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Sat Nov 2, 2019, 07:37 AM

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Spain's rape laws in the spotlight after men cleared of gang-raping teenager

Women's rights campaigners in Spain called for a change in the law on Friday after a court in Barcelona cleared five men of raping a 14-year-old girl, ruling that they did not use violence.

The men, who denied the charges, took turns to have sex with the teenager after a party in Manresa, a town to the north of Barcelona, in October 2016, the court heard.

On Thursday they were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in jail for sexual abuse, avoiding more serious charges of rape or sexual assault because the court said the girl was drunk and unconscious, did not fight back and the men were not violent.


The verdict has reignited a debate over the Spanish judiciary's treatment of women, which intensified with the 2016 "Wolf Pack" case, in which an 18-year-old woman was gang-raped during the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona.


2. A Turkmen Doctor Came Out And Now He (And His Family) Have Gone Missing

A young man in Turkmenistan who detailed his tormented life being gay in a conservative country has vanished along with his family after going to a police station where he had been summoned.

Twenty-four-year-old Kasymberdy Garayev -- whose mother and father and siblings have also disappeared -- worked as a cardiologist at a prestigious clinic in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital.

He recounted to RFE/RL's Turkmen Service the many problems he had being gay in Turkmenistan -- where homosexuality is still considered a crime -- in a story published on October 21.


He said that only members of his family knew about his sexual orientation and even they attempted to convince him to “live a lie” and conceal the truth from everyone.


3. Controversial new Russian internet law could increase censorship, critics say

A new Russian internet law came into effect on November 1 that lawmakers say is designed to protect the country's internet "Runet" in case of a cyber-attack or other external threat.

The "sovereign internet" law would allow the country's telecommunications body Roskomnadzor to isolate the Runet from the global network in the event of an attack.

The head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, has said that they would only resort to blocking the internet or certain providers in an emergency.


"Now the government can directly censor content or even turn Russia’s internet into a closed system without telling the public what they are doing or why," said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.


4. EU leaders face legal action over Czech PM's alleged conflict of interest

The EU’s most powerful decision-making body is being taken to court accused of failing to act on an alleged conflict of interest centred on the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.

Lukáš Wagenknecht, a Czech senator, said he had launched legal action at the European court of justice after the European council – the body representing EU leaders – failed to respond to his concerns about the alleged conflict of interest.


The billionaire prime minister of the Czech Republic was found by EU lawyers in 2018 to have a conflict of interest, because his Agrofert agro-food conglomerate had benefited from at least €82m (Ł71m) in EU subsidies that year alone.

As a member of the European council, Babiš has a veto over the EU budget, giving him a say over how much money is allocated to farm subsidies compared with research.


5. Sure, Help The Homeless, These Moscow Residents Say, But Don't Do It In Our Neighborhood

"If you want to do good deeds, do them – but don't make those around you uncomfortable," said Kira Gorchakova, a resident of Moscow’s Begovoi district when asked about a shelter and consultative center for homeless people that has been proposed for her neighborhood.


For the last two months, Begovoi residents have been discussing a proposal by the nongovernmental organization Nochlezhka to open a small center to aid homeless people. Under the plan, the facility would provide legal, medical, and psychological consulting, as well as provide up to 15 beds for temporary shelter for its clients.


"You have in your minds the image of a dirty, bad-smelling person," Sverdlin told the audience. "But 16 percent of those with whom we work have higher educations. Fifteen percent have been released from orphanages. Many of them are elderly people without families. And 40 to 45 percent of them are people who came from poor regions to earn a living and who were tricked by their employers.


His audience remained skeptical throughout his presentation and most walked out after less than an hour. Opposition to the initiative has been spearheaded by local councilwoman Zoya Andrianova, who says she has gathered the signatures of some 1,500 residents of the Begovoi district, which is on the northwestern edge of the city center, on a petition against it.


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Reply 5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed (Original post)
rpannier Nov 2019 OP
dewsgirl Nov 2019 #1
CousinIT Nov 2019 #2
rpannier Nov 2019 #3
CousinIT Nov 2019 #4
rpannier Nov 2019 #5
CousinIT Nov 2019 #6

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 07:49 AM

1. I hope that guy and his family from Turkmenistan

are found safe.😳
And man Russia is a sad mess.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 09:10 AM

2. EXCUSE ME? They let the rapists off because an unconscious 14-year-old didn't "fight back"?


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Response to CousinIT (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 09:35 AM

3. That was the thing that caught my attention

drunk and unconscious... didn't fight back
Curious how that court could explain that

That court likely get slapped down the Supreme Court.
Those guys will go away for a longer stretch

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Response to rpannier (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 09:42 AM

4. This is in Spain, not US

But still - an unconscious person can't "fight back" and letting a sex offender/rapist off because of that doesn't magically make them not a rapist or sex offender. It changes nothing! In fact if someone rapes an unconscious person, that's worse! Yet they still let them off!

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Response to CousinIT (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:16 AM

5. They'll likely get the same treatment the 'wolfpack' group got

The Spanish Supreme Court sentenced those five to longer sentences and included a sharp rebuke to the lower Court
Kind of surprised the lower courts haven't seem to have gotten the message

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Response to rpannier (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:52 AM

6. They deserve at least that.

WTF is wrong with their lower courts? They act like American ones (NOT good)

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