COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A Maryland appeals court has overturned a wealthy stock trader’s conviction on a murder charge in the fiery death of a man who was helping him dig tunnels for an underground nuclear bunker. Daniel Beckwitt was sentenced in 2019 to nine years in prison after a jury convicted him for the death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra. A Court of Special Appeals panel ruled Friday that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to sustain Beckwitt’s second-degree “depraved heart” murder conviction. But it upheld his involuntary manslaughter conviction. Prosecutors said extreme hoarding conditions in Beckwitt’s home prevented Khafra from escaping after a fire broke out above the tunnels in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
But many Russian voices expressed the opposite view, calling the decision a politicized one.The head of Russia’s curling federation, Dmitry Svishchev, asserted: “I am profoundly convinced that it was made under pressure. Someone needed Russia not to participate in the Games.”I have a third view. The IOC decision was tragic but necessary.“Russia,” however, should neither be blamed nor defended.Instead, the Russian government must be assigned full responsibility for this tragedy, both by foreign governments and athletes but also by Russian society.Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, oversaw this industrial cheating scheme.That’s why the IOC banned Mutko from all future Olympic competitions. Gold medal winners will not get to hear the Russian national anthem, all because of Putin’s decision to cheat.The other losers are fans around the world, including me, who wanted to see these Russian athletes compete in Pyeongchang not as “Olympic athletes from Russia” but as fierce, proud, and patriotic members of the Russian national team.International and Russian fans who wanted to see the Russians compete in the Winter Games next year must blame Putin for this tragedy, not all of Russia and most certainly not all Russian athletes.And Russian citizens must stop blaming foreigners for this sad outcome as well and start beginning to hold their own government accountable.It’s time for Russians to start pressing Putin and his government to make different decisions. Russian athletes, and fans around the world of the Winter Games, deserve better.Michael McFaul is director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a fellow at Stanford University.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Another close Putin confidant and president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, was suspended as an IOC member.Make no mistake: Mutko and Zhukov were not some rogue actors, acting independently from Putin or the Russian government.They were his lieutenants.In Putin’s government today, there are no independent actors.Obviously, the IOC had no interest in banning one of the powerhouses in winter sports from the Games. Putin compelled them to make this decision.In assigning blame to the Kremlin, the international community as well as Russian society also should recognize that the biggest victims of the Russian government’s decisions are the clean Russian athletes who played by the Olympic rules.Putin has said Russia would not prevent its athletes from competing as neutrals, but that means they will be denied the proud moment of watching the Russian flag ascend during the medals ceremony — what should be the highlight of their athletic careers. Categories: Editorial, OpinionLast week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a shocking decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, due to Russia’s “systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules.”The public reaction to this decision — by government officials and public commentators, and on my Twitter feed — was very polarized.Most around the world rejoiced. “Russia” got what it deserved, so many explained.
Joachim Andersen is also wanted by Arsenal (Getty Images)Praet, a Belgian central midfielder, scored two goals and registered three assists in 37 appearances for Sampdoria this season.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe 25-year-old also went on trial at Arsenal when he was 16 but opted to remain in Belgium and join Anderlecht instead of moving to the Gunners.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityAndersen, meanwhile, is one of Serie A’s top central defenders and is viewed by Arsenal as a long-term successor to Laurent Koscielny.Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the Denmark international.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Comment Arsenal submit improved £44m offer to sign Sampdoria duo Dennis Praet and Joachim Andersen Arsenal have launched a new bid for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet (Getty Images)Arsenal have submitted a new €50 million (£44m) bid to sign Sampdoria duo Dennis Praet and Joachim Andersen, according to reports.Earlier this week, reports in Italy claimed that the Gunners had tabled a €42m (£37m) offer for the two players, but the bid was turned down by Sampdoria.According to Sampnews24, who revealed the first details of Lucas Torreira’s move from Sampdoria to Arsenal last year, Arsenal have returned with an improved offer for Praet and Andersen.And the report claims that Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero is ready to accept Arsenal’s new bid.ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterThursday 6 Jun 2019 6:06 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.8kShares