Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for February 26, 2023

Newsline: Criminal justice and mental illness balanced in NYC consulate rock throwing case

In the years before the NYPD arrested Reza Mashayekhi for hurling rocks through embassy windows in Midtown in 2020, he’d been tortured in Iran under suspicion of spying for the CIA, walked across America, and lost his father at a time when he needed him more than ever. He had no money, work, or community when he arrived in New York after a cross-country voyage and more than a year without access to health care critical to his mental stability. “I threw rocks through the consulate with no reason,” Mashayekhi, 37, told the Daily News. “The paranoia was bothering me.” (https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/ny-mental-health-court-graduates-nyc-legal-infrastructure-mental-illness-20230226-e2nhrbnlnzgznhf3jbpvafrddq-story.html) Then, he got lucky. Mashayekhi’s lawyers succeeded where many have not, convincing prosecutors to refer his case to a special mental health court in NYC that connects participants with community-based clinical care and supervision, housing, employment, and educational opportunities. After months of sitting on Rikers and in Bellevue’s prison ward, Mashayekhi was released from custody in February masha once his court-mandated treatment plan was ready. Now, three years after his arrest, he’s in control of his mental health and working in a job he loves. Mashayekhi’s case points to an important but not widely discussed reality: New York City has actually figured out a model to better balance law enforcement and mental health treatment, a problem that has long vexed the criminal justice system, according to both experts and data.

Newsline: Algeria to reopen its embassy in Ukraine

Algeria will reopen its embassy in Kyiv one year after it was closed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Algerian state television said on Sunday citing a foreign ministry statement. “This decision falls within the framework of preserving the interests of the Algerian state and the interests of the national community in this country,” state TV quoted the foreign ministry statement as saying. “The Algerian embassy in Kiev, which suspended its activities due to the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine, will be managed by the Chargé d’Affaires.” The decision to reopen the embassy will be effective “as soon as possible,” the statement read. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/algeria-reopen-its-embassy-kyiv-after-one-year-closure-2023-02-26/) The embassy closed in March last year.

Newsline: Beijing’s envoy says EU leaders may visit China by mid-2023

Chinese ambassador to the European Union Fu Cong said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel may visit China in the first half of 2023, China’s state-backed Global Times reported. Preparations for the visit by the EU’s top two officials are under way and “very frequent high-level mutual visits” between the EU and China are expected to begin soon, Fu said in an interview. Fu said in the interview that EU anger with China over Ukraine was “very irrational” and that China did not want the issue to affect the development of ties with the bloc. (https://neuters.de/world/china/chinas-eu-ambassador-says-eu-leaders-may-visit-china-by-mid-2023-2023-02-26/) After the Chinese foreign ministry published on Friday a position paper expounding its stance on the war, the EU’s top diplomat in China Jorge Toledo told reporters in Beijing that parts of the paper were concerning.