Imagine walking down a street in a European capital and meeting your torturer. For many Syrian refugees fleeing war and human rights abuses, Europe was meant to be a sanctuary. So it was a shock when people began bumping into their torturers out shopping or in a cafe. In fact many of those involved in the Syrian government’s notorious interrogation facilities are hiding in plain sight in European cities having used the refugee wave as a “ratline” out of the country. More and more are now being investigated, arrested and put on trial in European courts. But with President Assad firmly in control in Syria the long arm of the state is reaching those willing to testify. For Assignment, Chloe Hadjimatheou and Michael Ertl look at how the Syrian war is continuing to play out in Europe.
Presented and produced by Chloe Hadjimatheou and Michael Ertl
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: A woman shows a picture of her Syrian relatives outside the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany, 13 January 2022. Credit: EPA/Sascha Steinbach)
Silence would be treason
The last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa from prison in Nigeria to an Irish nun in the run up to his execution in November 1995. Smuggled out of prison in bread baskets, they are the final testament of a man who gave everything he had in the struggle for social and ecological justice. As Ken Saro-Wiwa continues to inspire people and movements across decades and continents, these letters form part of our living history, and give us an immediate link with the man behind the hero.
Coronavirus: Athletes and teachers
The vaccination and visa controversy around Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open tournament has made global headlines all week. It has also put focus on how sports around the world deal with vaccines in this pandemic.
Professional athletes often follow a rigorous diet and training schedule to achieve optimum fitness. Not surprisingly, athletes care about what they put in their bodies and in some cases they are delaying or avoiding getting a jab against Covid-19.
To discuss how this is playing out in different sports, host James Reynolds brings together an American professional basketball player, currently competing in Istanbul, a sports physician in Mumbai, India and a sports writer in the US. They discuss how the stance of the men's world number one tennis player and other sports stars is having an impact and what might be done to offer reassurance around Covid vaccines.
Djokovic, sport and vaccine mandates
The Covid vaccination status of men's number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has caused a political row. Ros Atkins looks at what Djokovic's case could mean for vaccination in sport.
World of Wisdom: Being your true self
Being the real you can be difficult, especially if it means upsetting your family. Folake from Benin tries to be a ‘good girl’ and avoids taking decisions her family would not approve of, but she wants to listen to her heart. She speaks with Dr Shefali, an Indian-born clinical psychologist – now based in New York. She is the author of A Radical Awakening, which aims to lay out a path for women to discover their inner truth.