As an American, or maybe just as a moral human being, it’s hard not to feel appalled, even outraged, that Norwegian far-right monster Anders Breivik only received 21 years in prison for his attacks last year, including a bombing in Oslo and a cold-blooded shooting spree, which claimed 77 lives. That’s just under 100 days per murder. The decision, reached by the court’s five-member panel, was unanimous. He will serve out his years (which can be extended) in a three-room cell with a TV, exercise room, and “Ikea-style furniture.” The New York Times quoted a handful of survivors and victims’ relatives expressing relief and satisfaction at the verdict. It’s not a scientific survey, but it’s still jarring to see Norwegians welcoming this light sentence.
Rights groups and governments across the world have condemned the two-year jail term for members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
Three members of the riot group have been sentenced for hooliganism over an anti-Vladimir Putin protest.
The US State Department has joined the widespread outrage over the verdict. The department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement that the decision was disproportionate to the alleged crime.
"The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia," said Nuland. The spokesperson urged the authorities to review the case to uphold the freedom of expression in the country.
Delivering the verdict, Judge Marina Syrova said that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, did not get more severe sentences due to mitigating circumstances such as lack of a criminal record, having children and positive character profiles.
Rights group Amnesty International also expressed its severe condemnation of the judgement. ”A number of measures restricting the freedom of expression and association have been introduced in response to the wave of protest that accompanied the recent parliamentary and presidential elections. This trial is another example of the Kremlin’s attempts to discourage and delegitimise dissent. It is likely to backfire,” said the Director of Amnesty International’ Europe and Central Asia Programme, John Dalhuisen.
The EU was equally critical. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the sentence was extremely harsh, the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton raised doubts over Russia’s fair and independent legal process.
The organisers of the protests say that the sentence was a direct result of Putin’s interference and that the judgment was written by Putin himself.
However, the verdict has evoked a mixed response inside Russia. Some suggest that the protest was unnecessary, while others are strongly backing it. A few have also joined in the chorus against the government in power.
Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano spews lava ash and pyroclastic material into air in Tungurahua, 21 August.
Merit — Photo and caption by Fred An/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: “This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.”(via IBTimes)
Wildfires have wreaked havoc in the western states of the U.S., engulfing hundreds of houses and charring acres of wood and grasslands in the past two days. Ravaging flames have been spreading fast to new areas aided by drought-like situations as the firemen continued to douse the flames amid scorching temperatures.
The worst floods for three years in the Philippines capital Manila have claimed the lives of 23 people and left more than 270,000 homeless.
The densely populated capital has been lashed by heavy downpours for the past 10 days, and more than half a month’s rainfall has hit the city in less than 24 hours. Over half of Manila already under water, and the torrential rains are forecast to continue, exacerbating the situation still further.
India Wednesday celebrated its 66th Independence Day with gaiety and fervor. The celebrations were held in offices, colleges and schools across the country with cultural programs. The country’s official celebrations were held at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi amid tight security. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hoisted the national flag and addressed the nation.
India Wednesday celebrated its 66th Independence Day with gaiety and fervor. The celebrations were held in offices, colleges and schools across the country with cultural programs.
The country’s official celebrations were held at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi amid tight security. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hoisted the national flag and addressed the nation.