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Contract Killings


Sunday, 22 May 2011

In what is believed to be another case of target killing, two brothers — both lawyers — were gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Mauripur

In what is believed to be another case of target killing, two brothers — both lawyers — were gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Mauripur on Saturday. Altaf Hussain, 41, and Nazar Abbas, 33, were on their way to the City Courts in their car when men intercepted them around 8 am. The culprits opened fire, killing them instantly and then fled.
“They were dead before we reached the site,” SHO Nasarullah Khan told The Express Tribune. “Multiple bullet wounds were found.” The victims were taken to Civil hospital. The motive behind the shooting is still unclear. There were no witnesses which is complicating the investigation, said police officials.
The victims lived near Jamia Masjid Akbar in Musharraf Colony. “The incident occurred shortly after they left their house,” said SHO Khan. “They were shot at the corner of their street.” He said the police have not approached the victims’ families yet and are waiting for the initial trauma to subside. “No witnesses have come forward but we urge the public to provide information so that the case can make some headway.”
The profession of the deceased brothers have led the police to believe that they could have been murdered due to the sensitive nature of cases that they were dealing with. “Altaf was handling some land disputes,” said Khan. However, the SHO was quick to add that nothing could be finalised until the investigations were complete.
The police have also ruled out any possible sectarian motive behind the incident. “We have not received any evidence pointing to a sectarian murder,” said Keamari SP Tariq Mughal.
He said the victim’s brother had indicated to him that the family did not have any enmity with anyone. He said that the culprits had used 9mm pistols and that the brothers had been shot from close range. The funeral prayers of the brothers were offered in the Mehfil-e-Shah-e-Khorasan imambargah. The bodies were flown to Chakwal, Punjab, where the deceased hailed from.
Lawyers boycott
Black coats boycotted court proceedings on Saturday afternoon after the two lawyers were gunned down.
They have decided to continue their boycott on Monday. It was also decided that a general body meeting would be held at Karachi Bar Association at 10 am to be followed by a representative meeting at the Sindh High Court Bar Association where the lawyers will decide their course of action, Honorary Secretary of KBA Haider Imam Rizvi told The Express Tribune.
After the meeting, the lawyers at the Sindh High Court will proceed to Governor House to present a memorandum.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Calamity hangs over the heads of public officials for dissipatedly endorsing the release of ‘contract killers’ under the guise of a Presidential pardon.

Ritual murderers ‘Michael Josiah and Mustapha Bojon’ April 27th relaxingly walked through the  gates of the Central Maximum Prison owing to Presidential mercy.

It is a fact that the released prisoners were convicted for murdering one George Squire of Ngalahun Village in the Bo District.

Michael, Mustapha and four others were convicted for the murder of the deceased and were sentenced accordingly (death and life imprisonment).

As for the four, it is disclosed that they died while serving their sentences at the Freetown Central Prison.

Michael and Mustapha have had their names in the death list, but escaped it after receiving Presidential pardon on April 27th.

It could be recalled that the Vice President, Attorney General, Director of Prison and others are part of the committee responsible for the selection of persons to be granted pardon.

In the past, Presidential pardon is given to persons serving sentences for lesser crimes (misdemeanor), but not those convicted for committing very serious crimes such as murder, treason, etc.

The granting of Presidential mercy to contract murderers (Michael and Mustapha) has sparked a wave of concern in the minds of Sierra Leoneans.

Information reaching this press indicates that the bulk of persons granted Presidential pardon bribed their way or used political authority.

The killing of George Squire by Michael and Mustapha, it is disclosed, afterwards bring to the reflection of residents of Ngalahun Village that some villagers still hold to the habits of murdering people for rituals.

The perpetrators, we are told, used charm to overcome the deceased before killing him. He was made speechless, butchered and parts removed from him for sacrament purposes.

Bo police investigated the matter and later proved that Michael, Mustapha and four others murdered George Squire and later dragged him to an alleged female society bush where unfortunately an old woman happened to spot them.

Our sources articulated that the insertion of the names of ritual and contract killers (Michael and Mustapha) in the list of prisoners released on Independence Day was due to some unscrupulous means.

An eyebrow has been raised on procedures used in the selection of names of prisoners for Presidential pardon.

Some school of education laid the blame on the President for endorsing the release of hard and core criminals without first looking into the nature of their involvement.

It is also told that the process to identify names of prisoners to be Presidential pardon is supposedly unorthodox, corrupt, politically manipulated and full of violation of the laws of this country.

Reflection must also be drawn to the woeful pardoning of one of AFRC junta killer man Foday Kallay of Westside fame.

Foday Kallay was in charge of Westside rebels. He was known for widespread killing of innocent and unarmed civilians.

The dawn of an attack by the British ‘operation Baras’ at locations occupied by Westside boys saw the capturing of Foday Kallay as war prisoners.

He was investigated by the police, charged to the court, convicted and later sentenced to sixty years imprisonment.

After a few years of imprisonment, so to say, three years, he was released and made to walk out of the Freetown Central Prison as free man.

It has again told to this press that contract killers have been due to Presidential pardon.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Drone Strike in Yemen Was Aimed at Awlaki

A missile strike from an American military drone in a remote region of Yemen on Thursday was aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric believed to be hiding in the country, American officials said Friday.

The attack does not appear to have killed Mr. Awlaki, the officials said, but may have killed operatives of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

It was the first American strike in Yemen using a remotely piloted drone since 2002, when the C.I.A. struck a car carrying a group of suspected militants, including an American citizen, who were believed to have Qaeda ties. And the attack came just three days after American commandos invaded a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda.

The attack on Thursday was part of a clandestine Pentagon program to hunt members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group believed responsible for a number of failed attempts to strike the United States, including the thwarted plot to blow up a transatlantic jet on Dec. 25, 2009, as it was preparing to land in Detroit.

Although Mr. Awlaki is not thought to be one of the group’s senior leaders, he has been made a target by American military and intelligence operatives because he has recruited English-speaking Islamist militants to Yemen to carry out attacks overseas. His radical sermons, broadcast on the Internet, have a large global following.

The Obama administration has taken the rare step of approving Mr. Awlaki’s killing, even though he is an American citizen.

Troops from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command are in charge of the mission in Yemen, with the help of the C.I.A. Over the past two years, the military has carried out strikes in Yemen using cruise missiles from Navy ships and munitions from Marine Harrier jets.

Thursday’s strike was the first known attack in the country by the American military for nearly a year. Last May, American missiles mistakenly killed a provincial government leader, and the Pentagon strikes were put on hold. 

More recently, officials have worried that American military strikes in Yemen might further stoke widespread unrest that has imperiled the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


Moscow court sentences Markelov murderer to life

Moscow court sentenced ultranationalist Nikita Tikhonov to life in jail on Friday for the murder of human-rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in 2009.
The court also sentenced Tikhonov's accomplice and civil partner Yevgeniya Khasis to 18 years in prison.
Markelov and Baburova, who worked for the liberal Novaya Gazeta newspaper, were gunned down in broad daylight in downtown Moscow in January 2009. Investigators said Baburova was killed as a witness to the murder of Markelov, who was an active member of an anti-fascist movement.
A jury found Tikhonov and Khasis guilty of the murders on April 28. Both are linked to the outlawed ultranationalist group, Russky Obraz.
During the hearings, Khasis pleaded not guilty while Tikhonov admitted to a separate arms trading charge but denied involvement in the murder.
Tikhonov and Khasis embraced while the verdict was being announced, apparently oblivious to the judge's words. When the judge asked whether the sentence was clear, Tikhonov answered, "It's been clear since March."
The defendants' lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.
The court also ordered Tikhonov to pay Baburova's parents 2 million rubles ($73,000) in moral damages and 40,000 rubles ($1,500) in material damages. They had originally made a claim for 5 million rubles ($182,000.)
A handful of supporters and friends of the defendants, present at the hearing, smiled when the verdict was announced.
"In five years they will get out, and someone will be dead," one said.
Human rights activists praised investigators’ efforts in proving the guilt of Tikhonov and Khasis.

“The sentence is severe but I think they deserve it because this murder was not committed in extreme emotional disturbance,” said Ludmila Alekseyeva, head of the Russian human rights watch the Moscow Helsinki Group.

“This is a premeditated murder, a politically charged murder,” she added.

Lev Ponomaryov, leader of the For Human Rights movement, said in turn that the sentence was predictable because the guilt of Tikhonov and Khasis had been proven.

“It was an expected verdict, and I had expected a life sentence for Tikhonov and about 20 years for Khasis,” he said. “I am not an evil person but I am sure the verdict is fair.”


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bin Laden death will not affect Qaeda

A founding member of Egypt's Islamic Jihad and friend of Al-Qaeda's new chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri told AFP Tuesday that Osama bin Laden's death will not affect the organisation and pleaded against revenge attacks.
Aboud al-Zumur, who was in jail with Zawahiri after the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, said bin Laden was a "martyr" whose death at the hands of US special forces in Pakistan "will solve nothing."
"Al-Qaeda is not a person, it is an institution," said Zumur, who was freed from prison after a popular revolt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.
"Solving the problem entails withdrawing from occupied territories and a balance in US policy towards Palestine."
Zumur said the mass protests that toppled the regimes in both Tunisia and Egypt had sapped support for militant groups because they showed there was another way to confront tyrants.
"They have created a new mechanism to hold regimes accountable," he said. "This has lessened the support and importance of armed struggle."
Speaking in Cairo, Zumur pleaded with bin Laden's sympathisers not to take revenge for the jihadist leader's assassination.
"I say to them, be patient. Don't seek revenge. If you attack tourists or embassies, you will be attacking innocents."
The US State Department issued a warning to its citizens abroad after bin Laden's death.
Zumur said that Zawahiri, the 59-year-old surgeon and former Islamic Jihad member who has long been considered the real mastermind in Al-Qaeda's war against the United States and Arab regimes, was a "good-hearted" man.
"He is a dear friend of mine. We were imprisoned together for three years. He is a good man -- good-hearted -- who has been placed in difficult circumstances," he said.
Zumur was one of the last Islamic Jihad members released from prison after the military took power following Mubarak's resignation.
Zawahiri's brother Mohammed, who has been sentenced to death, was released in March, only to be re-arrested just days later. The military gave no explanation as to why he was set free and then jailed again.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the United State's most wanted man, was jailed for three years in Egypt for militancy and was implicated in Sadat's assassination and a 1997 massacre of tourists in Luxor.
Facing a death sentence, he left Egypt in the mid-1980s initially for Saudi Arabia, but soon headed for Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar where the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was based, and then to Afghanistan, where he joined forces with bin Laden.


Russian police helped contract killers

A group of Russian policemen have been accused of selling confidential mobile phone data to contract killers who used the information to murder one of the country's leading anti-corruption crusaders.

A criminal investigation has been opened on three Moscow policemen suspected of selling the details. The killers used the data to track their target's movements and work out where and when it was best to murder him.

Their victim, Andrei Kozlov, 41, was the first deputy head of the Russian central bank and a prominent anti-corruption crusader. He and his driver were shot dead in September 2006 after being ambushed by two gunmen in an unlit car park in northern Moscow.

The policemen, who are being investigated for abusing their authority, insist they did nothing wrong and got a judge's permission to access Mr Kozlov's mobile records. It is not clear why a judge would agree to such a request.

Igor Trunov, a lawyer involved in Mr Kozlov's murder trial, warned that the allegations were part of a wider pattern. ''Corruption and the participation of law enforcement employees in illegal activity is widespread,'' he told Vzglyad magazine. ''Take any criminal case and we will find them in either the role of middleman or accomplice.''

In 2008, a businessman whose bank Mr Kozlov shut a few months earlier on suspicion of money laundering, was found guilty of ordering the murder and jailed for 19 years.

Experts say the officers probably charged the equivalent of between $700 and $1850 for their services but that the price demanded by corrupt police now for similar services is much higher.

Police corruption in Russia is rife with officers routinely extorting bribes from motorists and demanding cash to let people off real or invented crimes. In a recent case, a policeman took a bribe from a funeral agency in exchange for informing them about recent deaths so that they could get a head start on rival agencies.


Dentist couple arrested for hiring killers to kill a man

dentist couple were on their way to honeymoon but ended up in police net.

Vinod Kumar (31), son of a head constable in UP Police, and Meenakshi (29) were arrested for allegedly attempting to murder her ex-boyfriend, Ravindra, a doctor.

Four alleged 'contract killers' -- Harish (21), Amit (21), Umesh (30) and Pawan (30) -- were also apprehended for attacking Ravindra in front of Vardhaman Jain Hospital on April 27, Chhaya Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer), said, adding the couple had agreed to pay them Rs 2.5 lakh for the crime.

Kumar and Meenakshi were arrested while they were on their way to Nainital for their honeymoon yesterday. They got married on Saturday.

It was a mobile phone used by one of the alleged contract killers during the commission of crime which helped police crack the case.

"One of the killers kept the phone call on hold at the time of firing so that the sound of the bullet fired could be heard by Vinod and Pawan. However while fleeing from the spot, the phone fell down," Sharma said.


Saran police team arrested two contract killers at Simri village under Mashrakh police station on Monday.


The police said that acting on a tip-off that some criminals had assembled at an isolated house at village Simri, a police team led by Marhaura SDPO Dilnawaz Ahmad carried out a raid and arrested the two criminals with two countrymade pistols.

Ahmad said that these contract killers, who have been identified as Kaushal Yadav alias Pahalwanji, a native of Saharsa district, and Paras Sah, a native of Madhepura district, were allegedly hired by a mukhiya candidate from Simri panchayat in Saran district Chanchal Singh to eliminate a local liquor dealer, Arjun Singh. He said that the mukhiya candidate had promised to pay Rs 5 lakh to these killers if he won the election and Rs 2 lakh in the event of his defeat.

The SDPO said that Pahalwanji had been chargesheeted in over dozen of cases of murder, dacoity, loot and kidnapping lodged with different police stations in Purnia, Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul districts. He said that recently Pahalwanji was involved in the murder of mukhiya of Sarona Panchayat in Saharsa when he refused to pay him rangdari for every work in the panchayat.

Ahmad said that Pahalwanji was also involved in a kidnapping case in Madhepura district and had demanded Rs 5 lakh as ransom.

The SDPO said that Sah was also evading arrest in cases of murder, dacoity and loot. He said that the criminals told the police that they were also planning to loot Shahzadpur branch of Gramin Bank.

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