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Death Squads

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NEWS
July 15, 1989 | By KENNETH L. KLOTHEN
If we are serious about human rights in El Salvador, we should not be lulled into satisfaction just because blood isn't running in the streets. There is good reason to believe that the right-wing Arena party's control of the government will result in a decrease in death-squad violence, accompanied by an increase in less-obvious measures that suppress basic human rights. To promote human rights in El Salvador, both sides of the debate in the United States will have to look beyond the death squads and attend carefully to the entire human-rights record of the Arena government, now led by President Alfredo Cristiani.
NEWS
September 11, 2012 | By Lara Jakes and Christopher Torchia, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - From self-exile in Turkey, Iraq's fugitive vice president scoffed Monday at a Baghdad court that sentenced him to the gallows for masterminding death squads against rivals, describing it as a puppet of the prime minister and saying he will not return to appeal the verdict. The conviction of Tariq al-Hashemi, one of the nation's highest-ranking Sunni officials, rids Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of a top political foe while threatening to deepen the rift between Iraq's main Muslim sects as the nation struggles to achieve stability nine months after U.S. troops withdrew.
NEWS
November 5, 1989
In a South Africa that seems suddenly ripe for change, the police have been reined in of late. They've been stripped of their whips, kept discreetly out of sight during major black rallies, even subjected to a little criticism. But they weren't prepared last week for a bit of unplanned glasnost - explosive disclosures by a former black security officer who said he'd murdered anti-apartheid activists for a departmental hit squad. The officer, Butana Nofomela, had been about to hang in an unrelated crime when he blurted his secret.
NEWS
November 12, 1993
It seemed in 1992 that it was time to close the books on El Salvador. A peace accord was signed, ending 12 years of war. U.N. observers sawed the barrels off guerrilla guns. The army pledged reform. Gingerly, leftists tried something that had gotten them killed in the past - above-ground campaigning, aimed at changing the system peaceably in what Salvadorans are calling the "Elections of the Century. " They are set for March. But conflicts rarely end so tidily. And though Washington breathed a sigh of relief that, unlike Haiti and Bosnia, El Salvador was "over," it was not. Nor is it today.
NEWS
June 15, 1989 | BY BILL CRUICE
In the wake of election violence in Panama, George Bush declared "The U.S. will not recognize or accommodate with a regime that holds power through force and violence . . . " But less than two months earlier, when the Salvadoran military gunned down more than 20 civilians - including three journalists - during presidential elections in El Salvador, Washington barely batted an eyelash. Repeated death threats forced Salvadoran opposition candidates to campaign wearing bulletproof vests, opposition poll watchers were abducted, and voters cast their ballots under the vigilance of heavily armed troops, but U.S. Ambassador William Walker hailed Salvadoran elections as a "civic fiesta.
NEWS
February 17, 2012 | By Sinan Salaheddin and Lara Jakes, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - An Iraqi judicial panel said Thursday that the country's Sunni vice president and his employees ran death squads that killed security officials and Shiite pilgrims. The findings offer the first independent assessment of accusations that have thrown the nation into political chaos and threaten to reignite sectarian tensions. After a two-month investigation, the nine-judge committee found at least 150 cases in which Tariq al-Hashemi, his bodyguards, or other employees were linked to attacks ranging from roadside bombs to assassinations of security agents and Shiite pilgrims, Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said.
NEWS
August 28, 1989 | By Marc Kaufman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The body of Cecil Hematantere - riddled with bullets and his hands bound behind his back - lay by the roadside near a stately grove of swaying palms. Scores of wide-eyed people stopped to stare - men, women and little children - but none stayed long. It is not unusual to see a body by the roadside along the stunning southwestern coastline of Sri Lanka, where the Indian Ocean crashes ashore on sandy beaches and tropical flowers lend the air their fragrance. On this morning alone, the bodies of three other men lay within five miles of the young Hematantere, all sprawled beside the main coastal road within 30 miles of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
NEWS
July 14, 1987 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Death squads, apparently operating for the first time in the United States, were blamed yesterday by Salvadoran refugees for the kidnap and rape of a Salvadoran woman and for death threats against 19 other critics of the government of El Salvador. "The hand of death, or at least the threat of it, has come to Los Angeles," said Father Phil van Linden, a Catholic priest who has been working with Central American refugees here. There are an estimated 300,000 Salvadorans in the Los Angeles area, many of them fleeing the deadly turmoil that has engulfed El Salvador since civil war broke out there in 1979.
NEWS
March 13, 2006 | By Matthew Schofield INQUIRER FOREIGN STAFF
Senior Iraqi officials confirmed for the first time yesterday that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries. "The deaths squads that we have captured are in the Defense and Interior Ministries," Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said during a joint news conference with the defense minister. "There are people who have infiltrated the army and the Interior. " Also yesterday, a series of deadly attacks hit the heavily Shiite Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, threatening to initiate another round of sectarian killings.
NEWS
June 19, 1994 | By Alan Sipress, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Terror looms over Algiers, often just out of sight like the Grand Kabylie mountains that materialize through the mist south of the city. The country's military leaders, who refused to relinquish power after an Islamic coalition won Algeria's first free national elections in 1991, are now locked in a violent battle with Muslim militants. Islamic rebels have recently stepped up their attacks around the country, often slashing the throats of their victims. Each day, perhaps as many as 40 people are killed.
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NEWS
July 25, 2013 | By Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press
BERLIN - The Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a poster campaign in several German cities Tuesday appealing for help in tracking down the last surviving Nazi war criminals not yet brought to justice, and promising compensation to those who provide useful information. About 2,000 posters depicting the entrance gate of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz were put up in Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne asking the public to come forward with information that may lead to the arrest of Nazis some seven decades after the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
NEWS
March 22, 2013 | By Geir Moulson, Associated Press
BERLIN - A Jesuit priest who was kidnapped by the Argentine military junta in the 1970s said Wednesday that he and a fellow cleric weren't denounced by the future Pope Francis, then leader of Argentina's Jesuits. The Rev. Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said in a statement that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and "some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant. " He did not elaborate.
NEWS
September 11, 2012 | By Lara Jakes and Christopher Torchia, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - From self-exile in Turkey, Iraq's fugitive vice president scoffed Monday at a Baghdad court that sentenced him to the gallows for masterminding death squads against rivals, describing it as a puppet of the prime minister and saying he will not return to appeal the verdict. The conviction of Tariq al-Hashemi, one of the nation's highest-ranking Sunni officials, rids Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of a top political foe while threatening to deepen the rift between Iraq's main Muslim sects as the nation struggles to achieve stability nine months after U.S. troops withdrew.
NEWS
September 10, 2012
Iraq vice president sentenced to death BAGHDAD - Iraq's Sunni vice president, who has been accused of commanding sectarian death squads that are responsible for hundreds of killings, was sentenced to death in absentia on Sunday, hours after a wave of attacks killed more than 50 people across the country. The sentencing of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi could deepen an already intractable political crisis in Iraq among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, even as a spate of recent attacks has raised questions about the government's ability to provide security nine months after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 5, 2012 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Edgardo David Holzman's debut novel, Malena (Nortia Press), opens in a smoky Buenos Aires cafe. A dashing army captain named Diego and his lover Inés are dancing to their favorite tango, "Malena. " Malena sings the tango like no one else and into each verse she pours her heart. Her voice is perfumed with the weeds of the slum. Malena feels the pain of the bandoneón. It's an intensely romantic scene - but it's also a scene filled with mortal dread.
NEWS
June 8, 2012 | Stu Bykofsky
When bullets sprayed from a speeding al Qaeda BMW blistered Ahmed's Nissan Altima on a Baghdad highway, he knew it was time to clear out of Iraq. An interpreter for a U.S. tank brigade, Ahmed was an invaluable asset to Americans, but a traitor to some Iraqis. Because he has family in peril in Iraq, I am not using his real name.   Despite the will of Congress and the promise of then-candidate Barack Obama, Ahmed, who lives in University City, is one of the relatively few "traitors" to reach safety in America.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | By Katherine Corcoran and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - The new chief chosen to clean up a Honduran national police force tarred with allegations of corruption and involvement in murders was accused by the department's internal affairs investigators of running a death squad when he was a top regional police official. A 10-year-old report on Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, nicknamed "The Tiger," resurfaced in widely distributed e-mails and on a local website after he was named police chief May 21 as part of President Porfirio Lobo's efforts to reform a department that is widely accused of killings and human-rights violations.
NEWS
February 17, 2012 | By Sinan Salaheddin and Lara Jakes, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - An Iraqi judicial panel said Thursday that the country's Sunni vice president and his employees ran death squads that killed security officials and Shiite pilgrims. The findings offer the first independent assessment of accusations that have thrown the nation into political chaos and threaten to reignite sectarian tensions. After a two-month investigation, the nine-judge committee found at least 150 cases in which Tariq al-Hashemi, his bodyguards, or other employees were linked to attacks ranging from roadside bombs to assassinations of security agents and Shiite pilgrims, Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said.
NEWS
December 21, 2011 | By Rebecca Santana, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - Iraq's Sunni vice president denied Shiite accusations that he organized death squads, describing the charges Tuesday as a trumped-up case brought only after the departure of U.S. troops about assassinations allegedly committed five years ago. The arrest warrant issued against the highest-ranking Sunni politician threatens to tear apart Iraq's coalition government and perhaps kick-start another Sunni insurgency. It raised suspicions that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered the arrest of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi as part of a campaign to consolidate his hold on power out of a fear that Sunnis in and out of Iraq are plotting against him. Sunnis, the minority Muslim sect in Iraq, feared a new round of sectarian warfare could result from the charges, announced the day after the last American soldiers left the country.
NEWS
June 1, 2006 | By Nancy A. Youssef INQUIRER FOREIGN STAFF
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday ordered thousands of Iraqi troops to Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, to clamp down on escalating violence that threatens to throw the once-peaceful city into anarchy. Maliki imposed a state of emergency on the city, which is the Shiite-dominated capital of the oil-rich southern part of Iraq, and said he would use "an iron fist" to reimpose order. The violence coursing across Basra includes Shiite death squads hunting down Sunnis, the two major Shiite militias fighting each other, and tribes carrying on ancient feuds.
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