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Greek police arrest Dutch journalist for helping Afghan asylum seeker | Migration and development

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A Dutch journalist based in Greece has been arrested on the Greek island of Hydra for hosting an Afghan asylum seeker in her home and could face up to a year in prison if charged and convicted.

Ingeborg Beugel, 61, a freelance correspondent for Dutch media who has lived on Hydra for almost 40 years, was arrested on 13 June accused of “facilitating the illegal stay of a foreigner in Greece”. The charge carries a 12-month prison sentence and a fine of €5,000 (£4,300).

Beugel said she was arrested after islanders alerted police to the presence of Fridoon*, a 23-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Fridoon had been staying with her while appealing against a negative asylum decision.

“Several angry islanders had called them [the police] saying that I had a ‘suspect’ relationship with an ‘illegal’ in my house,” said Beugel.

“They detained me like I was some kind of lethal terrorist. They wouldn’t even let me go home to get my pills and deodorant.”

Ingeborg Beugel by the harbour on Hydra.
Ingeborg Beugel on Hydra. ‘They detained me like I was some kind of lethal terrorist,’ says the journalist, who was taken to Athens in handcuffs. Photograph: Alexandros Stamatiou

Beugel and Fridoon were held overnight in Hydra before being transferred to Athens handcuffed together.

Beugel said it was not a secret that Fridoon had been staying with her and that she has covered his story as a journalist.

“The whole ‘hiding’ thing is ridiculous,” she said. “There’s letters dating from a court case in January 2020 saying that I take care of him and pay for his lawyer and Greek lessons.”

Beugel said Fridoon’s original application for asylum in Greece was rejected because of translation problems at his interview.

“He’s been unable to get an appointment with the Greek asylum service. He’s been calling for months and hasn’t got an answer,” she said.

Beugel said she believed her arrest was in line with other complaints about police and the Greek authorities harassing journalists. Vassilis Papadopoulos, Beugel’s lawyer, said that the crime Beugel had been charged with was most often used when prosecuting smuggling cases. He said it represented a “toughening” of the official response to refugees and asylum seekers in Greece.

Beugel and Fridoon have since been released. Beugel’s court date has yet to be announced after it was postponed to October because of coronavirus restrictions.

The Greek authorities have been approached for comment.

* Partial name for privacy reasons

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Canadian police investigating Manitoba residential school abuse claims | Indigenous child graves

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A branch of Canada’s federal police force says it has spent the last decade conducting a “large-scale investigation” into allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school.

On Tuesday, the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it launched a criminal investigation in 2011, investigating claims that students were assaulted during their time at the Fort Alexander residential school.

The rare disclosure of an ongoing investigation was prompted by questions from the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper.

“Due to the many people affected by this investigation as well as the larger social implications, it was determined to be in the public interest to provide as much information on the ongoing investigation as we can,” the RCMP said in its news release.

At least 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools across the country, which were funded by the federal government and run by churches as part of the campaign to strip the youth of their cultural identity.

The Fort Alexander residential school, 125km (78 miles) north-east of Winnipeg, opened in 1905. Children often tried to run away from the institution, according to the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. In 1928, two boys drowned while trying to escape by boat.

It was closed by the federal government in 1970. Elders have long spoken about abuse within the institution, including testifying at the country’s truth and reconciliation commission.

More than 80 RCMP officers have been involved in the investigation so far, which has involved speaking to more than 700 people across North America.

Investigators travelled to Ottawa to scour archival records from the school, as well as the province of Manitoba’s records. They also canvassed residents in the area where the school was located, on the grounds of the Sagkeeng First Nation.

Police obtained 75 witness and victim statements.

Grand chiefs of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization have worked closely with police on the investigation, as have the chief and council of the Sagkeeng First Nation.

In addition to testimony of abuse, survivors have long said children went missing or died while attending the school.

Last week, teams searched the grounds of Sagkeeng First Nation using a drone and ground-penetrating radar technology to look for human remains.

To date, more than 1,300 unmarked graves have been discovered on the grounds of former schools, prompting a national reckoning over Canada’s colonial past.

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EU urges Lebanon to form government ‘without delay’

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The EU called on Tuesday on Lebanon political leaders to form a government without delay, following the nomination of businessman Najib Mikati as prime minister. “It is now of crucial importance that a credible and accountable government is formed in Lebanon without delay, one that is able to address the severe economic and social crises the country is facing,” the EU said in a statement.

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Boeing With 165 People On Board Safely Lands in Simferopol After Reporting Engine Problems

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A Boeing aircraft with 165 people on board is preparing for an emergency landing at Simferopol airport due to technical problems with its engine, an emergency services spokesperson said.

“A Boeing is preparing for an emergency landing in Simferopol, on board of which, according to preliminary information, there are 165 passengers,” the spokesperson said.

The aircraft, which performs a flight from Yakutia to Crimea, had vibration in one of the engines, he added.

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