Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 18, 2023

Newsline: Former U.S. Embassy employee sentenced for sex crimes in Philippines

A former State Department employee who sexually abused minors while working overseas was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday. (https://news.yahoo.com/former-state-department-employee-sentenced-131147740.html) The Department of Justice said 63-year-old Dean Edward Cheves, who worked at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021, pleaded guilty to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place in October 2022. According to court documents, Cheves used his personal cell phone to communicate inappropriately with two teenage girls in the Philippines whom he had met online, and he was aware that the two victims were minors. The DOJ also said that Cheves used his government-issued iPhone 11 to film multiple videos of sexual acts involving one of the girls. The child sex abuse material that he produced was found on the phone after it was seized from his embassy residence in the Philippines.

Newsline: Vatican closes embassy in Nicaragua

The Vatican said Saturday it had closed its embassy in Nicaragua after the country’s government proposed suspending diplomatic relations, the latest episode in a yearslong crackdown on the Catholic Church by the administration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The Vatican’s representative to Managua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, also left the country Friday, bound for Costa Rica, a Vatican official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/politics/article/vatican-closes-embassy-in-nicaragua-after-17847042.php) The Vatican action came a week after the Nicaraguan government proposed suspending relations with the Holy See, and a year after Nicaragua forced the papal ambassador at the time to leave.

Newsline: Egyptian embassies withholding identity papers from dissidents abroad

Egyptian embassies have been systematically refusing to provide or renew identity documents to dissidents, journalists and activists abroad in a crackdown on opposition that extends beyond Egypt’s borders, Human Rights Watch said. The U.S.-based group said it had interviewed 26 Egyptians living in countries including Turkey, Germany, Malaysia and Qatar last year, and had reviewed documents relating to nine of them. “By arbitrarily depriving its citizens abroad from obtaining valid passports and other identity documents, the Egyptian authorities are violating both the constitution and international human rights law,” HRW said. In Turkey, home to a large number of Egyptian opposition figures, Egypt’s consulate requires applicants for almost all services to fill out unofficial forms with private details including the reasons they left Egypt and links to social media accounts, HRW said. Those interviewed said it was “nearly impossible” to challenge refusals to provide documents, it added. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/egypt-withholding-identity-papers-dissidents-abroad-rights-group-2023-03-13/) Egypt’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.