A Chinese court has jailed a popular blogger over posts suggesting the death toll among Chinese soldiers in a China-Indian border clash last year was higher than claimed.
Qiu Ziming was among at least six people arrested in February for online posts about the Galwan Valley clash between Chinese and Indian troops in a disputed border area. A tense standoff that began in May escalated to shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights, before culminating on 15 June into a violent bout of hand-to-hand combat with clubs and stones, leaving dozens dead.
Indian authorities said at least 20 soldiers died, but China did not officially confirm any deaths from its side until the bestowing of posthumous honours on four soldiers in February.
Qiu, who had more than 2.5 million followers on Weibo, had suggested in blogposts that the actual count might be higher than the official tally, and that a commanding officer survived “because he was the highest-ranking officer there” – a comment that irked officials.
On Tuesday, he was sentenced to eight months in jails under a 2018 law outlawing the defamation of “heroes and martyrs”. He is the first person to be sent to prison under the law, which was amended earlier this year to allow jail terms of up to three years as penalty.
Qiu had “infringed on the reputation and honour of heroes and martyrs … and confessed to his crimes”, the court verdict said.
Qiu’s guilty plea brought him a lighter sentence, the Global Times said, adding that Qiu must also apologise publicly in the media and through “major domestic portals” within 10 days. Qiu has already made a televised confession, apologising on primetime CCTV wearing a prison uniform.
The 38-year-old from Nanjing was arrested in February for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a broadly defined crime often used against journalist and activists, who are then prosecuted through an opaque justice system with conviction rates of more than 99%.
The Galwan Valley incident was the first fatal clash between the two sides since 1975, and the most serious since 1967. Indian officials at the time said there were casualties on both sides, but China remained tight-lipped about any details, until February’s honouring of four soldiers. There was hero-worshipping coverage across state media, and a crackdown on online critics.
Also among those targeted in the February crackdown was a teenage blogger based overseas. The 19-year-old, Wang Jingyu, was accused of having “slandered and belittled the heroes”, and was “pursued online”, Chongqin city police said.
In April, Wang, a US permanent resident, attempted to fly from Istanbul to the US, but was taken into custody by Dubai authorities during a stopover. The US state department described the case as a “human rights” concern and said he could have faced extradition to China.
Associate Press reported conflicting accounts from Dubai authorities about the charges he faced. Activists said Wang claimed to have been visited by Chinese diplomatic staff repeatedly during his weeks of detention, and “pressured” to sign a document allowing deportation back to China. He was released and returned to Turkey late last month.
Raman Pratasevich has been part of the Belarus political opposition for over a decade and has long feared the authorities would try to abduct him, even though he was living abroad. The 26-year-old dissident journalist couldn’t imagine, however, just how far they would go.
Pratasevich, who ran a channel on a messaging app used to organize demonstrations against the iron-fisted rule of President Alexander Lukashenko, left his homeland in 2019 to try to escape the reach of the Belarusian KGB and ended up in Lithuania. He was charged in absentia for inciting riots, which carries a sentence of 15 years in prison.
As he was returning Sunday to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, from Greece with his girlfriend aboard a Ryanair jet, Belarusian flight controllers told the crew to divert to Minsk, citing a bomb threat. Lukashenko scrambled a fighter jet to escort the plane.
When it became apparent where the plane was going, a clearly shaken Pratasevich told fellow passengers that he feared execution in Belarus, which still carries out capital punishment.
A 33-year-old `YouTuber’ has been arrested by the cyber cell of Mumbai Police from Delhi for allegedly posting videos containing abusive language about women, an official said on Tuesday.
Saahil alias Pradeep Choudhary, a resident of Faridabad, was arrested on Monday, an official said.
Choudhary’s YouTube channel has thousands of subscribers and his videos cover latest issues such as Sushant Singh Rajput’s death or the alleged Bollywood-drug trade nexus.
A 6-year-old autistic child from Newport, Oregon, died on Monday after his mother, Jillian McCabe, allegedly threw him off of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. McCabe called police Monday night and admitted she had killed her son London McCabe, and the boy’s body was discovered in Yaquina Bay shortly afterwards.
On a blog called “Autistic London,” Jillian chronicled the difficulties of living with her non-verbal, autistic son and a husband who suffered an injury that left him unable to work. She’s currently being held on $750,000 bail.
This isn’t the first time in recent history that a mother has been accused of killing — or attempting to kill — her autistic offspring. Kelli Stapleton is currently incarcerated for attempting to poison her teenager daughter Issy.
Stuart Campbell, a controversial blogger who runs the Wings over Scotland political website, has been arrested after a woman alleged she had been harassed online.
Campbell, 49, originally from Stirling, was arrested in Bath on Friday on suspicion of harassment and malicious communications, and released on bail until mid-September while police investigate further. The arrest was carried out by Avon and Somerset police at the request of the Metropolitan police.
The Herald newspaper reported that his arrest followed a complaint to police by a woman in her 30s living in south London. On the day of his arrest, Campbell tweeted: “For sucky reasons totally outwith my control (don’t ask), posts on Wings will be very sparse for an unknown period. Sorry, folks.”
In a statement, the Met said: “Police are investigating an allegation of online harassment. The allegation was made after a woman, aged in her 30s, attended a south London police station. The harassment is said to have taken place over the past two years.”
Campbell, who styles himself as the Rev Stuart Campbell, was asked for a comment but had not replied by the time of publication. In a post on his website, he said the allegations related to tweets which had not been deleted. He also claimed the tweets were not threatening in any way.
Although based in Bath since 1991, Campbell was the most prominent and active pro-independence blogger during the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign. He raised tens of thousands of pounds through crowdfunding campaigns to pay his salary and costs, and for other contributors to the Wings over Scotland blog.
He commissioned opinion polls, an advert on the Glasgow underground which attacked the media, and self-published the Wee Blue Book, a document he claimed set out the factual and economic case for independence.
A Russian court sentenced a well-known blogger who has covered ongoing daily protests in the Far Eastern city to seven days in jail after finding him guilty of violating the law on public gatherings.
Aleksei Romanov’s lawyer, Vitaly Tykhta, told RFE/RL that his client was detained in the morning of July 31 while leaving his appartment and tried in the afternoon.
Romanov fled Russia with his family in 2016, saying that he feared for his safety amid a campaign of harassment by the local authorities. He returned to Khabarovsk last year.
His YouTube channel has 316,000 subscribers.
Over the past three weeks, protesters have taken to the streets of Khabarovsk and other towns and cities in Khabarovsk Krai in support of the arrested former governor of the region, Sergei Furgal.
An Islamabad-based blogger and journalist Asad Ali Toor was attacked and tortured by unidentified assailants inside his apartment.
Three men with masks attacked Toor, according to the First Investigation Report (FIR) registered with police, after they broke into his apartment on the night of May 25, and threatened him of dire consequences if he raised his voice.
Toor, who lives alone in his apartment, tried to resist but was forcibly moved to another room and tortured.
The incident comes barely a month after the attack on Absar Alam, senior anchorperson and ex-Chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Absar Alam was shot and injured on April 20 while he was walking in a park near his house in Islamabad.
Police book three unidentified attackers
The Islamabad Police have booked three unidentified masked men on charges of storming into the apartment of Asad Ali Toor and subjecting him to severe torture.
Blogger Ahmed Mansour has been arrested in connection with a criminal case, police confirmed.
Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai Police chief, said the arrest was made in the emirate based on a request from the UAE attorney general.
“We were asked by the Federal Public prosecution to arrest him in connection with a criminal case and the case has been referred to him,” he said.
However, Lt Gen Tamim did not disclose the nature of the charge, saying the details of the case are with the UAE attorney general.
The Australian couple being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison have been named as Jolie King and Mark Firkin, who were reportedly arrested 10 weeks ago near the Iranian capital.
Firkin and King, who also holds a British passport, have been blogging a globe-trotting adventure since 2017 as they endeavoured to drive from Australia to London. Despite diplomatic efforts to keep their cases from public attention, the pair was named overnight on social media.
Unrelated to the couple’s case, a third Australian is also being held in Evin prison, reportedly in solitary confinement. The Cambridge-educated academic had been lecturing at an Australian university before she was arrested last year. She has reportedly been tried – the charges are unknown – and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
The Australian government has been negotiating for the release of all three Australians since their arrests, news of which became public on Wednesday. The Guardian understands both Firkin and Jolie were travelling on Australian passports.
The families of Firkin and King released a statement saying: “Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible.” They said they would not be commenting further and asked for privacy.
The editor of the Persian-language broadcaster Manoto TV, Pouria Zeraati, said on Twitter a source had told him the couple had been arrested “for flying a drone near the capital, Tehran”.
Earlier reports suggested the couple had been camping in a military area around Jajrood in Tehran province.
The couple were blogging their travels on YouTube and Instagram. Dozens of videos and photographs posted online appear to have been shot using a drone.
“The family says this was a misunderstanding and Jolie King and her fiance Mark Firkin were unaware of the Iranian law which bans drone flights without a licence,” Zeraati said online.
“Their trial has not been held yet and it is not clear what the Islamic Republic [of Iran] wants out of this arrest, as no one from the judiciary or intelligence services has made any comment on this.”