Connect with us
Slider

us news

Turkey Sentences Priest to Imprisonment for Acts of Religious Charity

Published

on

Washington D.C.– International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on April 07, 2021, a Turkish court sentenced Syriac priest Father Sefer (Aho) Bileçen from the Monastery of Mar Yaqoub al-Suruji to two years, one month, in prison on terrorism-related charges. This sentence comes just over a year after Father Bileçen was detained alongside 12 others on the charges of aiding the PKK, an internationally recognized terrorist organization.

Shortly after his arrest in January 2020, Father Bileçen shared the following statement through his attorney with the Urfa Bar Association’s Human Rights Commission:

“Two members of the organization came to the monastery in 2018. They asked me for food. And I gave it. It was detected afterwards. In response to this, the Gendarmerie Commander met me through the metropolitan bishop. I did not deny it. I wanted security measures to be taken so that this incident would not happen again. But no security measures were taken.

“I thought that the case was closed after the report was taken down. I would give no matter who came to my door. I need to do it religiously and philosophically. I cannot lie as I am a priest. I did it not in order to aid an organization, but due to my faith. Philosophically, I cannot tip off, either. It is also religiously the case. I do not leave the monastery anyway.”

At the time of his arrest, Father Bileçen was charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization.” The charge associated with his sentencing states that he was “aiding the organization.” Father Bileçen was not present in the courtroom at the time of his sentencing, although his attorney was present, reports local news.

Turkey’s human rights record and use of the judiciary to reinforce human rights abuses has come under increased scrutiny. A recently released report by Amnesty International explains, “(Turkey’s) judiciary disregarded fair trial process and continued to apply broadly defined anti-terrorism laws to punish acts protected under international human rights law.”

Turkey’s religious freedom record has also suffered greatly because of these circumstances. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended Turkey for a Special Watch List in their 2020 Annual Report.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “When strangers come to your door asking for food and water, you give them food and water. This is a foundational aspect of the Christian faith, an act of religious charity exemplified by Jesus. The experience of having strangers approach Christian clergy, particularly those living in more rural areas, and asking for these necessities for survival, is not unusual. To help in this way is not just a religious charity obligation, it is basic human decency.”

“But there is another dynamic we must consider: if that stranger is a terrorist, can their request even be denied? Can you even safely say no? Unfortunately, this case proves a point that Christians in rural Turkey have been making for decades: that they are caught in the middle of the Turkish-PKK conflict and no matter how they respond, they will lose. We urge Turkey to reconsider this case. Religious charity should not be criminalized. A lack of the capacity to give consent should not be criminalized. For the sake of a healthy, flourishing, and diverse society, the precedent established by the Turkish court in this decision must be revisited.”
Sources:persecution

us news

Covid-19 ‘shakes’ Brazil; Most children and young people die

Published

on

Brazil has been one of the worst-hit nations by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic but the unusual high deaths among babies have caused immense concerns. Despite overwhelming evidence based on data that Covid-19 rarely turns fatal for children, around 1,300 babies have died from coronavirus.

BBC did a feature on a Brazilian woman’s one-year-old son who died two months after he first displayed symptoms of Covid-19 in May last year. Jessika Ricarte took her son, Lucas, to a hospital after he developed a fever, then fatigue and slightly laboured breathing. The oxygen level was at a low 86 per cent but the doctor assured Jessika that Covid-19 was rare in children and sent her home with some antibiotics, reported BBC.

Jessika, a resident of Tamboril in Ceará, northeast Brazil, said that although some of the symptoms disappeared at the end of his 10-day antibiotics course, the tiredness remained, as per the report. On June 3, Lucas vomited repeatedly after having lunch, prompting Jessika to take him to a local hospital. He tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to a paediatric intensive care unit in Sobral, a municipality that was over two hours away.

Lucas was diagnosed there with a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS). A recent study, published in The Lancet, suggests that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a newly identified and serious health condition associated with Covid-19. It is a rare but severe hyperinflammatory condition in children and adolescents that typically occurs 2–6 weeks after they are infected with the coronavirus.

MIS-C is an extreme immune response to the virus and can affect multiple organ systems, including cardiac, gastrointestinal, haematological, dermatological, neurological, respiratory, and renal systems. For the study, the researchers analysed 1,080 patients who met the MIS-C case definition and had sufficient clinical data for analysis of pre-existing factors.

Out of 1,080 patients, 431 were admitted to ICU on the same day as hospitalisation and 217 were admitted to ICU at least after a day of hospitalisation. The clinical signs and symptoms of MIS-C include cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and abdominal pain, among others. Around 28 per cent of patients had decreased cardiac function, 36 per cent suffered shock, and around 2 per cent cases resulted in deaths.

Lucas was intubated after being diagnosed with MIS-C and suffered cardiac arrest while he was in the ICU, reported BBC. The doctor who was treating the kid said she was surprised at the seriousness of his condition since he did not have any risk factors in terms of comorbidities or overweight. A CT scan discovered that Lucas had had a stroke and later died after a sudden drop in heart rate and oxygen level, as per the report.

According to experts quoted by BBC, Brazil’s sheer number of Covid-19 cases have led to an increase in infection among babies and young children. While Brazil’s official data suggest that Covid-19 killed at least 852 children up to the age of nine, Dr Fatima Marinho, a leading epidemiologist from the University of São Paolo, did research that estimated the virus killed 2,060 children under nine years old, including 1,302 babies. Marinho told BBC that she is seeing more cases of MIS-C than ever before, highlighting that there is a misconception that children are at a zero risk for Covid-19.

Continue Reading

us news

Russia prepares for devastating war; 30,000 more troops cross border; Ukraine shocked

Published

on

Thirty thousands of Russian troops massing near the Ukrainian border, convoys of tanks, and a deadly escalation in the grinding trench war in eastern Ukraine.

These storm clouds on Europe’s eastern flank are causing grave alarm in Washington and across the continent.

“We’re now seeing the largest concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders since 2014,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday after flying to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. “That is a deep concern not only to Ukraine, but to the United States.”

In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day, President Joe Biden declared Washington’s “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “called on Russia to de-escalate tensions,” a White House readout said.

Western officials and experts are now trying to decipher what Moscow might be planning: Is Putin testing Biden’s mettle — or is he actually trying to spark a fresh military conflict on the fringes of Europe?

“The optimistic assessment is that this is meant to intimidate Ukraine,” said Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA, a research group based in Virginia. “The pessimistic assessment, which I think is a lower probability but nonetheless very worth considering, is that Russia is actually spoiling for a fight and that they’re looking to bait Ukraine into a miscalculation.”

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in conflict since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and began supporting separatists in the country’s east. That war has rumbled on ever since, costing some 14,000 lives despite a series of shaky ceasefires.

But since March experts say they are witnessing something new.

Russia has started sending thousands of troops, tanks, artillery and other units to Crimea and regions along its 1,200-mile land border with Ukraine, according to Western governments and independent experts who monitor these maneuvers.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

The Russian troops number 40,000 in Crimea and another 40,000 in other regions along the border, Iuliia Mendel, spokeswoman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Monday.

Given that the Russian military has an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 troops, “that would be approximately 10 percent of the Russian military’s total manpower,” according to Rob Lee, a former U.S. Marine who now tracks military deployments at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Russia says these movements are “training missions,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. But experts say they don’t fit the usual pattern for these wargames. Russian military officials haven’t provided the usual level of detail or forewarning.

“They are deliberately leaving their intentions ambiguous here,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, the fragile ceasefire that’s kept the Donbas conflict at a simmer has deteriorated, with more than 30 Ukrainian soldiers killed already this year, compared with 49 in 2020, Ukraine says.

In response, U.S. European Command has raised its threat level to the highest available, the New York Times reported. And it is planning to send two warships to the Black Sea, according to Turkey, which controls passage into it. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on both of these actions at recent briefings.

“If Russia acts recklessly,” Blinken told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, “there will be consequences.”

After meeting Blinken on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the “Russian buildup is taking place, not only along the border of Ukraine, but along the border of democratic world.”

The problem for these allies is that it is still unclear what Russia is trying to do — much less how the West might be able to respond.

“The force assembled is large and heavy and could go deep and do some ugly stuff to Ukraine,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat. Is that what Russia intends to do? “I think an honest answer to your question would be: ‘I have no idea,'” he said.

Russia says it’s free to move troops internally however it likes.

“Russia has never been a threat to anyone and does not pose a threat,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Monday.

The Kremlin has tried to turn the narrative on its head, accusing the U.S. and NATO of being the ones responsible for raising the temperature.

“There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news wires. “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good.”

Ryabkov referred to the U.S. as an “adversary” — a word the U.S. uses to describe Russia, but a clear shift from Russia’s preferred term “partner” when referring to the U.S.

Many experts believe a Russian military offensive is not impossible but unlikely; it would be costly for Putin and it’s unclear what he would gain. The buildup has been slow and ostentatious, whereas a genuine invasion would be rapid and more covert.

More likely, according to these observers, is that Russia is attempting to intimidate Ukraine, perhaps to gain leverage in the stalled peace talks over the Donbas conflict.

Putin is also sending a message to Biden and Ukraine’s European allies, according to Fabrice Pothier, a consulting senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London think tank.

Biden has deployed harsher rhetoric toward Putin compared with President Donald Trump, and last month the U.S. announced $125 million in military aid to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine is renewing calls to join NATO, something the alliance promised in 2008 but is vehemently opposed by Russia.

“Putin is testing what President Biden’s Russia-Ukraine policy is really made of,” said Pothier, NATO’s former head of policy planning. “Is the U.S. willing to go as far as providing either indirect or direct military support to Ukraine forces? Basically, is the U.S. willing to go into some kind of escalation with Russia?”

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Enter your email address

Featured

us news11 hours ago

Covid-19 ‘shakes’ Brazil; Most children and young people die

Brazil has been one of the worst-hit nations by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic but the unusual high deaths among...

us news12 hours ago

Russia prepares for devastating war; 30,000 more troops cross border; Ukraine shocked

Thirty thousands of Russian troops massing near the Ukrainian border, convoys of tanks, and a deadly escalation in the grinding...

us news12 hours ago

Christian pastor released from prison in Laos

A Laotian pastor who was kept in police detention for more than a year for conducting religious activities related to...

us news12 hours ago

ഫ്ലോറിഡായില്‍ കോവിഡ് മരണനിരക്ക് ഗണ്യമായി കുറഞ്ഞു

ഫ്ലോറിഡ ∙ കോവിഡ് മഹാമാരിയുടെ ദുരന്തഫലം ഏറ്റവും കൂടുതൽ അനുഭവിക്കേണ്ടി വന്ന ഫ്ലോറിഡാ സംസ്ഥാനത്ത് കോവിഡ് മരണനിരക്ക് ഗണ്യമായി കുറഞ്ഞു. മരണനിരക്ക് ഒറ്റ സംഖ്യയിൽ എത്തിയതായി ഫ്ലോറിഡാ...

us news12 hours ago

Malayalee Rose Mary in the American Cancer Society’s Shave to Save program

Rosemary Cherian, a Malayalee, is participating in ‘Shave to Save’, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge,...

us news13 hours ago

ഒസിഐ കാര്‍ഡുകള്‍ വീണ്ടും പുതുക്കേണ്ടതില്ല, 20 വര്‍ഷ കാലാവധിയും ഉപേക്ഷിക്കും, പ്രവാസികള്‍ക്ക് വന്‍ നേട്ടം

ന്യൂഡല്‍ഹി: ഓവര്‍സീസ് സിറ്റിസണ്‍ ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യ (ഒസിഐ) കാര്‍ഡുകള്‍ വീണ്ടും പുതുക്കുന്നതിനുള്ള നിയമങ്ങള്‍ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ വ്യാഴാഴ്ച ഒഴിവാക്കി. പ്രവാസികള്‍ക്ക് ഇത് വലിയ നേട്ടമുണ്ടാക്കും. ഒസിഐ കാര്‍ഡുകള്‍...

Trending