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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:17 am 
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Kuwait informs UN it won't deport Syrians
4 September 2015

Istanbul (dpa) - Kuwait has informed the United Nations that it will allow all Syrians currently in the country to remain when their current visas expire, a UN official said on Friday, in a major move for a Gulf Arab state.

There are an estimated 120,000 Syrians in Kuwait at the moment, mostly on work visas. The Gulf nations depend heavily on migrant labour. "For each one whose visa expires, they will, by default, get a long-term visa," Mohammed Abu Asaker, a spokesman for the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR), told dpa by telephone from Abu Dhabi.

None of the six Arab Gulf monarchies that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - are signatories to the 1951 UN convention on refugees. This means they do not register refugees and have not agreed to international norms on caring for people fleeing war and persecution. Therefore, there is no record on how many Syrians there are in most of the countries. However, Abu Asaker noted that the UN has not recorded any cases of a GCC nation kicking out Syrians and deporting them to their war-torn homeland.

Criticism of the GCC for not doing more to help refugees has been growing as Europe faces a migrant crisis, with the number of people, especially Syrians, seeking refuge on the continent increasingly rapidly. Abdel Bari Atwan, the Palestinian editor of Rai al-Youm, an influential pan-Arabic newspaper, wrote that Arab Gulf states have supported the Syrian opposition and spent billions to arm rebels. However, he said, these wealthy oil-rich states are not doing enough to help the refugees, while in Europe there were demonstrations to support the new arrivals.

A widely circulated cartoon on social media this week showed the Gulf government blocking access to refugees while directing them to Europe. Amnesty International last year noted that the GCC nations "have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees."

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:55 pm 
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Rival migrant demos in divided Europe, as Munich buckles under strain
By Robin Millard and Eric Randolph
12 September 2015

London (AFP) - Tens of thousands of Europeans hit the streets Saturday in both support and opposition to incoming refugees, as overwhelmed authorities in the German city of Munich pleaded for help in accommodating a fresh wave of arrivals.

With Germany seen as the promised land by many of those seeking safe haven in Europe, more than 13,000 migrants poured into the Bavarian capital on Saturday alone. More were expected to arrive overnight, prompting local officials to warn the southern city was being stretched to the limit and would struggle to find beds for all the newcomers. As the continent scrambles to respond to the biggest movement of people since World War II, sharp divisions have emerged between the European Union's 28 member states, at both a government level and on the streets.

In London, tens of thousands marched through the capital waving placards saying "Refugee lives matter" and "No human being is illegal". Britain's newly elected Labour party leader and veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn drew huge cheers when he addressed the crowd from the back of a truck. "Open your hearts and open your minds," the opposition chief said, "towards supporting people who are desperate, who need somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society, and are human beings just like all of us."

In Copenhagen, 30,000 people turned out to express solidarity with asylum seekers, while similar rallies drew thousands onto the streets in Madrid and Hamburg. "I want to support the refugees," said Deborah Flatley at the London demo, holding up a homemade sign reading: "We admire your bravery. You deserve a safe and happy life. We welcome you here with open arms". A boy dressed as Paddington Bear -- the marmalade-loving migrant who arrived at London's Paddington Station from "deepest, darkest Peru" in Michael Bond's famous books -- clutched a sign saying: "Paddington Bear Was A Refugee". In Berlin, demonstrators waved a Syrian flag with "Refugees Welcome" written on it, while rallies in Stockholm, Helsinki and Lisbon each attracted around 1,000 people.

But at the same time, thousands took to the streets in eastern Europe to voice their opposition to the influx, their numbers dwarfing those attending a handful of pro-migrant rallies. "Islam will be the death of Europe" chanted protesters at a rally in Warsaw which was attended by nearly 5,000 people and began with prayers identifying many marchers as Roman Catholics. Hundreds also demonstrated in Prague and in the Slovak capital Bratislava, some holding banners reading: "You're not welcome here so go home".

The International Organization for Migration said Friday that more than 430,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with 2,748 dying en route or going missing. The emergency has exposed deep rifts with the EU, with "frontline" states Italy, Greece and Hungary buckling under the strain and European Commission proposals for sharing 160,000 of the new arrivals in a quota scheme facing resistance from eastern members. Germany has so far taken the lion's share, admitting 450,000 people this year, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to relax asylum rules for Syrians drawing praise from the refugees, but also sharp criticism from domestic allies and counterparts abroad.

In Munich -- where the number of people, many of them Syrian refugees, expected to arrive from Vienna by the end of Saturday alone was set to hit an estimated 13,000 -- regional officials sounded the alarm and urged other German states to do their bit. "We no longer know what to do with refugees," mayor Dieter Reiter said, amid fears many of the new arrivals would have to spend the night outdoors. "Munich and Bavaria can't overcome this great challenge alone," a spokeswoman for the Bavarian authorities added.

Hungary meanwhile was working around the clock to finish a controversial anti-migrant fence along its southern border with Serbia. Hungary has seen some 180,000 people entering illegally this year and has passed a raft of tough new laws that will take effect on Tuesday, meaning anyone crossing the border illegally can be deported or even jailed. "These migrants are not coming our way from war zones but from camps in Syria's neighbours... So these people are not fleeing danger and don't need to be scared for their lives," hardline Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told Germany's Bild daily. He said that Merkel's decision to relax asylum laws had caused "chaos" and accused European leaders of "living in a dream world". The idea that quotas would work is an "illusion," he said. "The influx is endless: from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria. If they are all going to come here, then Europe is going to go under."

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Ten years sought for priest suspected of preying on migrants
19 October 2015

Trapani, Italy (ANSA) - Italian prosecutors on Monday requested a 10-year prison sentence for a priest they said extorted sex from asylum seekers.

Father Sergio Librizzi was arrested in June 2014 on aggravated sexual assault charges for abusing his position on an asylum claims committee in the Sicilian city of Trapani, where he was the former director of Catholic charity Caritas. Librizzi is also being investigated on separate charges in connection with the management of immigrant reception centers in the Trapani area.

Sicily is the first Italian landfall for refugees fleeing war and destitution in Africa and the Middle East across the Mediterranean, and Caritas is often on the front lines - along with the Red Cross and various government agencies - when they arrive.

Source: ANSA

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:40 am 
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A Mass Migration Crisis, and It May Yet Get Worse
By Rod Nordland
October 31, 2015

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Migrants walked atop a dike as Slovenian riot police escorted them to a registration camp outside Dobova last month. War, drought and more are driving millions of people from their homelands. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

SID, Serbia — They arrived in an unceasing stream, 10,000 a day at the height, as many as a million migrants heading for Europe this year, pushing infants in strollers and elderly parents in wheelchairs, carrying children on their shoulders and life savings in their socks. They came in search of a new life, but in many ways they were the heralds of a new age.

There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history — 60 million in all — and they are on the march in numbers not seen since World War II. They are coming not just from Syria, but from an array of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, even Haiti, as well as any of a dozen or so nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa. They are unofficial ambassadors of failed states, unending wars, intractable conflicts.

The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get. What if Islamic State militants are not beaten back but continue to extend their brutal writ across Iraq and Syria? What if the Taliban continue to increase their territorial gains in Afghanistan, prompting even more people to flee? A quarter of Afghans told a Gallup Poll that they want to leave, and more than 100,000 are expected to try to flee to Europe this year.

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Migrants waited to be escorted to the registration camp outside Dobova on Oct. 24. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

There are between six million and eight million people displaced in Syria, along with more than four million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Egypt’s five million or more Copts, the Middle East’s last remaining major Christian sect, are deeply worried about their future in an unstable and hostile country. Ancient minority groups like the Yazidis of Iraq are already homeless, as are many small communities of Assyrian, Nestorian and Chaldean Christians from northern Iraq.

While Yemenis have yet to abandon their homeland in substantial numbers, their plight is worsening daily amid wartime shortages of food and medicine and persistent bombardment by Saudi warplanes. Yemen is not much farther away from Europe than Eritrea, now the biggest source of African refugees, just across the Red Sea, and at some 25 million it is as populous as Afghanistan.

Nor is it only the Middle East and North Africa that European leaders need to consider. The Gallup Poll, based on data compiled from more than 450,000 interviews in 151 nations from 2009 to 2011, found that in Nigeria, which already has double the population of Germany, 40 percent of people would emigrate to the West if they could. And the lesson of 2015 — for them and much of the world — is that they can.

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Schengen Area countries do not require passports or controls between their common borders.
Routes commonly used by refugees 2014-15


While the flow of migrants to Europe this year already represents the biggest influx from outside the Continent in modern history, many experts warn that the mass movement may continue and even increase — possibly for years to come. “We are talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said in a recent Twitter posting.

Many of the migrants are fleeing persecution, poverty, ethnic and religious strife and war, but these afflictions are often symptoms of more profound changes. In the Middle East and Africa, borders drawn by Ottoman dynasts and European colonialists are breaking down as the autocratic Arab states that enforced a grim peace for generations continue to implode. As traditional lines of authority break down, militant groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram, in Nigeria, seek to fill the vacuum while minority sects and ethnic groups suffer unspeakable treatment at their hands.

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The displaced passed a small white chapel en route to the registration camp last month. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Climate change, too, is roiling societies across the Middle East and Africa. Syria was in the grip of a prolonged drought when war broke out, and large areas of sub-Saharan Africa are becoming uninhabitable. With rising sea levels, a single typhoon in the Bay of Bengal could drive millions of Bangladeshis from their homes in low-lying coastal areas and render that land uninhabitable, too.

Europe has spawned mass movements of refugees in the not-too-distant past — 700,000 from the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1993, 1.1 million from Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain was torn down in 1989 — but what is new now is not just the scale of the arrivals, in such large numbers over such a short period of time. It is also the sheer number and variety of problem places they are leaving behind.

Many migrants are from countries where the West has tried to intervene and failed spectacularly — Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular. There are now some two million Iraqi refugees, many bound for Europe. Among them are people like Muhammad Basher, a young Kurdish doctor from Iraq, who took his life savings of $2,000 and had spent nearly all of it by the time he reached the Croatian border — $1,200 just for a seat in a rubber dinghy on a dangerous sea crossing to Greece. “Better to die quickly there, than slowly in Iraq,” he said. Sayid Karim Hashimi, 23, a native of Kunduz, was among the Afghans recently crossing the border out of Serbia. “There is no future in Afghanistan,” he said.

Libya represents another failed intervention, by the French and British, with American support. Although few Libyans have been prompted to join the exodus, the chaos in their country has made it easier than ever before for other African migrants to flee to Europe through northern Africa.

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Migrants huddled in a field last week in Croatia, where they were stopping for the night after crossing from Slovenia. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

While most of the migrants have been from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, those who came through villages like this last summer could have arrived from almost anywhere. Two women from Haiti and a young girl, the daughter of one of them, passed through in early October, according to officials here representing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They had flown to Turkey from Haiti, then joined smugglers’ routes through the Balkans.

Others come from places like Eritrea, where young men are fleeing a brutal dictatorship that offers them the prospect of a lifetime of unpaid military service, and little else. Some are escaping civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo or poverty in nations like Gambia or Senegal. Many, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are motivated by elemental problems like spreading desertification. Others are looking for economic opportunity.

Ibrahim Isahaq, 18, from Ghana, was among those migrants who came through Serbia in October, attracted by news of how easy passage had become. He was simply fleeing a family feud over a disputed inheritance. Youssou, 25, from Senegal, said his father was a commander in the little-known Casamance separatist movement, but he seemed more interested in business prospects in Europe. “There was no life for me in Senegal,” he said.

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Knots of migrants walked the streets of Harmica, Croatia, on Oct. 26, en route to the Slovenian border. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

While the migrant crisis has inspired a backlash among Europe’s right-wing nationalist parties, particularly in the East, authorities say the problem is still manageable. “We need to keep our perspective on the numbers,” said Alexander Betts, who heads the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University. “If Lebanon can host one million Syrians, despite being the size of Maryland, a region the size of Europe should be able to host millions.”

Even in the four European Union member countries that initially opposed a modest 120,000-migrant per nation resettlement quota — Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary — voices were raised in support of the migrants, who were to be distributed across the 28-member bloc. Though a quota system has yet to take full effect, a recent appeal, signed by former presidents and prime ministers and other prominent Europeans, many from those four countries, called on their countries to abandon their hostility to the migrants and remember their own recent past.

That might be a hard sell, however, in a Europe already preoccupied with terrorist recruitment among disaffected Muslim populations from earlier, much smaller migrations.

“Throughout Europe, xenophobia and open racism are running rampant, and nationalist, even far-right parties are gaining ground,” Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister, wrote recently in an article that appeared on Project Syndicate, an online news service. “At the same time, this is only the beginning of the crisis, because the conditions inciting people to flee their homelands will only worsen. And the E.U., many of whose members have the world’s largest and best-equipped welfare systems, appears to be overwhelmed by it — politically, morally and administratively.”

Those stresses pose a challenge for the future, experts say, because the flow is unlikely to ebb anytime soon. “I don’t think this wave can stop,” said Sonja Licht of the International Center for Democratic Transition. “It can maybe from time to time be somewhat less intensive, we simply have to prepare. The global north must be prepared that the global south is on the move, the entire global south. This is not just a problem for Europe but for the whole world.”

Source: NY Times.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:25 pm 
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Net immigration hits record high in New Zealand
2 November 2015

Wellington (dpa) - New Zealand saw record immigration in the year to the end of June, with China and India the largest source of migrants, according to government figures.

Net immigration reached 58,300 people, as lower numbers of New Zealanders moved overseas, and more immigrants arrived, according to the Migration Trends and Outlook report released Monday. The number of New Zealanders moving to Australia dropped from 43,600 in the 2012-2013 year to 21,800 in the 12 months to the end of June this year.

The country saw a net gain of 63,900 non-New Zealand citizens during the period. Numbers were up for tourist visas and the three main types of work visas. India was the largest source of migrants entering under the skilled migrant category (21 per cent) followed by the Philippines (13 per cent) and the United Kingdom (11 per cent). China was the largest source of family-sponsored migrants.

The number of resident visas was down by just 2 per cent year-on-year, but was still at 43,085. The largest source of permanent migrants to New Zealand was China (17 per cent), followed by India (16 per cent) and the UK (11 per cent). Almost half of new arrivals went to Auckland with a net 26,800 people moving to the country's largest city.

New measures designed to encourage migrants to move to regions outside Auckland came into effect on November 1, with applicants in the skilled migrant category earning more points if they have a job offer in another part of the country.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:41 pm 
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Germany's 'Mr Flirt' teaches refugees how to pick up women
By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
28 November 2016

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) -- The subject was pickup lines, and Germany's "Mr. Flirt" offered a few examples to his class of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. "I really love the scent of your perfume," he suggested. "You have a beautiful voice." He invited his students to take a stab.

Essam Kadib al Ban, 20, raised his hand. "God created you only for me," he said, then tried another: "I love you. Can I sleep over at your place?" Horst Wenzel winced, but caught himself quickly. "Don't tell them you love them at least for the first three months of your relationship, or they'll run away," he explained patiently. "German women don't like clinginess."

Wenzel, 27, makes his living teaching wealthy but uptight German men how to approach women. But this year, he decided to also volunteer his skills to help Germany as it struggles to integrate more than 1 million refugees who have arrived over the past two years, most of them from war-torn Muslim countries with vastly different relations between the sexes. "Finding a relationship is the best way to integrate, and that's why I'm giving these classes," Wenzel said.

Last week, in downtown Dortmund, he offered his third installment of "How to fall in love in Germany," taking 11 young men through the paces. The students conceded they had a lot to learn. Omar Mohammed, a shy, 24-year-old goldsmith from Syria with spiky black hair and almond-shaped eyes, said he's attracted to German women, with their Nordic looks and punctuated accents. But they remain a mystery to him, and he has no idea how to approach them. "It's hard to meet a girl when you don't speak the language well and can't really talk to them," he said. "There are a lot of differences, not only the culture and religion - we just don't have this total freedom at home." Still, he said, "I'd love to marry a German woman and live with her. She could help me with the language, and she knows the place and the laws much better than I do."

Some German women were receptive to the idea. Jasmin Olbrich, having a quick lunch of French fries at a food truck outside the educational center, said she liked the Middle Eastern looks and complained that German men "drink too much beer, watch way too much soccer and are just so white!"

But across Germany, hostility to asylum seekers has been on the rise since groups of foreigners - mostly young men from northern Africa - robbed and groped dozens of women on New Year's Eve in Cologne. Most of the hostility targets young male asylum-seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who make up the majority of the migrants reshaping Germany. Last year alone, 890,000 people applied for asylum, with hundreds of thousands more applying this year.

Violent crimes against migrants and arson attacks on asylum shelters and mosques have increased in frequency, and refugees say they have experienced discrimination and abuse since the Cologne attacks. The anti-foreigner sentiment is reshaping German politics as well, with the populist Alternative for Germany party surging as it campaigns against Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to welcome the migrants.

The flirting class, participants said, offered a way to get beyond the adversity. "We are really benefiting from the class," Kadib al Ban said. "The teacher is telling us how German women think, how to talk to them ... and understand their traditions."

Wenzel usually charges 1,400 euros ($1,500) for a private one-day class, or 4,000 euros for a group. The tall blond is an authority in Germany when it comes to the art of seduction, giving flirting advice on TV and radio. He says a half-million Germans follow his "flirt university" blog on how to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. For the migrants, Wenzel is volunteering his time in occasional classes across the country. "A lot of the guys are absolute beginners when it comes to flirting, dating and sex," he said.

The class got off to a rocky start. The migrants, unsure what to expect, sat with their coats on and their arms crossed, eyeing their cheerful coach suspiciously. Wenzel chatted about pick-up lines, paying compliments and original ideas for first dates. Impress and entertain the girls, Wenzel advised. Invite them to the theater, rock climbing, a concert, or take them on a trip to London or Amsterdam. That last piece of advice would probably work better for Wenzel's regular clientele of rich Germans; asylum seekers aren't allowed to leave the city they're registered in, and don't have the money to travel in any case.

Then he moved on to sex. "Men and women have sex all the time - on the first, second or third date, that's normal." Wenzel said. "It's not a big deal in Germany." The men in the room giggled, but snapped to attention.

When Wenzel moved onto the differences between male and female orgasms and how to arouse a woman, they fell silent again. Several men blushed and others looked down at the floor in embarrassment. One of the students became indignant, whispering in Arabic to his neighbor: "But having sex before marriage is a sin; it's haram!"

But there were moments of realization as well. Asked how to impress a German woman, one student suggested getting ripped at the gym. Wenzel countered that most women don't go for the body-builder type. Another suggested picking up a date in a Ferrari. Wenzel said that would attract women interested only in money. The students readily agreed, perhaps because most were thin and quite aways from being able to afford a sports car.

When class let out, most of the men said they'd learned a lot and were eager to put their new skills to use. But Kadib al Ban, the perky Syrian with the flowery pick-up lines, remained somewhat unconvinced. "I'd happily have a German girlfriend," he said. "But when I get married, I want to have a girl from my country who shares my culture and my traditions."

Bassem Mroue contributed from Beirut.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:44 pm 
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Man charged with abusing 4 migrants in Greece
22 February 2017

ATHENS (AP) - Greek police say they have arrested a 52-year-old French man on suspicion of sexually abusing four Pakistani boys he had sheltered in his home in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Police said Wednesday the man was arrested Tuesday. He allegedly abused the boys, aged 14-17, in January after offering them housing as they were homeless. According to police, the man presented himself as a volunteer to various organizations helping refugees. One of the boys was later housed in a shelter for young migrants and told staff about the abuse.

Police confiscated six hard drives and one USB stick from a search of the man's home, as well as unspecified drugs. The man appeared in court and has been charged with sexual abuse and possession and use of drugs.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:16 pm 
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Austrian court convicts 8 Iraqi men in tourist's gang rape
By GEORGE JAHN
2 March 2017

VIENNA (AP) -- An Austrian court found eight Iraqi nationals guilty on Thursday of gang-raping a German tourist on New Year's Eve more than a year ago and sentenced them to prison terms of between nine and 13 years.

Charges against a ninth suspect were dismissed, said a court statement. The victim - a 28-year-old woman - was awarded 25,000 euros (over $26,000) in damages. Both sides were appealing the decision, the statement said.

All nine Iraqi men, who ranged in age from 22 to 48, came to Austria as migrants between May and December 2015. Five subsequently were given refugee status. The prosecution argued that the eight men convicted exploited the fact that the victim had been drinking heavily on Dec. 31, 2015 and was unable to defend herself.

Rape is punishable by a maximum 15-year prison term in Austria. Explaining the verdict and sentencing, Judge Petra Poschalko said that only two of the defendants had helped the court establish the facts and only one had confessed. The court heard testimony that four of the men took the woman to a Vienna apartment where they were joined by the others and that all took turns raping her. When the alcohol started wearing off, she found herself naked in a bed.

Defense lawyer Andreas Reichenbach observed that the gang rape was committed at around the same time as the high-profile sexual assaults in Cologne by groups of migrants. Reichenbach suggested the sentences imposed Thursday served in part as an "additional message" for asylum-seekers. "As we all know, asylum-seekers don't have the best image here in Austria," he said. "I think that this surely played a certain role, to make it clear to these people that when they come to Austria that such behavior won't be tolerated," he said.

All but one of the defendants denied raping the woman. Some acknowledged having sex with her, but argued it had been consensual. Prosecutor Karina Fehringer said that was impossible, describing the victim as being defenseless in an "unconscious, shock-rigid" state. Fehringer said the victim continues to suffer post-traumatic effects from the assault and requires psychiatric treatment.

The defense argued that the victim might have sent "false signals" that could have encouraged the men. Noting that the woman was extremely intoxicated, Fehringer was quoted by the Austria Press Agency as asking: "Should we stick warnings on bottles: 'Excess consumption could be interpreted as agreement to have sex?'"

Charges were dismissed against the 48-year-old defendant, who said he had been asleep during the assaults. Migrants and refugees from other countries expressed concern that the crime will make Austrians hostile toward all newcomers. "Eight people raping a woman - that's honor-less! Such a thing doesn't exist in our religion," Burhan Akbas, a migrant from Turkey, said. "When such people come here and screw up like that, then everybody will think that Chechens, Afghans, all refugees from war areas are all the same," Mansur Salamou, an asylum-seeker from Chechnya, said. "But it's not like that. For example, the majority of us - we also cause problems, commit crimes. But no rape! Only criminal assaults and robberies."

Associated Press video journalist Philipp-Moritz Jenne contributed.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:44 pm 
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5 Afghan teens who raped boy to be expelled from Sweden
8 March 2017

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A Swedish appeals court has overturned a lower court's ruling and ordered that five Afghan teenagers convicted of the aggravated rape of an underage boy should be expelled from the country.

The Svea Court of Appeal said Wednesday "the reasons for the expulsion outweigh those against." The Uppsala District Court had ruled in December that the teens couldn't be expelled because they are under 18 and because of the security situation in Afghanistan. The unaccompanied, asylum-seeking minors had been sentenced to youth custody of up to 15 months for dragging another Afghan boy into a forest in October, threatening him with a knife and raping him.

The appeals court also banned them from returning to Sweden for the next 10 years. There were no immediate comments from the defense lawyers.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:58 pm 
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German Cabinet OKs rules to not recognize child marriages
5 April 2017

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's Cabinet has approved new rules to ensure that most marriages involving under-18s aren't legally recognized in the country.

The issue arose following the influx of migrants to Germany in 2015, and the main aim is to protect girls who were married abroad.

The bill calls for all marriages involving under-16s to be considered null and void. In principle, marriages involving people between 16 and 18 also won't be recognized, but courts will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to nullify them after hearing from youth protection authorities.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday that minors in Germany have to be protected as much as possible and that, "there must not be any child marriages in Germany."

The bill still needs parliamentary approval.

Source: AP

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