A Scottish man was arrested and put in jail for “suspicion of hate crime” after police saw a video the man had uploaded to YouTube of Meechan joking that he had trained his girlfriend’s dog, Buddha, to respond to phrases reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
The two-and-a-half minute video begins with an intruduction of a joking Meechan explaining that he was going to teach his girlfriend’s “cute” dog the “least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi.”
He repeats the phrase excitedly, “Gas the Jews?” and “Seig Heil” while the dog tries to lift a paw.
The video has been viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube.
Meechan was released from jail. A report was sent to the procurator fiscal about the possibility of a breach of the electronic communications act of 2003.
Police commented on the arrest, saying, ‘This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone posting such material online, or in any other capacity, that such views will not be tolerated.”
Detective Inspector David Cockburn also commented, “I would ask anyone who has had the misfortune to have viewed it to think about the pain and hurt the narrative has caused a minority of people in our community.
“The clip is deeply offensive and no reasonable person can possibly find the content acceptable in today’s society.”
“This clip has been shared and viewed online, which ultimately has caused offence and hurt to many people in our community.”
“There is no place for hate crime in Scotland and police take all reports of incidents seriously.”
Meechan later posted another video where he expressed concern that the accusations would make people think he was actually a racist, while his friends and small YouTube following generally know him for his sense of humor, and the video had just unexpectedly gone viral. The video included lengthy apologies and explanations by both Meechan and his girlfriend that the video was not intended to offend, and Meechan was not racist.
The government of Norway is appealing the verdict delivered last week that found that the state did violate political mass killer Anders Breivik’s human rights guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The state had, in the eyes of the court, subjected Breivik to inhuman and degrading treatment.
“The prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society,” Judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic stated. “This applies no matter what – including in the treatment of terrorists and killers.” Breivik had complained about solitary confinement, unpleasant treatment by prison staff, and unpleasant prison services.
However, the judge found that Breivik’s rights to marry had not been violated by the state, which had monitored and censored Breivik’s communications with the outside world.
After months held in Thai immigration detention centers, over 100 Uighurs have been deported to China, despite protests from the United Nations and the Uighurs themselves, who fear punishment in China.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commented on the move, saying it was “shocked by this deportation of some 100 people and consider it a flagrant violation of international law.”
Many of the deported Uighurs have been accused of terrorism by Chinese officials. China’s Foreign Ministry said those Uighurs suspected of “committing serious crimes” would be brought to justice, while others would be dealt with in “proper ways.”
Complaints against Jiang Zemin, the former leader of China’s Communist Party, rose from only a few thousand to around 35,000 over the previous month. The number of complainants is currently around 44,000.
They are practitioners and supporters of the Chinese religion Falun Gong, and they are urging China’s governing authorities to bring Jiang to justice for his administration’s persecution of the minority religion.
Similar to other mass movements currently taking place in China, the group action against Jiang is taking place on a website. Claimants are submitting complaints to Minghui. Between 1,700 and 2,700 complaints have been filed per day between the end of June and the beginning of July, mostly in China, but complaints have also come in from 19 other countries.
The complaints include illegal detention, forced labor, torture, and murder.
Over the past 16 years, the Chinese government’s torture of Falun Gong adherents has resulted in 3,800 reported deaths. The actual number may be much higher, as matters such as executions, although extremely common in China relative to the rest of the world, are guarded as state secrets.
Dong-Hyuk Shin, the only North Korean prison camp escapee, revealed that the inaccurate details in his autobiography “Escape from Camp 14” were neither lies nor confusion about his memories following his traumatic experiences. He just wanted to keep some painful experiences to himself.
“First of all, let me tell about the controversial issues surrounding my book, as some people are still regarding me as a liar. For what and how would I make up those horrible memories? I just wanted to hide a part of my life in the book. Isn’t that a choice I am free to make?” Shin said.
According to the book, Shin underwent torture in North Korea’s most notorious political prison camp, No.14, at the age of 13. He later corrected this claim, however, to say that it was actually in Camp 18, known to be less controlled, when he was 20 years old, after moving out of Camp 14 at age six. Shin was transferred back to Camp 14, again, so he escaped from No. 14 in the end.
He said that he also had to correct the inaccurate report about his confession from United States media. The author of his book, Blaine Harden added in a new forward of the e-book that, “Trauma experts see nothing unusual in this.”
Shin, however, strongly denied the loss of memories, as Harden explained. “I didn’t forget any of the memories of my life. In reality, I couldn’t forget them even if I tried. Every time I tried to erase those terrifying moments, they remained in my head more clearly,” he said.
The prison camp survivor has undergone a tough time since the end of last year, when he arrived in South Korea. Last October, North Korean authorities produced a video called “Lie and Truth” to attack Shin, who had given evidence of North Korea’s human rights violations in front of the UN Commission of Inquiry. In the video, Shin’s father — whom he believed to be dead — contradicted his story.
“I found out that my father was still alive when I watched the video. I believed that he died in the prison camp where he was transferred. When I saw him in such a ridiculous video for the first time, I wasn’t happy at all, but I felt despair. I thought that he would’ve rather died than lived, because I can imagine how much he suffered and is still suffering tortures in the country because of me.”
“If I knew that my story would have gained this much fame at that time, I would’ve disclosed every single detail to the writer.”
The video and the presence of his father ultimately made him reveal what he did not explain in the book. Amid condemnation from many people, he could not stand the criticism of other North Korean defectors.
“I didn’t care about the South Korean media that only focused on the numbers, such as Camp 14 and 18 and my age, while ignoring the scars of prison camp torture on my body. But I was very sad and even enraged because of other defectors who had suffered in North Korea like me,” he continued.
“Some of them denounced me by showing the video produced by North Korean government. I felt miserable, as they didn’t know my true intention, which was to save the dying. I think that they might be jealous of my fame and money. But to be honest, I didn’t earn any money while working for human rights. And the fame had nothing to do with my life, since many North Koreans are still being killed. If I knew that my story would have gained this much fame at that time, I would’ve disclosed every single detail to the writer.”
He alluded to discontinuity in the campaign on his Facebook page this January, but a month later he restarted it.
The prison camp survivor has been involved in North Korean human right activity since 2007. But recently he has felt that everything that he has done was in vain, as nothing has changed yet compared to eight years ago.
“I started this campaign desperately to save tens of thousands of maltreated North Korean residents, because I was also one of them. I didn’t have time, as people were dying every second.”
He was particularly skeptical about the UN’s inquiry into the human rights situation in North Korea, launched in 2013.
“For what did the United Nations establish the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea? What did they do for North Korean residents? It took more than one year for the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee to adopt the resolution. What is next, then?
“I gave all evidence to them in order to save my family and friends — not to lay flowers on their graves. I don’t think that the officials of the UN would understand how serious the real situation in North Korea is, because most of them have not lived that kind of a desperate life.”
The 33-year-old activist begged people to see the invisible reality: “When I told my story to the UN, at first they asked me whether I could prove it,” he said.
“Six million Jews died in the Holocaust over the course of about three years. Who imagined that many people were killed in that short a time? It is exactly same as 70 years ago. We can’t see what is happening in North Korea, but the fact is that people are being publicly executed at this very moment.”
“I felt miserable, as they didn’t know my true intention, which was to save the dying.”
Despite of his sense of futility over his human rights campaign, he said that he will never give it up.
Currently, Shin is planning two projects for the near future. “I’m thinking to publish a magazine about ordinary South Koreans’ lives and to send them into North Korea through the Chinese border with North Korea,” he said.
Similarly, South Korea’s activist groups, led by North Korean defectors, have sent anti-North propaganda leaflets, attached to large balloons, from near the border for several years. This activity, however, escalated tensions between the two Koreas, and North Korean authorities even threatened South Korea with military action.
“North Korea’s sensitive reaction indicates that these flyers are quite influential in society. I chose to produce a magazine to describe South Korea more specifically. I would like to feature photos of couples holding hands, drinking coffee in the cafe, and walking freely in central Seoul. And I wish North Koreans could realize that they also have a right to live like that.”
“I found out that my father was still alive when I watched the video. I believed that he died in the prison camp where he was transferred.”
He said that the second project is a bit more personal. “I’m aiming to make a video that rebuts every part of the video ‘Lie and Truth,’ before a conference at the United Nations in Geneva this September,” he said.
Through the video, he is hoping to send two messages to the North Korean government. “My ultimate goal is to enter North Korea with a delegation to the UN, and I want to visit Camp 14 where I was born and lived. If I can do that, no one will dispute my life, and finally I can prove the human rights violations,” he said.
The other message seems to be more important for In-Gun Shin — that was the original name of human rights activist Dong-Hyuk Shin.
“I’ll request the authorities let me meet my father either in North Korea or in a third country before he dies. And firstly, I’ll ask him why I was born in the prison camp. I then will say ‘I love you’ to my father for the first and last time.”
SEOUL, South Korea — Nongovernmental organization Justice for North Korea (JFNK) launched a street campaign last Saturday in Insadong Street, Central Seoul to bring attention to the North Korean crisis.
Founder of JFNK and activist Peter Jung and street campaign coordinator Aaron Peterson held the campaign with four volunteers. Three people handed out flyers which explained about the organization and North Korea’s situation briefly in Chinese, English and Korean, while the remaining volunteer helped Jung and Peterson to role-play as an arrested defector, Chinese and North Korean soldiers.
The main purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of human rights violations in North Korea and to protest against China’s repatriation of North Korean refugees.
“The reason why we are role-playing is to give a more specific idea about how North Korean defectors are treated inhumanely, as well as to call on the Chinese government to stop the policy of repatriation. We also collect donations to support the process of bringing them over to South Korea safely,” Peterson explained.
Peter Jung founded JFNK in May 2007, when he staged a demonstration alone against Chinese authorities for 444 days, beginning May 23, 2007. He continued the protest until the first day of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Aug. 8, 2008.
“There are still many defectors who are in need of help. I still contact with them, so I can’t abandon this campaign,” he said.
According to a White Paper published by the South Korean think-tank Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) in 2011, China and North Korea have been cooperating in the strict controls over North Korean refugees near the border under a “Bilateral Agreement on Mutual Cooperation for the Maintenance of State Safety and Social Order.”
The UN Commission’s report states that Chinese authorities started to oppress North Korean refugees more severely by tightening border security and cracking down at the end of 2013. The report condemns China for breaching international human rights and refugee laws, as North Korean refugees’ lives are threatened in their country once they are sent back.
The 1951 Refugee Convention describes a refugee as one who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
Despite the international community’s criticism, China has been sticking to its position, considering defectors as illegal immigrants.
Jung emphasized that the South Korean government has to discuss North Korean defectors with China as soon as possible. “If they are forcibly repatriated to North Korea, they will either face the most severe punishment in the political prison camp or be publicly executed. Therefore, the South Korean government should urge the Chinese government to stop it through diplomatic negotiations. Also, the South Korean embassy needs to accept them,” Jung said.
Peterson started to get involved in JFNK two years ago. “I first heard about the North Korean crisis through a National Geography documentary, I was completely shocked — when I watched how North Korean people were brainwashed and isolated from the whole world. This made me become a North Korean activist, because I didn’t feel like enough people knew about what is happening in North Korea,” Peterson said.
The American activist said that he has felt some changes since he began the street campaign. “I can see more and more people are starting to pay attention. Of course, some South Koreans don’t seem to care much, but a lot of them are starting to take pictures of our demonstration and ask for flyers. Most people are very supportive. We would like to see more of that. I’m sure that it will become something that the world leaders have to address in the future,” he said.
Jung and Peterson said that they will not stop this campaign. “We will continue it until North Korean refugees settle down in South Korea or third-party countries, not being repatriated,” Jung said.