Taliban supreme leader makes rare appearance to mark Eid al-Fitr | Taliban News

Haibatullah Akhunzada appeared for under the second time since taking management of the Taliban in 2016 and hailed the ‘safety’ state of affairs in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s supreme chief Haibatullah Akhunzada appeared for under the second time since taking control of the Taliban in 2016 to inform worshippers celebrating Eid al-Fitr that the Taliban had achieved freedom and safety since seizing energy final 12 months.

Flanked by safety, Akhunzada spoke days after a strong explosion ripped by a mosque in Kabul, killing greater than 50 worshippers after Friday prayers – the newest of a sequence of assaults on civilian targets in Afghanistan throughout Ramadan.

“Congratulations on victory, freedom and success,” Akhunzada informed hundreds of worshippers on Saturday on the Eidgah mosque within the southern metropolis of Kandahar, the group’s de facto energy centre. “Congratulations on this safety and for the Islamic system.”

Whereas the variety of bombings throughout the nation has dropped since Kabul fell to the Taliban final August, assaults soared over the ultimate two weeks of Ramadan, which ended on Saturday for Afghans.

Dozens of civilians have been killed within the primarily sectarian assaults – some claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group – focusing on members of the Shia and Sufi Muslim communities.

Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada is seen in an undated {photograph} [File: Reuters]

Akhunzada delivered his transient handle from one of many entrance rows of worshippers in Kandahar with out turning to face the group, in line with social media posts. Taliban officers didn’t permit journalists to strategy him. Two helicopters hovered over the mosque for the two-hour occasion.

In October, he had visited the Darul Uloom Hakimiah mosque in Kandahar, in line with an audio recording circulated by Taliban social media accounts.

On Sunday, many Afghans stayed indoors after the latest lethal assaults.

“The state of affairs of our folks could be very unhappy, particularly after what occurred within the mosques,” Kabul resident Ahmad Shah Hashemi stated. “Many younger and outdated folks have been martyred. The folks of Afghanistan don’t have anything however sorrow.”

Reclusive determine

Akhunzada’s low profile has fed hypothesis about his function within the new Taliban authorities – shaped after the armed group took management of Kabul on August 15 – and even rumours of his demise.

Akhunzada, believed to be in his 70s, has been the non secular chief of the Taliban since 2016. He succeeded Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was killed in a US drone strike inside Pakistan.

His public profile has largely been restricted to the discharge of messages throughout Islamic holidays, and Akhunzada is believed to spend most of his time in Kandahar.

On Friday, in a message launched before Eid al-Fitr, he made no point out of the bloodshed that has rocked Afghanistan over Ramadan, as an alternative praising the Taliban’s constructing of “a powerful Islamic and nationwide military” and “robust intelligence organisation”.

He additionally referred to as on the worldwide group to recognise the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban-led authorities is but to be recognised by any nation because it returned to energy final August, 20 years after it was toppled in a US-led invasion.

ExxonMobil issued rare penalty in ongoing Indonesian rights case | Corruption News

Medan, Indonesia – Even by the requirements of a justice system recognized for drama, a US courtroom’s newest ruling in a case pitting Indonesian villagers towards one of many world’s strongest oil corporations was uncommon sufficient to boost eyebrows.

John Doe versus ExxonMobil, which has dragged by means of the courts within the District of Columbia for twenty years, took a dramatic flip after a choose dominated final week that the oil big pay $288,900.78 in authorized charges and bills to the plaintiff’s counsel following a disastrous deposition two years in the past.

“Sanctions are a really large deal,” Michel Paradis, a human rights lawyer and lecturer at Columbia Regulation College in New York, informed Al Jazeera. “They’re uncommon and infrequently mirror a choose’s real frustration with how an lawyer or a celebration has acted.”

In 2020, Mark Snell, ExxonMobil’s Asia Pacific regional common counsel, “severely, repeatedly, and perversely obstructed his personal deposition” and refused to reply questions, wasted time and offered inaccurate and evasive solutions about whether or not he was studying from his notes and who ready them, in accordance with courtroom paperwork.

The case was filed within the District Courtroom for the District of Columbia in 2001 after allegations Indonesian villagers were subject to human rights abuses, including sexual assault, torture, rape and wrongful death in and across the ExxonMobil Oil and Gasoline Plant in Lhoksukon, Aceh Province in the course of the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s.

Born of a 1999 merger between Mobil Oil Indonesia and Exxon, the corporate was producing greater than $1bn in annual income on the finish of the Nineteen Nineties when it contracted members of the Indonesian military to protect its facility in Aceh at a price of $500,000 monthly. On the time, Aceh was embroiled in a protracted civil conflict between the federal government and the Free Aceh Motion (GAM), a separatist group demanding autonomy from the remainder of the nation.

The 11 plaintiffs within the case, a few of whom are represented by their households, allege that troopers contracted by ExxonMobil carried out sweeping raids geared toward rooting out suspected separatists, torturing and murdering harmless members of the native populace within the course of.

ExxonMobil has strenuously denied understanding about any abuses by contractors beneath its supervision.

‘Beating in regards to the bush’

Andreas Harsono, a researcher at Human Rights Watch Indonesia, stated the courtroom’s newest ruling ought to immediate ExxonMobil to cease “beating in regards to the bush” and interact with the substance of the case.

“The Indonesian safety forces used Exxon firm funds for navy operations designed to crush dissent in Aceh and to extend capability to have interaction in repressive ways towards Acehnese militants,” Harsono informed Al Jazeera.

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil declined to touch upon the most recent improvement.

Terry Collingsworth, who filed the case and is representing the plaintiffs, informed Al Jazeera he couldn’t remark “aside from to verify that this was an award to plaintiffs’ counsel for time and bills in forcing Exxon to adjust to discovery obligations”.

A number of of the plaintiffs, who’re listed within the courtroom paperwork as John and Jane Does in an effort to shield their identities, stated they welcomed the sanction and that it uncovered a double normal across the depositions.

“I used to be open with my proof and I informed Exxon’s attorneys every little thing,” one plaintiff informed Al Jazeera. “We’ve at all times answered all their questions. We’re simply easy individuals, however I’ve grow to be braver through the years and I’m not afraid to face up for my rights.”

One other plaintiff, who alleges that troopers beneath contract to ExxonMobil attacked him with a bayonet leaving him scarred for all times, stated the alleged victims within the case had persistently behaved higher than the defendants.

“I replied to all their questions in full on the deposition,” he informed Al Jazeera.

“We had been the victims and we now have cooperated all through the method. Exxon doesn’t wish to take duty for what they did. We spoke to Exxon’s attorneys at our deposition and informed them every little thing about what occurred to us. How can they are saying now that they don’t bear in mind something?”

“For 20 years we now have been saying the identical factor, We had been crushed and carved up and we now have proof,” he added.

Free Aceh Movement
Aceh noticed clashes between authorities and separatist forces from the Nineteen Eighties to the early 2000s [File: Tarmizy Harva/Reuters]

Choose Royce Lamberth slapped ExxonMobil with the $288,999 penalty after final 12 months admonishing ExxonMonil’s counsel, Alex Oh, for describing her opposing counsel as “unhinged” and “agitated and combative” on account of Snell’s botched deposition.

Oh resigned from a brand new position as the top of the US Securities and Change Fee’s enforcement division in April final 12 months after lower than per week within the job following the choose’s rebuke, saying in her resignation letter that she couldn’t, “deal with this improvement with out it changing into an unwelcome distraction to the vital work of the division”.

“The newest sanction gained’t instantly have an effect on the end result of the case,” stated Paradis, the Columbia Regulation College lecturer.

“Good federal judges – and I might positively embrace Royce Lamberth amongst these – have seen loads and may compartmentalise. So that you gained’t see him ruling towards Exxon out of spite,” Paradis stated, noting nevertheless that ExxonMobil is likely to be much less prone to get the advantage of the doubt within the case going ahead.

“It’s inconceivable to understand how that may play out,” he stated. “However the very last thing you ever need as a litigator is to get to the purpose the place a courtroom can not depend on what you say.”