brazil’s Ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula

 

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge on Thursday rejected an appeal by jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to overturn his ban on running in next month’s elections.

Brazil’s electoral court had disqualified Lula on the grounds of the country’s clean-slate law that prevents anyone who has lost an appeal against a conviction from running for office.

Lula was convicted on charges of accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe and then lost an initial appeal. On Wednesday, his lawyers filed an appeal against the disqualification to run in the elections, in which polls had shown he would be the front-runner.

The electoral court gave Lula’s Workers’ Party until September 12 to nominate a replacement and banned the 72-year-old from campaigning.

Lula’s lawyers based their latest appeal on a decision by the UN Human Rights Council, which requested that the two-term ex-president be allowed to exercise his political rights as a candidate, despite being in jail. It said he should be allowed to run “until his appeals before the courts have been completed in fair judicial proceedings.”

But Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin, who is overseeing the massive corruption probe known as Car Wash, rejected the appeal.

At the same time, federal prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation against sitting President Michel Temer on charges of corruption and money laundering.

Brazilian media said the request centered around charges that Temer — a former vice president who took office after then-president Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016 — allegedly received in 2014 a sum of 1.43 million reais (around $240,000) from the construction giant Odebrecht, the company at the center of the huge corruption probe.

The charges also allege that his political party received 10 million reais from Odebrecht for its 2014 election campaign, in which he ran as Rousseff’s vice president.

Temer has already dodged two attempts to impeach him in the past year, and has the lowest popularity rating of any president in Brazilian history. Corruption has become a key theme in the presidential elections, scheduled to take place on October 7.

AFP

Zimbabwe Top Court Hears Appeal Against Election Result

Election officials tally presidential candidates ballots during counting operations for Zimbabwe’s general election at the David Livingston Primary school in central Harare on July 30, 2018. 
MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court will Wednesday hear an opposition petition seeking to overturn the presidential election result, in a legal challenge seen as unlikely to succeed despite allegations of vote fraud.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the ruling ZANU-PF party and the election commission of rigging the July 30 vote, Zimbabwe’s first poll since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, won with 50.8 percent of the vote — just enough to avoid a run-off against the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3 percent.

“We have a very strong case and we are going to reverse the electoral fraud,” Chamisa told reporters this week.

“We are going to defend your vote, our vote, the people’s vote. We have no doubt that victory is certain.”

Mnangagwa, who has vowed to turn around Zimbabwe’s ruined economy, hoped the elections would draw a line under Mugabe’s repressive 37-year rule.

The election campaign was more open than previous votes, but was marred by the army opening fire on protesters, killing six, allegations of vote-rigging and a crackdown on opposition activists.

“I won the court case before it began,” Mnangagwa said on the sidelines of a regional summit in Namibia at the weekend. “It’s declared free and fair… why would I ever think that I will lose?”

 Biased courts? 

Senior ZANU-PF legal representative Patrick Chinamasa ridiculed the MDC’s legal bid.

“Just as you cannot give life to a dead horse, even the best lawyers in the world cannot give life to a hopeless case,” he said in a statement.

“To those who voted for Chamisa, I ask you to gracefully accept defeat so that the country can move on.”

The MDC has cited a catalogue of irregularities and discrepancies including more people voting at some polling stations than were registered.

The case, presided over by nine judges at the country’s top court, will be broadcast live on state television. A ruling is expected by Friday.

Derek Matyszak, a legal expert at the University of Zimbabwe, said the opposition faced an uphill struggle given the courts’ historic tilt towards ZANU-PF, which has ruled since independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

“The outcome is pretty predictable,” Matyszak told AFP. “There is absolutely no chance of the election results being overturned.

“The judiciary (is) perceived to be partisan. Once the ruling is made, Chamisa will accuse it of bias and try to make political capital out of it.”

The MDC’s appeal, which was lodged hours before the deadline on August 10, has already forced Mnangagwa’s inauguration — planned for August 12 — to be postponed.

International monitors largely praised the conduct of the election itself, although EU observers said that Mnangagwa, a former long-time Mugabe ally, benefited from an “un-level playing field”.

The court could declare a winner, call another election, or order a run-off or recount.

The inauguration should take place within 48 hours of the court’s ruling, according to the constitution.

AFP

Sacked Philippine Chief Justice To Appeal Decision

Ousted Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (C) delivers a speech before her supporters in front of the supreme court building in Manila on May 11, 2018. TED ALJIBE / AFP

 

The ousted top judge of the Philippines will appeal against the decision to sack her, after she battled with President Rodrigo Duterte over his deadly drug war, her spokesman said Saturday.

Maria Lourdes Sereno’s colleagues voted on Friday to remove her as Supreme Court chief justice in an unprecedented decision that has sparked a legal firestorm.

“She will file MR (motion of reconsideration),” her spokesman Carlo Cruz said in a message to AFP without elaborating.

Duterte had openly called for Sereno’s removal from the court, calling her an “enemy” after they clashed over his bloody war on drugs and alleged abuse of power.

Sereno’s expulsion came due to a petition by the chief government lawyer — a Duterte appointee — who argued that she was not qualified for her position and accused her of not filing statements of assets and liabilities in previous years — accusations she categorically denied.

Legal experts, including other Supreme Court judges, have argued that Sereno’s sacking is a violation of the constitution, which says a justice can only be removed through impeachment in Congress.

In opinions released Saturday, dissenting judge Marvic Leonen called the move “a legal abomination” while fellow justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa said, “this case marks the time when the Court commits seppuku (ritual suicide) – without honour”.

Pacifico Agabin, an expert in constitutional law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, told AFP Sereno’s appeal was unlikely to succeed, saying: “I don’t think any one of the justices will have a change of mind”.

Sereno, who has urged her supporters to “fight for justice and demand accountability”, is the latest high-profile critic of Duterte to be targeted after speaking out against the president.

Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened, including Senator Leila de Lima who has been jailed, the Commission on Human Rights and an anti-corruption prosecutor who investigated allegations that Duterte has hidden wealth.

Duterte has faced global criticism for human rights abuses particularly related to his bloody campaign against illegal drugs which police say has claimed the lives of around 4,200 suspects in nearly two years. Rights groups allege the actual number is three times higher.

AFP

Facebook Unveils Appeal Process After Removing Posts

Facebook Faces 'Oppenheimer Moment' Over Trump Scandal
FILE PHOTO

 

Facebook said Tuesday it will give users the right to appeal decisions if the social network decides to remove photos, videos or written posts deemed to violate community standards.

Plans to roll out an appeals process globally in coming months came as Facebook provided a first-ever look at internal standards used to decide what posts go too far in terms of hateful or threating speech.

“This is part of an effort to be more clear about where we draw the line on content,” Facebook public policy manager in charge of content Siobhan Cummiskey told AFP.

“And for the first time we’re giving you the right to appeal our decisions on individual posts so you can ask for a second opinion when you think we’ve made a mistake.”

The move to involve Facebook users more on standards for removing content comes as the social network fends off criticism on an array of fronts, including handling of people’s data, spreading “fake news,” and whether politics has tinted content removal decisions.

California-based Facebook already lets people appeal removal of profiles or pages. The appeal process to be built up during the year ahead will extend that right to individual posts, according to Cummiskey.

The new appeal process will first focus on posts remove on the basis of nudity, sex, hate speech or graphic violence.

Notifications sent regarding removed posts will include buttons that can be clicked to trigger appeals, which will be done by a member of the Facebook team. While software is used to help find content violating standards at the social network, humans will handle appeals and the goal is to have reviews done within a day.

“We believe giving people a voice in the process is another essential component of building a fair system,” vice president of global product management Monika Bickert said.

“For the first time, we are publishing the internal implementation guidelines that our content reviewers use to make decisions about what’s allowed on Facebook.”

Some 7,500 content reviewers are part of a 15,000-person team at Facebook devoted to safety and security, according to Cummiskey, who said the team is expected to grow to 20,000 people by the end of this year.

“It’s quite a tricky and complex thing drawing lines around what people can and cannot share on Facebook, which is why we consult experts,” said Cummiskey, whose background includes work as a human rights attorney.

AFP

Woman Jailed For Racist Comment Appeals Verdict

Convicted racist Vicki Momberg is pictured at the Randburg Magistrate Court to appeal the four charges of crimen injuria – defined as “a wilful injury to someone’s dignity‚ caused by the use of obscene or racially offensive language or gestures” and sentence of two years in jail on April 11, 2018.  GULSHAN KHAN / AFP

 

The first South African to be jailed for racist slurs went to court on Wednesday in a bid to appeal her conviction and three-year jail sentence.

Former realtor Vicki Momberg, 49, was last month sentenced to three years with one year suspended after being found guilty of four counts of crimen injuria — wilfully hurting someone’s dignity — for repeatedly hurling the word “kaffir” at a black policeman.

Her case turned the spotlight on racial divisions in South Africa a generation after the end of apartheid rule.

Momberg had been caught on video verbally abusing a black police officer who had been trying to assist her following a break-in of her car in 2016.

She used the word “kaffir” — a deeply offensive term in the racially-sensitive country — 48 times.

She is the first person in South Africa to be sent to prison for crimen injuria. Previous convictions typically resulted in fines.

In 2016, another white real estate agent Penny Sparrow was fined $10,000 for comparing black beachgoers to monkeys in a Facebook post.

The state prosecution Yusuf Baba on Wednesday opposed Momberg’s application describing it as “vague” and “fatally defective”.

“The grounds of appeal are bad,” said Baba.

The appeal hearing continues next Wednesday.

Momberg’s sentence was largely welcomed by the government, civil society groups and many South Africans.

But campaign group AfriForum, which advocates for its largely white membership, many of whom speak Afrikaans, criticised the sentence saying it exposed the application of double standards in matters concerning race.