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Bangladesh’s High Court has asked authorities to shut down 231 factories surrounding the highly polluted main river in the nation’s capital, lawyers and activists said Tuesday.

Manzil Murshid, who filed a petition with the court seeking its intervention, said the factories are mainly small dyeing, tanning and rubber plants operating without approval from the Department of Environment. Such factories often are able to operate with the backing of influential politicians or by bribing government officials.

The court’s decision Monday on the factories near the River Buriganga was hailed by environment activists despite some previous court orders that were not carried out by government authorities, Murshid said.

Murshid represents Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a domestic advocacy group.

He said the decision came after the environment department submitted a report on 231 factories that operate illegally and contribute highly to the pollution. The court also asked the officials to prepare “a complete list of illegal factories or factories without effluent treatment plants” operating in and around Dhaka within three months.

“This is a good decision. The court has asked the authorities to disconnect water, electricity and other utility services for factories that are polluting the Buriganga,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Amatul Karim, who represented the Department of Environment in the case, said the court’s order came after a thorough examination of the history of the factories, the level of pollution of the river and overall damage to the environment.


A Greek court on Monday indefinitely postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of a Texan tourist on an island resort.

The postponement was granted following a request by some of the defendants’ lawyers, who were trying separate cases on the same day.

Monday’s postponement was the second, after the court in the western town of Patras deferred the case last week to give the newly hired lawyer representing the dead man’s family time to familiarize himself with the case.

Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island in western Greece.

Six of the suspects -- five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin -- were initially convicted by a first instance court last year and sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison, but four have since been released. The seventh defendant, a Greek barman, was acquitted. A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient. The Patras court didn't immediately set a new trial date.


A Greek court on Wednesday postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of a Texan tourist on an island resort to allow a lawyer newly hired by the victim's family to familiarize himself with the case.

The court in the western port town of Patras postponed the case until Jan. 13.

Six of the men -- five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin -- had been convicted by a first instance court last year and sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison, but four have since been released. The seventh defendant, a Greek barman, had been acquitted. A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient.

Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island.


A St. Petersburg court on Monday ordered the detention of twoRussianmen who were arrested on a tip provided by the U.S. and are suspected of plotting unspecified terrorist attacks in the city during the New Year holidays.

The Dzerzhinsky District Court ruled that the suspects identified as Nikita Semyonov and Georgy Chernyshev should remain in custody pending their trial.

The Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency, said in a statement that the suspects detained on Friday confessed to plotting the attacks. It added that it also seized materials proving their guilt.

The FSB didn’t elaborate on their alleged motives or targets, but Russia’s state television reported that the suspects had recorded a video swearing their allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The FSB said it was acting on a tip provided by its “American partners.”

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Donald Trump to thank him “for information transmitted through the special services that helped prevent terrorist attacks in Russia,” according to the Kremlin.


A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death Monday for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose grisly slaying in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew international condemnation and cast a cloud of suspicion over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Three other people were found guilty by Riyadh’s criminal court of covering up the crime and were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, according to a statement read by the Saudi attorney general’s office on state TV.

In all, 11 people were put on trial in Saudi Arabia over the killing. The names of those found guilty were not disclosed by the government. Executions in the kingdom are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. All the verdicts can be appealed.

A small number of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family were allowed to attend the nine court sessions, though independent media were barred.

While the case in Saudi Arabia has largely concluded, questions linger outside Riyadh about the crown prince’s culpability in the slaying.

“The decision is too unlawful to be acceptable,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said in a text message to The Associated Press. “It is unacceptable.”

Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations, tweeted that the verdicts are a “mockery” and that the masterminds behind the crime “have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial.” Amnesty International called the outcome “a whitewash which brings neither justice nor truth.”

Khashoggi, who was a resident of the U.S., had walked into his country’s consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, for a appointment to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee. He never walked out, and his body has not been found.

A team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate. They included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince’s office, according to Callamard’s independent investigation. Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw.



Twenty-eight years to the day after Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband and sons accepted her Nobel Peace Prize while she remained under house arrest in Myanmar, the former pro-democracy icon appeared in a United Nations court ready to defend her country’s army from allegations of committing genocide against the Rohingya minority.

Suu Kyi looked on attentively from the front bench at the International Court of Justice in The Hague Tuesday as a legal team for Gambia detailed accounts of killings - including of women and children - sexual violence and the destruction of tens of thousands of Muslim minority homes in northern Rakhine state.

Acting on behalf of the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Gambia is asking the world court to take “all measures within its power to prevent all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide.”

Opening Gambia’s case, Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou urged the court to “tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people.”

“It is indeed sad for our generation that 75 years after human kind committed itself to the words ‘never again’, another genocide is unfolding right before our eyes,” Tambadou said. “Yet we do nothing to stop it.”

“This is a stain on our collective conscience,” he said.

Myanmar’s army began a crackdown on the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes.

The head of a U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned in October that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring.” The mission also found that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.


The International Criminal Court opened a three-day hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghan victims, called it “a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan.”

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In the ruling, which was condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

“Whether the two events are in fact related is unknown, but for many — victims as well as commentators — the timing appeared more than coincidental,” said lawyer Katherine Gallagher, who was representing two men being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States is not a member of the global court and refuses to cooperate with it, seeing the institution as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and arguing American courts are capable of dealing with allegations of abuse by U.S. nationals.



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