The center, located on the Indian Ocean, held thousands of migrants and had closed down in It was the scene of violent protests, with detainees denouncing harsh conditions. Morrison made the decision to reopen Christmas Island just prior to the passing of new legislation in Parliament to give sick asylum seekers easier access to mainland hospitals.
The prime minister based his decision on the assessment of the country's security agencies, which had warned in December that like the one approved on Wednesday would result in an increase in asylum seekers heading to Australia. The reopening of Christmas Island takes place ahead of a general election due in May and in the midst of a fierce debate over the government's harsh immigration policies. Australia has come under fire by the UN and human rights organizations for allowing asylum-seekers to languish for years on the Pacific island under inhumane conditions. The opposition Labor party responded to Morrison's announcement calling it "scare tactics" and accused the prime minister of manufacturing a fear of migrants to win votes.
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Each evening at UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here. The last children detained on Nauru Island have departed to begin new lives in the United States, where they are being resettled. Some adults are said to remain on the tiny Pacific island.
A prolonged heatwave has seen the month of January officially go down as the hottest in Australia since records began. The mean temperature exceeded 30 degrees Celsius 86 Fahrenheit for the first time ever. Thailand has said Australia is to blame for the arrest of refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi in Bangkok. Australia has scrapped plans for a warm-up match in Thailand over al-Araibi's detention.
The bill would give asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea better access to hospitals on mainland Australia. It is the first time in almost a century that a ruling party has lost a major legislative vote. The Australian government is currently fighting in court to refuse medical care to dozens of sick children held on Nauru. About 1, asylum seekers still reside in the Australian-run detention center on the island. Four men spent months sleeping on the floor in a busy transit area of Moscow's international airport, surviving on emergency food rations. Europe's rights court says Russia must now pay them compensation.
Police in Australia have charged an Iraqi man with organizing a "people-smuggling venture" that led to more than asylum-seekers drowning at sea. The ill-fated boat sank in international waters in The arrest of a lawyer working for Germany's embassy in Turkey has prompted a protest from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to his Turkish counterpart. They're both attending a G20 meeting in Nagoya.
But they managed to get confirmation from a sympathetic local refugee resettlement group that she had arrived in Tirana in Just days before the confrontation with the MEK members, the Mohammadis managed to prompt a police officer to enter the camp and confirm that she was there, possibly the first time an Albanian official wielding a warrant entered the compound. The Mohammadis had heard that she made her way one day a week to a Tirana hospital, serving as a translator for MEK members seeking medical care. They waited nearby to catch a glimpse of her on 27 July.
After a few hours they became discouraged, and began heading back to their hotel. Police soon arrived to break up the melee. The police rounded up the Mohammadis as well as the MEK enforcers and took everyone to a Tirana police station. MEK leaders summoned their lawyer, Margarita Kola, as well as some leaders of the group. Kola, who once worked as a counsel for the US Embassy in Tirana, claimed she was acting on behalf of the Americans.
Under pressure, police let the MEK members go, but held on to the Mohammadis for eight hours. Mostafa Mohammadi went to a hospital for treatment for his bruises. By then, the video of the pack of MEK enforcers assaulting the couple had gone viral on Albanian social media. Local television stations arrived to meet the couple, and stories about the search for their daughter began to air. Albanians were outraged.
They can do everything. They go shopping. The leaders of the MEK celebrated.
They were so happy. That move destroyed its popularity among the vast majority of Iranians. But with dozens of tanks and thousands of fighters positioned at a sprawling and inhospitable desert compound called Camp Ashraf, in a province adjacent to the Iranian border, it remained a threat to the Islamic Republic. US forces at first bombed the group as an appendage of the Baghdad regime, pulverising many of its tanks. The group eventually ran afoul of Iranian-backed politicians of the new Iraqi political elite.
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Under pressure by Baghdad authorities to remove the group, the US managed to convince the government of Albania to take in a couple hundred members of the group as refugees in , in what was described as a humanitarian gesture. But as they came under attack by Iranian-backed Shia militias, as well as pressure by Isis militants, the plan to move a few hundred to Albania somehow turned into bringing the entire organisation from Iraq to southeastern Europe. Once they had fully moved to Albania, the group first took up residence in a series of empty apartment buildings scattered around the city, and continued its fade into obscurity and irrelevance.
In addition, an ambitious and stridently anti-Iran Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman took the reins in Saudi Arabia, and began looking for allies in his aim to roll back and possibly topple the clerical government in Tehran. Beginning in July , just as Trump began re-imposing sanctions on Iran that Obama had lifted as part of the nuclear deal, the MEK suddenly began buying plots of land in Albania, in a rural stretch of farmland near the town of Manza, between the Albanian capital and the Adriatic Sea.
The Trump administration continues to maintain strong ties with the MEK. They buy small things in shops or even in malls. They always pay in cash.
They do not use bank cards. They love not leaving a footprint. Thanasi found the group purchased 1, Lenovo brand computers and monitors from an Albanian firm. At first he thought it was some scam to evade import duties and resell the computers at a profit.
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But the MEK paid full price for the devices. They wanted the computers for the camp, and paid for them in cash. The group has a number of big-ticket expenses. It has set up a dedicated high-speed internet.kinun-houju.com/wp-content/revicizy/4655.php
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It also managed to obtain official permission to set up its own antenna atop Mount Dajti, on the peaks overlooking Tirana, giving it effectively its own communications network. A private Albanian security firm, called Argon, guard the camp and its entrances, deploying perhaps nine personnel armed with assault rifles and handguns in six-hour shifts around the clock. It remains unclear why Albania, a small Balkan country struggling to overcome its reputation for corruption and money laundering in order to become a member of the EU, would allow such a shadowy group to operate with so little scrutiny.
The organisation appears to have strong connections to senior Albanian officials. Heyrani says he had no evidence of Saudi support for the group other than conversations with members of its political leadership. When they arrived they were turned away from the camp entrance. When he confronted MEK superiors about their action, they told him to let it go.
A few weeks later, during an outing with other MEK members in April, he quietly slipped away from the group, took a taxi back to Tirana and became one of the growing members of the group to defect. Sheltered inside the camp, which members nickname Ashraf 3, the organisation has recreated what critics call its cult-like structure.
Members are told to spy on each other, recount their dreams, and take part in hours-long indoctrination sessions.
Defiant members are punished with days-long isolation, barred from contact with their comrades. After outings to hospitals or shops they are patted down, for fear they have tried to smuggle phones into the camp. The camp is divided into several sections, with the northernmost end reserved exclusively for France-based Rajavi on her rare visits, and an underclass of mostly male labourers separated from the rest of the elite by fences and checkpoints at the far south of the camp. Unable to draw new recruits, the organisation is aging and greying, and many of the members might choose to remain in the camp for fear of the outside world.
They are slowly, slowly dying off one by one. All of them are brainwashed. Most days, the cadres seem to be deployed on the social media battleground, in an attempt to give an illusion of the popularity the group lacks on the ground.
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Zyla has become something of an expert on the group. Police patrols, to my knowledge, are not allowed in the MEK complex.
Their camp has turned into a mysterious bunker. The shadowy cult Trump advisors tout as an alternative to the Iranian government. Those pushing back against what many say is an agenda for regime change in Iran are reporting an online backlash the likes of which they have not seen before. However, the Twitter accounts doing the trolling may not be the organic opposition voices they are made out to be. For all the accusations of disinformation and fake news from both sides, it is rare that we can point to facts, a location, and actual personnel explaining the modus operandi of an organised troll factory.
In June , Albanian media reported a possible MEK assassination after one of the camp residents was reported drowned in an irrigation channel.