Central America, November 2014
41-year-old Miguel Hernandez has been arrested and charged for the rape of a minor that occurred on Thursday, October 9th. The initial report indicated that the 14-year-old minor was walking home at around 10:30PM when a grey van being driven by Hernandez pulled over and offered her a ride. But the man did not take the minor home. Instead, he drove to a store on Coconut Drive and purchased a bottle of rum, coke, ice and plastic cups and attempted to give alcoholic beverages to her. The minor refused and at which time Hernandez had sexual intercourse with her against her will.
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Police conducted their investigation and on Wednesday, October 29th, Hernandez was formally arrested and charged for the crime of “Rape”. Hernandez is a Guatemalan business owner of the DFC Area. Since then he has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison.
Albino killers sentenced to death in Tanzania
Tanzania, March 2015
A court in Tanzania has sentenced four people to death for the murder of an albino woman who was killed so her hacked-off limbs could be used in magic, officials said Friday.
The sentencing comes after Tanzania’ President Jakaya Kikwete blasted the wave of killings of albinos, whose body parts are used for witchcraft, as a “disgusting and big embarrassment for the nation”.
The killers who were convicted include Charles Nassoro, the husband of the murdered woman. Court officials in Mwanza, northwest Tanzania, said the victim had her legs and right hand hacked off with an axe and machete after being attacked while eating dinner in her village.
“The prosecution has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt,” High Court judge Joaquine Demello told state radio after Thursday’s verdict.
She also told the Citizen newspaper the sentence had also taken into account “the escalating killing of people with albinism in the country”.
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According to a UN expert, attacks on people with albinism have claimed the lives of at least 75 people since 2000, and that albino body parts sell for around $600, with an entire corpse fetching $75,000.
Despite the handing down of the death penalty, Tanzania has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment and carried out its last execution, by hanging, in 1994. There are currently 17 people on death row in the country for killing albinos.
Earlier this week Tanzania’s president met with albino rights activists, promising firm action to stop the murders.
“The government has long tried to do everything possible to stop the killings, we are very serious with this. But we still need to enhance our efforts to bring to an end these killings, which are disgusting and a big embarrassment to the nation,” Kikwete said in a statement.
Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. It affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding, experts say. In the West, it affects just one person in 20,000.
US Supreme Court extends same-sex marriage nationwide
United States of America, June 2015
The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.
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“No union is more profound than marriage,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.
The ruling will not take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The cases before the court involved laws from several states that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Those states have not allowed same-sex couples to marry within their borders and they also have refused to recognize valid marriages from elsewhere.
Just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
The decision in United States v. Windsor did not address the validity of state marriage bans, but courts across the country, with few exceptions, said its logic compelled them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The number of states allowing same-sex marriage has grown rapidly. As recently as October, just over one-third of the states permitted same-sex marriage.
There are an estimated 390,000 married same-sex couples in the United States, according to Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, which tracks the demographics of gay and lesbian Americans. Another 70,000 couples living in states that do not currently permit them to wed would get married in the next three years, the institute says.
Roughly 1 million same-sex couples, married and unmarried, live together in the United States, the institute says.
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The final paragraph of the landmark Supreme Court ruling on Friday that declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Suspect in court over murder of rancher Tristan Voorspuy
Kenya, March 2017
A man suspected of killing Laikipia rancher Mr Tristan Voorspuy was Monday arraigned in a Nanyuki court.
Samson Lokayi could, however, not take plea after he claimed he could only understand Pokot language.
Nanyuki Senior Resident Magistrate Evans Ngige asked the prosecution counsel Cecilia Kinyanjui to find a Pokot interpreter so that the matter could be mentioned today.
Lokayi was arrested at the weekend in connection with the fatal shooting of the rancher at his Sosian farm.
Lokayi, who appears to be in his early 20s, was not represented.
Dressed in a grey short and a dark brown jacket, he looked composed when the magistrate called out his name.
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Voorspuy was shot and killed a week ago by raiders who had invaded ranches in Laikipia County. Last week, Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel was arraigned in court over the ranch invasions.
While applying for Lempurkel’s detention for two weeks, the prosecution claimed that the MP was under investigation over Voorspuy’s death. The MP was, however, released on a Sh200,000 bond.
Mr Voorspuy, a father of two, is an ex-British military officer who had lived in Kenya for many years running a tour company called Offbeat Safaris Limited.
After his killing, police officers were deployed at the expansive farm as workers made frantic efforts to move hundreds of cattle out of the ranch.