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Al Jazeera Journalist's Funeral Procession in West Bank; Select Committee Preparing to Hold Public Hearings Next Month; Black College Women's Lacrosse Alleges Racial Profiling After Bus Searched; Cardinal Joseph Zen Arrested for Violating Hong Kong Security Law. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll have a live report from Ramallah next.


FOSTER: Live pictures from Ramallah in the West Bank where a funeral procession is under way for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as she is fatally shot whilst covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin just on Wednesday. Her producer was also shot but is in stable condition thankfully. CNN's Hadas Gold is in Ramallah where mourners are gathered -- Hadas.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, I'm at the residence of the Palestinian Authority president. Where right now, we can hear the sirens of the convoy that is bringing Shireen Abu Akleh's body here for what will be an honor guard ceremony. Where the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will receive her. We are expecting her to arrive here any moment.

And Max, I have to tell you, there are thousands of people here likely filling this entire area outside of the residence including we are hearing on the streets outside of the residence. It's everybody from of course plenty of journalists who were colleagues of Shireen's as well as diplomats, a cross section of society, including we are seeing some Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, the Israeli Parliament are here as well.

And it gives you an idea, Max, of the outpouring of grief for Shireen's death, just what an icon. Not just as a female journalist, but just as a journalist in general. She was really the voice for so many people in their homes, all day, every day as they were growing up. So many journalists who are my age, so many Palestinian journalists who are my age grew up listening to her. She inspired them to become reporters. And so, her death is hitting everybody so hard right now.


Just because, you know, she was a journalist out there doing her job, trying to bring the story to the world. So, she will arrive here, there will be an honor guard ceremony for her here. And this will be the beginning of her journey to Jerusalem where she will be buried tomorrow near the old city of Jerusalem. So, just again, outpouring of support here, thousands of people here, a cross section of society, journalists, diplomats, officials, all are here to show their support for her right now.

FOSTER: It does seem as though everyone is supportive of the idea that reporters should be safe in the field. There's so much concern, isn't there, that the fact that she was wearing this vest which clearly had press written on it. But also, huge kudos to her for continuing that reporting and really showing what was going on in the area despite all the dangers of operating there.

GOLD: Yes, exactly, Max. You know, she was wearing gear that clearly identified who she was and there is just so much grief right now. And I think so much of the focus especially today is just on honoring Shireen's life and honoring all of the work that she did for so many years.

Any moment now, Max, we are expecting to hear the drums, the music from the full honor guard that will be here and that she will be -- we can now start to hear -- starting to hear applause. I believe this is a pause of people applauding Shireen's body being brought here. Already yesterday there were -- you can hear a lot of people applauding around me. Yesterday there were sort of honorary spontaneous funeral processions in places like Jenin and Ramallah, where her body was being carried by people through the streets. She was wrapped in the Palestinian flag. At one point her press vest was draped on the body as well.

Right now, she will be carried into the residence of the Palestinian Authority. President Mahmoud Abbas will receive her. She will receive an honor guard. And again, she will be here for a little bit of time and then her body will continue on a procession to Jerusalem where she will be buried tomorrow afternoon -- Max.

FOSTER: It's difficult to overestimate her impact there. Because as you say, we've heard so many examples of young journalists talking about this being the reporter that they grew up watching on their screens. So, people really called out by their reaction to this. It's a real shock, isn't it, to people, you know, across the Middle East.

GOLD: Yes, listen, if you grew up in this region where the conflict was raging, people had the news on every day in their homes all day long. And her voice was a voice that you would hear all day long reporting from every major event in this region. In fact, we've heard from people who would say that when they were kids, they would hold coke cans as if they were microphones and say I'm Shireen Abu Akleh from Al Jazeera. That goes to show you what an impact she had on so many reporters and so many people growing up here and what a loss she is. She was only 51 years old. She had many, many decades ahead of her of great reporting that she should have done and that was taken away from her and from all of us.

FOSTER: A lot of her friends have talked about the greatest legacy would be to carry on reporting the story, to keep doing what she was doing. But it's also a reminder of how dangerous that work is as well and how scary it is to carry out that work.

GOLD: Yes, Max, as we've seen in Ukraine, as we've seen in places like Mexico, the danger that so many journalists face while they are trying to go out there and tell the story in places that lot of people won't get to go. Shireen was in Jenin while she was trying to report. This is a place that many people will never go, will never get to see and she was trying to be the eyes for the world. Report on what was happening there. And IT was taken away from the journalist community and it's just an incredible tragedy, an incredible loss for journalism all around the world whenever any journalist is taken away from us.

FOSTER: Hadas, thank you. Watching their the honor guard in honor of the Al Jazeera journalists shot just yesterday. We'll follow developments throughout the day. But a huge impact on the communities there.



FOSTER: The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is preparing to hold high profile public hearings next month. The first is set for June 9. The committee is finalizing its witness list and is reaching out to people that wants to testify in public. According to several sources, the hearings will attempt to lay out what then President Trump knew about potential violence and what he was doing as it unfolded. Nearly 1,000 witnesses have been interviewed so far including Trump's children, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig says it is unlikely that the committee will have time to interview people who don't want to testify.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's probably too late for the committee to force anyone to testify who does not want to testify. Because orderly if somebody defied a subpoena, you could do two things. You could go to court and try to get an order from a judge, requiring them to testify, or you could send it over to DOJ for a contempt prosecution to punish the person. Both of those things, either of those things will take way more than the three to four weeks we have until the hearings start. So as a practical matter now, the committee is just have to rely on the goodwill and patriotism really of the people that it needs to hear from.


FOSTER: The National Archives says it has another 23,000 emails and other documents to give to the January 6 Committee. It's the eighth batch of official records to be turned over. Trump has not tried to stop the release after the Supreme Court ruled against him in an earlier challenge.

Meanwhile a New York judge has lifted the civil contempt finding against Trump as long as certain conditions are met. This includes providing an explanation of the Trump Organization's document retention policy. The former president has also been ordered to pay $110,000 in fines. If he fails to comply by May 20th, the judge says that the contempt finding will be reinstated.

Administrators at Delaware State University say that they are reviewing their options after the school's women's lacrosse team was subjected to what they believe was racial profiling. The team's bus was stopped in Liberty County, Georgia for a minor traffic violation. Police say the stop was legal and routine. But the university insists that the team was racially profiled. CNN's Amara walker reports.


POLICE OFFICER: Are you a college student? Oh, good.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This body cam video shows Georgia deputies searching college students bag during a traffic stop. On board, the women's lacrosse team from Delaware State University, a historically black college, on their way home from a game in Florida.

POLICE OFFICER: If there is anything in y'all's luggage, we're probably going to find it. OK.


I'm not looking for a little bit of marijuana but I'm pretty sure you guys' chaperones probably are going to be disappointed in you if we find any.

SANIYA CRAFT, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY FRESHMAN: I don't really know whether there's a crime.

WALKER (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Saniya Craft recorded parts of the encounter with her phone, thinking it would be part of her video blog about her lacrosse team. She didn't expect she'd gathering evidence of what she says was racial profiling by the Liberty County Sheriff's deputies.

CRAFT: I don't think if I thought if we were a different colored team, like majority of lacrosse playing teams, that that wouldn't have happened.

POLICE OFFICER: And we're going to find out exactly what it is.

WALKER (voice-over): Delaware State University president Tony Allen said in a statement he was incensed and the video taken by players shows law enforcement members attempting to intimidate our student athletes into confessing to possession of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia.


POLICE OFFICER: Vyvanse (ph).

WALKER (voice-over): While the university and ASUN Conference say they are conducting their own investigations, the Liberty County sheriff, pushed back against allegations of any wrongdoing, citing that the bus violated state law by not staying in the two most right-hand lanes. The sheriff also said patrols pulled over another bus, where contraband was found.

SHERIFF WILLIAM BOWMAN, LIBERTY COUNTY, GEORGIA: Although I don't believe that any racial profiling took place based on the information I currently have, I welcome feedback from our community.

WALKER (voice-over): While Craft says that the incident saddens her, she says she is now focused on a brighter future for her and her teammates.

CRAFT: I know for us, as black women, sometimes we get looked down on, and I don't want that to happen. I don't want that to ever happen to any of our teammates.

WALKER: And Saniya Craft also tells me this was a very scary and traumatic experience for her and her teammates. But She's also glad that she recorded this incident and that it has garnered the national attention she believes it deserves. She said the public just needs to know what people of color are going through. And by the way, the Liberty County Sheriff's Department says that it is conducting an internal investigation into this.

Amara Walker, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: The team's head coach spoke with CNN earlier. Here is what she told us about their experience.


PAMELLA JENKINS, HEAD COACH, DELAWARE STATE WOMEN'S LACROSSE TEAM: I felt violated to hear them say that. I trust my student-athletes and being division one athletes, marijuana is just not something that they take part in. So, to hear the police say that in that accusatory tone, it made me very upset and then also helpless because there was no way in that moment that I could keep them safe.

Before searching our bus, the police officer came on the bus and saw the demographic of our team and when the word narcotics was brought up, he went straight to marijuana. And you know, unfortunately, stereotypically that is a drug that is connected to African-Americans. And he saw the demographic of our team, he made that assumption, and I feel like, you know, he acted accordingly based off of the demographic that we are.


FOSTER: Now we are going to go to the funeral now. We've got Mahmoud Abbas is currently speaking. So were just going to listen in.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) FOSTER: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas there speaking at the funeral of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. She died yesterday and it has been a real shock to the local communities there, but also to the journalistic community as she was just carrying out her work. So, we're going to monitor that speech and we're going to bring to you, but there is a huge outpouring of grief in the area. We're going to be back in just a moment.



FOSTER: Dramatic video. Good news is that all passengers and crew were safely evacuated after this plane skidded off the runway and caught fire at a local airport. According to the crew the Tibet Airlines plane had been having trouble taking off and after leaving the runway at Chongqing, China the engine scraped the ground and caught fire. 122 people were on board. More than 40 passengers were taken to the hospital but with minor injuries. The aviation accident currently under investigation.

Now a vocal critic of China's ruling Communist Party, Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, was arrested on Wednesday under Hong Kong's strict national security law. The territory's former bishop was amongst a group of pro-democracy figures charged with colluding with foreign forces. Amnesty International says the move is a shocking escalation, even by Hong Kong standards, of repression showing disregard for basic human right. Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong with the very latest. How would you describe the situation?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the national security crackdown here in Hong Kong is apparently far from over. A number of pro-democracy figures, including a 90-year-old Catholic Cardinal, have been arrested on charges of colluding with foreign forces. This according to the U.S. State Department.


Among those arrested include Cardinal Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong. Denise Ho, she is a pop singer, and activists. Margaret Ng, a former lawmaker, a barrister here in Hong Kong, as well as academic Hui Po-keung. They were part of -- or trustees of a now disbanded fund. It was called the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund . A fund set up to help protestors who have been arrested during the extradition bill of pro-democracy protests of 2019.

Well, Cardinal Zen, he is a towering figure here in Hong Kong. He has been an outspoken critic of both the Hong Kong government and Beijing. He has been called the conscience of Hong Kong. And when news of his arrest went out, the Vatican quickly issued a statement. We'll bring it up for you. This is what we have here.

They say: The Holy See has learned with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is following the evolution of the situation with extreme attention. Unquote. And in the last hour or so, we've also received comment from Beijing in the form of China's ministry of foreign affairs office here in Hong Kong.

In this statement they say, quote: The foreign forces should know crystal clear where they have been and what they have done. Unquote.

I should add that these arrests come days after the appointment of a new chief executive for Hong Kong John Lee. He is the former security chief of Hong Kong. He was security chief here during the 2019 protests as well as the introduction of the National Security Law the following year which was imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong. Perhaps a sign of things to come. Back to you -- Max.

FOSTER: We'll see. Kristie, thank you for joining us from Hong Kong.

Thank you for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett is next. You're watching CNN.