Daily World News Digest, 19 January 2016

Families receive Greek missing remains

In-Cyprus news portal reported on 18 January that the remains of seven Greek nationals missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion have been handed over to their relatives after being identified with DNA. Relatives attended a brief military ceremony Monday at Cyprus’ National Guard headquarters where they received the remains which will be flown to Greece aboard a military transport aircraft. The remains had been found in mass graves through Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) efforts. Chair of the Panhellenic Committee of relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Maria Kalpourtzi said: “The fate of more than half of the Greek missing has yet to be determined.’’ http://bit.ly/1Stl6n9

Second Hong Kong bookseller confirmed to be in mainland China

Bloomberg Business reported today that Chinese police have confirmed that Lee Bo, a Hong Kong publisher of books critical of the Communist Party who disappeared from the city in late December is in China, ending weeks of silence about his whereabouts. The Hong Kong police have requested a meeting with Lee to further understand the incident, they said. Hong Kong has been pressing China for information about Lee since he disappeared from a warehouse for his bookshop in the city. Hong Kong government had requested information on Lee from the Chinese authorities on 3 January, and China has yet to explain how the publisher got across the border. http://bloom.bg/1QaQyDf

European, US and Australian lawyers call for China to end rights crackdown

The Guardian issued a news on 18 January saying that leading human rights lawyers from Europe, North America and Australia have called on Chinese president Xi Jinping to end an unprecedented crackdown by his security forces that has seen hundreds of attorneys and their relatives intimidated, interrogated, detained and forcibly disappeared. Some of the defenders are facing subversion charges, whereas others are missing. The group said “None of the 12 lawyers still being held have so far been allowed access to counsel, friends or family, and they are effectively disappeared.’’ http://bit.ly/1RP27DP

North Korea must be held accountable for abductions, UN envoy says in Tokyo

The Japan Times reported today that UN special envoy on human rights in North Korea said the country should be held to account for its state-sponsored abductions, slamming the disappearances as a “crime against humanity.” The condemnation by Marzuki Darusman, comes from Monday meeting in Tokyo with members of Japanese families whose children were kidnapped by North Koreans. North Korea admitted in 2002 that it had dispatched agents to kidnap 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s who were tasked with training its spies in the Japanese language and customs. Around 500 South Koreans were also kidnapped by North Korea in the years following the 1950-1953 Korean War. http://bit.ly/1P2lsim

Egypt: 900 days of enforced disappearance of hospital director

IkhwanWeb, a news portal from Egypt, carried a story today saying that it has been 900 days since coup security militias in Egypt pulled Dr Elsayed from the street and held him hostage in forced disappearance, all the while denying any knowledge of his fate or whereabouts. Junta security forces abducted Dr Elsayed on 24 August, 2013 from the street outside his own house in Zagazig. Until now, his family does not know anything about his fate or his whereabouts. The family of Dr Mohamed Elsayed appeals to all civil society and human rights organizations to intervene urgently to reveal his whereabouts. http://bit.ly/1StmGFK

Sudanese refugees forcibly deported from Jordan fear arrest and torture

The Guardian carried a story today saying that hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are facing persecution in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum after being forcibly deported from Jordan. Activists and deportees said that Sudanese authorities detained more than 100 people on their return to the capital last month, and some individuals are still missing. When the refugees landed on Sudanese soil, the authorities are said to have detained some of the refugees. Individuals who say they were released from prison also recounted brutal treatment. One of the witnesses, Mohammed, disappeared for more than 10 days after arriving in Sudan. “There is a practice of repression. The government and security services regularly detain, arrest, torture and ill-treat activists and others,” says Khairunissa Dhala, a researcher for Amnesty International. http://bit.ly/1OtR0vS

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.