Daily World News Digest, 18 February 2016

DNA evidence helps secure criminal conviction

Eyewitness News from South Africa reported on 17 February that three men, Carrington Laughton and two policemen brothers, Carel and David Ranger, have been convicted of killing a mother-of-three almost 17 years ago. Judgment follows a four-year investigation and a two-year legal battle. Ketani had been stabbed and then kidnapped from a hospital by the three men. Judge Natvarlal Ranchod accepted DNA results sent from the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia, as well as handwriting analysis, and evidence from three accomplice witnesses. The victim’s body was never been found and the motive for her murder remains unknown. http://bit.ly/1VpebK9

Egypt to shut prominent center that documents torture

The BBC reported today that Egypt has ordered the closure of the country’s last remaining center for the treatment and documentation of alleged torture victims. Officials have said the prominent El Nadeem center had breached unspecified health ministry regulations. The Cairo-based El Nadeem center has operated since 1993, providing support and counselling to victims of torture. Organization’s director said the group will continue operating until the police arrests them. Amnesty International said the move against the El Nadeem center appears to be an “extension of the ongoing crackdown on human rights activists in Egypt”. http://bbc.in/20FMga1

Freed Boko Haram captives shunned, study shows

The Baptist Press carried a story on 17 February saying that women and girls kidnapped and raped by Boko Haram jihadists are often rejected and ostracized in refugee camps and upon return to their communities and families, a new report released by UNICEF and International Alert reveals. Hundreds of an estimated 2,000 residents kidnapped in northeast Nigeria since 2012 have been freed. “As they return, many face marginalization, discrimination and rejection by family and community members due to social and cultural norms related to sexual violence.” While the exact number of those kidnapped is not certain, still missing are more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 in Chibok. http://bit.ly/20FLc6e

Egypt: Two young men disappear in the hands of the Homeland Security

All Africa news portal reported on 17 February that at the beginning of this month, the Homeland Security arrested another two young men for no apparent reason. Abo Obida Sayed Mahmoud Abdelhameed and Islam Ibrahim Eltohamy Ibrahim have both been missing since, and their families remain unaware of their fates and whereabouts. Alkarama human rights organization sent an urgent appeal to the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID), asking this body to request the Egyptian authorities to immediately disclose their place of detention and authorize their families and lawyers to visit them. http://bit.ly/1mJh24w

Pope Francis remains diplomatic during visit to Mexico

Free Speech Radio News carried a story on 17 February saying that Pope Francis concluded his six-day trip to Mexico today with a visit to a prison and a public mass in Ciudad Juarez. Leticia Mora’s daughter was kidnapped and murdered in the area. Mora planned to hold a large portrait of her daughter in the receiving lines for the Pope, but was warned against it because of possible retaliation due to the tight security. Mora says the Pope should have avoided euphemisms and spoken directly about the problem of disappearances and femicides. Other victims of violence in Mexico who sought to meet with the Pope are the parents of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa.  http://bit.ly/1mJkeNv

Dissidents fearful as Thailand, once a haven, favors China

Reuters carried a story on 17 February saying that one night last month, Liu Xuehong stood weeping outside the gates of the UN headquarters in Bangkok, begging the guards to let her in. The Chinese dissident had received a threatening call from an anonymous Chinese official, and feared that she, like other asylum seekers in Thailand, would be snatched away by agents of China or deported by a Thai junta increasingly allied to it. Liu is one of hundreds of Chinese who have fled for Thailand, say human rights groups. It was long considered a refuge, but not anymore. Two Chinese dissidents recently disappeared from Thai soil, only to reappear a few weeks later in China in police custody. http://reut.rs/1mIrgC7

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.