Compass World: Netanyahu Faces Corruption Charges
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Dozens of Nicaraguan Prisoners Released
After being imprisoned for months by the Nicaraguan government, dozens of anti-government protesters out of a total of over 700 have been released preceding expected talks between the government and opposition group Civic Alliance. These talks originally grew contentious seven months ago and have only been worsened by President Ortega’s refusal to call early elections. The opposition’s priority demand in the negotiations will be to return freedom to all of the demonstrators that were imprisoned, including those released who all still remain under house arrest.
Trump-Kim Summit Ends Abruptly
The summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi ended abruptly after negotiations between the two sides collapsed on February 28. A signing ceremony scheduled between the two leaders was cancelled along with a working lunch. According to the American delegation, the North Koreans sought to completely remove sanctions in return for the shuttering of its main nuclear facility. The North Korean delegation, however, claims they only sought the removal of some sanctions. Kim did agree to continue the 16-month hiatus on nuclear and ballistic missile tests. In a statement to the press, Trump said, “There’s a warmth that we have and I hope that stays,” but offered few specifics on the future of negotiations between the two sides.
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA
Netanyahu Faces Corruption Charges
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced on February 28 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face charges of fraud and bribery. Among other assertions, the charges accuse Netanyahu of seeking favorable media coverage in return for regulatory changes that would benefit certain outlets. Although Netanyahu denies the claims, he is set to face an uphill battle in Israeli elections due to take place on April 9. Observers note the difficulty his party faces in creating a successful coalition in the wake of the announcement. His Likud party claimed the announcement to be political persecution with the elections being near. Opposition within parliament has called for him to resign if he is found guilty. Mandelblit has said the Supreme Court will determine whether he must resign.
EASTERN EUROPE & RUSSIA
Russian Cybersecurity Experts Sentenced
A Russian court handed down convictions regarding cybersecurity crimes which observers believe to be connected to interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Two cybersecurity experts were sentenced: Sergei Mikhailov, a former officer with the Federal Security Service (FSB) -- Russia's domestic intelligence agency -- received 22 years in prison, and Ruslan Stoyanov, a former Kaspersky Lab employee, was sentenced to 14 years. A lawyer for one of the defendants told CNN that the two were involved in a two-year long secretive case of treason "on behalf of the United States." Given the secrecy and timing of the proceeding, observers believe their prosecution to be a consequence of their work with U.S. intelligence agencies.
Buhari Wins Reelection
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari won re-election in the contest between him and challenger Atiku Abubakar on February 23. Buhari met the 50 percent threshold required of a winning candidate by carrying just over 55 percent of the votes, while Abubakar carried just over 41 percent of the vote. The election was marred with accusations of vote buying and corruption in Africa’s largest democracy. Buhari was first elected to the presidency in 2015, becoming the first challenger to ever defeat an incumbent. Abubakar refused to accept the election results just yet, noting numerous electoral inconsistencies. He called the result a “throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship.” For previous coverage of the 2019 Nigerian presidential election from Compass World, click here.
WESTERN EUROPE & CANADA
Calls for Trudeau to Resign
Canada opposition leader and Conservative party Member of Parliament Andrew Scheer called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step down in the wake of a scandal involving his former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. During a testimony before the House of Commons justice committee, Wilson-Raybould alleged that government officials inappropriately pressured her to help a major company avoid a corruption trial. The company in question, construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group, was being charged with bribing Libyan officials. Trudeau, who stands for re-election in October later this year, denied the allegations during a press conference in Montreal. Wilson-Raybould was demoted in January, and believed her demotion to be a consequence of not caving to government officials on the case.
Writing contributed by Ben Richmond and Benjamin Barth.