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RUSSIA – Putin welcomes Prigojine’s “contribution” to Ukraine and promises investigation



Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed on Thursday, August 24, 2023, the “contribution” to the offensive in Ukraine of Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigojine, despite his “mistakes”, and promised to “carry out the investigation into the fatal crash of his plane.

“He was a man with a complicated destiny, who made serious mistakes in his life, but who was getting the results he needed,” Putin said in a televised meeting, presenting his “sincere condolences” to the relatives of the crash victims.

“These are people who have made a significant contribution to our joint effort” in Ukraine, where Russia has been conducting a military offensive since February 2022, Mr. Putin continued.

Referring to the investigation into the causes of the crash launched by the Russian authorities, the president promised to “conduct it in its entirety and reach a conclusion”.

‘We will see what the investigators say in the near future. The expertise is ongoing, technical and genetic expertise. It will take some time,’ said Vladimir Putin.

The Russian authorities have so far not put forward any clues to explain the crash Wednesday evening of the private jet that transported according to the Russian civil aviation Mr. Prigojine, his right-hand Dmitry Outkine and other officials of Wagner.

The accident, which fuelled speculation about the assassination of the man who had become the Kremlin’s enemy after his aborted rebellion in June, killed the 10 occupants of the apparatus, according to the authorities.

Yevgeny Prigojine, whom Mr. Putin said he had “known since the early 1990s”, was described as a “traitor” by the Russian president during his aborted mutiny in June.

According to Mr. Putin, Wagner’s boss had “returned from Africa” on the day of the crash on Wednesday.

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FRANCE – A French national arrested in Niamey



Stéphane Jullien was arrested on Friday, 08 September 2023 in Niamey. This French national has lived in Niger for eighteen years. He is the advisor of the French abroad in the country.

According to RFI, his arrest occurred while he was leaving the French Embassy. The Nigerien security forces found in his vehicle several cases including uniforms in the colors of the Burkina Faso army, says the same source.

Detained at the Niamey Prison

This import-export entrepreneur is held at the Niamey Prison. According to a French diplomatic source, Mr Jullien is accused of “complicity in the attack on the security of the territory”.

His case is managed by the Directorate General of External Security, according to RFI. This structure would be attached to the Nigerien Presidency.

“Our embassy is mobilized to ensure consular protection for our compatriot”

Yesterday Tuesday, September 12, Paris demanded his «immediate release» via a statement made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. «Since the first day, our embassy has been fully mobilized to ensure consular protection for our compatriot» assures the Quai d’Orsay.

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FRANCE – The government formally bans Abaya at school



The wearing of the abaya will be banned at school in France, announced the Minister of National Education Gabriel Attal, a decision made in the name of secularism and supposed to put an end to the controversies around this traditional long dress worn by some Muslim students. «I decided that we could no longer wear abaya to school,» Gabriel Attal told TF1 on Sunday, August 28, 2023.

The minister, who had since he took office this summer, wished firmness on questions of secularism, had judged that going to school in abaya was «a religious gesture, aiming to test the resistance of the Republic on the secular sanctuary that the School must constitute», promising firmness about it. «You enter a classroom, you must not be able to identify the religion of the students by watching them», he explained Sunday on TF1. The question of this traditional garment is sensitive, the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) believes that the abaya, a long dress covering the female body, is not a Muslim religious sign. Its port is «more ambivalent than a veil» according to Haoues Seniguer, lecturer at the IEP of Lyon and specialist in Islamism.

In France, according to the law of 15 March 2004, «in public schools, colleges and high schools, the wearing of signs or dress by which students ostensibly manifest a religious affiliation is prohibited», a circular specifying these signs «the Islamic veil (..) the kippa or a cross of manifestly excessive dimension». The National Education had already seized the abaya in November, in a circular that considered this garment – like bandanas and long skirts, also cited – as outfits that can be prohibited if they are «worn so as to manifest ostensibly a religious affiliation».

The predecessor of Gabriel Attal, Pap Ndiaye, questioned by the unions of heads of establishment on the increase of the incidents related to these outfits, had however refused to «publish endless catalogues to specify the lengths of dresses».
increased attacks on secularism.

According to a note from the state services, of which AFP has obtained a copy, the attacks on secularism, much more numerous since the assassination in 2020 around his college of Professor Samuel Paty, increased by 120% between the academic year 2021/2022 and 2022/2023. The wearing of signs and clothing, which represents the majority of attacks, increased by more than 150% throughout the last school year.

The minister wanted to pay tribute on Sunday to the heads of schools “who are on the front line on these questions of secularism”, and promised to meet “as early as next week (…) to give them all the keys so that they can enforce this rule”. Bruno Bobkiewicz, Secretary General of the National Union of Management Personnel of the National Education Authority, responded to AFP, “The instruction was not clear now and we welcome it.” “Now that the message is out, it has to be implemented in the institutions (…) the heads of schools must not be alone against the abayas,” he added.

On the opposition side, the decision was applauded on the right, with Eric Ciotti (LR) leading on X (formerly Twitter): «We had repeatedly called for the ban of abayas in our schools. I welcome the decision of the Minister of National Education, who agrees with us.” On the left, however, Clémentine Autain (LFI) was outraged by the «clothing police», judging «unconstitutional» the announcement of Gabriel Attal, «contrary to the founding principles of secularism. Symptomatic of the obsessive rejection of Muslims.

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FRANCE – Juan Branco after the release of Ismaëla Madior Fall: “He lies about the penal code of his own country”



The exit of the Senegalese Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, Ismaëla Madior Fall announcing that the conviction of Ousmane Sonko in the case of morals which opposed him to Adji Sarr, surprised more than one. The French lawyer of Pastef’s leader, Juan Branco, was quick to react. On his account X (ex-Twitter), he retorts that the minister “lies about the penal code of his own country”, in a post he titled: “Plunged into the logic of an authoritarian power”

“In an interview with Jeune Afrique, this Thursday, August 31, 2023, the Senegalese Minister of Justice lies about the penal code of his own country,” the lawyer wrote.

Who seems to be surprised by this release of the minister. It is particularly revealing to see a Keeper of the Seals pronounce on an individual case in a foreign media, and even more, to see him lie about it in a shameless way”.

Before attacking the press that published the interview. It is also significant to see which medium is used for this purpose, in this case, a «press» organ that has long survived only thanks to the sale of advertorials in honor of the potentates of françafrique”.

According to the lawyer, Mr. SONKO is the main opponent of the Senegalese government, “whose president is a close ally of Emmanuel Macron”. Juan Branco: “Mr. SONKO, immensely popular, is an icon of the fight against corruption and françafrique, and threatens powerful interests. This led him to unfair proceedings, including rape charges for which he was acquitted, and to be sentenced in his absence to two years in prison for an offence for which he was not charged. This sentence, which is supposed to make him ineligible if it becomes final, was handed down on 1 June”.He also accused the government of wanting to make his client ineligible. Power has long sought to render ineligible, Mr. SONKO. Thus, a first defamation case was heard manu militari for this purpose, without success at this stage. This is how this new case tries to be used as a pretext to remove him from the electoral lists and thus prevent him from running in the elections of February 2024,” he said.

“In the meantime, he added, Mr. SONKO was arrested and detained for other reasons. The case is guignolesque: the Prosecutor initially justified his arrest by invoking a theft of mobile phone (sic), before, once the man placed in custody, to charge him with crimes of violation of state security, call for insurrection, terrorism, etc. It must be strange, for a presidential favourite, to pass in a few hours from a thief to a terrorist. Mr. SONKO, sent to pre-trial detention, immediately went on hunger strike and is currently in intensive care.” He believes that the Senegalese authorities are trying to save face.” Those authorities who have detained between 1,600 and 1,800 political prisoners, including lawyers, journalists, elected officials and activists, and who are piling them up in inhumane conditions, have since faced intense international pressure, and therefore try to save face”.

He recalled that: “Senegal has long been considered the pearl of law, an example in Africa. It is therefore very important to maintain appearances”.

According to him, “this is the meaning of this meeting of the Minister of Justice, sent to the front to convince the international opinion that everything is normal”.

Let’s deconstruct it patiently.
“The Senegalese law provides that when you have been tried in your absence, your arrest or constitution as a prisoner immediately annihilates the sentence in absentia of which you were the subject, so that a new trial is organized in accordance with your rights”says Branco.

Who adds: “It is a real rock in the shoe of power, because if they had to restart new procedures, they could not lead to a definitive condemnation before the elections of February 2024, and therefore prevent Mr. SONKO from being a candidate”.

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