Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
- Human Rights
Reported by Paige Waters
Saudi Woman in Great Danger Barricades Herself in Thai Hotel Room.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old women is being detained in Bangkok after having fled from her family. She fears she will be killed by her “abusive” family if returned after she renounced Islam. In an attempt to prevent herself from being deported, she has locked herself in her hotel room with Thai immigration officials gathering outside her door.
Thai immigration officials have confirmed she has been denied entry into the country.
Qunun has commented and stated that she was trying to escape her abusive family and is in aid of help after seeking asylum from Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.
She further stated, “my family is strict and locked me in a room for six months just for cutting my hair. I’m sure, 100%, they will kill me as soon as I get out of the Saudi jail.”
A friend of Qunun who has moved from Saudi Arabia to Australia has commented, saying the threats to her were real. “She’s ex-Muslim and has a very strict family, they’re using violence with her and she faced sexual harassment. She received a threat from her cousin – he said he wants to see her blood. He wants to kill her.”
“If they didn’t kill her, they couldn’t go public after this, so they have to do it. It’s like if you’re a man you should prove it. If they don’t kill her they can’t go outside and see other men.”
Qunun has sought help by going public on twitter. She tweeted the flight number the immigration officers were trying to get her on and asked the public to “stop it from leaving”.
Many have come to her rescue and provided a plethora of support, one being Germany’s ambassador to Thailand, Georg Schmidt. He tweeted his support and stated they are “in touch with the Thai side and the embassies of the countries she approached” following great concern for her safety.
You can be apart of the support and follow updates of the case through Twitter as the support for Qunun increases.
To find out more click here.
Reported by Sarah Mulhane
Alex Salmond Wins Case Against Scottish Government.
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has won his legal challenge against the Scottish government over the handling of sexual harassment allegations against him. Winning on one of three of the grounds argued, Mr Salmond’s judicial review found that the Scottish government had acted unlawfully in their processes when Judith MacKinnon, the civil servant tasked to the investigate the complaints, had been found to have discussed the cases with the complainants prior to their formal lodging.
During the judicial review, the government itself conceded defeat and acknowledged that guidelines had been breached, dealing a blow to Mr Salmond’s successor and the current Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
The judge sitting in the hearing in the court of session in Edinburgh ordered ministers to pay costs whilst striking down the government’s finding, claiming that the actions had been “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair” and had been “tainted with apparent bias.” Through his deciding, Lord Pentland ruled there to be a breach of fair process throughout the entire investigation, which has been ongoing since January 2018.
Following the decision, Salmond has called on Sturgeon’s most civil servant, Leslie Evans, to resign. It was heard in court that she must have been aware of the civil service rules forbidding an investigating officer from having prior contact with complainants.
However, Evans does not intent to stand down and has defended the government’s decision to investigate, saying that the investigation had been conducted in good faith and claiming that the complaints processes of the Scottish government remain robust and lawful. Evans did however apologise to the two complainants, saying that she “regret[s] the distress it will cause the two women who raised the complaints.”
A quote from Salmon after the end of the hearing stated “the last time I was in that court, it was to be sworn in as first minister of Scotland. I never thought at any point I would be taking the Scottish government to court. While I’m glad about the victory, I’m sad that it was necessary to take this action.”
Despite winning this judicial appeal, the police investigation into claims that he sexually harassed two women is ongoing, and the QC acting for the Scottish government told that court that the concessions had “no bearing whatsoever” on the “veracity of the ongoing complaints.”
- Election Law
Reported by Nathan Gore
MP Craig Mackinlay cleared of election expenses fraud
Conservative politician Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, has been cleared of charges of falsifying election expenses, during the 2015 election campaign.
This was the campaign in which he beat the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the parliamentary seat.
Mr Mackinlay, 52, had been accused of failing to declare more than £60,000 spent on staffing, hotels and adverts.
The prosecution’s case centred around claims some costs for activists and party workers were recorded as national rather than local election expenses, to ensure spending limits weren’t breached.
Declared spending came in under the £52,000 constituency limit, but prosecutors claimed more than £60,000 went undeclared.
The MP’s agent, Nathan Gray, was also acquitted of similar charges on 13 December.
See more on the BBC here.
Reported by Emma Ducroix
The Actual Gap between Parliament and Theresa May Government
On Tuesday evening, January 8, an amendment to a budget law was approved by British deputies that limits the possibility for Theresa May’s government to accept a Brexit without any previous agreement with the European Union.
This amendment, tabled by both Conservative and Labour elected representatives, makes the commitment of expenses linked to a “no deal,” either subject to a prior vote by Parliament or to a postponement of the Brexit date.
Parliament has managed to take over the executive side of the government deemed powerless. This success may demonstrate a certain willingness from the Parliament to accept and have accepted the agreement on the break-up with the EU then negotiated with Brussels earlier.
The fact that the vote is carried out by Parliament upstream, proves, according to Jeremy Corbyn, that: “there is no majority in Parliament, in the government or in the country” in order to break without an agreement with the European Union.
The legal gap resulting from a “no deal” would cause economic and social chaos related to the re-establishment of customs controls and to the breakdown of multiple forms of cooperation, especially in the security field.
Elected officials fear that the United Kingdom will be forced to remain in the customs union with the EU forever, a measure provided for in the agreement, intended to prevent the come back of a border between the two Ireland pending the conclusion of a free trade treaty.
Everything suggests that a group of elected officials opposed to the agreement will prevent the Prime Minister from obtaining the necessary Westminster approval.
These elected representatives represent on the one hand pro-Europeans who would prefer to remain in the EU and on the other hand the eurosceptics who consider that the text “betrays” the Brexit.
From now on, conservatives in favour of a radical break with the EU are openly defending the liberal economic shock that a “no deal” would cause, rather silent on this subject until now.
The May government, criticised by the pro-Brexit for delaying the preparation of the “no deal,” is also criticised by the Europhiles because devotes a budget of £4 billion.
This constant criticism causes tensions not only with the political party but also with the citizens and the European Union itself.
Some of the most intense tensions are manifested by citizens who do not accept and understand some of the measures taken by their government, as is the case with Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP who is anti-Brexit and in favour of a second referendum.
These tensions have vividly recounted the act of an extreme right-wing activist who went too far in his extremists ideas to kill Labour MP and pro-European Jo Cox in June, 2016.