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tv   DW News  LINKTV  January 7, 2019 3:00pm-3:31pm PST

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♪ brent: this is "dw news," live from berlin. tonight, a saudi woman is safe in thailand. she will not be sent back home, saying her life would be in danger. thai authorities say that rahaf mohammed alqunun will be allowed to apply for asylum in a third country within days. earlier today, she barricaded herself in a hotel room at bangkok airport, saying that she was fleeing abuse from her
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family. also coming up, security forces in gabon round up the rebels behind a failed coup attempt. earlier, a group of soldiers seized a public radio station in the country. and actor kevin spacey appears in a u.s. court to face charges of sexual assault. an accuser says that spacey groped him two years ago when he was 18 years old. ♪ brent: i'm brent goff. it's good to have you with us. tonight, authorities in thailand say that a saudi woman fleeing alleged abuse will be allowed to stay in the country until she can apply for asylum elsewhere. united nations officials are aiding rahaf mohammed alqunun in her bid to find a safe destination. the 18-year-old barricaded herself in a bangkok hotel room today while police waited
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outside to send her back home. reporter: a sign of hope for rahaf mohammed alqunun. these pictures show the young saudi woman leaving the airport in bangkok, together with officials from the u.n. refugee agency. the unhcr will assess whether she can be granted refugee status, protecting her from deportation. this marks a pause in a tense standoff that began on saturday. alqunun arrived from kuwait, where she was staying with her family. she was stopped at immigration. she says her passport was taken from her and officials tried to send her back to kuwait. the 18-year-old then barricaded herself in an airport hotel room. she drew attention to her plight on social media, quickly gathering tens of thousands of followers. she said she feared for her life
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after her family threatened her for renounng islam and cutting her hair. >> i'm not leaving my room until i see unhcr. want asym. reporter: the thai authorities then seemed to perform a dramatic about-face, allowing a top u.n. official to see her. >> we have strongly advocated with t thai and he received their assurances that pending the completion of the assessment, she should not be sent back. reporter: -- >> today, the unhcr representative is personally here. he has told me they will take no more than five days from now to give her asylum status and send her on to a third country. reporter: alqunun now says she feels safe, despite the arrival in thailand of her father, who is a senior saudi government official. her case has once again brought
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international attention to the kingdom, and the obstacles that women face there. brent: to talk about that further now i am joined by mona eltahawy. she has written extensively on feminism in the arab world. she joins us tonight from montreal in canada. good evening to you, mona. glad to have you on the show. talk to me a little bit about the situation for women in saudi arabia. i know people are probably wondering, is rahaf alqunun, is her case, is her plight similar to that of many other saudi women? mona: yes. the only difference about rahaf's plight is we have scene it play out so publicly, which i believe it is the main reason it has saved her, is the entire world was watching and advocating for her. too many cases go anonymously and we have no idea about. and just to give you an idea of the magnitude of what at stake, there are at least 15 feminists in saudi prisons since
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may, since the de facto ruler, crown prince mohammed bin salman, instigated an unprecedented crackdown on women's rights activists and feminists. and they have not been charged with anything, they have not been put on trial. one of them has been waterboard. we usually associate the word waterboarding with terrorism, and that is just to give you an idea that the saudi regime thinks feminism is terrorism. otr activists have been tortured using electric shocks and flogging and several of them have been subjected to sexual harament and one has been threatened with rape. this is because they are fighting the guardianship system, which is exactly what rahaf is escaping from. brent: exactly. because as a woman, she is not allowed to travel outside the country without permission from her male guardian, which is exactly what she did today. you have called for a sexual revolution in the midd east as part of the reforms that need to take place there. how is that going to happen in
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saudi arabia? mona: well, the crux of the sexual revolution i'm calling for is the declaration, "i own my body." from that declaration, wanting to live freely and with dignity as rahaf wants is part of the sexual revolution. wanting to define for yourself what you do and do not believe is part of that. obviously -- i wrote a book about this in which i go into greater length, but for saudi arabia or any other country in the middle east and north africa, it is essentially recognizing consent and agency as two principlethat every woman must be able to enjoy. and this is why, again, the guardianship system is the antithesis of this because the guardianship system subjects every woman and girl in saudi arabia to the guardianship of a man for their entire life from birth to death. her male guardian has to give her permission to travel abroad, to marry, to be released from
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prison, and she often has to ask hipermission to work and to get health care. so this is something that controls saudi women's lives and basically decimates consent and agency. brent: this is something that is completely normal and every day to me and you, but this is radical inside saudi arabia. do you think the crown prince, who has been touted as the reform crown prince, is he going to be the man who is goingo make sure that women have equal rights? mona: no. rahaf will be the one who will ensure that women get equal rights. the 15 to 17 feminists in saudi prison today being tortured because they want to get rid of the guardianship system are the ones who will bring women equal rights. it is not a crown prince, who has fooled the world, and sadly the world has bought his lies that he is an emancipator of women. he is not. he h not invented patriarchy, but he is the current one in a
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long line of what i call gender apartheid in saudi arabia, which limits almost every aspect of a woman's life. so if you want to talk about freedom for saudi women, iis the feminists in prison and it is this 18-year-old, incredibly courageous young woman who said "i deserve to be free." brent: all right. mona eltahawy joining us tonight from montreal in canada. mona, it is great to talk with you. we appreciate your insights tonight. hope to see you again. thank you. mona: thank you. brent: tonight, the government in gabon confirming that the military officer who led an attempted coup has been arrested. on monday morning there was chaos when a group of armed soldiers seized the state radio station. they were then able to broadcast across the country, declaring that president ali bongo was unfit for office. reporter: confusion and fear in gabon. the army scrambles to respond to a rebellion in its own ranks.
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soon, supporters of the insurgents gather in a residential neighborhood and security forces march in. teargas dispersing the clouds. it is in the city center where the regime faced the most resistance. heavy fire echoed through the streets outside the state broadcaster, from where insurgents launched their attempt to take power. >> it is time to take the matter in hand. the time has come. the time we have waited for for so long has arrived. the day when the army decides to stand by its people. reporter: this is the man the plotters were determined to overthrow. 59-year-old ali bongo has led his country for a decade. but he has been ailing in recent months. he fell ill in saudi arabia while on a visit to the country. since, he has remained abroad
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for treatment, admitting to his weakness in a new year's message. >> it is true that i have been through difficult times. it sometimes happens in life. i have overcome this ordeal thanks to god. reporter: bongo was brought up in wealth and privilege. father omar led the country for over 40 years. it was he who bequeathed ali the presidency and the family's reputed wealth. yet ali has not enjoyed as smooth a reign as his father did. his reelection in 2016 was narrow and contested. and now elements of the military have further challenged his rule. tonight, the government seems back in charge. its message -- serenity has prevailed. but with a strongman still missing from this picture, the vacuum at the top in gabon remains. brent: here are some of the other stories that are making
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headlines around the world more than 0 protesters have been arrested in antigovernment protests across sudan in the last few weeks. on sunday, police again used tear gas to disperse antigovernment protesters. thousands marched through the capital demanding the resignation of the president. that, after food shortages and rising prices. british prime minister theresa may says she is seeking additional assurances from the european union in a bid to get her brexit passed by the british government. may made the comments while visiting a children's hospital in liverpool. the health service is busy making plans for a possible no-deal brexit. parliaments expected to vote on may's deal plan next tuesday. a u.s. guided missile destroyer has sailed near the disputed paracel islands in the south china sea. this, just as u.s. china trade talks get underway in beijing. a spokeswoman said the uss
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mccampbell was on a freedom of navigation operation. china has called it a provocation. german police are questioning suspects in the latest cyber attack. a data breach last month hit some of the country's best-known people, including the german chancellor angela merkel. now, authorities have searched a home in the southern city of halbron and have grilled possible witnesses as the hunt continues for the latest culprit to expose the shortcomings in germany's digital security. reporter: much remains unclear, but this much is known. almost 1000 politicians and celebrities were affected by the data leak. personal phone numbers, home and email addresses were made public, and in some cases private messages and photos as well. >> we know that in 50 to 60 cases, large amounts of data were published. we found indication that the data was acquired in various ways, including unauthorized access to user accounts.
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reporter: the unknown perpetrator published the data in december on twitter. investigators have begun questioning witnesses. they also searched the apartment of a 19-year-old in the south of germany. authorities learned about the data theft late last week. it has now been revealed that the responsible government agency already learned about five such cases last year. they only made the connection to the recently leaked data after it happened. opposition members criticized authorities for not reacting fast enough. >> if any good can come out of this, then it is that politicians and investigators are getting a wake-up call to becoming more alert. hopefully in the future, our digital communication will be more secure. reporter: federal interior minister horst seehofer will comment on the data theft this tuesday. until then, investigations into how much knowledge the authorities had previous to the
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data leak continue. brent: lots of unanswered questions there. dw's christoph spoke to german justice minister katarina barley about the case. christoph: minister, how serious is the damage caused by the hacking attack? katarina: we don't know exactly yet how high the damage is concerning the data, but the damage is high concerning the confidence that people have in data security. so, we are -- we all together have to face this and have to take action. politicians, as well as the social media companies, as well as people themselves. they have to secure their data as good as possible, too. christoph: what can the government do to prevent it in the future? some people say germany is ill-equipped, worse than others? katarina: i think the level where we have to find regulation
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is the european level. we do have the regulation on data protection since may. so, there we have a much higher standard than anywhere else in the world. but of course on national legislation we have to act, too. we have done that on different fields. but of course, we will take this scandal as an occasion to find out if there is any more action to be taken. brent: that was germany's justice minister there trying to answer some questions about that latest data breach. it was a night of surprises at the golden globe awards in los angeles. a number of the movies fancied by the critics fell short of expectations. "bohemian rhapsody" was one of the winners. that is that biopic of the late freddie mercury, the singer of the british rock band queen. another was "the wife," starring
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