A court in Cyprus on Monday found a British woman guilty of falsely claiming she was gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in the resort of Ayia Napa.
Sentencing was adjourned until January 7.
The woman, who was 19 at the time of the incident in July, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of “public mischief”, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.
“The statements you have given were false,” the judge told the defendant in remarks translated by the court interpreter.
She appeared frustrated by the delay to the sentencing, telling her lawyer: “He already made his decision! I thought we were asking for a fine.”
More than a dozen women from an association for the protection of women attended court wearing white scarves with an image of lips sewn shut printed on them.
The woman’s lawyers had claimed she was pressured into signing a statement written by a detective.
The judge said during the trial that police had acted properly at all times, with no pressure exerted to change the woman’s mind about her initial claim she was raped by 12 Israelis on July 17.
The Israelis, aged 15 to 18, were released without charge the same month after the woman was arrested on suspicion of making a false statement.
Rights groups argued the teenager has suffered humiliation and been mistreated by the police and media.
They have called for an investigation into police handling of the case and criticised the way rape cases and victims are treated in Cyprus.
The Senate has condemned the killing of a British national, Faye Mooney, by armed men in Kaduna State.
When the matter came up during Thursday’s plenary, members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly observed a minute’s silence in honour of Mooney and Mr Matthew Oguche who was also killed during the incident.
Some gunmen invaded the Kajuru Castle Resort in Kaduna on Friday last week, killed the two victims and kidnapped three other persons in the process.
Deliberating on the matter, the senators decried the rate of banditry and kidnappings in parts of the country.
They, therefore, resolved to urge the security authorities to intensify the search for the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
The lawmakers urged the Federal Government to set up an inter-agency task force to tackle cases of banditry and kidnapping in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger States.
They asked the security agencies to give special security cover to foreign workers and tourists, as well as deploy the use of drones and interceptors in tracking kidnappers asking for ransom.
The senators also urged community leaders, traditional rulers, and all stakeholders to cooperate with security agencies, and urged telecommunications companies to provide them with information in areas where cases of kidnappings were reported.
They further resolved to send a delegation to the British Embassy and condole with the government over the loss.
The lawmakers, thereafter, invited the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) to brief the Senate on the initiative put in place to curb the current security situation in the country.
They also asked the Senate Leader to ensure that the bills they passed on the Police Reform and Trust Fund be sent to their colleagues in the House of Representatives.
According to them, this is to can get concurrence and have the bills forwarded to the President for assent as quick as possible.
Earlier, Senator Shehu Sani raised a motion on the attack while the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, seconded it.
Senator Ekweremadu condoled with the families of the attack victims and called for “a national state of emergency” to enable the government put in place measures to end the security problems in the country.
On his part, Senator Joshua Lidani believes the challenges can only be tackled by “something unusual,” adding that it is already having an effect on investment and tourism.
“We need to mobilise the military to those areas, and we should not be shy of asking for help,” he said.
Senator Babba Kaita also said, “What have we done as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? We should marshal out a plan from the chambers of this Senate to secure this country.”
In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, decried what he described as the “series of killings,” saying the lawmakers must begin to look at the solutions.
On the way forward, he said there was a need to be frontal on what has led the nation to its present state and take the challenge as one for all, irrespective of the political difference.
”Where there is a fault, we must be bold enough to say where the fault is and where there are sanctions that need to be taken, we must be bold as well to say so,” Senate Saraki said.
“I mean, you have all been in this chamber for one year; we could not even communicate, converse or engage with the Nigeria Police.”
He added, “You were all here when the Head of Police refused to even come before us.
“How can we work together to move things forward because, at the end of the day, we must begin to sit down with those in charge and discuss what we need to do, how do we help you?”
The Senate President, who thanked the senators for their contribution on the matter, noted that hard and difficult decisions must be taken and with a more structural approach to the issue of security.
“We commiserate with the families and friends of Ms Faye Mooney and Mr Matthew Oguche, and wish to assure that the security agencies will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice,” the minister said.
The assailants were said to have invaded the resort, shooting sporadically and kidnapped three other persons in the process.
Condemning the attack, Mr Mohammed described the dastardly act, which led to the death of the Nigerian and the Briton while visiting the popular resort, as a setback to efforts to promote tourism in the country.
He, however, noted that the Federal Government had recently stepped up efforts to stem the wave of violence and banditry in some parts of the country.
The minister revealed that one of the measures put in place was better intelligence gathering and increased collaboration by the security agencies.
He noted that the efforts have started paying off, as the level of violent attacks, banditry, and kidnappings, was being reduced nationwide.
”The government will not relent until all parts of the country are made safe for all, whether they are tourists, business people or ordinary Nigerians who just want to live their lives under an atmosphere of peace and security,” Mohammed said.
Earlier, a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Harriett Baldwin, condoled with Mooney’s family in a tweet.
Baldwin, who is also the Minister of State at the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, said the UK government was working with the Nigerian authorities.
Read her tweet below:
#Nigeria#Kaduna Shocked to hear of the tragic killing of a British NGO worker. We are working closely with the Nigerian authorities and offering consular assistance. Thoughts and deepest condolences with her family at this truly difficult time. @UKinNigeria
“Continued efforts are still on course to rescue the kidnapped victims and bring the perpetrators to book,” Sabo said.
He added, “The slain expatriate lady, Miss Faye Mooney, is identified to be a Briton. She was a staff of Mercy Corps Nigeria. Investigation into the incident is in progress.”
The British High Commission in Nigeria also confirmed the killing of the victim in a tweet on Sunday.
It, however, said her next-of-kin has been contacted and condoled with Mooney’s families and friends over the unfortunate incident.
We are aware of the tragic incident involving the death of a British national in Kaduna State on Friday. The next-of-kin has been notified. The British High Commission offers our most profound sympathies and condolences to the families and friends at this difficult time.
A British woman convicted in Egypt of smuggling painkillers has been granted early release after spending more than a year in prison, an Egyptian security source said Monday.
Laura Plummer, 34, was arrested at Hurghada airport and sentenced in December 2017 to three years in prison after customs officers found almost 300 Tramadol pills in her luggage.
She was among a number of prisoners granted a presidential pardon after having served a third of her sentence, said the source at the Egyptian prison authority.
“Procedures for her release were completed yesterday (Sunday),” he added.
Tramadol, a strong painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain, is tightly controlled in Egypt where it is often abused as a recreational drug.
The painkiller is dispensed on prescription in Britain.
Since her arrest, Plummer and her relatives maintained that she was unaware of Egypt’s restrictions on the drug and that she was bringing the painkillers for her Egyptian partner who suffered from back pain.
There was no immediate confirmation from Britain of Plummer’s pardon.
“Our staff continues to do all they can to support Laura and her family, and our embassy remains in regular contact with the Egyptian authorities,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
A British man was freed from prison in Bangladesh on Thursday after his name was dropped from charges over a deadly 2016 attack by Islamist extremists on a Dhaka cafe popular with Westerners.
At least 22 people including 18 foreigners were killed when five militants with assault rifles and machetes stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in the capital’s well-heeled Gulshan neighbourhood.
The Islamic State group said it had carried out the brazen assault on July 1, 2016 — a claim rejected by Bangladesh.
Last month police pressed charges against eight homegrown extremists of local group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). A court on Wednesday accepted the charges.
During the attack, military commandos stormed the cafe after a 10-hour standoff and freed more than two dozen hostages.
One of the freed hostages, Hasnat Karim — a 49-year-old British national of Bangladeshi origin — was later detained by police for more than two years over allegations he played a role in the attack.
“He has been freed from Kashimpur jail at around 4.30pm,” Karim’s wife Sharmin Parveen told AFP, referring to a high-security prison outside the capital.
She said Karim was on his way to his home in Dhaka.
Mohibul Islam Khan, counter-terrorism police deputy commissioner, last month said investigators found no evidence against Karim and his name had been left off the charge sheet.
Karim, his wife and their two children were celebrating the 13th birthday of their daughter in the cafe when the attack took place.
Karim was a lecturer at the North-South University in Dhaka, where two of the five attackers who were gunned down at the end of the siege had studied.
Nine Italians and seven Japanese were among the victims of the attack. Two policemen were also killed during the carnage.
The siege was by far the deadliest in a string of attacks claimed by Islamist groups which have blighted Bangladesh over the last five years.
Of the eight extremists charged, six have been arrested and two have absconded, police said. The eight face a maximum sentence of death by hanging under anti-terrorism laws.
All five militants were killed when police stormed the cafe. Eight others — including mastermind Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Canadian of Bangladesh descent — were killed during raids in Dhaka and its suburbs months after the attack.
They included commanders of a new faction of the extremist group JMB.
The government has repeatedly denied that international jihadist networks have a presence in Bangladesh.
The IS-linked news agency Amaq however published extensive details of the attack, including photos from inside the cafe.
The hostage crisis marked an escalation from a spate of murders claimed by IS and Al Qaeda of rights activists, gay people, foreigners and religious minorities. It was seen as a major blow to the country’s image as a moderate Muslim nation.
Dozens of atheist writers, publishers, members of religious minorities, social activists and foreign aid workers have been murdered in Bangladesh since 2013.
Britain’s foreign minister arrived in Iran on Saturday to press for the release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe amid accusations at home that one of his gaffes has seriously harmed her case.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit was the first by a top British diplomat since 2015 and he was also due to discuss that year’s landmark nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, whose future has been thrown into doubt by US President Donald Trump.
“I will stress my grave concerns about our dual national consular cases and press for their release where there are humanitarian grounds to do so,” Johnson said ahead of the visit.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian citizen, was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016, after visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Iranian authorities accused her of links to mass protests in 2009, which she denies, and sentenced her to five years in jail for sedition. They do not recognise dual nationality.
Last month, they filed additional charges of “spreading propaganda” and will present her in court again on Sunday.
Her case has become highly politicised, especially after a “slip of the tongue” by Johnson last month when he stated that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran, which has been used by the Iranian authorities to help justify the new charges.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe, who had lobbied to join Johnson on the visit, has raised concerns about his wife’s mental health, citing the mounting toll of her prolonged incarceration in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Johnson is on a three-day trip to the region, stopping in Oman on Friday and moving on to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
It unfolds amid mass protests across the Muslim world over Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“Iran is a significant country in a strategically important, but volatile and unstable, region which matters to the UK’s security and prosperity,” Johnson said.
“While our relationship with Iran has improved significantly since 2011, it is not straightforward and on many issues we will not agree.”
Britain severed diplomatic relations in 2011 after protesters stormed its embassy in Tehran in response to sanctions over the nuclear dispute.
The embassy was reopened in 2015 and full relations restored last year.
World number 1, Serena Williams, will launch her 2016 season at the Hopman Cup in Australia.
Serena reached the final of the mixed team event in 2014 with American compatriot, John Isnerto, kicking off a superb season where she won the Australian, French Open and Wimbledon, to take her Grand Slam singles haul to 21.
Williams has not played since her shocking semifinal defeat to Italian Roberto Vinci at the US Open in September which ended her bid for a rare calendar Grand Slam.
She pulled out of two events in China earlier in October, as well as the WTA finals in Singapore, citing the need to rest after a year spent carrying injuries.
Williams will be joined in the January 3-9 Hopman Cup field by Briton, Andy Murray and controversial Australian, Nick Kyrgios.