Green­light for drug lord ex­tra­di­tion

Lesotho Times - - International -

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A Mus­lim high school stu­dent said on Mon­day she’s hurt af­ter be­ing mis­tak­enly iden­ti­fied in her South­ern Cal­i­for­nia year­book as “Isis Phillips.”

Bayan Zehlif, a 17-year-old high school se­nior, said at a news con­fer­ence with Mus­lim com­mu­nity ad­vo­cates that she found it “co­in­ci­den­tal” that she was mis­taken for a girl whose name is widely as­so­ci­ated with a ter­ror group.

She was hurt by the er­ror, but even more so af­ter her Los Osos High School class­mates blasted her for de­nounc­ing it, she said.

“See­ing the year­book re­ally hurt, but see­ing my class­mates go against me like that hurt even more,” she told re­porters at the of­fices of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-is­lamic Re­la­tions in Ana­heim, Calif.

Mat Holton, Chaf­fey Joint Union High School Dis­trict su­per­in­ten­dent, said in a state­ment that Zehlif was misiden­ti­fied as an­other stu­dent with the first name of Isis.

The other stu­dent, who no longer at­tends the school, also was misiden­ti­fied in the year­book on a fac­ing page, Holton said.

He said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is be­ing con­ducted.

“The fam­i­lies of both stu­dents were im­me­di­ately con­tacted and of­fered a sin­cere apol­ogy,” and an­other apol­ogy was of­fered at a sec­ond meet­ing on Mon­day with Holton and the school prin­ci­pal, he said.

Year­book dis­tri­bu­tion has been halted un­til the er­ror is fixed, and those who al­ready re­ceived them have been asked to re­turn them.

“The re­main­ing year­books will be cor­rected be­fore the end of the week and dis­trib­uted to stu­dents,” he said.

Zehlif said she didn’t per­son­ally know Isis Phillips, but she has heard a girl with that name had at­tended the school in Rancho Cucamonga. The mix-up oc­curred on a can­did photo, and her class photo lists her name cor­rectly, she said.

Zehlif posted a photo on Face­book of her­self in a hi­jab with the name “Isis Phillips” un­der­neath it as it ap­pears in the year­book.

Zehlif is not re­turn­ing to school for now out of fear of a back­lash from some of her class­mates, but hopes to at­tend grad­u­a­tion next week as her rel­a­tives from Jor­dan have trav­elled for the cer­e­mony, she said.

— AP WASHINGTON — US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is con­sid­er­ing whether to lift a three-decade-old arms em­bargo on Viet­nam, US of­fi­cials say, as he weighs calls to forge closer mil­i­tary ties with Hanoi against con­cerns over its poor hu­man rights record.

The de­bate within the US ad­min­is­tra­tion is com­ing to a head amid prepa­ra­tions for Obama’s trip to Viet­nam this month to bol­ster ties be­tween Washington and Hanoi, for­mer wartime en­e­mies who are in­creas­ingly part­ners against China’s grow­ing ter­ri­to­rial as­sertive­ness in the South China Sea.

The full re­moval of the em­bargo — some­thing Viet­nam has long sought — would sweep away one of the last ma­jor ves­tiges of the Viet­nam War era and ad­vance the nor­mal­iza­tion of re­la­tions be­gun 21 years ago. It would also likely anger Bei­jing, which con­demned Obama’s par­tial lift­ing of the arms ban in 2014 as an in­ter­fer­ence in the re­gion’s bal­ance of power.

On one side of the in­ter­nal de­bate, some White House and State Depart­ment aides say it would be pre­ma­ture to com­pletely end re­stric­tions on lethal mil­i­tary as­sis­tance be­fore Viet­nam’s com­mu­nist govern­ment has made more progress on hu­man rights.

They are at odds with other of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing many at the Pen­tagon, who ar­gue bol­ster­ing Viet­nam’s abil­ity to counter a ris­ing China should take pri­or­ity, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the dis­cus­sions.

Boost­ing the se­cu­rity of al­lies and part­ners has been a ma­jor thrust of Obama’s strate­gic “pivot” to­ward the Asia-pa­cific re­gion, a cen­tre­piece of his for­eign pol­icy.

Even as Viet­nam seeks warmer re­la­tions with the United States, though, US of­fi­cials are mind­ful that sus­pi­cions linger among MEX­ICO CITY — A Mex­i­can judge has ruled that drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guz­man can be ex­tra­dited to face charges in the United States, the coun­try’s fed­eral court author­ity said on Mon­day, days af­ter he was moved to a prison near the US bor­der.

On Satur­day, Guz­man was trans­ferred to a prison in Ci­u­dad Juarez on Mex­ico’s north­ern bor­der and a se­nior Mex­i­can se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said the king­pin’s ex­tra­di­tion was in mo­tion and would hap­pen by mid-year.

Guz­man, boss of the pow­er­ful Si­naloa Car­tel, was for years the world’s most wanted drug traf­ficker un­til his cap­ture by Mex­i­can Marines in Fe­bru­ary 2014. He then em­bar­rassed the govern­ment by es­cap­ing from prison through a tun­nel last July.

The govern­ment re­cap­tured him in Jan­uary and Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto said soon after­wards he had taken steps to en­sure Guz­man was ex­tra­dited as soon as pos­si­ble.

He faces charges rang­ing from money laun­der­ing to drug traf­fick­ing, kid­nap­ping and mur­der in cities that in­clude Chicago, Mi­ami and New York.

Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guz­man’s lawyers, said his client’s le­gal sit­u­a­tion was still be­ing pro­cessed and that to ex­tra­dite him now would be a vi­o­la­tion of his hu­man rights.

Badillo listed nine ap­peals pend­ing against Guz­man’s ex­tra­di­tion.

How­ever, govern­ment of­fi­cials have said in pri­vate the de­ci­sion to ex­tra­dite the drug lord Com­mu­nist Party con­ser­va­tives that Washington wants to un­der­mine their coun­try’s one-party sys­tem.

One ma­jor fac­tor in Obama’s de­ci­sion will be whether Viet­nam will move for­ward on ma­jor US de­fence deals, a po­ten­tial boon for Amer­i­can jobs that could soften con­gres­sional op­po­si­tion to lift­ing the weapons ban, ac­cord­ing to one source close to White House pol­i­cy­mak­ing.

There have been ques­tions about whether Viet­nam, which has re­lied mostly on Rus­sian weapons sup­pli­ers since the Cold War, is ready to start buy­ing U.s.-made sys­tems.

Diplo­mats have seen in­creas­ing signs that Hanoi is seek­ing ties with U.S. de­fence con­trac­tors but Washington wants tan­gi­ble com­mit­ments, ac­cord­ing to the source.

Viet­nam is big buyer of weapons from Rus­sia, its Cold War-era pa­tron, in­clud­ing Kilo-class sub­marines and corvettes.

It could look to the United States for items such as P-3 sur­veil­lance planes and mis­siles to beef up its naval forces and coastal de­fences.

At the Pen­tagon, the pre­vail­ing view ap­pears to be more in line with De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter’s con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony late last month that he would sup­port lift­ing re­stric­tions on the sale of U.S. weapons to Viet­nam.

That com­ment raised eye­brows at the White House, where of­fi­cials said Obama had yet to rule on the is­sue.

Obama’s fi­nal de­ci­sion could hinge on what­ever rec­om­men­da­tions come from on­go­ing vis­its to Viet­nam by Tom Mali­nowski, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s top hu­man rights en­voy, and Daniel Rus­sel, the As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for East Asia and the Pa­cific.

Speak­ing in Hanoi on Tues­day, Rus­sel is es­sen­tially a po­lit­i­cal call de­pen­dent on the pres­i­dent.

A govern­ment source said on Mon­day noth­ing was likely to hap­pen to Guz­man for weeks.

Mex­ico’s for­eign min­istry said in a state- ment on Mon­day that it had re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the judge’s de­ci­sion, adding that once it re­ceived the case file, it would have 20 busi­ness days to an­a­lyse and de­cide on the mat­ter. The judge’s iden­tity was not dis­closed.

In a ra­dio in­ter­view, Ed­uardo Guer­rero, head of Mex­ico’s fed­eral prisons ser­vice, de­nied Guz­man’s trans­fer was a pre­am­ble to ex­tra­di­tion, not­ing that pris­on­ers await­ing ex­tra­di­tion go to the Her­mosillo jail in north­west Mex­ico.

It was not clear why he was taken to Ci­u­dad Juarez, the low­est rated fed­eral prison in a 2015 Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion re­port on fac­tors in­clud­ing il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties and vi­o­lent in­ci­dents.

Guz­man’s car­tel is present in the city, fight­ing a war for con­trol that made it the world’s most mur­der­ous town in 2010. Crime has since dropped.

At 9pm on Fri­day, au­thor­i­ties en­tered Guz­man’s cell at the Alti­plano jail in Cen­tral Mex­ico, told him to put on a shirt and pack up his things, plac­ing them in trans­par­ent bags, Guer­rero said.

At 1.30am on Satur­day, Guz­man was flown by he­li­copter to Mex­ico City air­port, where he boarded a po­lice plane and flew to Ci­u­dad Juarez.

Guz­man asked once where he was be­ing taken, but was not told un­til he ar­rived in the Ci­u­dad Juarez lockup, Guer­rero added.

— Reuters

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guz­man is es­corted to a he­li­copter in hand­cuffs by Mex­i­can navy marines.

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