Democracy Now! - May 11, 2015
On today's episode of Democracy Now!
The European Union is expected to ask the United Nations Security Council today to permit military action against human traffickers operating out of Libya. The U.N. estimates more than 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya into Europe this year. Over 1,800 migrants have died in the attempt, 20 times more than the same period last year. Meanwhile, the European Commission is due to make a proposal that member countries take in refugees under an E.U. quota system. The European Commission’s migration policy will also propose organizing legal means for migrants to come to Europe so they don’t turn to traffickers. This comes as a new report by Amnesty International reveals how migrants are forced to flee Libya because of "horrific abuse." The report is based on interviews with refugees and migrants across Libya who face "rape, torture and abductions for ransom by traffickers and smugglers, as well as systematic exploitation by their employers, religious persecution and other abuses by armed groups and criminal gangs." We are joined by the report’s author, Magda Mughrabi, Libya Researcher at Amnesty International.
As the Justice Department launches a probe of the Baltimore Police Department for a potential pattern of unconstitutional policing in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, attorneys for the six officers indicted over Gray’s death are challenging the role of Baltimore’s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby. On Friday, defense lawyers filed a motion demanding Mosby recuse herself because of alleged conflicts of interest and "egregious" violations. The attorneys say Mosby’s judgment is compromised by her close relationship with the Gray family’s attorney and her husband’s job as a City Council member from the district where Gray was arrested. The motion goes on to accuse Mosby of quelling the Baltimore riots by offering cops “up to the masses” as scapegoats. Mosby has rejected the claims and vowed to remain on the case. “There are consistent attempts here to derail the prosecution, to undermine public confidence and at the same time to influence the people who will one day be sitting as jurors,” says our guest, Douglas Colbert, professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. He also responds to reports that Baltimore police officers are now reportedly hesitant to do their jobs.
The case of Maryland’s Adnan Syed drew national attention last year when it was the focus of Serial, considered the world’s most popular podcast and the medium’s first breakout hit. Syed was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in 1999, and has been serving a life sentence. His legal team argues prosecutors failed to interview an alibi witness and that his lawyer failed to inquire about a possible plea deal. Serial became the first-ever podcast to win a Peabody award for its in-depth look at the case, exploring potential flaws with both the prosecution and with Syed’s defense. After two unsuccessful attempts to appeal his conviction, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed in February to hear arguments about why Syed should get a new trial, based on the contention he had ineffective counsel. A hearing is set for June 9.