Weekly update: 11 July – 17 July 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 11 July to 17 July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
United Kingdom (UK) – 11 July 2022
Prisoners convicted of serious crimes who may be the victims of miscarriages of justice are being blocked from access to crucial forensic information that could prove their innocence, experts have warned. Campaigners are calling for legal reforms to provide improved access to evidence that may help prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted. They say a supreme court ruling in 2014 is effectively being used to deny access to police files and evidence. Appeal, a charity and law practice that fights miscarriages of justice, wants any review to include an overhaul of the rules of disclosure and a new independent body to oversee the regime.
Iran / Russia – 12 July 2022
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is set to visit Tehran next week as the US has accused Iran of preparing to supply Russia with hundreds of weapons-capable drones for use in Ukraine. Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, told reporters the US had information indicating Tehran was “preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, on an expedited timeline”, adding that “our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs, with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July.”
United Kingdom (UK) / Afghanistan – 12 July 2022
According to a BBC investigation, SAS operatives in Afghanistan repeatedly killed detainees and unarmed men in suspicious circumstances. Newly obtained military reports suggest that one unit may have unlawfully killed 54 people in one six-month tour. The BBC found evidence suggesting the former head of special forces failed to pass on evidence to a murder inquiry. The Ministry of Defence said British troops "served with courage and professionalism in Afghanistan". The BBC understands that General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former head of UK Special Forces, was briefed about the alleged unlawful killings but did not pass on the evidence to the Royal Military Police, even after the RMP began a murder investigation into the SAS squadron.
Syria – 12 July 2022
The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend lifesaving aid deliveries into northwest Syria from Türkiye for a further six months. Ireland and Norway put forward the resolution, which renews humanitarian deliveries through the Bab-al Hawa border crossing through January and calls for an additional six-month extension which will require another separate resolution. Last month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to the Council to renew operations for 12 months, stressing the “moral imperative” of addressing the suffering of more than four million people in the region.
Sudan – 13 July 2022
A woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, the first known case in the country for almost a decade. Maryam Alsyed Tiyrab, 20, was arrested by police in Sudan’s White Nile state last month. Tiyrab says she is appealing against the decision. The majority of stoning sentences, which are predominantly against women, are overturned in the high court. Campaigners worry the sentence is a sign that the military coup in October has emboldened lawmakers to roll back small gains for women’s rights made under the country’s transitional government.
Ukraine / Russia – 14 July 2022
Russian missiles have struck civilian buildings and a cultural centre in the city of Vinnytsia, in central Ukraine, killing at least 20 people – including three children – and wounding up to 50 others in what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called “an open act of terrorism”. The attack on Vinnytsia, far from the war’s frontlines, occurred in mid morning when the streets were full of people. It appeared to have hit a business centre, setting cars on fire and sending plumes of thick black smoke over the city.
Sweden / Iran – 14 July 2022
A Swedish court has found a former Iranian official guilty of war crimes in connection with the mass executions of political prisoners in Iran in 1988. Hamid Nouri, 61, was sentenced to life in prison for what prosecutors said was his leading role in the killing of large numbers of opposition supporters. His lawyer said he would appeal, while Iran called the verdict "political". Mr. Nouri was arrested after flying to Sweden in 2019 and was tried under the principle of universal jurisdiction. He was the first person to face prosecution for participating in the executions, which Iran's establishment has never formally acknowledged.
United Kingdom (UK) – 14 July 2022
The jury has been discharged in the trial of two men accused of funnelling bribes totalling millions of pounds to a Saudi prince and other high-ranking officials to secure lucrative commercial contracts. During the trial which started in May, the Serious Fraud Office alleged that a total of £9.7m was paid to Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and a group of senior Saudi officials to land the contracts for a British subsidiary of the European aerospace group Airbus.
Ukraine / Russia – 15 July 2022
The UN has told the BBC that hundreds of Ukrainians, including civilians and local politicians, are being subjected to forced detentions by Russian forces in occupied regions. Officials said they had verified some 271 cases of forced detentions, with many of those seized facing torture. Separately, a Ukrainian politician told the BBC that he was waterboarded after being abducted by the Russian military. Russia's defence ministry did not reply to a request for comment on the claims.
South Africa – 15 July 2022
A group of independent UN human rights experts have condemned reports of escalating violence targeting foreign nationals in South Africa, and called for accountability against rising xenophobia, racism and hate speech aimed at migrants, refugees, asylum seekers - and even citizens perceived as outsiders - throughout the country.