An Ohio judge ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut during a courtroom hearing, and a media outlet’s video caught the scene of an officer duct-taping the man’s face to silence him.
The incident took place earlier this week, when a judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered Franklyn Williams, 32, to remain silent during his sentencing hearing, according to CNN affiliate WJW.
Despite warnings from Judge John Russo, Williams continued to speak over the judge and his attorneys, according to the video.
The courtroom video, shot by and first aired on WJW, shows Russo repeatedly scolding Williams for talking.
“Mr. Williams,” Russo says on the video, “I’m the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?”
Russo proceeds to tell Williams that he would like to hear from the defendant’s attorneys first and then will give him a chance to speak, but Williams continues to talk.
“You are trying to take my life, and you are not letting me tell you what’s going on,” Williams says on the video.
After several interruptions, Russo then gives him a last warning.
“Listen to me, if we have to, I will gag you … you will get a chance to talk,” Russo says. “Just zip it, you will get a chance to talk, I’m going to give you a chance to talk.”
Williams continues to talk, and Russo orders for Williams’ mouth to be taped shut, according to the video.
The video quickly caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which characterized the judge’s actions as humiliating to the defendant.
UN investigators concerned over likely ‘future atrocities’ in Ethiopia
United Nations-appointed investigators in Ethiopia Thursday warned about the likelihood of further humanitarian crises in the country.
The UN chief called for continued scrutiny of Addis Ababa’s human rights record as their work faced termination amid strong African-led opposition.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region Tuesday agreed to a permanent truce to cease hostilities following the conclusion of a peace deal brokered by the African Union in South Africa.
Both sides accused one another of crimes against humanity, such as killings, rapes, and arbitrary detentions, but neither admitted to any systematic wrongdoing.
International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, in a report earlier in the week, said there had been attacks by the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) against civilians in Tigray that were “grave and ongoing.”
With the ongoing Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, its two-year term is up for renewal, but no proposal has been made thus far due to what diplomats describe as considerable resistance, particularly from African members
In light of continued violations in the region, Mohamed Chande Othman, the chair of the Commission, warned the 47-member council that it would be “premature” to conclude its work.
“Failure to do so would not only be an abdication of the Council’s responsibility, it would send a devastating message to the victims and survivors of this conflict,” he said.
He told the Council that “…the situation in Ethiopia exhibits most of the indicators for future atrocities…” and accused Ethiopia of conducting “a deliberate effort to evade regional and international scrutiny”.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s ambassador, Tsegab Kebebew stated the commission had “grossly mischaracterized the good and largely acclaimed democratic advances in Ethiopia”.
The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. The region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob, and Kunama people.
Mozambique: UK Supreme Court okays suit against Privinvest in London
A United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has ruled that Mozambique can sue shipbuilder, Privinvest in Britain for alleged bribery connected to the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
The ruling on Wednesday, just weeks after a London High Court ruled that the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, cannot be sued in Britain for bribery in his country’s lawsuit against Credit Suisse and others over the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
Mozambique is bringing a lawsuit against Privinvest, its owner, Iskandar Safa, Credit Suisse, and others for government-guaranteed loans raised in 2013 and 2014, hundreds of millions of dollars of which disappeared.
The scandal’s notoriety began with the borrowing of $2.2 billion by three newly formed firms in 2013 and 2014, the majority of which was done without the legislature’s knowledge or authorization. Mozambique alleges that Privinvest and Safa conspired against it and distributed more than $130 million in bribes to dishonest government officials and Credit Suisse employees.
Despite that,the Mozambican government served as a guarantee for the loans, ensuring that it would return the money in the event of a problem.
The “hidden debt” or tuna bond issue has sparked criminal investigations from Maputo to New York, as well as a string of related litigation in London involving Credit Suisse, shipbuilder Privinvest, its owner Iskandar Safa, and many other parties.
Privinvest has suggested that arbitration be used to resolve any disputes with Mozambique. A setback to Mozambique’s attempts to recover the funds it claims it lost came in 2021 when the Court of Appeal ruled in the company’s favour.
But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously accepted Mozambique’s appeal against that decision, allowing the republic’s allegations against Privinvest to be heard in a trial that would last for months and begin on October 3.
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