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‘Jihadi Jack’ parents appear in U.K. court over charges of funding terrorism – National



Jihadi Jack’ parents appear in U.K. court over charges of funding terrorism National


The parents of Jack Letts, also known as ‘Jihadi Jack,’ appeared in a U.K. court for the second day of trial Thursday, facing three charges of funding terrorism.

John Letts and Sally Lane are facing charges over £1,700 they sent, or tried to send, to their son between 2015 and 2016.

Messages between Jack Letts and his parents during that period show him telling them the money was for a friend of his in Syria, and later to help Jack escape the country.

Jack Letts insisted the money was not to fund terror activities.

The 23-year-old, who is a dual Canadian and British citizen, travelled to Syria in 2014 and was subsequently captured by Kurdish forces.

READ MORE: Canada looked at ‘possible options’ for bringing back ISIS members, document shows

Prosecution is arguing that the parents had reason to suspect the money would, or might, be used to fund terrorism.

While at the Old Bailey courthouse in London, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC acknowledged in opening statements that the parents themselves are not “alleged to be terrorists.”

“It is not suggested that the defendants supported the ideology or actions of Islamic State in any way, or that they sent the money in order to provide positive support to a terrorist group,” she said.

WATCH: Dad lobbies government to bring alleged ISIS fighters to Canada

Morgan also told the court that some friends of Jack had flagged concerns about his desire to go to the Middle East to fight, but the parents ignored these warnings and bought him a plane ticket.

The prosecutor alleged that both parents knew their son was being “manipulated by others,” and cited several online messages exchanged between the family members.

“Sending money in such circumstances, where you may conclude that it was highly likely to fall into the wrong hands, is against the law,” she said.

Morgan cited one particular case in her opening statement of a former school friend of Jack, Linus Doubtfire, who had completed a course in the British military and posted a celebratory photo on Facebook in July 2015.

READ MORE: Jihadi Jack wants to live in Canada. Here’s what officials are doing for ISIS fighters in Syria

Jack commented on the photo: “I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene.”

In a later exchange, Jack allegedly told his mom and younger brother Tyler, “I honestly want to cut Linus head off.”

In messages exchanged between mother and son in September 2015, sending money was discussed. Months earlier in March, police had already warned the parents not to send their son property or money, Morgan noted.

Similar conversations over sending money continued between them for months. In one message sent by Lane, she wrote to her son: “How do we know what you’ll do with the money? How do we know you’ve left the group you’re with?”

‘Jihadi Jack’ Canadian connection

Letts and Lane are currently pushing the Canadian government to allow their son to come to the country. Jack has Canadian citizenship through his father.

The U.K. has shown no interest in assisting him.

Canadian officials have said they can try to get Jack into a third country, such as Turkey, though could not make any promises.

WATCH: Parents of ‘Jihadi Jack’ appeal to Canada for help

Global News learned in October 2018 that a Canadian consular official had an hour-long online exchange with Jack who was asking for assistance to leave Syria, where he remains in Kurdish custody.

A transcript of the January 2018 conversation, which Global Affairs Canada sent to his parents, who then shared it with Global News along with other documents, offered a rare look at how Ottawa is handling such cases.

READ MORE: Exclusive — Canadian member of Islamic State caught, but RCMP struggle to lay charges against ISIS fighters

“If it would be possible, would you like to come to Canada? Back to the U.K.?” the consular official asked.

“I want to live a normal life. I want to come to Canada,” he replied.

The RCMP has recently been looking into transiting Canadian ISIS members held in Syria through neighbouring Turkey, and investigators have been working on developing charges should that happen.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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