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Wall Of Silence Surrounds Gang Murders

Police investigations of gang murders are increasingly held back by a “wall of silence”. Witnesses across the country unwilling to give evidence. The trend emerged during the First 100 Killings project which has tracked homicides from the start of 2019 and monitored dozens of murder trials. Youth workers, police and prosecutors believe witnesses are afraid for their own safety.

On a February evening in 2019, the Marcus Lipton youth club in Brixton, usually a place for children to socialise in safety, was about to erupt in violence. Outside, a BMW pulled up and two teenagers, armed with long knives, ran towards a group gathered near the entrance and chased them inside.

David Marriott, 38, was in the sports hall running a football coaching session for Lambeth Tigers with children as young as three. “Everything happened really fast…The boys came running through the hall that we were working in. Everyone was really alarmed,” he remembers.

One of the young men who was being chased – 23-year-old Glendon Spence – fell over and was cornered by the two attackers near a table tennis table. He received stab wounds to his hand and arm as he fought to fend off the blows.

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Death Sentences Handed Out For Khashoggi Murder

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death and jailed three others over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul by a team of Saudi agents. The Saudi authorities said it was the result of a “rogue operation” and put 11 unnamed individuals on trial.

A UN expert said the trial represented “the antithesis of justice”. “Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial,” Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard wrote on Twitter.

A report released by Ms Callamard concluded in June that Khashoggi’s death was an “extrajudicial execution” for which the Saudi state was responsible, and that there was credible evidence warranting further investigation that high-level officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were individually liable.

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Belgium Update Pandur Fleet

When Belgium’s military decided to spend €31m (£26m) updating its fleet of 44 Pandur armoured vehicles, the main aim was to improve safety.

However, by improving the Pandur they reduced the size of the interior so that the maximum height of a driver or gunner is now below 1.70m (5ft 7in).

Belgian men are known for being among the tallest in the world, so the news has been greeted with dismay. The army insists armoured vehicle crews have always had limits on their height.

The revelations on height restrictions emerged in a report by public broadcaster VRT, but were not contested by the military. That would exclude the majority of Belgian soldiers. The Pandur fleet was bought from an Austrian firm in 1996 but, according to VRT, had to be changed for use in foreign operations including in Mali in 2021.

The armoured vehicles did not have sufficient protection against roadside bombs and needed a second, raised floor as well as air conditioning for hot countries.

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Shooting At Russia’s Federal Security Service

At least one person has been killed and five wounded in a shooting at the headquarters of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in central Moscow, Russian media say.

A gunman who opened fire with an automatic weapon at the entrance of the building was killed by an armed officer, Interfax news agency reports. Security forces cordoned off the area and moved bystanders into buildings.

The shooting came hours after President Putin’s annual press conference. Details of the incident, which began shortly after 18:00 (15:00 GMT), remain unclear.

The FSB denied earlier reports suggesting there were three gunmen in the attack on its headquarters. The unconfirmed reports said two had been killed in the lobby while the third ran off to a nearby building where he was later killed in a shootout with police.

One FSB officer was killed and at least other officers were reported seriously wounded.

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