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Amnesty Rights Worker Describes Abduction As “Violent”

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A Researcher for Amnesty International, Oleg Kozlovsky, has described how he was abducted in Southern Russia by men who drove him to a field as “violent.”

He said he was held at a gunpoint, where the abductors made him take off his clothes, beat him, and tried to blackmail him.

Kozlovsky, 34, told Reuters after his release that he was abducted on October 6, in Ingushetia, a majority-Muslim region around 1,500 km south of Moscow, currently in the grip of public protests over a land swap deal with neighbouring Chechnya.

The researcher said his abductors wore dark baseball caps and medical masks and did not identify themselves.

He added that “one of these people put my head down, took out a gun and put it to the back of my head and said he would shoot me.”

Kozlovsky said that the men also tried to blackmail him into working as an informer for police tasked with tackling cases of extremism, an offer he refused.

Reuters interviewed Kozlovsky on Thursday, but held the story until Monday to allow him and his family to take security measures.

The Amnesty worker said he had filed a statement with Russia’s Investigative Committee on October 9, but had not received a response by Monday.

The Investigative Committee and local branches of the Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Kozlovsky went to Ingushetia on October 5, to research freedom of assembly in the context of the land swap protests rocking Ingushetia.

On the evening of October 6, he said a man knocked on the door of his hotel room in the regional capital, Magas, and told him a protest leader wanted to speak to him.

He said he was then led to a car and once inside joined by two men who took his phone and started hitting him and asking him who he was and what he was doing.

He was later let out in a field and told to lie down with his hands behind his back and told he would be shot if he tried to run.

An object was pressed against his hands, causing him to suspect they might try to frame him for drug or weapons possession, he said.

The men then made him strip, photographed him, and threatened to publish the photos unless he agreed to work for anti-extremism police.

After he refused, they tried to ensure he’d stay silent, he said.

“They again put me on the ground, again put the gun to the back of my head, and told me to pray. And then they told me that if I tell anyone about all this, they’ll kill my children,” he said.

He said he agreed to keep quiet.

They then returned his possessions, except his phone and camera and drove him, via his hotel, to an airport complaining about how hard it was to tackle extremism.

He flew back to Moscow the next day with a fractured rib.

“I am sure that if they want to, Russian authorities could find them,’’ he said of his abductors. “Of course I don’t know if there is such a desire’’.

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Pope Urges Calm In Protest-Hit Ecuador

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Pope Francis on Sunday called on all sides to refrain from violence in Ecuador, which has been rocked by nationwide protests against rising fuel and living costs.

“I am following with concern what is happening in Ecuador,” the Argentine pontiff said after his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican.

“I encourage all parties to abandon violence and extreme positions. Let us learn — only through dialogue can social peace be found, I hope soon.”

The 85-year-old urged particular attention to be paid to “the marginalised populations and the poorest, but always respecting the rights of all, and the institutions of the country”.

Ecuador’s National Assembly is due to vote on whether to oust President Guillermo Lasso over the protests that have left five people dead and dozens injured in 13 days of revolt.

Pope Francis also highlighted the death of sister Luisa Dell’Orto, an Italian missionary who he said was killed on Saturday in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

“Sister Lucia (Luisa) lived there for 20 years, dedicated above all to the service of street children,” he said.

“I entrust her soul to God and pray for the Haitian people, especially for the youngest, so they may have a more peaceful future without misery, and without violence.

“Sister Lucia made her life a gift for others, to the point of martyrdom.”

Finally, the pope urged those listening not to forget the war in Ukraine.

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War: Ukraine Will Be Coerced To Make ‘Bad Peace’ With Russia – UK

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The United Kingdom has expressed fears that Ukraine will be coerced to make a ‘bad peace’ with Russia.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said Ukraine could face pressure to agree to a peace deal with Russia over the global food crisis.

According to him, Volodymyr Zelensky’s side will enter a peace deal that will not be in the interests of his country as a result of the economic consequences of the ongoing war in Europe.

The British Prime Minister is in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, with leaders of Commonwealth nations for a summit

He told reporters, according to BBC, that “Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is unnecessary … and so the pressure will grow to encourage, coerce, maybe, the Ukrainians to a bad peace.”

The UK Prime Minister then warned that there would be consequences if Russian President Vladimir Putin has his way in Ukraine.

Johnson noted that this would be dangerous to international security and “a long-term economic disaster”.

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Obama Rues U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision To Overturn Roe v Wade Abortion Rights

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Former American President Barrack Obama says the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling “reverses 50 years precedent, attacking the essential freedoms of Americans.”

“Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans,” Mr Obama said in a tweet.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a U.S. Supreme Court judgment that ruled that United States Constitution protects pregnant women’ liberty to decide to have an abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito on Friday wrote the majority opinion that tossed out the case. Mr Alito was joined by the five other conservatives on the high court, including Chief Justice John Roberts.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the opinion said.

The case was met with a 6-3 decision, with the court’s three liberal justices filing a dissenting opinion to the ruling.

The decision has been widely anticipated after a draft of the ruling was exclusively reported by Politico in May.

Following the leak, Oklahoma passed a near-total ban on all abortions, starting “at fertilization” pending the signature of Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, it would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the U.S.

President Joe Biden had urged Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, saying a woman’s right to have an abortion is “fundamental.”

“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mr Biden said in May.

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