Indian police on April 24 arrested Sikh separatist leader Amritpal Singh after a month-long manhunt. Singh gained notoriety for supporting the Khalistan movement, which calls for the establishment of an independent Sikh homeland in the northwest state of Punjab. He was taken into custody in the gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in the village of Moga, Punjab. He is charged with attempted murder, obstructing law enforcement, and disturbing the peace under terms of the harsh National Security Act. The charges concern a Feb. 23 incident in which hundreds of followers of Singh's organization Waris Punjab De (Heirs of Punjab) stormed a police station in Amritsar with sticks, swords and firearms, demanding the release of a detained member of their group. During the manhunt for Singh, authorities cut off internet access to all Punjab, a state of nearly 30 million. (Jurist, Mint)
Amid deadly Israeli air-raids on Gaza, a terror attack targets the ancient Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia. The attack came as Jews from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered at Ghriba in the annual pilgrimage for the Lag B'Omer festival. In Episode 173 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg recalls how the Jews of Djerba have been repeatedly targeted over the past generation, with this latest attack coming in the context of a reconsolidating dictatorship in Tunisia and a harsh crackdown on the opposition. Yet the Tunisian Jews continue to resist Zionist pressure to emigrate to Israel, instead embracing their North African indigeneity. This embrace is overwhelmingly returned by the country's Arab and Muslim majority, in repudiation of extremists who would target Tunisian Jews to avenge Israeli crimes. Prominent Tunisians were among the Muslims who sheltered Jews during the World War II Axis occupation of North Africa. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said May 4 that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be brought to justice for his war in Ukraine. Zelensky was addressing The Hague during a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for a new international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression. Zelenski stressed: "We all want to see Vladimir here, in the Hague... and I am sure we will see that happen when we win. And we will win." The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March over the forced deportation of children from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. (Jurist)
At a closed meeting in Cairo, Arab League foreign ministers on May 7 approved a measure to readmit Syria after more than a decade of suspension—a critical victory for the normalization of Bashar Assad's genocidal regime. In token acknowledgment of the outstanding state of crisis in Syria, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the Arab League's secretary-general are to form a ministerial contact group to liaise with Damascus and seek "step-by-step" solutions. (MEE)
In Episode 172 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues to document Russian support for the attempted coup that plunged Sudan into crisis and derailed a scheduled transition to civilian rule last month—as well as ongoing Russian armed support to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary faction that led the attempted coup and is now battling for control of the country. CNN and Deutsche Welle have reported claims of Russian weapons drops to the RSF, even as the UN pleads with the warring factions to come to the table. The RSF and Moscow's Wagner Group mercenary outfit have established a power base in Sudan through their joint control of mineral resources in Darfur and Kordofan—even as they put down the self-determination struggle of these regions' indigenous peoples.
Peru's military and police likely carried out extrajudicial or arbitrary killings and committed other "egregious abuses" against demonstrators as well as bystanders during protests that swept the country from late last year through February, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. While some protesters were responsible for acts of violence, security forces responded with "grossly disproportionate" force, including with assault weapons. Forty-nine protesters and bystanders, including eight children, were documented as killed in the unrest. The April 26 report, "Deadly Decline: Security Force Abuses and Democratic Crisis in Peru" emphasizes "the entrenched political and social crisis that is eroding the rule of law and human rights" in the Andean country. The administration of President Dina Boluarte "seems to have looked the other way for weeks as security forces killed protesters and bystanders," said César Muñoz, associate Americas director at Human Rights Watch. (HRW)
Turkish border guards are indiscriminately shooting at Syrian civilians on the border with Syria, as well as using excessive force and even torture against asylum-seekers and migrants trying to cross into Turkey, Human Rights Watch said in a report April 27. The report cited hundreds of deaths along the border in recent years, with several killings and abuses this year. Since the beginning of 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has recorded 11 deaths and 20 injuries along the frontier caused by Turkish border guards. Human Rights Watch independently documented and verified two such incidents.
A founding member of a Russian anarchist group responsible for sabotage attacks on military facilities within Russia has died fighting for Ukraine, the group said. Dmitry Petrov was killed fighting near Bakhmut, according to an April 19 statement from the Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists (BOAK). In a farewell note, written in case of his death and published by BOAK, Petrov stated: "I tried my best to contribute to defeating the dictatorship and to the social revolution. And I am proud of my comrades, who led and are leading the struggle in Russia and abroad."