Talk about Newsnight

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Monday, 3 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Dec 07, 05:36 PM

Sudan's President Omar al-BashirGillian Gibbons has been pardoned today by the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and in a statement released by the Sudanese presidential palace she said she was sorry if she caused any distress. It's not clear when she will leave Sudan but her release from jail brings to an end Ms Gibbons’ ordeal but not the story of her conviction.

It has been alleged that the extremity of the response to her class naming a teddy Mohammed had more to do with the British government's outspoken criticism of the Sudanese government's role in Darfur than the school room incident itself.

Tonight we also report from Darfur where nearly two and a half million souls are dotted in camps throughout the area and gunman roam the settlements involved in the ever increasing number of rebel factions. In October alone seven aid workers were shot. We'll be speaking to Mia Farrow one of the most outspoken critics of the Sudanese government who have failed to agree the terms for the new 26,000 UN/ African Union peacekeeping force, possibly delaying its deployment.

We have the results of an exclusive Newsnight poll into whether the government is covered in sleaze and if it's competent. The results makes for really interesting reading.

The Labour donor maelstrom, imaginatively called "Donorgate", is still dominating the news agenda, and our political editor Michael Crick is on the case, while David Grossman is in Scotland where Wendy Alexander is fighting for her political life. She has said she won't resign as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland - she will await the result of the Electoral Commission report into her acceptance of a donation from an offshore benefactor Paul Green. Is she being kept in position as a "human shield" for Harriet Harman and even the Prime Minister? Gordon Brown's efforts to deflect interest onto his moves to reform in party funding raise more questions again - will the millions handed over by the Trades Unions dry up and if so how will Labour deal with its looming debt mountain?

We hope to be joined by a trade union leader live.

We have a fascinating film from Afghanistan, about the relationship between British officials and tribal chiefs. It's back to the Great Game - British diplomats are following the template working in the same way they did during Victorian times, including being trained to speak Pashtun, apparently with great success.

Canoeist returns
John Darwin has walked into a London police station five and a half years after disappearing in the sea in front of his house at Seaton Carew near Hartlepool. But where has he been? And does he remember the moment he went overboard from his red canoe.

Of course his family are delighted he is home safely but how did he spend the intervening five and a half years. His return is a sad reminder to others whose loved ones are still unaccounted for. Such stories of people disappearing into the sea - John Stonehouse and the fictional Reggie Perrin among them - hold a fascination for people. Tonight we'll be examining the impact such accidental and planned disappearances have on the ones they leave behind.

Egyptian blogger alleges prison beating

  • Richard Colebourn
  • 3 Dec 07, 10:23 AM

Abdel Kareem handcuffed at courtBEIRUT - I was passed a pretty miserable letter this week from a young Egyptian man called Abdel Kareem Suleiman. He’s currently serving time in a prison in the northern city of Alexandria.

His letter alleges abuse by the prison’s guards. “I have been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” he writes.

For anyone who knows anything about Egypt, that's not very surprising, except for this: Abdel Kareem is 23 and behind bars for blogging.

Continue reading "Egyptian blogger alleges prison beating"

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