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‘Tell Us if He’s Dead’: Abductions and Torture Rattle Uganda

Mr. Kasato, the district councilor, said that plainclothes officers picked him up from a church meeting on Feb. 8, threw him, hooded, into a car and clobbered him.

He said the men asked him for the evidence of election rigging he’d collected, and whether he had sent it to Mr. Wine’s party. He said, yes, he had.

Mr. Kasato, a 47-year-old father of 11, said that while he was chained to the ceiling, his feet barely touching the ground, military officers whipped him with a wire and pulled at his skin with pliers.

“It was a big shock,” he said. “I was praying deeply that I really survive that torture.”

In late February, Mr. Kasato was charged with inciting violence during the November protests in which security forces killed dozens of people — accusations he denies. He has been released on bail, but said he was still in intense physical pain, and that his doctors advised he seek medical attention abroad.

Analysts say that Mr. Museveni, 76, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, is trying to avoid history repeating itself. He himself was a charismatic young upstart who accused his predecessor, Mr. Obote, of rigging an election, and led an armed rebellion that after five years managed to take power.

Mr. Wine, 39, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has become the face of this young movement, promising to shake up the country’s stifled politics. As his campaign gained ground last year, he was arrested and beaten and placed under de facto house arrest.

“We are seeing a movement toward full totalitarianism in this country,” said Nicholas Opiyo, a leading human rights lawyer. He was abducted last December and released, charged with money laundering after his legal advocacy group received a grant from American Jewish World Service, a New York-based nonprofit.

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Navalny Is Moved to Infirmary as His Health Declines

Their white gowns flapping in an icy wind, the doctors milled about in the desolate spot.

The prison, Penal Colony No. 2 in the Vladimir Region about 60 miles east of Moscow, is surrounded by a frozen swamp. The doctors said they intended to hold a regular protest at the site, within view of the coiled barbed wire of the prison wall, until Mr. Navalny receives proper treatment. The prison authorities say they provide adequate care.

“We don’t plan to stand down,” Ms. Vasilyeva said. “We will come tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, until they let us in and we can understand what is happening with Aleksei.”

But after their action Tuesday, the police detained Ms. Vasilyeva, several other doctors, and journalists including a correspondent for CNN, Matthew Chance.

After the chemical weapon poisoning, Mr. Navalny was evacuated to Germany for treatment. The German government said it had discovered traces of Novichok, an exotic nerve agent that can be lethal to the touch and is known to have been manufactured only in Russia and previously in the Soviet Union. The poison was also used in the 2018 attempted assassination of a double agent, Sergei Skripal, in Britain, according to the British government.

“There is nothing difficult to understand here,” Ivan Tumanov, the director of Mr. Navalny’s movement in the Vladimir Region, said in an interview on Tuesday of Mr. Navalny’s worsening health. “Putin wants Navalny dead, so he isn’t allowing doctors to visit.”

Supporters say the prison authorities have also resorted to petty harassment. Nearby Mr. Navalny, who is now well into a hunger strike, they have been grilling chicken, Kira Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

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Jordan’s Ex-Crown Prince Vows to Defy Efforts to Silence Him

The former crown prince of Jordan vowed on Monday to defy the orders of the government and his half brother, King Abdullah II, to stop communicating with the world even as he remained under what he described as house arrest in his home.

“I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people,” the former crown prince, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, said in an audio message posted to Twitter by his supporters.

The government has accused Prince Hussein of destabilizing the “security and stability” of Jordan, a vital American ally in the Middle East. The Jordanian foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, suggested on Sunday that the prince was involved in a failed palace coup that had foreign backing.

The bitter family feud and public airing of palace intrigue has been a blow to Jordan’s image as an island of stability in a volatile region.

defending himself in a video released on Saturday.

He denied involvement in any plot against King Abdullah, though he did condemn the government as corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian.

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In Turkey’s Failed Coup, Trainees Face the Same Stiff Punishments as Generals

ISTANBUL — Their happiness shines out of the photograph: 14 graduates of Turkey’s Air Force Academy celebrating their completion of a flight training program with a picture together in front of a fighter jet.

Within months, all but one of the group would be in jail, accused of joining a 2016 coup attempt that brought blood to the streets and threw the country into turmoil from which it has yet to emerge. Last November, 13 of them — the other was not on base, because he was getting married — were found guilty of trying to overthrow the constitutional order and sentenced to life in prison, their military careers and their dreams of flying F-16s dashed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced down the coup attempt and cracked down hard in the aftermath, imposing a state of emergency for two years, detaining 100,000 people and purging 150,000 public employees from their jobs. More than 8,000 military personnel were prosecuted for their part in the insurrection, including more than 600 trainees, cadets and conscripts — most in their early 20s — whose misfortune was to have been given orders that night.

Their fate has been largely overlooked in Turkey, where government rhetoric against the coup perpetrators is strident and families and lawyers of the defendants have been scared to speak out. But after the 13 were sentenced to life in prison — 12 of them receiving “aggravated life,” the harshest form of life sentence, without parole — some of their families decided to break their silence.

“We were not expecting them to be acquitted, to be honest, but we were expecting them to be released at least,” said Kezban Kalin, whose son Alper, 30, was among those sentenced. “But aggravated life?”

At first, the trainee pilots and their families had trusted in the system, in part because Turkey’s history has been littered with coups and lower-ranking troops had never been held accountable in such a way.

“When it comes to a coup, it is at the level of generals,” said Ali Kalin, Alper’s father, who is himself a retired army sergeant. “I want to emphasize the injustice. What did they do?” he said of the trainees.

In the summer of 2016, the group had just arrived at Turkey’s Akinci Air Base outside Ankara, the capital, to start training on F-16 fighter jets — the pinnacle of a 10-year military education. On July 15, they were called in to the base take an English exam and were then told to stand by to observe a counterterrorism operation.

But Akinci air base turned out to be the headquarters of the coup plotters, a collection of military personnel and civilians who that evening ordered troops to seize control of key installations, planes to bomb Parliament and a unit of commandos to capture Mr. Erdogan.

The president evaded capture, and in a cellphone interview with a television station, he called on members of the public to face down the putsch. By morning, troops loyal to the government had regained control and attacked Akinci air base, detaining many of those involved.

The trainee pilots had been largely unaware of what was going on, according to their statements to investigators and in court, which the government challenged and which could not be independently verified.

Their cellphones had been taken away — which was normal during a military operation — and the television had been removed from the mess hall where they spent much of the night sitting around, they said. They moved chairs, made tea. Some stood guard on the back entrance to the squadron building, and three were sent to the front gate and handed rifles, although the court found that they had not used them.

As the base came under fire from special forces troops, the trainees were told to leave, which most of them did around 8 a.m., driving their own cars. Alper Kalin arrived home scared and exhausted, but his parents reassured him.

“I did not think anything would happen to those trainees,” Ali Kalin said. “They did not use firearms. They were not involved in anything — just Akinci base was their place of duty.”

Eleven days later, the group was called back to the base to give testimony about the events, and they were immediately detained. Within hours, their names had appeared on a list of personnel purged from the military.

That was a bombshell for the trainees and their families from which they are still reeling. The pilots have been in detention ever since. When their parents and siblings tried to find them at police stations and army bases, they encountered insults and abuse. From being proud parents of celebrated military achievers, suddenly they were branded traitors and terrorists.

“I did not go to the hearings,” said Sumeyra Soylu, 25, whose brother Ali was one of the 13 detained. “There was a certain group of people, known as the plaintiffs, who were cursing and swearing loudly at the relatives of the defendants, and he didn’t want us ever to hear them.”

Then followed four and a half years of legal proceedings as prosecutors indicted more than 500 defendants in the Akinci base trial. In a courtroom the size of a sports arena at Sincan, outside Ankara, 80 trainee pilots went on trial alongside senior commanders and civilians accused of leading the coup. The United States-based Islamic preacher, Fethullah Gulen, was charged in absentia of being the mastermind.

Mr. Erdogan was listed among the victims of the events and was represented throughout the trial by his lawyer, Huseyin Aydin, who often clashed with the defendants and their lawyers.

“The target of the crime of breach of Constitution that many defendants, including the trainee lieutenants, were charged with was President Erdogan,” Mr. Aydin said in written answers to questions from The New York Times.

The trainees were charged with being members of a terrorist organization, trying to overthrow the constitutional order, murder and attempted murder, since eight civilians died in clashes at the entrance of the base. But the prosecution did not produce evidence that implicated them in the coup plot or the clashes that occurred, their lawyer said. The lawyer asked not to be named to avoid legal repercussions for himself.

As trainee officers, they are still undergoing their education and can only take orders, not issue them, he said. Akinci base was their place of work, so they should not be considered guilty simply for being present there, and their own commanders testified in court that the trainees had played no part in the events, he said. Yet in the end, they were convicted, along with all of the others present at the base that night, of trying to overthrow the constitutional order.

“The top commander received the same sentence. The lowest-level soldier received the same sentence,” Ms. Kalin said. “How is that possible?”

Mr. Aydin said that trainee pilots had provided support services that night to the coup plotters in place of the usual staff, including transporting pilots and guarding buildings and captives. “There is no doubt that the trainee pilots contributed to the coup attempt,” he said, adding that the conviction was not final and still had to go through the appeal process.

Many Turks opposed the coup. But as the crackdown has continued for more than four years and swept up many with no connection to the events surrounding it, they have become deeply unhappy with the state of justice.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party, supported Mr. Erdogan against the coup plotters but has since accused him of orchestrating a civilian coup when he rounded up tens of thousands of political opponents, academics, lawyers and journalists who had nothing to do with the coup attempt.

The purges in the armed forces were systematic, rooting out whole units and conducting yearly roundups. Only two pilots remain in the air force from the class of 2010, to which the group of 13 belonged, said a former classmate who was among those purged.

Mr. Kalin, who served much of his career in the gendarme, said: “Our trust in the law, in the courts, in justice, in the state, in the government fell to zero. Even below zero.”

By now, the purges and prosecutions have included thousands in the military — officers and cadets alike.

“Is it OK to darken the lives of that many people without discriminating between the innocent and the guilty?” said Hatice Ceylan, whose son Burak, 29, is among the 13 trainees sentenced. “They are just children. There are plenty like my son, rotting in jail.”

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Russian Ex-Con of U.S. Penal System Meets, Taunts Imprisoned Navalny

MOSCOW — Aleksei A. Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, has been denied visits from his doctors and lawyers.

But one unlikely visitor to the notoriously harsh penal colony where he is being held did turn up this week: Maria Butina, the only Russian to serve prison time in the United States in relation to investigations of Russian political influence operations during and after the 2016 election. She now works for RT, a pro-Kremlin television channel.

According to social media posts by Ms. Butina and supporters of Mr. Navalny, the two had a face-to-face encounter that appeared to have been punctuated by mutual insults. There has been no video or other photographic corroboration of such an encounter, and as of Friday RT had not published a story about it.

In 2018, Ms. Butina pleaded guilty in the United States to one charge of conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent, sometimes called “espionage light.” Prosecutors accused Ms. Butina of having befriended Republican Party politicians and leaders in the National Rifle Association while sending reports back to Russia. She served most of her 18-month sentence and then was deported.

declared a hunger strike until he is allowed a visit with a specialist doctor.

The response triggered Ms. Butina’s taunting commentary online that was then delivered in person at the prison.

“A new approach for Navalny, a hunger strike,” Ms. Butina wrote on Telegram, the messaging service, on Wednesday. “It’s as old as the world.”

She wrote that his intent was to draw attention abroad and that others in Russian prisons had tried this before. “Look what little poor ones we are,” she wrote of what hunger strikers intended to convey.

“Lyosha, are you a man or not?” she wrote, referring to Mr. Navalny by a diminutive of his first name. “I’m tired of the complaining. He is in one of the best penal colonies in Russia.”

Ms. Butina in posts on Friday said Mr. Navalny, in her view, looked hale and hearty. She said the warden told her Mr. Navalny was refusing medical care from prison doctors.

“Navalny walks absolutely normally,” she wrote after the visit. “He doesn’t look like a person ‘not allowed to sleep,’ and I can judge from my time in prison in the U.S.A.”

In describing their encounter, Ms. Butina wrote that Mr. Navalny had been standing in a line of prisoners. When he saw her, she wrote, he “immediately hurled insults.” She also wrote that she asked him: “Do you know the difference between a prison and a resort?”

Ms. Butina served a portion of her sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, Fla. In a memoir published after her return to Russia, Ms. Butina wrote she had been horrified to meet transgender people in the penitentiary and had once been sent to solitary confinement.

Mr. Navalny’s version of the encounter with Ms. Butina, according to his Telegram channel’s posting, differed on what was said, but at least seemed consistent with her assertion that it was an insult-fueled exchange.

Mr. Navalny “for 15 minutes lectured her before a line of convicts, calling her a parasite and servant of the government of thieves,” according to the posting.

Precisely how this information was obtained and posted to his Telegram channel is not clear. Mr. Navalny has conveyed messages through lawyers in the past that others post under his name.

RT, the television channel formerly known as Russia Today that Mr. Navalny’s aides said had dispatched Ms. Butina to his prison, did not respond to a query about the visit.

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U.S. Suspends Trade Pact With Myanmar After Weekend Violence

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration condemned the Myanmar government’s latest crackdown on protesters and said the U.S. was suspending relations established with the country under a 2013 trade pact after security forces there unleashed deadly violence on anticoup demonstrators over the weekend.

“We condemn this abhorrent violence against the Burmese people, the Burmese junta continues to use lethal force against its own people,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “We continue to make clear that we will impose costs on the military regime for the deadly violence against peaceful protesters and the suppression of all of human rights.”

Soldiers and police gunned down at least 90 protesters over the weekend, including six children between the ages of 10 and 16, in some cases firing weapons into residential areas and homes, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a nonprofit that is monitoring the junta’s attempt to crush political opposition.

Saturday’s attack appeared to be one of the most brutal by security forces on protesters demonstrating against the Feb. 1 military coup in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Biden administration, after expressing increasing concern about the crackdown on political opposition and human rights abuses, directed U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday to suspend trade ties with Myanmar that the U.S. established in 2013. That year’s Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA, was suspended immediately until the return of a democratically elected government, Ms. Tai’s office said.

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Myanmar Protesters Return After Security Forces Kill 90 People

SINGAPORE—Protesters returned to the streets of Myanmar after soldiers and police gunned down at least 90 people across the country in the bloodiest day since the military began its violent campaign to crush opposition to last month’s coup.

Among those killed on Saturday were six children between the ages of 10 and 16 as security forces opened fire in residential areas and into homes, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a nonprofit that monitors arrests and fatalities. At an 11-year-old girl’s funeral on Sunday, her body lay surrounded by toys, a box of crayons and a hand-drawn sketch of Hello Kitty, photographs in local media showed.

The nonprofit group recorded gunfire and violence against protesters in 40 locations across the country on Saturday, including the two largest cities Yangon and Mandalay, and said the death toll was likely higher than the 90 fatalities it had confirmed. Soldiers dragged some of the bodies off the streets and didn’t return them to the families of the deceased, and the injured who were hauled away later died in detention, the nonprofit group said.

For weeks, security forces have terrorized civilians by shooting protesters and sometimes bystanders in the streets. The displays of force are intended to strike fear and suppress resistance to the Feb. 1 coup, which ended Myanmar’s decadelong shift toward democracy and returned the country to absolute military rule. Aung San Suu Kyi, the ousted civilian leader, has been under detention in her home since her government was deposed, as have dozens of other officials from her political party.

Their absence and the military’s violence hasn’t stopped citizens from mobilizing. The generals face daily demonstrations, a sprawling civil disobedience movement that has paralyzed large parts of Myanmar’s economy and sanctions by the U.S., U.K. and the European Union. But Saturday’s bloodshed showed the armed forces, who have a long history of repression against citizens, have no intention of changing course, raising fears of more loss of life and prolonged chaos turning Myanmar into a failed state.

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Dozens Shot Dead in Myanmar as Military Continues Ruthless Campaign Against Civilians

On a day when Myanmar’s commander in chief, who seized power in a coup last month, vowed in a speech at a military parade “to protect people from all dangers,” soldiers and police under his control gunned down dozens of men, women and children as they continue a ruthless campaign to suppress widespread opposition to army rule.

Demonstrations began a week after the Feb. 1 takeover, which abruptly ended Myanmar’s decadelong shift toward democracy. They have continued every day since as protesters demand that elected government be restored. A civil disobedience movement has brought large parts of the economy to a standstill, with civil servants, factory workers, shopkeepers, bank staff and others refusing to go to work in an effort to push the military to give up power.

Soldiers have responded by shooting citizens in the streets. The U.N.’s Human Rights office said Saturday that it had received reports of scores of people killed and hundreds injured across 40 locations in the country. A representative for the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a nonprofit that monitors arrests and fatalities, said at least 91 people had been killed and that the group was working to confirm the full death toll.

Before Saturday, armed forces and police had slain 328 people, according to the group. Images emerge daily of bloodied bodies with gunshot wounds and inconsolable family members cradling the corpses of their loved ones.

Write to Niharika Mandhana at

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Dozens Gunned Down in One of Myanmar’s Bloodiest Days Since Coup

At a military parade on Saturday, the general who led the overthrow of Myanmar’s civilian government last month said the army was determined “to protect people from all danger.”

Before the day was over, the security forces under his command had shot and killed a 5-year-old boy, two 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl. A baby girl in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, was struck in the eye with a rubber bullet, although her parents said she was expected to live.

The slain children were among dozens of people killed on Saturday as the security forces cracked down on protests across Myanmar, in what appeared to be one of the deadliest days since the Feb. 1 coup led by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, commander of the Tatmadaw, as the military is known. One news outlet, Myanmar Now, put Saturday’s death toll as high as 80.

“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for a group of elected officials who say they represent Myanmar’s government, said in a statement.

a medal and a ceremonial sword.

Russia has been an important supplier of weapons to the Myanmar military, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council it can be counted on, along with China, to block any attempt by the international body to impose sanctions on Myanmar.

The United States said on Thursday that it was putting its own financial sanctions on two military-owned conglomerates that control a large segment of Myanmar’s economy.

shots had been fired at its cultural center in Yangon, the American Center, on Saturday. The embassy said that no one was hurt and that it was investigating.

the Karen National Union said on Facebook that it had overrun and seized a Tatmadaw camp. The group posted photos of weapons it said it had seized, including what appeared to be machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Tatmadaw has fought for decades with various ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Karen. Some opposition leaders hope that urban protesters, who are mainly from the majority Bamar ethnic group, can build a coalition with the ethnic groups to resist the Tatmadaw.

The widespread killings on Saturday came a day after military-run television threatened protesters with being “shot in the back and the back of the head” if they persisted in opposing military rule.

According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which has tracked arrests and killings since the coup, about a quarter of those killed before Saturday were shot in the head.

The killings on Saturday took place in more than two dozen cities across the country. Many of the victims were bystanders.

In Meiktila, a city in central Myanmar, 14-year-old Ma Pan Ei Phyu was at home when the security forces began shooting randomly in the neighborhood, said her father, U Min Min Tun. The family did not hear a shot, and they didn’t realize that she had been killed until she fell to the floor. She had been hit in the chest.

In Yangon, 13-year-old Maung Wai Yan Tun was playing outside when the police and soldiers arrived. Scared, he ran away and was shot, his mother told the online news outlet Mizzima. The family went to recover his body, but finding it surrounded by security forces, they dared not approach.

One of the bloodiest incidents took place in Yangon’s Dala Township. On Friday afternoon, the police arrested two protesters at their home.

Soon after, neighbors gathered outside the police station and demanded their release. The police responded by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades at the crowd, one witness said.

The residents retreated but returned to the police station after midnight. This time, after a lengthy standoff, the security forces opened fire with live ammunition. At least 10 people were killed and 40 injured.

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