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Contract Killings


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Pakistani man says his 17-year-old daughter was mauled by dogs and shot to death in front of him over a land dispute disguised as "honour Killing"

Pakistani man says his 17-year-old daughter was mauled by dogs and shot to death in front of him over a land dispute disguised as a so-called "honour killing."The girl's father claims that the tribal council chaired by a local chieftain declared his daughter an adulterer in May to mask the land-grab and the involvement of others.
Female senators in Pakistan are staging a walkout from the federal parliament to press for action on better protections for women after a national newspaper published details of the girl's death.Human rights groups say hundreds of women are killed by male relatives every year in Pakistan for alleged infidelity or other perceived slights to the family name.Activists say many more cases go unreported.
In August, a Pakistani legislator drew fierce criticism after describing a case in which five women were allegedly buried alive for trying to choose their husbands as the product of "centuries-old traditions" that he would defend.In both cases, the allegations surrounding the women's deaths remain unproven.Pakistan's government, now led by the liberal party of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has vowed to improve women's rights in Pakistan.

Former president Pervez Musharraf had made similar moves despite opposition from hardline Islamic groups.

FBI is seeking the capture of Yaser Abdel Said for a double “honor killing.”

FBI is seeking the capture of Yaser Abdel Said for a double “honor killing.” Muslim groups are opposed to the use of the term, but the evidence appears to support the theory that the killings were due to the father’s “shame” that his daughters Sarah Said, 17, and Amina, 18, were dating non-Muslims. Both were killed on New Year’s Day in the back of a taxis in Lewisville, Texas believe that Yaser Abdel Said, 50, shot his daughters Sarah Yaser Said, 17, and Amina Yaser Said, 18, in his taxi as an honor killing. It is not clear whether this was the motive. Such a honor killing would follow an equally disturbing case involving a homicidal father and the Indian caste system.Friends have said that Yaser Said had moved to the area because of his disapproval of his oldest daughter’s boyfriend.
A local Austin imam condemned the murders on the tribute page. However, their brother insisted that the deaths have nothing to do with religion. The media is quoting experts who may be a bit to quick to declare such a motive.Brigitte Gabriel, author of “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America,” said the shootings point to an “honor killing.” “This crime has honor killing written all over it,” Gabriel said. “The father was insulted and ashamed of how his daughters were behaving.” The daughters were bringing shame to Islam and the father took it upon himself to respond, Gabriel said. “The father probably was seeing that this is going to bring shame on the family and he needed to eliminate that shame,” Gabriel said. If it was an honor killing, it follows another father’s killing of his daughter, son-in-law, and baby. Prosecutors say Subhash Chander, an immigrant from India, used gasoline to burn alive his pregnant daughter, son-in-law and their child because he believed that his daughter married beneath her class.
The family deny that the caste system was behind the murders. However, the father’s account has been reportedly discredited that the fire was some type of accident.
“His son-in-law was beneath him, in his opinion,” prosecutor Robert Milan said of the 57-year-old Chander.He was jailed without bail on charges of murder, arson and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the deaths of 22-year-old Monika Rani, her 36-year-old husband, Rajesh Kumar, and their son, Vansh.The role of the caste system could prove a divisive trial issue. It is the type of motivation that is likely to infuriate an American jury and prejudice them against the defendant. However, there may be sufficient prior statements to allow the introduction of the motivational evidence. For that reason, a plea may be a more likely course for the defendant.

Three past chairmen of the soccer club Lokomotiv Plovdiv have been killed, one by a sniper by the Black Sea.

Three past chairmen of the soccer club Lokomotiv Plovdiv have been killed, one by a sniper by the Black Sea. Seventy-five percent of Bulgarian businesses have security protection, far more than in other countries in Eastern Europe, according to Enterprise Surveys, analysts for the World Bank.As in Russia and some other Balkan nations, corruption has seeped into the fabric of life. Sofia has a thriving black market for blood outside hospitals, where patients’ families haggle over purchases with dealers, according to Bulgarian news reports that track the prices.
The roots of this organized crime date to the collapse of Communism in the early 1990s. Thousands of secret agents and athletes, including wrestlers once supported and coddled by the state, were cast onto the street. During the United Nations embargo of warring Serbia in the 1990s, they seized smuggling opportunities and solidified their networks.The wrestlers, in particular, developed private security forces and insurance companies that were little more than shakedown protection rackets. Other men became shadowy entrepreneurs with close ties to the government.
In the past five years, Bulgaria has weathered machine gun assassinations and inventive daylight attacks. Hitmen disguised themselves as drunks and Orthodox priests. In 2004, a bomb planted atop an elevator in central Sofia was detonated by cellphone, killing a businessman and three bodyguards.The toll now tops more than 125 contract killings since 1993, according to a list compiled by the United States Embassy in Sofia, which does not include at least four people killed this year, including the head of an energy company. Most of the killings are unsolved.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Federal prosecutors charged two men with plotting a “killing spree” against African-Americans

Federal prosecutors charged two men with plotting a “killing spree” against African-Americans that would have been capped with an attempt to kill Sen. Barack Obama while they wore white tuxedos, federal officials said Monday.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Jackson, Tennessee, said Daniel Cowart, 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, were self-described white supremacists who met online through a mutual friend.
Both men have been charged with illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a federally licensed gun dealer and making threats against a presidential candidate.
The men planned to kill more than 100 African-Americans, including 14 who would be beheaded, according to the affidavit. But federal law enforcement sources said there was no evidence Cowart, of Bells, Tennessee, and Schlesselman, of West Helena, Arkansas, had any details of Obama’s schedule.
“We take this very, very seriously but we see no evidence these guys have the ability or the wherewithal to pull off what they say they wanted to do,” one law enforcement source said.
According to an affidavit from the federal agent who questioned them, Cowart and Schlesselman planned to charge at Obama with a car, firing from the windows as they went. They would be dressed in white tuxedos and top hats during the attempt, the affidavit states.
Cowart and Schlesselman were arrested outside Jackson, about 75 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee, after an aborted robbery attempt last week, according to court records.
Though they told investigators they would be willing to die in their mission, the men backed out of their October 21 attempt to rob the gun dealer after spotting two cars and a dog at the home, the affidavit states. The men also shot out the window of a church on their way back to Cowart’s grandfather’s home, where they were arrested the next day.
Cowart and Schlesselman made their initial appearances before a federal judge Monday and are scheduled for a bond hearing Thursday in Memphis.
Obama, an Illinois Democrat, is the first African-American nominee to lead a major-party ticket and was placed under Secret Service protection in May 2007, far earlier than other candidates.
Eric Zahren, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said it was unclear whether the suspects would have had the capability or means to carry out any sort of plot. But he said the matter was being taken seriously, and a joint investigation was under way.
There was no indication either had attended any Obama event or had drawn Secret Service attention in the past, Zahren said.
Campaign spokeswoman Linda Douglass said, “We never comment on security matters.”
Threats against Obama have led to arrests in two previous cases. In one, federal prosecutors concluded that the three people arrested with drugs and weapons in a suburban Denver motel posed a “true threat” to the candidate.
In the second, a Florida man was charged with threatening bodily harm against the candidate in August. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kidnappers killed five Chinese oil workers on Monday whom they had been holding hostage in central Sudan

Kidnappers killed five Chinese oil workers on Monday whom they had been holding hostage in central Sudan for more than a week, the Foreign Ministry said. Nine Chinese oil workers had been kidnapped, the ministry said. Two escaped on Monday, and two are still being held. The ministry said a Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, was responsible for the kidnapping and killings. An official of the group based in London denied that it was involved. The workers were seized near a small oil field in the state of South Kordofan, which borders Darfur, where they were working under contract for a Chinese-led oil consortium. A ministry spokesman said the kidnappers had demanded that Chinese oil companies leave the region.

Alexei Frenkel had acted out of revenge when he ordered the killing of Andrei Kozlov, the 41-year-old deputy head of Russia's central bank

A Russian businessman was found guilty on Tuesday of ordering the murder of a top Russian central banker who led a campaign against money-laundering and corruption.
The state prosecutor said Alexei Frenkel had acted out of revenge when he ordered the killing of Andrei Kozlov, the 41-year-old deputy head of Russia's central bank who had revoked Frenkel's banks' licences.Kozlov was shot dead in September 2006 as he left an amateur soccer match in Moscow.It was one of the highest-profile killings of then President Vladimir Putin's presidency, reviving memories of Russia's wild capitalism and contract killings of the 1990s.jury on Tuesday found banker Alexei Frenkel guilty of ordering the 2006 killing of central banker Andrei Kozlov after an eight-month trial mired in scandal.The verdict apparently came as a surprise to Frenkel, who smiled and waved to waiting relatives right before the verdict was announced. He also ordered a taxi to take him home, state television reported.
After 5 1/2 hours of deliberations, the Moscow City Court jury convicted Frenkel and six other suspects in connection with Kozlov's contract-style murder, which sent shockwaves through the financial community. Kozlov, first deputy head of the Central Bank, had led a campaign against money laundering and stripped hundreds of banks of their licenses, including four banks linked to Frenkel, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said the court would convene Thursday to hand down sentences. Frenkel, 36, who has maintained his innocence, faces a sentence of up to life in prison.The jury convicted four Ukrainians — Bogdan Pogorzhevsky, Alexander Belokopytov, Alexei Polovinkin and Maxim Proglyada — of carrying out the killing and illegal weapon possession and Moscow residents Liana Askerova and Boris Shafrai of being accessories to the murder. The jury asked for leniency for Pogorzhevsky, who admitted his guilt and testified against the other suspects, and Belokopytov, who they said played a minor role in the killing.Prosecutor Gyulchakhra Ibragimova expressed satisfaction with the verdict. "Frenkel wanted to be tried by a jury. The jury said clearly that he was guilty of organizing Kozlov's murder," Ibragimova told reporters."The motive for the crime was revenge," she added.Frenkel's lawyer, Ruslan Koblev, promised to appeal. "We'll file an appeal to the European court in any case irrespective of the verdict, because in our opinion the violations made by the court and the prosecution in this process have surpassed all possible limits," Koblev said in televised remarks outside the courtroom.Frenkel's relatives eagerly clustered outside the court Tuesday to wait for the verdict in the closed-door trial. When the door was opened just before the jury delivered its verdict, Frenkel smiled and waved to his relatives from the glass-enclosed defendant's cage, apparently confident that he would be freed. "I think the jury will acquit him on the basis of their humanity," Frenkel's brother Mikhail said. "They wouldn't put such a sin on their souls."Kozlov's widow read a book in the hall as she waited for the verdict. She refused to speak to reporters.It was unclear how the jury had voted; by law, only a majority is needed to reach a verdict. The court spokeswoman said the verdict had been "nearly unanimous," while the prosecutor said later that it had been unanimous.
Three jurors were removed and charged with wrongdoing in July in what defense lawyers have denounced as a move by prosecutors to tip the jury in their favor. One of the unidentified jurors was charged with attempted obstruction of justice after he tried to bribe fellow jurors to declare Frenkel not guilty, while the others were charged with drinking in public and talking about the case, respectively.
The judge excused the jury from the courtroom several times while Frenkel made his closing remarks Thursday.Frenkel accused prosecutors and the court of not giving him a chance to prove his innocence. "I haven't even been given a possibility to present proof of my innocence, which I have a lot of," Frenkel said Thursday.
Investigators said Frenkel, whose banks included Sodbiznesbank and VIP-Bank, lost billions of rubles as a result of Kozlov's decisions to revoke their licenses. Frenkel was arrested in January 2007. The Central Bank's actions prompted some State Duma deputies to complain in February 2007 that licenses had been revoked without just cause in some cases and to call for the Central Bank's powers to be curbed. Their request was formally reviewed but later dropped. In March, Frenkel suggested that Central Bank first deputy head Viktor Melnikov might be behind the killing.
The Central Bank has declined to comment on the allegation.
Kozlov, 41, and his driver were shot dead by two gunmen with automatic pistols as Kozlov was exiting the Spartak sports complex on Sept. 13, 2006. Kozlov had been at the complex in northeast Moscow to participate in a friendly football match with other members of the banking community. It was one of the highest-profile killings during Vladimir Putin's eight-year presidency.In another scandal connected to the trial, two investigators who helped compile the court case against Frenkel were arrested in June on suspicion of trying to exhort a 1.5 million euro ($1.8 million) bribe from another private banker in return for protection. The two investigators, Dmitry Tselyakov and Alexander Nosenko of the Interior Ministry department responsible for fighting organized crime and terrorism, targeted Inkredbank vice president Pyotr Chuvilin, who is also the general director of the Spartak ice hockey club.The jury found Frenkel guilty of ordering Kozlov's killing after deliberations of more than five hours at the Moscow City Court. Along with Frenkel, six others were convicted of charges related to the murder.Kozlov, in a crusade against money-laundering and corruption, revoked the licences of dozens of banks, the court was told."The motive for the crime was revenge," said state prosecutor Gulchekhra Ibragimova, adding that Frenkel had lost four of the banks he controlled due to Kozlov's tough actions."Kozlov was an enemy of shady dealers like Frenkel," she told journalists outside the court. "I believe the verdict is just."Ibragimova said sentences would be pronounced at the end of this week.The jurors decided to ask the court to mitigate the sentences of two of the seven found guilty, because they had cooperated with the investigation and admitted their guilt.Defence lawyers said one of the two had bought the pistol with which Kozlov was killed, while the other was the driver of the killers' getaway car.Defence lawyers said they would appeal the jurors' decision.Frenkel, who strongly denied all accusations, had ordered a driver to pick him up at the court, apparently confident he would be acquitted, Russian media reported.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Kazuyoshi Miura,hanged himself with his shirt in a downtown jail cell only hours after arriving to face trial

A Japanese businessman charged with plotting the murder of his wife in Los Angeles 27 years ago hanged himself with his shirt in a downtown jail cell only hours after arriving to face trial, police said Saturday.Kazuyoshi Miura, 61, was alone in his cell at downtown police headquarters when a detention officer found him at 9:45 p.m. Friday _ just 10 minutes after a routine cell inspection had found nothing unusual, Chief of Detectives Charlie Beck said at a news conference Saturday."It was apparent that the murder suspect, alone in his cell, had used a piece of his shirt as a makeshift ligature around his neck," Beck said.Officers rushed into the cell and gave Miura cardiopulmonary resuscitation while medical personnel from the dispensary were summoned. Miura did not respond to treatment and was pronounced dead at USC Medical Center, Beck said.Miura had arrived in Los Angeles early Friday morning after a trip from the U.S. commonwealth of Saipan, where he had been held since his February arrest on a 1988 Los Angeles County warrant alleging murder and conspiracy.He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday."I'm shocked," Miura's attorney, Mark Geragos, told The Associated Press in a telephone call from Italy. "One of my lawyers was with him for 12 hours yesterday, and he seemed in good spirits. He was looking forward to fighting this."Beck declined to answer questions about the motive for the apparent suicide and what the death means to investigators, who had pursued Miura for decades. He said that both he and Detective Rick Jackson, who was on the plane that returned Miura to the United States, were "shocked and disappointed."

Kazuyoshi Miura,accused of conspiring to have his wife killed

Kazuyoshi Miura, 61, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport shortly before 5 a.m. on a flight from Saipan that stopped in Guam and Honolulu.Miura was arrested in February while visiting Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific, after cold case detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department worked with authorities there. He was arrested on a 1988 Los Angeles County warrant alleging murder and conspiracy, but the murder charge has been dropped.It was the first time Miura had set foot in the continental United States since the warrant was issued, police Detective Rick Jackson said."He was very cooperative," Jackson said."I was happy to see him in person. I had never seen him in person before," said Jackson, a member of the LAPD's cold-case squad. "It was a good feeling because you wait 20 years to take someone into custody."Miura was taken onto the plane in handcuffs but those were removed when the plane had taken off, Japanese television reporter Misako Yamamoto said.
Miura was booked into jail and is being held without bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder and could face 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.Miura was accused of plotting to have his wife killed during a visit the couple made to Los Angeles in 1981. They were shot on Nov. 18 as they stood taking photos by a downtown parking lot. Miura was hit in the leg, and his wife, Kazumi Miura, 28, was shot in the head. She died of her wounds a year later in Japan.The incident caused an international furor because it reinforced Japanese stereotypes of violence in the U.S. at a time when the city was preparing for the 1984 Olympics and was particularly sensitive about its overseas image.
Miura, a clothing importer who traveled regularly to the U.S., had said he would write then-President Ronald Reagan and then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and urge them to make the city safer.But Los Angeles County prosecutors contended Miura wanted his wife dead so he could collect about $750,000 on her life insurance policies.
They argued that he signaled someone to shoot the couple, although no one else has been charged.After the 1988 arrest warrant was issued, prosecutors in Los Angeles decided to work with Japanese authorities instead of trying to have him extradited. He was convicted of murder in Japan in 1994 but the verdict ultimately was overturned and Japan's highest court issued an acquittal.On Sept. 26, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen in Torrance ruled although the conspiracy case against Miura could proceed, trying him for murder in California would violate a law against double jeopardy.Several Japanese journalists accompanied Miura on the flight from Saipan. The case has attracted extensive media attention in Japan, where it was dubbed the "Japanese O.J. case."Miura had fought extradition but agreed to return to Los Angeles after the murder charge was dismissed — although conviction on either charge would carry the same sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. Jackson and other authorities arrived in Saipan Tuesday to arrange for Miura's extradition."We carry the torch for the victim," Jackson said.Jackson said that during the investigation he spent time with the mother of Miura's wife in Japan.
"We went out and visted the grave as a matter of respect with her mother," he said. "That's what moves us to keep working on these cases after many years."
On Thursday, county prosecutors filed court papers seeking reinstatement of the murder charge. The 25-page motion argued that the law did not recognize convictions or acquittals outside of the United States.

Joseph R. Chrislaw charged with two counts of soliciting first-degree intentional homicide.

Joseph R. Chrislaw Sr. 46, of 733 Kellogg Ave., No. 3, Janesville, is charged with two counts of soliciting first-degree intentional homicide. He was bound over for trial Friday in a preliminary hearing. Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer entered not guilty pleas on his behalf.Chrislaw remains in custody at the Rock County Jail in lieu of $30,000 cash bond—$15,000 on each charge. His next court date has not been scheduled.Chrislaw tried to a hire a hit man from the Hells Angels motorcycle gang to kill his estranged wife, Inna M. Cheremisina, 34, and her boyfriend, Janesville City Councilman Yuri Rashkin, 33, the criminal complaint against him charges.Janesville police officer Richard Mussey testified that he posed as a contract killer from the Hells Angels and met with Chrislaw to arrange the murders and take money for them.Mussey testified that he met Chrislaw once face to face in the parking lot of a Janesville bar and that Chrislaw handed him a stack of cash.Mussey said he asked the amount and Chrislaw said, “Two.”
“I said, ‘Two grand?’” Mussey testified. “He said ‘yes.’”But in cross-examination, Chrislaw’s defense attorney—Bob Junig of Beloit—asked Mussey if he had a subsequent phone conversation with Chrislaw. After the officer replied yes, Junig asked if Chrislaw expressed any second thoughts about the deal.“What he told me was that it couldn’t be this weekend,” Mussey said.“Did he tell you at any point to just keep the money and forget it?” Junig asked.“Yes,” the officer replied.Junig then established that the phone conversation had been recorded.Assistant district attorney Tom White told the court that withdrawal from an agreement is a proper defense for a conspiracy charge but not a proper defense for a solicitation charge, which is what Chrislaw is accused of.“Why did he need more time?” White asked Mussey.
“I asked him (Chrislaw) was it the alibi, and he said yes,” Mussey replied. “I said I got the 2,000 bucks and I’m not sticking around.”Before Mussey testified, Ken Petersen of Janesville testified that Chrislaw approached him about contacting the Hells Angels to hire a hit man to “whack” his estranged wife and her boyfriend.Chrislaw told him the murders would have to be on a weekend because that’s when Rashkin’s daughter would be out of the home staying with her mother, Petersen testified.Junig asked Petersen if Chrislaw got cold feet about the killings.
“I asked him several times if he was sure, and to my recollection, he was,” Petersen said.Junig asked Petersen if Chrislaw ever mentioned calling it off.
“No,” Petersen said.
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