tv BBC World News America PBS December 17, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm PST
and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm katty kay. the u.k. governments accuses syria of murdering this british doctor who was on a mission of delivering humanitarian aid. his family asked to the bbc. distraught. we were in shock. we were expecting him home on friday. >> vladimir putin offers a lifeline to cash strapped ukraine. and reaching out to relatives
online is nothing new, but were these children it is providing a connection to a father who is behind bars. welcome to "bbc world news america." a british doctor imprisoned in syria for more than a year has in effect been murdered by the assad regime. that is the charge by the u.k. government tonight. he went to syria on a humanitarian mission to help victims of the war. now he has died in prison there. a british official says that his death was at best "extremely suspicious." the syrian government claims that he committed suicide. >> yes, three days ago here in damascus, a senior government official told us that the doctor
would be freed within days. this was a gesture that has been described as a goodwill gesture top, the to the very president assad himself had taken the decision to release him. a presentcribed as from the people of syria to the people of britain just before christmas. thatow it is clear yesterday in damascus, in the prison cell, something went terribly wrong. >> the doctor preparing his medical kit for syria. his family says that he was deeply moved by the civilians injured and dying in the he startedore. working with a british charity. then he crossed into syria.
his ordeal ended in his prison cell. the british government says he was murdered. the victimso help of the civil war. there is no excuse for the at thent he has suffered hands of the syrian officials. you have in effect murdered a british national there to help those injured. >> tonight the syrian government rejected that accusation. shown shown -- i was reparations for dr. khan's release on friday. the autopsy said suicide. why would he commit suicide if he knew he was going to be released? >> we cannot ask him that question. >> the family members believe
that he was killed by members of the intelligence service that did not want them to be released. >> i do not think there is an intelligence in syria that do not do what they are instructed to do. he was treated very well, very nicely. khan's letterss tell a different story. he said that "my detention has featured repeated beatings." he was kept in squalid conditions, denied access to toilets or medical treatment. for the past year, his distraught family has campaigned for his release. his children wrote letters pleading for their father to be freed. they were decorating their house to celebrate his return. bbas'smily says that dr. a
mood was not that of a man about to take his own life. he wrote to his daughter "god willing, i will soon come home and give you a big hug and kiss." then came the news. >> my mother had been told by the officials in damascus to come and meet her son. they said "your son is dead." we were distraught. we are still in a state of shock and despair, expecting him to be home on friday. >> the man that was supposed to khan home on friday is demanding that syria hand over his body. tempe book -- >> the only way we can get to the bottom of this is for syria to release his body immediately to his family so a proper independent autopsy can
take place. syria nearlyk -- hoped the goodwill gesture would earn it political capital in britain. now this tragic turn of events has pushed the two sides even apart, at a time when president assad was hoping to change his image in the west. >> such a sad story and such conflicting points of view about what happened. anywaye is -- is there to understand what went on in this case? >> we are still piecing together the story. from what we know from what we have heard, it is clear that president assad had taken the decision to release dr. khan. otherwise why would they have made such detailed preparations? i saw the e-mail exchanges myself. i looked at the car will -- that was going to pick him up, the
flight. that was all going to happen on friday. we have heard be story of his mother who has been sitting in damascus for months and saying i'm not leaving damascus until my son comes home with me, she had been told last week he would be freed. something has happened in between, from that moment at 7:00 in the morning on thursday, he received his respite in his cell. when the prison warden came and knocked on his cell at 9:00, he was no longer alive. he had taken his pajamas and tied it to something and killed himself. that is what the government says, but others are saying that someone else killed him. it he second urchin is true, that means that someone defied president assad rail orders. the question now is where will the political follow lie? london andbetween damascus or will it also be
within damascus itself because someone decided to take a different decision than what the president himself decided? inry time something happens syria, it is very difficult to get to the full truth of the matter, but that is how it looks tonight as we speak about a terrible tragedy. >> an awful story. thank you for bringing it to us. liz doucet there in damascus for us. in moscow today, your cranium president -- the ukrainian president agreed to accept loans and discounts on natural gas from the russian leader vladimir putin. it probably comes as no surprise that this deal has not been well received by protesters mtf who want closer ties with the european union. >> and the kremlin, the
president of russia and ukraine met to discuss closer cooperation. but just how close would that cooperation be? there has been speculation that viktor yanukovych might commit the ukraine to the russian led customs unit, a move that would infuriate pro-eu protesters back in kiev. they signed a draft of economic operation. moscow granted tf a discount on russian gas. by $15 billionto worth of ukrainian securities, money ukraine badly needs to avoid default. in return, would ukraine be forced to join it russia's economic bloc? >> i would like to calm everybody down. today we did not at all discuss the question of the ukraine
joining the custom's union. meant tose words were tame the antigovernment protesters backing tf, well, they did not. kiev totesters want have closer ties with the european union, not with russia. and yet the agreement ties ukraine closer to moscow. one accused president yanukovych of betraying ukraine from national interest. thatsters are angry ukraine rejected the deal with the eu in favor of closer relations with russia. they are demanding early parliamentary elections and are vowing to continue their protest until there demands are met. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. >> those protesters received a visit from two u.s. senators,
christopher murphy and john mccain. tonight, senator murphy finds me from apical little. -- senator murphy joins me from capitol hill. get involved in what was an internal ukrainian dispute? it comes to decisions the ukraine makes, it is in the u.s. interest for ukraine to orient itself towards europe. it is also in the american interest to promote human rights across the globe and senator mccain and i decided to make the strip only after the anna kovacic government -- after the ovych government had a brutal crackdown. we did not hear what we wanted to hear when it came to the orientation toward the european
union, but there are big interest for the united states and the ukraine today. >> as we have been reporting during the course of this week, the thousands of people in independence square to want closer ties with europe. there are millions of ukrainians who would prefer closer ties with russia. not claim it is a 95/ five proposition. it is clear that there are hundreds of thousands of people who turned out on that square, especially the major rallies like we saw on sunday. of course that is what resident jan vukovich -- what president people to lead his believe. it is only this sharp turn east in the last few weeks that has reoriented his focus toward russia. one leader of the protest told senator mccain and i while we were there, the only place you find free cheese is in a
mousetrap. there are conditions that come with this russian money. we do not know what a are yet. but ultimately the long-term financial health of the ukraine lies in the access to the markets of europe and the united states. this deal with russia may get ovych through the next 12 months, but it does not guarantee the solvency of him and his people. >> perhaps someone can have sympathy with that decision given the ukraine's finances. you say it is in the american interest or ukraine to be closely tied to europe. why? well, we are in the middle of negotiating a new free trade agreement with the european union that we think will have a huge financial benefits on both sides of the atlantic. my state of connecticut, we do 40% of our trade with europe. ukraine clearly has a market.
our country can sell goods to. but we can also offer enormous assistance. from an economic standpoint having ukraine as part of the new economic partnership is important to us. that is where our conversation begins and ends. hopefully we will keep the president to his word that he is not joining a customs union. ultimately he will help liver ukraine to europe. was the endaid that goal, but the and now seems farther out. >> ok, senator murphy. thank you for joining us. u.s. officials have confirmed an indian and one that was strip searched in new york after being arrested. the indian government is shocked and appalled. the incidence came after she was taken into custody after allegations that she lied in her visa application. politicians have snubbed a visiting european delegation in response.
a short time ago i spoke to our correspondent at the united nations in new york. >> let's start at the beginning. what happened to this diplomat? was arrestedmat last thursday. according to press reports in india, she was handcuffed. she was taking her child to school. that is when she was arrested. she was taken into custody where she was held in a cell and also rip searched. indiansthe thing the regard as so humiliating. there are reports in the media -- they have not been confirmed by the state department or the diplomat's lawyer -- but they were confirmed by the u.s. marshals service. it says as part of its procedures, it did carry out that strip search. that is the thing that has angered the indian so much. >> you are sitting in the u.s. state department today and you
are thinking what on earth happened here? this is not good for indian-u.s. relations. >> india is a country that america has really focused on in the past decade. the bush and to the obama administration trying really hard to improve what had been traditionally tense and unhappy relations between washington and ellie -- delhi. of course america sees india as a useful counterweight to the rise of china. in a security sense as well, there have to be concerns at the state department tonight got the indian authorities have started moving concrete barriers. the indians are saying they are just traffic measures, but i know that road well. i have seen the concrete barriers. one of the primary reasons that they are there is to protect the embassy from truck bomb attacks. it is not far from the indian parliament which is, under
attack in the past. there has to be a security concern that that building is more vulnerable tonight than it was this morning. >> thanks very much for joining us. a very unwelcome and unnecessary route now between india and -- unwelcome and unnecessary row now between india and the united states. defenseefing up its spending after a dispute with china raises stakes in the region. members of north korea's ruling elite have pledged loyalty to the leader kim jong-un just days after the abrupt execution of his uncle who was accused of trying to overthrow the state. they were attending a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the death of kim jong-un's father kim jong-il. vast work, kim jong-un listen to the eulogies for his father. at his own eyes
downcast, above him a giant beamedt of kim jong-il out for the assembly. he was flanked on either side by the country's ceremonial president and his army chief. many of the elder statesmen who oversaw the transition of power two years ago have disappeared. the most notable and unmentioned uncle,, kim jong-un's abruptly executed last week. this was a ceremony as much about the current leader as the old one. the head of north korea's armed forces about to uphold and defend kim jong-un and no one else. in the freezing streets outside the centers of power, north koreans have been remembering her former leader with the usual displays of grief. commemorations like these are a time for north koreans to reaffirm their loyalty to the current leader, as well as
remember the old ones. who knows how much of either emotion as well -- israel, but some north koreans have covertly told context insole that feelings towards kim jong-un have taken a negative turn in the past few days. it is also a chance for them to reflect on how their country has changed since he came to power. bbc news, seoul. >> now to japan where today there was an announcement the country is sick if the kinley increasing -- is significantly increasing its defense spending over the next five years. among the items on the purchase itt -- surveillance drones, jets fighters, and naval destroyers. >> for a country with a pacifist
constitution, japan already has a surprisingly large and powerful military. but these tanks are not much use if you are fighting over a bunch of tiny isolated islands are from the mainland. so japan is going on a shopping spree, buying new ships and aircraft. its military focus will move from the land to these the -- two bc. particularly the east china sea. >> taking into consideration the case with north korea and the tension in the east china sea, we believe the safety and security environment is changing and japan needs to resolve the issue head-on. >> these tiny islands are the focus of japan's territorial dispute with china. if china ever tries to take them by force, japan's government says it must be ready and able to take them back. but critics of the japanese government says there is another agenda at work here.
abe prime minister shinzo is using the threat from china to turn japan back into a military power. justny are concerned it is a nice way of getting the change he desires -- that is japan being able to get involved in wars more normally. that is a deeply divisive issue in japan. came to powerbe japan has been sending more troops overseas than ever before. these are the 1000 sent to the philippines last month to help with disaster relief. most japanese have no problem with your soldiers hoping neighbors in distress, but the idea of them actually fighting beyond japan's borders is still anathema to many here. rupert wingfield-hayes, bbc news , in tokyo. >> we have all heard about making a phone call from jail,
but what about video chat? similar to skype, the system allows inmates to see their relatives and friends while they talk. we traveled to portsmouth, virginia to see how it works. cameron and gabriella, thrilled to see their father. he has been gone for six long weeks. >> we love you, daddy. charged with jail, burglary. his children are too young to be there with his wife sheena. the separation from eric has taken its toll. >> he is there. it is really sad. with technology similar to skype, it eric mansfield and thousands of other inmates can call their families from jail. around the holidays, this means a lot. it makes it a lot easier.
>> portsmouth, virginia is one of many places across america that is adopting what is called video visitation. are the companies involved, it is big it is news. gary humphries's company operates in prisons across 17 states, charging $.50 a minute for the service. some would say you are profiteering. what would you say to that? >> the fact that we based our model based on nonprofit. virginia had a nonprofit program that was geared around $.50 a minute. we geared our model exactly the same as theirs. i would not consider it profiteering. we are able to do it for the same price and make a modest profit off of it. >> some wonder if this could replace visits from prison or's families altogether. it has already happened in the district of columbia where
prisons face pressure to cut costs. >> number two please. tothat is not a concern sheriff bill watson who runs a maximum security jail where eric is imprisoned. >> i would like to see video visitation. >> why? >> you do not have to move inmates back and forth. you do not need the extra bodies, the deputies to move inmates back-and-forth. getor now, prisoners still visits and video visits. husbandwants to see her in person. >> i want to see him once a month. to me it doesn't you'll write if i don't. >> but a video visit is so much better than nothing. >> bye-bye. >> love you. >> laura trevelyan thomas bbc news, virginia.
>> keeping in touch even when one of you is imprisoned. i will see you back here tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide
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