December 10, 2023

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Non-coronavirus news you may have missed: Allies of Saudi Crown Prince linked to Khashoggi murder, and earthquake in Croatia injures 17 people

Top allies of Saudi Crown Prince in new indictment over Khashoggi murder

One of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s key henchmen has been identified in an indictment prepared by Turkish prosecutors over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Saad Qahtani, the architect of Prince Mohammed’s notorious online harassment and intimidation operations, was identified among 20 suspects indicted in the murder of Mr Khashoggi.

Mr Qahatani, who is also the palace “fixer” who sought to silence dissident voices at home and abroad, is among Saudi security officials accused of luring Mr Khashoggi the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, then allegedly torturing, murdering and dismembering him.

The indictment seeks prison sentences for the accused on charges of “premeditated murder with monstrous intent” according to a statement by the Istanbul prosecutor-general.

Riyadh has cleared Mr Qahtani of any ties to the killing.

Earthquake in Croatia leaves 17 people injured

At least 17 people injured – including a 15-year-old girl left in a critical condition – when a strong earthquake rocked Croatia.

Newborn babies had to be evacuated from a maternity hospital following the 5.3-magnitude tremor – the biggest to hit the capital Zagreb in 140 years.

Power was cut and people ran out of their homes in terror as rooftops collapsed, including one of the spires on the iconic cathedral.

Maternity staff moved incubators to a new location with the help of the army.

The quake forced people to ignore government warnings to avoid public spaces such as parks and squares to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Soldiers helped to clear the debris from the streets, and prime minister Andrej Plenkovic urged citizens to remain calm and stay outside their homes in the central parts of Zagreb, which sustained the most damage.

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One in three airstrikes on Yemen hitting civilian targets after five years of conflict

Nearly a third of all Gulf coalition air raids on Yemen have hit civilian targets, including hospitals, schools and food stores, new data revealed on the fifth anniversary of the country’s conflict.

According to the Yemen Data Project, more than 18,400 civilians have been killed or injured by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies since they launched a bombing campaign in 2015 to oust the Iran-backed Houthis and restore the government.

The report said that over the past five years coalition aircraft have bombed medical facilities including hospitals and clinics 83 times, killing 95 civilians and injuring a further 116.

The Gulf coalition has repeatedly denied it targets civilians and maintains its Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) investigates the impact of its raids to check violations.

Suspected leader of online sexual blackmail ring named after millions sign petition in South Korea

The alleged leader of an online sexual blackmail ring in South Korea that exploited dozens of vulnerable women and girls has been identified after millions of people signed petitions.

At least 74 women, including 16 underage girls, were “virtually enslaved” for months, according to South Korea’s National Police Agency.

They were coerced by the group into sending videos of themselves performing degrading and sometimes violent sexual acts. These were then posted to chatrooms on the encrypted Telegram messaging app, where 10,000 people used cryptocurrencies to pay up to £1,000 for access.

Police identified 24-year-old suspect Cho Ju-bin, after 5 million people signed petitions urging them to do so. He is accused of luring victims with fake job adverts for modelling and escorting in order to solicit compromising photographs.

Man who admits deadly New Zealand mosque attacks faces life in jail

A man has admitted 51 charges of murder over New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque attacks targeting Muslims attending Friday prayers a year ago.

Brenton Tarrant, 29, who also pleaded guilty to 40 charges of attempted murder and a terrorism charge, now faces the prospect of a lifetime in jail.

Tarrant had repeatedly maintained his innocence but entered his pleas at a special, hastily arranged hearing in Christchurch on Thursday, appearing via video link.

He was the first person in the nation’s history to face a terrorism.

In the attack he broadcast live on Facebook, the gunman, armed with semi-automatic weapons, opened fire during Friday prayers in Christchurch, injuring 49 people. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

After the killings, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern vowed never to say the accused man’s name.

Justice has been done, says victim’s mother, as Delhi bus gang rapists executed before dawn

Four men have been executed in India for the gang rape and murder of a woman on a Delhi bus in 2012, in a case that drew unprecedented attention to the prevalence of sexual assault in India.

“The four convicts were hanged together at 5.30am,” announced Sandeep Goel, head of the Tihar jail on the outskirts of the capital where the men were being held.

Despite the early hour, hundreds gathered outside the jail to celebrate the men’s deaths, holding placards that read “Justice for women” and “Hang the culprits”.

The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, became known in the media as Nirbhaya – the fearless one – as she could not be named under Indian law.

On the night of the attack, she boarded a private bus after visiting the cinema with a male friend. Both were brutally beaten by five men and one 17-year-old boy on the bus, while the perpetrators repeatedly raped the woman. They were dumped naked on the roadside and while the friend survived, Nirbhaya died of her wounds in hospital two weeks later.

Asha Devi, the mother of the victim, told reporters she held a photograph of her daughter as the execution was carried out: “Today, justice has been done after seven years.”