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Oscar Pistorius – from childhood to the courtroom

November 14th, 2014
10:42 AM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

It is the question that remains on many people’s minds. Did Oscar Pistorius intentionally kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year?

“Most people who ask me that question have already made up their minds. And I sort of rather confuse people by saying, ‘I simply do not know,’” journalist John Carlin, whose new book traces the athlete’s life from his early days to the courtroom, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

Even after the “Blade Runner” was handed a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide, Carlin said what happened on that night is still up in the air.

“I honestly don't think even the judge, who found him guilty of culpable homicide, if you really pin her down in the intimacy of her home, what do you really, really think happened, I think she'd have to say she doesn't know.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa

Identity politics drive criminal justice systems, from South Africa to America

October 21st, 2014
02:49 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The trial of Oscar Pistorius highlights the power of identity politics, an American civil rights lawyer who defends the disenfranchised told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, as Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison.

“It's a dynamic that we see frequently,” Bryan Stevenson said. “When people come into the criminal courts with another identity, with another status, they tend to fare much better.”

“This young man was a respected Olympian, an athlete who was well respected and adored and that meant that he was going to get the presumption of innocence that we offer, that we say we give to everybody but that not everybody gets.”

That is particularly true of the many disenfranchised and often innocent people Stevenson represents in the U.S., a country with its own very troubled relationship to race and justice.

The organization he founded, the Equal Justice Initiative, is headquartered in the heart of the American South – Montgomery, Alabama. His new book, “Just Mercy,” is a memoir told through the stories of the cases he has fought.

“Our system treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent, and that's because wealth, not culpability, tends to shape outcomes."

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Graça’s grief: ‘There were times where I would wake up and I wouldn’t know what to do’

June 30th, 2014
12:28 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Graça Machel, in her first TV interview after six months of mourning for her late husband, Nelson Mandela, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday that she still has not grappled with the full meaning of “this huge loss.”

“I have to tell you that there were times where I would wake up and I wouldn’t know what to do,” she said. “Somehow he would expect me to carry on.”

“During the time of his active live, we knew that people loved him. But it was beyond my imagination to see when he got sick, people who would send us messages, people who would write, people who would pray for him.”

When he died last December, after months of grave illness, Machel did not follow the outpouring of support from around the world.

“I was consumed with my sense of loss. But I have been told that for days, every single TV station, every single radio would be talking about him, celebrating his life.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa

Mandela’s long-time assistant Zelda la Grange recalls her early racism

June 25th, 2014
08:04 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

“I was a full-on racist by the time I started working for him.”

That is the shocking revelation from Nelson Mandela’s long-time personal assistant, gatekeeper, and trusted aide, Zelda la Grange, a white Afrikaner.

“Now looking back, if you [asked] me at the age of twenty-three I would probably have denied being a racist,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “Now it's easier, because you can recognize the change in yourself.”

La Grange was born the year after Mandela was sent to prison; little in her upbringing suggests she was destined to be confidant to the world’s foremost black liberation leader.

She had been so ignorant of her country’s politics that she hadn’t even heard of Mandela when it was announced he would be released from prison, in 1990.

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa

Future of the rainbow nation

May 8th, 2014
02:14 PM ET

As South Africa holds elections, Christiane Amanpour speaks with Thuli Madonsela, the country's Public Protector.

Click above to watch.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa

Kofi Annan: I wish Nigeria action had come sooner

May 7th, 2014
02:10 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Action by the Nigerian government and international partners to go after the group that has held more than 200 girls captive in that country should have come sooner, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“I think the government should do all it can to get the girls free,” he said, “and I’m very happy that the U.S., the U.K., and other governments are teaming up with Nigeria to resolve this issue.”

“I wish this had happened earlier, but it is happening, and the Nigerian people are also demanding action.”

Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls last month, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has come under fire after waiting three weeks to publicly acknowledge the kidnappings.

The Nigerian government also now accepted U.S. and British offers of assistance, officials with those governments said.

The kidnapping, Annan said, are “abominable.”

“It is something that should not be happening in modern-day Africa.”

Annan is uniquely placed to address the issue.

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Nigeria • South Africa • Syria

Pistorius case ‘fits the profile’ of guns in South Africa

April 8th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

On the day Olympic star Oscar Pistorius testified in a South African court about the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African gun control advocate told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, that the case “fits the profile.”

“It’s highly racialized, gun ownership – the use of guns, but also who the victims are,” Adele Kirsten of Gun Free South Africa said.

Women “are particularly vulnerable in their home to be shot and killed by a man intimate and known to them, usually with a legal gun,” as was the case with Pistorius and Steenkamp.

FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • South Africa

Oscar Pistorius in his own words

April 8th, 2014
02:13 PM ET

Cold-blooded murder or tragic accident?

Oscar Pistorius broke down on the witness stand Tuesday, sobbing as he recounted the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Click above to watch.


Filed under:  Latest Episode • South Africa

Pistorius will get fair trial, says lawyer who taught judge

March 3rd, 2014
03:09 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Oscar Pistorius, South African Olympian facing murder charges over the death of his girlfriend, will get a fair trial, Mannie Witz, a lawyer who served as teacher to the judge in the case, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“I think it’s very, very important – not only to South Africa, but also for the whole world – to see that we’ve got a very, very good justice system,” Witz said from Pretoria, where Pistorius’ trial began Monday.

Pistorius faces one charge of premeditated murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp's killing, as well as two separate gun indictments from 2012.

“Knowing the judge in this particular matter, I think that should ensure that he does get a fair trial,” Witz said. “She follows the rules, she follows the procedure, and I’ve got no doubt that in regards to all the parties – they’re very experienced, they’re very, very well-versed experienced.”

Close

The trial of Oscar PIstorius

Christiane Amanpour speaks with South African lawyer Mannie Witz about the trail of Oscar Pistorius.

Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with Witz.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa

The end of innocence: Photojournalist documents child sexual abuse

February 26th, 2014
10:02 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

It is hard to imagine – a three-year-old girl being raped. It is even harder to fathom the rapists being children themselves.

But in South Africa, not only is this crime shockingly common, it may be on the rise.

45% of rapes reported to the police in South Africa are child rapes, and 50% of South Africa’s children will be abused before the age of 18, according to South Africa’s Tears Foundation and the Medical Research Council.

For over a decade, photographer Mariella Furrer has worked to document these crimes with powerful photos and accompanying narratives.

She has compiled her work into a nearly 700-page book, “My Piece of Sky.”

Click here to see Furrer’s photos in large format

“Most child sexual abuse is unreported,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “The most important thing about this body of work really is to try to get people to speak out about their abuse – to have the courage to speak out about it, because there’s a lot of shame and guilt attached to it.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa
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