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Musings From Abroad

Teacher facing death penalty in Egypt granted asylum

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A New Jersey teacher who was sentenced to death in Egypt for his pro-democracy activism was given a new lease on life this week.

Ahmed Abdelbasit was finally granted asylum in the US on Tuesday more than two years after he applied, according to the Huffington Post.

The Egyptian educator fled to New Jersey in 2016 and was later sentenced to death in absentia that very same year by a military court.

The international advocacy group, Human Rights Watch, told HuffPost that his punishment was “completely baseless” — and the evidence against him was “almost nonexistent.”

Abdelbasit would later get arrested and detained in April 2018 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while waiting for his asylum application to go through. He had been on his way to Rising Star Academy in Union City, the school where he taught.

On Tuesday, immigration Judge Daniel Morris granted his release — and ICE refused to appeal.

“I told myself a lot of times, I need to get out. I need to get out for my students,” Abdelbasit said just an hour after he was let out.

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“I’m just very happy because my life now is safe.”

After his release, Abdelbasit made his way over to Rising Star — where he got showered with cheers from his family, friends and students.

“It’s a really happy moment and very relieving,” incoming senior Mariam Siam, 17, told HuffPost.

“I’m just very proud of the efforts of community,” she said.

Abdelbasit’s lawyer, Anwen Hughes, believes his client’s case ultimately showed “the importance of due process.”

Musings From Abroad

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic

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The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations

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Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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