According to the Iranian state-run media, Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi , two elite students at the pretigous Sharif University of Technology in Iran, have been detained by the authorities. The two had disappeared nearly a month ago with no information about their whereabouts. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has called for their release and the dispatch of an international fact-finding mission.
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili acknowledged their arrest on May 5, claiming that the two had linked up with the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) also known as Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Reciting a series of trumped-up charges, he added that they had engaged in "diversionary actions" and were "attempting to carry out sabotage operations." "Explosive devices used in sabotage operations were discovered when their homes were searched," he said.
“Amid the Coronavirus, this was essentially a conspiracy by the enemies; they wanted to wreak havoc in the country, which was fortunately thwarted by the vigilance and timely action of intelligence ministry agents," Esmaili added.
The two had been detained by Intelligence Ministry agents. Younesi was taken to his home after being arrested, where, his parents were also taken away and interrogated for hours under pressure.
Mr. Younesi won the gold medal of the 12th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, held in China in 2018. Earlier, he had won the silver and gold medals of the National Astronomy Olympiad in 2016 and 2017. Mr. Moradi had won the Olympiad’s silver medal in 2017.
Subsequent to the arrest of Messers Younesi and Moradi, students at Sharif University demanded to know about the status and fate of their friends. Their secret detention, widley discussed in social media in Iran, also created some controversy in the state-run media.
Increasingly concerned over public fury and rage over the calamitous economic conditions and the failure to effectively combat coronavirus, which has taken nearly 40,000 lives across the country, the regime has taken recourse to intimidation, suppression to thwart the potential eruption of another nationwide uprising.
Meanwhile, the MEK announced the names of 18 others, among the many who have been arrested throughout the country, as follows:
- Mohammad Reza Ashrafi Samani, Isfahan
- Nahid Fat'halian, Tehran
- Kamran Rezaeifar, Tehran
- Sepehr Imam Jomeh, Tehran
- Parastoo Mo'ini, Tehran
- Zahra Safaei, Tehran
- Forough Taghipour, Tehran
- Marzieh Farsi, Tehran
- Massoud Rad, Tehran
- Bijan Kazemi, Kuhdasht
- Mohammad Mehri, Qom
- Somayeh Bidi, Karaj
- Mohammad Hassani, Karaj
- Rasool Hassanvand, Khorramabad
- Gholam Ali Alipour, Amol
- Mehran Gharabaghi, Behbahan
- Majid Khademi, Behbahan
- Saeed Rad, Semnan
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), emphasized that the detainees were subjected to torture and face execution, and were also in danger of being exposed to Coronavirus. She again urged the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Human Rights Council, as well as the international human rights organizations to take urgent action to secure the release the detainees and to send international missions to visit the regime's prisons and meet with these prisoners.
Issuance of green bonds will strengthen the international role of the euro
Eurogroup ministers discussed the international role of the euro (15 February), following the publication of the European Commission's communication of (19 January), ‘The European economic and financial system: fostering strength and resilience’.
President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe said: “The aim is to reduce our dependence on other currencies, and to strengthen our autonomy in various situations. At the same time, increased international use of our currency also implies potential trade-offs, which we will continue to monitor. During the discussion, ministers emphasized the potential of green bond issuance to enhance the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate transition objective.”
The Eurogroup has discussed the issue several times in recent years since the December 2018 Euro Summit. Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism said that overreliance on the dollar contained risks, giving Latin America and the Asian crisis of the 90s as examples. He also referred obliquely to “more recent episodes” where the dollar’s dominance meant that EU companies could not continue to work with Iran in the face of US sanctions. Regling believes that the international monetary system is slowly moving towards a multi-polar system where three or four currencies will be important, including the dollar, euro and renminbi.
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, agreed that the euro’s role could be strengthened through the issuance of green bonds enhancing the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate objectives of the Next Generation EU funds.
Ministers agreed that broad action to support the international role of the euro, encompassing progress on amongst other things, Economic and Monetary Union, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union were needed to secure the euros international role.
European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case
The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.
In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.
The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.
The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.
Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.
For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.
The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.
Of 9,600 NATO troops in Afghanistan, Germany has the second-largest contingent behind the United States.
A 2020 peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington calls for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal after a deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan.
Germany is preparing to extend the mandate for its military mission in Afghanistan from March 31 until the end of this year, with troop levels remaining at up to 1,300, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
Digitalization of EU justice systems: Commission launches public consultation on cross-border judicial co-operation
On 16 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the modernization of EU justice systems. The EU aims to support member states in their efforts to adapt their justice systems to the digital age and improve EU cross-border judicial co-operation. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of digitalization, including in the field of justice. Judges and lawyers need digital tools to be able to work together faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, citizens and businesses need online tools for an easier and more transparent access to justice at a lower cost. The Commission strives to push this process forward and support member states in their efforts, including as regards facilitating their cooperation in cross-border judicial procedures by using digital channels.” In December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication outlining the actions and initiatives intended to advance the digitalization of justice systems across the EU.
The public consultation will gather views on the digitalization of EU cross-border civil, commercial and criminal procedures. The results of the public consultation, in which a broad range of groups and individuals can participate and which is available here until 8 May 2021, will feed into an initiative on digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation expected at the end of this year as announced in the 2021 Commission's Work Programme.
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