Several leaders of the 2010 “Red Shirt” protests in Thailand are acquitted of terrorism charges. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This Week Around the World Aug. 13–17

Aug. 13 Mchinji, Malawi: Three people were sentenced to death as punishment for killing someone with albinism. The three sentenced to death were found guilty of murder and possession of human tissue by the Mhinji High Court. Despite Malawi having no executions since 1994, this is the second death sentence to be delivered in less than three months. Both instances involved the murder of a person with albinism. The killing of people with albinism in Malawi is not uncommon, and the government has frequently been criticized for being too lenient. “We hope that the kinds of punishment that are being meted by the courts will be able to deter those that have evil motives to attack, abduct or kill people with albinism,” government spokesman Mark Botoman told Voice Of America.


Aug. 14 Bangkok, Thailand: Several leaders of the 2010 “Red Shirt” protests in Thailand were acquitted of terrorism charges by the Bangkok Criminal Court. The 2010 Red Shirt protests in support of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra lasted two months and resulted in the death of 91 people. The protests were ended by military force. In the court’s ruling, the judge decided the protests were a “political fight, not terrorism,” and released 24 of the protest leaders. AP News reported Thai courts do not often rule in favor of the Red Shirt protest members. 


Aug. 14 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Authorities discovered a makeshift cemetery which held eight bodies in the Rio suburb of Belford Roxo. Most of the bodies had bullet wounds, and some were dismembered. Authorities say they received an anonymous tip, which led them to the cemetery and connected it to the far-right New Aurora Militia group. The group—also known as the ‘Curicia’ Militia—has been connected to the 2018 murder of leftist councilwoman and human rights activist Marielle Franco, acording to TeleSUR. AP News reported militia controls an estimated one-fourth of Rio de Janeiro. 


Aug. 16 Dominican Republic: Authorities arrested six Venezuelans and two Dominicans when they were caught attempting to illegally smuggle gold into the country. The Venezuelans are currently being extradited to their country where they will likely face prosecution. Venezulan Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced those who were arrested are part of an operation to dismantle a gold-smuggling ring that has been transporting Venezuelan gold out of the country. According to Saab, 32 arrest warrants have been issued, 426 bank accounts have been frozen and one person has been sentenced to prison time in connection with the gold smugglers. “We want to show the national and international public that this scourge harms the Venezuelan people,” Saab said at a press conference, according to TeleSUR.


Aug. 17 Kabul, Afghanistan: A blast at a wedding in Kabul resulted in the death of 63 people. The attack has since been claimed by the Islamic State. The bride and groom both survived the attack, but the groom, Mirwais Elmi, said he “lost hope” after the attack killed his brother and several other relatives. “I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul last night,” Afghani President Ashraf Ghani said in a Twitter post. “My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred.”