Five Life Sentences for Rape*

Five Life Sentences for Rape*

A Polish man must await the outcome of his appeal against the five life sentences imposed on him for the rape and sexual assault of a woman.

Edward Piotrowski (aged 48) told his victim during the two-and-a-half-hour attack that he was going to kill her, her partner and his daughter.

The trial heard that he tied up the woman’s partner with rope and tape and sexually assaulted her in front of him before taking the victim to another room where he raped her and forced her to perform oral sex.

In January 2010, Piotrowski, formerly of Edenderry Co Offaly, was sentenced to five concurrent life sentences by Mr Justice Peter Charleton after he was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of the attack on November 25, 2007.

The five life sentences, which Piotrowski is serving simultaneously, were imposed on three counts of rape, one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of false imprisonment of the woman. He had denied the charges.

Piotrowski was also jailed for concurrent terms of 10, five and 10 years for aggravated burglary and assault and false imprisonment of the man. He had pleaded guilty to the assault charge but not guilty to the false imprisonment and aggravated burglary. All the sentences were backdated to November 2007.

In April of this year the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld Piotrowski’s conviction after finding there was “no legitimate basis for overturning the jury’s decision”.

Counsel for Piotrowski, Mr Bernard Condon SC, today (Monday) told the court that the focus of the sentence appeal was on the life sentences and whether or not it was appropriate in this case to impose an “extraordinary” five life sentences.

He submitted that where such a sentence is imposed it was “quite clear” that there should be an explanation from the trial judge of how the case falls in to the exceptional category of cases where a life sentence is warranted.

Counsel argued that the trial judge did not explain why he had taken this “exceptional step” and this was an error in principle.

Mr Condon said there was a lack of proportionality in the sentence imposed [not] and there was an issue as to whether or not the sentence properly took in to account all of the bases for imposing criminal sanction, which were not just punitive, but were also concerned with deterrence, protection for the community and rehabilitation.

Mr Eanna Mulloy SC, for the State, told the court that Piotrowski had pleaded not guilty and there was a “complete and utter rejection of the jury verdict” in a manner that was “quite aggravating”.

He said all the issues in the case had been gone through in detail at the trial.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, presiding at the Court of Criminal Appeal, said in all circumstances the court proposed to reserve its judgement and would hope to return judgement in the earliest part of the next court term, which begins in October.


Related Topics:

Rape in India Gains Its Rightful Status*

Is Society Ready to Penalize Rape?

Czech Republic: Sex Offenders to Be Castrated

Judge Breaks Down After Sentencing Pedophile

Israel’s ‘Eid Gift to Palestinians*

Israel’s ‘Eid Gift to Palestinians*

With Israeli warplanes flying overhead and the sounds of explosions and shelling echoing through the night, the streets of Gaza appeared gloomy and quiet during the early hours of the ‘Eid day.

The Israeli artillery on Monday pounded several areas in eastern Gaza Strip as Palestinians celebrate the first day of ‘Eid ul-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that Israeli troops fired several shells at the eastern parts of Gaza City and Khan Younis as well as Jabalia and Beit Hanoun in the north.

The shelling, however, left no casualties, medical sources confirmed.

On Sunday, Hamas said that Palestinian resistance factions had accepted a U.N. request for a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, starting 11am GMT on Sunday.

“The situation now is an unlimited truce,” Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brigadier General Motti Almoz, told Israel Radio.

“The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) is free to attack after any fire if there is any.”

Hamas’s armed wing said it killed two Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokeswoman said a soldier was wounded there but she knew of no fatalities.

Some residents in Gaza reported they had received a recorded telephone message on Monday which said in Arabic:

“Listen Hamas, if you are still alive, you should know that if you continue, we will respond, we will respond violently.”

Israeli leaflets dropped over Gaza listed dozens of names of gunmen from Hamas and its ally, Islamic Jihad, that the military says it has killed since the start of the offensive.

“This list is part of the names of those who thought they could face the might of the Israeli Defense Forces,” read the leaflet, which included a map to a graveyard where the fighters were allegedly buried.


Thousands of Palestinians in the embattled Gaza Strip showed up early Monday to perform the Eid al-Fitr prayers in defiance of an ongoing Israeli onslaught against the blockaded enclave.

Worshippers flocked to the strip’s mosques for the special prayers, which started 6:25am local time (3:25 am GMT), marking the start of the Islamic holiday.

However, many Palestinians living near the border areas where Israeli troops took positions could not perform the prayers over fears of fresh Israeli attacks.

Children were noticeably absent from the scene as their parents opted not to take their sons and daughters to the mosques for the prayers.

Prayers were also confined mainly to mosques as organizers did not have the chance to prepare open areas that used to accommodate thousands of worshippers who usually gather to perform the ‘Eid prayers and celebrate the start of the feast.

The Palestinian authorities said that around 70 mosques were not open for the prayers because they were damaged in the ongoing Israeli military offensive.

In their sermons, the Palestinian clerics urged their fellow countrymen to show patience and support for the resistance and pray for victory and those fallen during the Israeli attacks.

“This is a holiday of seeing people get martyred, of seeing destruction. What holiday is this? Who has the heart to enjoy the holiday?” said an elderly woman, Um Mustafa Jarbou, tears streaming down her face as she sat on a schoolroom floor.

She came from the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, but, like so many others, had fled ahead of the Israeli advance.

“When we eat food, it tastes like poison. Shame on them. Where is the world? Where is everybody?” she asked, sharing a commonly held view that the outside world, including many fellow Arabs, has turned their back on their plight.

At this time of the year, streets of the Gaza Strip are usually busy with local residents spending the early hours of the first day of ‘Eid al-Fitr outdoors for last-hour shopping or late-night outing. But it is different this year.

With Israeli warplanes flying overhead and the sounds of explosions and shelling echoing through the night, the streets of Gaza appeared gloomy and quiet during the early hours of the ‘Eid day with no activity whatsoever.

“You would not find any Palestinian celebrating the advent of ‘Eid al-Fitr this year,” Hossam al-Ranteesi, a 32-year-old cab driver, told Anadolu Agency.

“Scenes of death and destruction and the smell of blood are everywhere in Gaza’s streets, and the Israeli shelling is still ongoing. There is no celebration for us this year,” he added.

“How should a mother feel when she opens her eyes on the day of Eid and does not see her son next to her?” said Abir Shammaly, whose son was killed during heavy Israeli shelling of the Shejaia district in east Gaza last week.

Instead of celebrating with the living, Shammaly sat next to her son’s freshly dug grave, joining many other Gazans who were paying their respects to more than 1,000 people, many of them civilians, who have died so far in the fighting.

Her young daughter silently pushed pink and white flowers into the mound of freshly dug earth.

“The world is watching us, but they do not feel for us. Why did they waste the lives of the Palestinian people? Why did they do this to us?” said Shammaly, who also lost her house in the bombardment of Shejaia.

The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s ongoing devastating military offensive in the blockaded Gaza Strip rose to 1035 on Monday, a Health Ministry official said.

Three Palestinians on early Monday succumbed to injuries they sustained days ago in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

A fourth Palestinian was killed in an Israeli shelling of eastern Khan Younis in the south, he added.

He added that at least 6233 Gazans had been injured since the beginning of the Israeli onslaught on July 7, which Israel said aims at halting rocket fire emanating from the blockaded strip.

Apart from the human toll, Israel also destroyed 2330 Gaza housing units and partially destroyed 23,160 other apartment blocks, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Works and Housing.

“Life here has stopped by the Israeli war,” al-Ranteesi, who was heading to a western Gaza City hospital to visit his wounded son, told AA.

“Everyone fears that they might be the next target of the Israeli airstrikes. That’s why no one goes out, except for emergency and only during daytime,” he added.

Nearby, a group of Palestinian youths, displaced by the Israeli shelling of Shujaya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, gathered at the garden of a U.N. school that provides them with shelter for a chat in a bid to forget their woes.

“This is our first time to spend the ‘Eid without any celebration,” Khaled al-Beltagi, 25, told AA. “In the past Eids, we used to spend the night at the markets and cafes until the morning,” he said.

“We don’t feel any joy this year. Everyone here has their share of the grief. Some had their family members killed, others had their homes destroyed,” he went on to say.

“There is a tragedy at every house. How do you expect us to celebrate?”

Israel’s military operation, dubbed operation “Protective Edge,” is the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.

On Saturday, rescue workers managed during a 12-hour humanitarian lull to recover the bodies of 117 Palestinians, including children and women, from the rubble of homes devastated by Israeli strikes on the eastern and southern parts of Gaza.

At Gaza’s largest hospital, a group of youths came to distribute sweets to wounded children, whose small bodies bore the angry red scars of war. Efforts to bring some joy to the packed wards floundered.

I do not know about ‘Eid. Maybe there is an ‘Eid outside. We are all wounded here,” said Inas Ashour, 16, who suffered a head injury during shelling in the eastern Gaza suburb of Zeitoun.

Asked if she was happy, 5-year-old Aya Al-Namla, thought for a while as she lay on her bed. “Yes, before the bombardment.”

Six Palestinians retrieved from under Gaza rubble

Palestinian medics on Monday recovered six bodies from under the rubble of homes in the southern Gaza Strip, which has been reeling under unabated Israeli attacks for three weeks now.

“The six bodies were retrieved from under the rubble in the Khuza’a town,” Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

He said medics were allowed into the town in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross to evacuate the victims.

According to eyewitnesses, Israeli forces opened fire on ambulances and barred medics from entering the town.


Related Topics:

A Tragic ‘Eid for Thai Muslims*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

The Last Day of a Testing Ramadhan Many Muslims Prepare for ‘Eid*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

US Congress: Bill to Outlaw Muslim Brotherhood*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

Deir Yassin, the Beginning of the Palestinian Holocaust. 1948*

A Zionist General’s Son Speaks Out!*

Intelligence Agents amidst UAE ‘Aid Convoy’ to Gaza*

Sacred Activism and the Lighting of the Third Fire*

A Tragic ‘Eid for Thai Muslims*

A Tragic ‘Eid for Thai Muslims*

Thailand’s Muslim south began the ‘Eid holiday tragically when a roadside bomb killed a 12-year-old girl and injured seven others.

Police General Panya Karavanant told the Anadolu Agency on Monday that rangers had been carrying out patrols when ten kilograms of explosives that were buried into the road exploded in Pattani province late Sunday.

The bombing instantly killed Atima Seh-Jeh while also injuring two other girls and two army rangers, who are thought to have been the target.

In another incident, a Thai soldier and three suspected fighters were killed on Monday in a clash in southern Thailand, police said, as security forces in the region were on alert for attacks.

Police said a group of about six gunmen began shooting at a police officer going home from a mosque in Narathiwat.

The officer shot and killed a gunman and soldiers from a nearby army camp came to his help after hearing the gunshots. The soldier was killed in the ensuing shootout in the Rueso district, along with two more militants.

Thailand’s military ruler, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, had warned security officials to be vigilant at the end of Ramadan, when violence often spikes.

Thailand’s three Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have been wracked by fighting since Siam (the name of Thailand pre-1939) took control of what was then a Muslim Malay Sultanate following an Anglo-Siamese treaty in 1909.

The resistance became a full-blown civil war in the 1960s when the Bangkok government tried to control education in the region’s Islamic schools.

The atmosphere has also become more volatile after the Thai junta – which seized power on May 22 – overhauled the region’s administrative structure, putting the main civilian agency managing the region – the Southern Border Provincial Administrative Center – under military control.


Related Topics:

Uyghur Muslims Punished for Fasting in Holy Month*

The Last Day of a Testing Ramadhan Many Muslims Prepare for ‘Eid*

The Persecuted Muslims the World Ignores*

Buddhist Massacre of Rohingya Muslims Continue*

Muslimah Takes Down Leading Islamaphobe*

US Congress: Bill to Outlaw Muslim Brotherhood*


The Last Day of a Testing Ramadhan Many Muslims Prepare for ‘Eid*

The Last Day of a Testing Ramadhan Many Muslims Prepare for ‘Eid*

That was then… Palestinians enjoy a day at a beach during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan on August 21, 2012 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Muslims take part in prayers during the I’tikaf, a spiritual retreat in a mosque that is usually held during the last 10 days of Ramadhan, at the Sanusi Dantata Memorial Jummu’at mosque in Abuja, Nigeria on 31 July. (photo: CNS Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters)

Muslim men read the Quran in their private cubicle at the East London Mosque on August 7, 2013 in London, England. For the last ten days of Ramadhan, some members of the Muslim community are given the opportunity to enter spiritual seclusion called Itikaf. The holy month of Ramadhan ended last night making way for Eid celebrations around the world. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe)

Women pray at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Jamia Masjid, Kashmir’s Grand Mosque, was built by Sultan Sikander in 1400 AD, and remains one of the oldest mosques in Kashmir.

Muslims pray during the last day of the fasting month of Ramadhan, in Panama City, capital of Panama, (Xinhua/Mauricio Valenzuela)


Muslim men read the Quran in their private cubicle at the East London Mosque on August 7, 2013 in London, England. For the last ten days of Ramadhan, some members of the Muslim community are given the opportunity to enter spiritual seclusion called Itikaf. The holy month of Ramadhan ended last night making way for ‘Eid celebrations around the world. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe)


Dusk on the last day of Ramadhan, Tchit, Mauritania

Masjid-e-Nabawi. Last day in Ramadhan 2012-3. Photo by Naushad Ali (Madina, Saudi Arabia)

By Richard Cosgrove

A Kashmiri Muslim offers Jummat-ul-Vida – the last congregational Friday prayers in the holy month of Ramadhan – at the Shah-i-Hamdaan shrine, Srinagar. On Friday 25 July, Muslims took part in the last communal Friday prayers ahead of Eid.Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images


Muslims around the world are preparing to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Here Pakistani Muslim women shop for jewellery at a market.Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images


A Muslim woman in Indonesia checks for the quality of some ‘ketupat’ (rice cake) shells made with coconut leafs. Ketupat a famous tradition to welcome the festivities of Eid al-Fitr in Jakarta.Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images


A Pakistani woman displays her hands, decorated with traditional henna designs, at a Karachi mall ahead of Eid. Many Muslims mark the end of Ramadhan by wearing their best clothes and jewellery.Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images


A boy from an Islamic commune An-Nadzir looks on during Eid Al-Fitr mass prayer at Mawang Lake, Gowa, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. An exclusive Islamic community, An-Nadzir has 5,000-10,000 followers across Indonesia. In the remote area in Gowa district, the community live a basic life of farming and fishing, condemn militancy of any kind, and believe in salvation without discrimination and living in peace with others. Agung Parameswara/Getty Images


A man from an An-Nadzir commune looks back during preparation Eid Al Fitr mass prayer in Gowa, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. This community’s beliefs are the same as mainstream Muslims, but they pray before breaking their fast, unlike other Muslims who do the opposite. The men dress in dark robes and colour their hair while women are draped in head-to-toe burqas. Agung Parameswara/Getty Images


Hundreds of Indonesian motorists wait to board a ferry at Merak port, western Java, to cross the sea to Sumatra and their home provinces, before the festivities of Eid al-Fitr begin.STR/AFP/Getty Images


Related Topics:

God-consciousness After Ramadhan

The Signs of God’s Existence

Who or What Gave You Life?

Eid Mubarak- final Ramadan Reflection 2011

The Guaraní Continue the Fight for their Land and Human Rights*

The Guaraní Continue the Fight for their Land and Human Rights*

By Eric Michael Kelley

On the morning of May 20, 2014, leaders of the Y’apo Avá-Guaraní community appeared before Judge Silvia Cuevas Ovelar as summoned. Meanwhile, over 300 heavily armed Paraguayan national police descended upon Y’apo, ruling in hand from the same judge in favor of Brazilian agribusiness Laguna S.A., ordering the relocation of residents and the destruction of their property. The community was razed while women and children fled to the forest. Police destroyed everything—houses, the religious center, all religious objects, even personal property—burning everything and leaving nothing but rubbish in their wake. The community was violently attacked again less than a month later on June 15 by more than 50 thugs, armed “private security guards” hired by the owner of Laguna S.A., Brazilian Manfred Peters, who was safely out of harm’s range in Brazil at the time.

Many were injured, including pregnant women, elders, and small children.   One young attacker was killed by friendly fire, though the thugs attempted to frame Avá-Guaraní as the initiators of the violence, claiming that it was their gunfire that resulted in the young man’s death. Evidence later revealed that the thugs inhumanely fired rubber bullets at close range into makeshift houses where people were huddled in fear and unarmed. The thugs also vandalized and torched their own truck to proffer as evidence of the “savagery” of the Avá-Guaraní.   Avá-Guaraní reported that one of the thugs said to the others,

“let’s kill these insects,” as they attacked.

Somewhere along the way, Laguna S.A. desecrated three marked Avá-Guaraní cemeteries, ploughing the land for soy and disinterring the bodies of community ancestors in the process. This story of desecration and violence is all too familiar for Indigenous and peasant communities in Paraguay and Brazil.

In July 2014, the Federation of Associations of Guaraní Communities of Eastern Paraguay, representing over 50% of Paraguayan Indigenous Peoples, submitted its annual report to the Parliament of Mercosur detailing 10 similar attacks on Indigenous communities since 2012, including the most recent events in Y’apo as well as that in Yva Poty in November 2012. Numerous additional cases might be cited of similarly affected peasant communities in the region, comprised mainly of monolingual Guaraní mestizos who try to distance themselves from their Indigenous ancestry to appear more modern in the eyes of the Paraguayan government.

The Guaraní Federation’s report also details the displacement in the 1970s of hundreds of Guaraní families by the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Paraná River separating Paraguay from Brazil, and by the creation of the Mbaracayú Reserve. The report details the legal violations involved in terms of national and international law, as well as the August 2013 National Indigenous Institute’s Resolution demanding compensation for Guaraní communities displaced by these projects. (These documents, along with photos and statements, including video of the July 9, 2014 testimony of Sister Raquel Peralta before the PARLASUR Commission of Citizenship and Human Rights, are accessible on the CONAPI-CEP website).

One violation of Paraguayan law is the fact that many of the large landholders are foreigners, especially Brazilians, though they are legally prohibited to own such land. More than 80% of the land in Paraguay is now held by 2% of the population, revealing the dishonesty of President Horacio Cartes’ “New Direction” policies to eliminate poverty and improve the Paraguayan economy. In reality, Cartes’ goal appears to be to eliminate the poor, rather than poverty. Indeed, Cartes has described Paraguay as a “beautiful and easy girl” to Brazilian investors, urging them to “feel at home, and use and abuse her.” Given Brazil’s historical treatment of its Indigenous people, particularly in terms of the largest group, the Guaraní, it’s no surprise that a culture of intimidation, violence, and erasure of Indigenous voices has shaped Brazilians’ interactions with Paraguayans.

The Guaraní are murdered more frequently than any Indigenous group in Brazil. According to Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) in Brazil, there were 319 murders of Guaraní-Kaiowá committed between 2003–2012. CIMI also reports that more than 500 Guaraní have committed suicide, and that Indigenous suicides are at a nearly 30-year high nationwide. CIMI states that President Rousseff’s administration has demarcated fewer Indigenous lands than any since the military dictatorship ended in 1985. The local media persist in portraying Guaraní as impediments to development. Many Guaraní leaders have been murdered, including Marcos Veron in 2007, Nísio Gomes in 2011, and film star Ambrósio Vilhava in 2013. Veron’s son committed suicide. Still, Guaraní leaders such as Damiana Cavanha, whose community was displaced decades ago and is living by a road in her ancestral land, continue their fight. Cavanha has recently lost eight community members to automobile accidents and five members of her family, the youngest of whom was four years old. Rousseff’s administration continues to ignore Cavanha’s pleas for improved traffic signs as the deaths continue to mount.

In the case of Y’apo, not only was the same judge involved in summoning Guaraní leaders to appear, knowing that they would be unable to act on the community’s behalf during the police destruction described above, but she was also overturning her 2001 ruling against Laguna, S. A.. Another judge had also ruled in favor of Y’apo in 1997. Ethnographic accounts in the early 1900s locate Avá-Guaraní in Y’apo, documenting Avá-Guaraní historical accounts of Y’apo as the potentially dangerous source of the next great flood (Y’apo means “makes water”) unless Avá-Guaraní continue to repel inundations through responsible management of environmental resources.   Days after the police action, community members danced on the ashes of the community’s religious center appealing to divinity while armed police watched through their scopes from a safe distance.

The illegal assault by the thugs employed by Laguna, S.A., was brutal. Paraguayan due process was violated, 14 Avá-Guaraní were injured, including an elderly man who lost an eye, a pregnant woman who was beaten and subsequently miscarried, a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the chest, and a 12-year-old girl who has an inoperable rubber bullet lodged close to her heart and may lose her arm. Community members warily hope for justice, as members of Yva Poty still await compensation two years after the attack on their community. Additionally, Brazil boasts the highest rate of murders of environmentalists, including Sister Dorothy, tireless advocate of Indigenous peoples. Also notable are the continued efforts of Brazil and multinational corporations such as FIFA to censor Indigenous voices. The attack on Y’apo suspiciously commemorates the two year anniversary of the infamous tragedy in Curuguaty, in which 17 people were killed in a similar police dislocation of peasants.

Still, there is reason for optimism. Judge Carlos Goiburú Bado, who was responsible for the dislocation of Avá-Guaraní in Yva Poty in 2012, was suspended by the Paraguayan Supreme Court on July 8. While it is unclear why he was suspended, he was warned in June 2013 over his ruling in that case. Official demarcation and enforcement of relevant laws regarding indigenous lands undergirds all of this. At the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup, 13-year-old Guaraní boy, Jeguaká Mirim, held up a banner stating “Demarcation Now!” This was censored by FIFA, doubtless with the compliance of media and the Brazilian government. Nevertheless, with both ethics and law on their side, resilient Guaraní peoples continue to fight for their human rights in their ancestral lands despite the seemingly insurmountable odds.


Related Topics:

The Guarani: Reclaiming One’s Conditions of Life

Brazil: Video Statement on Protecting Forests, Stopping Dams and Plantations

Brazil Signing Away Our Amazonian Legacy

Brazil Ethnic Cleanses through the World Cup*

Bolivia, Paraguay and… Retrieving Our Backyard!

Ukrainian Soldiers Refuse to Kill their Own Flee to Russia*

Ukrainian Soldiers Refuse to Kill their Own Flee to Russia*

More than 40 Ukrainian soldiers have abandoned their military posts and crossed into Russian territory, stating that they refuse to fight against their own people, a Russian Federal Security Service spokesperson said.

At least 41 Ukrainian soldiers have made it to Russian territory after asking self-defense forces for help, the spokesperson from the Federal Security Service’s Rostov region border patrol unit, Vasily Malaev, told Itar-Tass.

“At around 20:30 Moscow time, 41 Ukrainian soldiers left their military bases and arrived at the Ukrainian border crossing checkpoint Izvarino. They appealed to the militia there for help to with cross into the Russian territory, in connection with the fact that they do not want to fight against their own people,” Malaev said.

Izvarino border crossing point in Lugansk Region, Ukraine (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

All of the soldiers were able to cross into Russia at the Donetsk checkpoint, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a Russian hospital near the Ukrainian border has been treating wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Some of them have expressed their unwillingness to fight for the Ukrainian army, blaming mobilization laws for forcing them to do so.

“I wouldn’t want to. We don’t know who we are fighting. I have no animosity towards Russians. I am not a nationalist, I am not Right Sector,” Ivan, a Ukrainian soldier, told RT.

What right do they have to make us fight? I was mobilized, I received wounds to my hands and now I have to go and fight again with cardboard equipment. They reuse old ammunition and make money off us. The country is falling apart, but for them everything is fine,” he added.

Another soldier questioned the purpose of the military offensive, adding that it is not even clear who the enemy is.

It is all so confusing, who is fighting who and how and what for isn’t clear. Who are these separatists? What do they look like? We don’t know,” Ukrainian soldier Sergey said.

Two other Ukrainian soldiers – major and senior warrant officers – were also among those who fled to Russia and said they intend to apply for Russian citizenship, according to Malaev.

Ukrainian soldiers claim that high-ranking officers rarely come to the frontline, and when they do they try to leave as soon as possible – preferably before dark – RT’s Roman Kosarev reported from Donetsk.

“Millions of dollars have already been spent by Kiev on its punitive action against those they call terrorists. While the country’s leadership ordered yet another mobilization round of its citizens into active armed forces…morale of the soldiers on the ground and the collapsing parliament could become a barrier for their operation target,” Kosarev added.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovnaya Rada, approved this week a presidential decree authorizing the limited mobilization of army reserves and material, which will be used to reinforce units fighting in the east of the country. This was part of the Ukrainian president’s peace plan, which involves a unilateral ceasefire by government forces in eastern Ukraine.

On Friday, mothers and wives of Ukrainian soldiers sent to fight in eastern Ukraine kneeled during a demonstration, asking President Petro Poroshenko to end the military offensive.


Related Topics:

Forced Organ Harvesting in the Ukraine*

18 US Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day.

Veterans and GIs Organize Against War and Maltreatment

Without Shame!

The Misled Foreign Fighters in Iraq*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

They never expected this, our global elected and unelected leaders. After a period of being on track with their eugenics, and social engineering programs, and witnessing their success in dumbing down a majority of the populations, they have found themselves forced by global mass protests to break the silence over the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. As each day into this holocaust called Protective Edge, the dumbed down masses to their own suffering declare the truth of Palestine written out of history books. Not a person, but a people is the world’s sacrificial lamb. They have awakened the much under-estimated human spirit, our very humanity which has been in grave danger…

Jabaila Refugee camp, July 12 2014

Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, Mads Gilbert, Swee Ang, on behalf of 24 signatories The Lancet:

We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.

On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.

This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.

A relative of two-year old Palestinian Salma Radea who was killed by shrapnel from an Israeli tank shell in the north of the Gaza Strip holds her body in the street outside the morgue of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia on July 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP – Marco Longari)

The blockade on Gaza has tightened further since last year and this has worsened the toll on Gaza’s population. In Gaza, people suffer from hunger, thirst, pollution, shortage of medicines, electricity, and any means to get an income, not only by being bombed and shelled. Power crisis, gasoline shortage, water and food scarcity, sewage outflow and ever decreasing resources are disasters caused directly and indirectly by the siege.1

People in Gaza are resisting this aggression because they want a better and normal life and, even while crying in sorrow, pain, and terror, they reject a temporary truce that does not provide a real chance for a better future. A voice under the attacks in Gaza is that of Um Al Ramlawi who speaks for all in Gaza: “They are killing us all anyway – either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose – we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”2

Gaza has been blockaded by sea and land since 2006. Any individual of Gaza, including fishermen venturing beyond 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, face being shot by the Israeli Navy. No one from Gaza can leave from the only two checkpoints, Erez or Rafah, without special permission from the Israelis and the Egyptians, which is hard to come by for many, if not impossible.

People in Gaza are unable to go abroad to study, work, visit families, or do business. Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialised treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited.3 Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade.3 They have run out now. Likewise, Gaza is unable to export its produce. Agriculture has been severely impaired by the imposition of a buffer zone, and agricultural products cannot be exported due to the blockade. 80% of Gaza’s population is dependent on food rations from the UN.

Much of Gaza’s buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, 2008 – 09, and building materials have been blockaded so that schools, homes, and institutions cannot be properly rebuilt. Factories destroyed by bombardment have rarely been rebuilt adding unemployment to destitution.

Despite the difficult conditions, the people of Gaza and their political leaders have recently moved to resolve their conflicts “without arms and harm” through the process of reconciliation between factions, their leadership renouncing titles and positions, so that a unity government can be formed abolishing the divisive factional politics operating since 2007. This reconciliation, although accepted by many in the international community, was rejected by Israel. The present Israeli attacks stop this chance of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank and single out a part of the Palestinian society by destroying the lives of people of Gaza. Under the pretext of eliminating terrorism, Israel is trying to destroy the growing Palestinian unity. Among other lies, it is stated that civilians in Gaza are hostages of Hamas whereas the truth is that the Gaza Strip is sealed by the Israelis and Egyptians.

Gaza has been bombed continuously for the past 14 days followed now by invasion on land by tanks and thousands of Israeli troops. More than 60 000 civilians from Northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes. These internally displaced people have nowhere to go since Central and Southern Gaza are also subjected to heavy artillery bombardment. The whole of Gaza is under attack. The only shelters in Gaza are the schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), uncertain shelters already targeted during Cast Lead, killing many.

13th day of Operation Protective Edge

According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70 – this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.

Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.4, 5 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.

We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s wellbeing.

Israel’s behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.

This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped.

Additionally, should the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.

As we write, other massacres and threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys are reported.6 We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machines. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1·8 million people in Gaza.

We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre.

For the Open Letter to Israel Academics see


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