VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A former Canadian law enforcement officer who was in charge when police used an electroshock weapon on a Polish immigrant, causing his death, was sentenced Friday to a two-year jail term for perjury during a public inquiry into the incident.
Former corporal Benjamin Robinson was found guilty of perjury in March, with a court ruling that he colluded with four fellow officers to make up testimony during an inquiry into Robert Dziekanski’s death in 2007. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled Friday to send Robinson to prison for two years.
Justice Nathan Smith said during the sentencing that perjury strikes at the heart of the justice system, which can’t function if there is a suggestion the evidence police give is false.
Robinson, who was led away in handcuffs, also must serve one year probation and perform 240 hours of community work.
All four officers involved in the case were tried separately. Robinson was found guilty along with Const. Kwesi Millington, who was given a 30-month prison sentence in June. He has since been granted bail while he appeals the conviction. The two other officers involved were acquitted.
The four officers went to Vancouver’s airport on Oct. 14, 2007, after Dziekanski, who spoke no English, started throwing furniture.
Within seconds of their arrival, Dziekanski was jolted several times with a Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals terminal.
The prosecution claimed during the trial that the officers concocted a story to give to homicide investigators and then lied to the public inquiry to explain why their first statements didn’t match with the amateur video that was released.
During his sentencing hearing, Smith said that all the officers made similar mistakes, including their incorrect claim that Dziekanski was wrestled to the ground. The judge said the only explanation was that the Mounties worked together on their stories.
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Some 100 Moroccan journalists and activists demonstrated Friday in front of the parliament in solidarity with an editor on a monthlong hunger strike over his treatment by the government.
Ali Mrabet, editor of DemainOnline, has been on a hunger strike in front of Geneva’s Palais des Nations since June 24 over what he is calling government harassment preventing him from working.
Omar Brouksy, a journalist at the demonstration, said Mrabet was being targeted for his outspoken criticism of the state but also it was an attack on journalists in general despite a reformist constitution and public commitment to press freedoms.
“The problem with Morocco is the flagrant incoherence between the laws and the official discourse, on one hand, and the reality, which is very repressive,” he said.
Morocco, a popular tourist destination, is generally considered more stable and open than its North African neighbors, but it still ranks low on press freedom indexes.
Mrabet was banned by a judge from practicing journalism for a decade. During that time he published the French-language DemainOnline, which was critical of the state and often poked fun at it.
When the ban expired in April, he announced plans to bring back the print version of his weekly. Since then he said he has been repeatedly harassed and authorities refuse to issue him a certificate of residence so he cannot renew his identity card, passport or set up his newspaper.
Most of Morocco’s print and broadcast media now strictly follow official red lines — avoiding criticism of the king, the country’s policies in the Western Sahara or Islam.
Many independent-minded journalists have gone online instead, but in 2014, news website Lakome.com was shut down after its editor was briefly charged with abetting terrorism by writing about an al-Qaida video.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of countries have agreed to abolish duties on more than 200 technology products — from advanced computer chips to GPS devices, printer cartridges and video-game consoles.
The agreement announced Friday marks the World Trade Organization’s first tariff-killing deal in 18 years.
The deal is an expansion of the 1997 Information Technology Agreement.
“Today’s agreement is a landmark,” said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo. “Annual trade in these 201 products is valued at over $1.3 trillion per year, and accounts for approximately 7 percent of total global trade today. This is larger than global trade in automotive products — or trade in textiles, clothing, iron and steel combined.”
American companies sell $100 billion a year in products covered by the deal. U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman called the agreement “great news for the American works and businesses that design manufacture and export state-of-the-art technology and information products.”
Froman’s office says the deal will support 60,000 American jobs.
Not all 161 WTO member countries signed on to the expanded deal; 49 did. But all will benefit because it eliminates the tariffs on dozens of tech products no matter which WTO country they come from. Tariffs are taxes imposed on imported goods.
In order for the deal to take effect, however, countries signing the accord must account for 90 percent of global trade in technology products. Taiwan, a big producer of electronics, has faced considerable domestic pressure not to join. Along with four other countries — Thailand, Turkey, Columbia and Mauritius — Taiwan asked Friday for more time to consider the agreement.
Talks on revising the technology agreement began in 2012. The breakthrough occurred when the U.S. and China worked out most of their differences during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington last November.
Negotiators still must complete technical details and a timetable for eliminating the tariffs. The work is expected to be complete by the time WTO trade ministers meet in Nairobi, Kenya, in December.
Once implemented, the agreement will require countries to eliminate trade tariffs on most new-generation semi-conductors, satellite navigation systems, medical products that include magnetic resonance imaging machines, machine tools for manufacturing printed circuits, telecommunications satellites and touch screens within three years starting in 2016, the WTO said.
“This deal will cut costs for consumers and business, in particular for smaller firms, which have been hit especially hard by excessive tariffs in the past,” EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.
Jordans reported from Berlin.
Associated Press Writer Geir Moulson contributed to this report.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware State Police say officers from around the state escorted the bodies of two Marines and a sailor killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last week from Dover Air Force Base.
In a Facebook post, state police say officers participated in the escort to Philadelphia International Airport on Friday morning. Video posted by police shows motorcycle officers leading a procession that includes three hearses.
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations spokesman Capt. Karl Wiest says the bodies of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith departed the base Friday morning.
Five service members were killed during an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga. The gunman was killed by police.
Police escorted the bodies of the two other Marines killed in the attack from Dover on Thursday.
CAIRO (AP) — In a story July 22 about an audiotape by an Egyptian militant, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the June 29 killing of the top prosecutor was the first successful assassination in Egypt since the 1981 killing of President Anwar Sadat. Militants assassinated Egypt’s parliament speaker in 1990.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Top Egypt militant urges holy war against Egyptian president
Top militant in Egypt urges holy war against Egyptian president, calls him ‘a pharaoh’
By SARAH EL DEEB
CAIRO (AP) — A former army officer who is one of Egypt’s most wanted militants called on his fellow countrymen to wage holy war against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, describing him as a “new pharaoh” in a new recording.
The call purportedly by the militant, Hisham el-Ashmawi, marks at least the third time a former military officer has been named as a suspect in major attacks against troops in recent months, a reflection of the increasing polarization in Egyptian society. It also suggests a new insurgent group has joined the fighting in the country’s lawless Sinai Peninsula.
Officials say el-Ashmawi has worked closely with the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or “Champions of Jerusalem,” militant group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group last year and is blamed for some of Egypt’s most high-profile deadly attacks.
In the recording, el-Ashmawi, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Omar el-Muhajir, appears to be announcing a new group in Egypt called al-Morabtoon that’s allied to al-Qaida. That’s a name previously used by a militant group that operates in Algeria and Libya, but it is unclear if the new Egyptian group is linked to it.
El-Ashmawi also purportedly allies himself in the audio with the Islamic State rival, al-Qaida, led by Egyptian militant Ayman al-Zawahri.
In the audio, a quote by al-Zawahri comes before el-Ashmawi speaks, criticizing el-Sissi.
“He is following the footsteps of his ancestor pharaoh, who declared himself God the great, using the worst type of torture and harassment of Muslims and using the deceptive magic of the media,” el-Ashmawi purportedly says.
The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant messages, first reported on the audio Tuesday. The message later was later widely shared on social media websites by militant sympathizers, though The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify it.
One military official said el-Ashmawi was named as a suspect in the July 11 bombing outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo that killed a bystander, the first attack on a diplomatic mission in Egypt. El-Ashmawi also is named as a suspect in the killing of the country’s chief prosecutor late last month, the first successful assassination since the 1990 killing of parliament speaker Rifaat el-Mahgoub by militants.
He also is wanted over the failed assassination attempt against the interior minister in 2013 and a brazen attack against troops last summer near the border with Libya. His name was among two dozen militants named in an Interior Ministry video released to the public in January 2014.
Two other senior security officials said el-Ashmawi was a major in the special forces dismissed in 2009. They said he faced a military trial for espousing radical ideas, leading to his dismissal. Two other officials said his dismissal was effective in 2011. The discrepancy couldn’t be immediately reconciled.
The officials said el-Ashmawi has traveled to Libya, Syria and Gaza to train militants there. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
This is at least the third time officials say a former military officer has been named as having leading roles in Egypt’s widening insurgency. A naval officer has been named as a suspect in November attack on a navy patrol boat that saw eight sailors go missing. Another infantry officer has been accused of plotting attacks in the Sinai and being involved in the failed assassination attempt on the interior minister with el-Ashmawi.
Omar Ashour, a senior lecturer in security studies at the University of Exeter, said el-Ashmawi’s new audio highlights the factionalism within Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, as some pledged to the Islamic State group while others prefer to work with al-Qaida.
“We will see how this develops,” Ashour said. “If they split now things may be undermined” for the militants.
There has been a surge in militant attacks in Egypt following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president. The military, led by el-Sissi, forced Morsi out of office, and has since put him on trial. Authorities also cracked down on Islamists and other critics, deepening instability in the country.
As an elected president, el-Sissi has made restoring stability and improving the economy his top priorities. While there have been some improvement in economic indicators, militants’ attacks have grown more brazen.
On Wednesday, el-Sissi spoke to mark the anniversary of the 1952 coup that toppled Egypt’s monarchy, telling military cadets their work is similar to a religious duty.
“Egypt’s national security will remain our top priority,” he said.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — YouTube says it’s making a further push into virtual reality, promising to add 3-D support for videos that play back in its 360-degree format.
Thursday’s announcement comes a day after the debut of the first online 360-degree ad, a commercial for Bud Light.
Right now, viewers using the mobile YouTube app or Google’s Chrome browser can pan around in any direction in the 360-degree videos. They’re shot using special camera rigs that look in many directions, and software stitches together all the video.
Support for 3-D means wearers of headsets like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard can see images in three dimensions as they swivel around to change their view. YouTube also said it would provide special camera rigs that support the format at its studios around the world, including at two locations opening in the next year in Toronto and Mumbai.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced the push during VidCon, an annual convention for fans and creators of online video at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“We’ve seen big name artists like Avicii and Bjork do some breakthrough things with 3-D video, but we want to empower all of you to chart this new frontier,” she said.
Wojcicki also announced a redesign of YouTube’s mobile app that allows fans to be notified when creators they follow post new videos. It also adds editing tools for filters and music within the app. The redesign is available for Android devices right away, with support for Apple devices coming soon.
Bud Light 360-degree ad: http://bit.ly/1g8uEUI