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Uyghurs Deported from the Middle East; Met Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Kidnap and Rape of Sarah Everard; Massive Internet Blackout; U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to Meet with Mexico's President; Peru's Presidential Race Still Too Close to Call. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 08, 2021 - 10:00   ET





JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amannisa Abdullah is tormented by devastating guilt.

Did she push too much?

Did she not do enough to try and save her husband?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This hour, CNN tracks down Uyghur families in the Middle East, whose loved ones have been deported

back to China.



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The police in Australia have been busy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police search warrant. Open the door.

SOARES (voice-over): Operation Ironside: Australia, Europol and the FBI working together to undercover a criminal underworld. What they found and

who was involved just ahead.


SOARES (voice-over): And a worldwide outage. Major companies, including CNN, are now recovering after a massive internet blackout.


Hello, everyone, and a very warm welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Isa Soares in for Becky Anderson.

And this hour, deported for being a Uyghur. In China's Shenzhen region, up to 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained in vast

government camps and they continue to face what the U.S. has called a genocide.

Beijing denies the allegations, dismisses them as propaganda and says the camps are merely, quote, "vocational training centers for combating

religious extremism."

Now some Uyghurs have managed to leave China but some, even abroad, say they're not safe. The new Human Rights Watch report says China has tracked

down hundreds of Uyghurs across the globe, forcing them to return and face persecution.

From Kazakhstan to Australia, to now on the ground in Xinjiang itself, CNN has been locating families, who have been separated after loved ones were

detained. Now a CNN investigation dives into Uyghur deportations from the Middle East, a stinging betrayal by predominantly Muslim countries. Jomana

Karadsheh has more.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): This quiet Uyghur protest outside Istanbul's infamous Saudi consulate is a race against time.

Nuriman's father's fate hangs in the balance.

"If he's sent back to China, he'll be imprisoned. And there's danger of death," she tells us.

Nuriman Veli says she and her sister lost contact with their mother in China's Xinjiang region four years ago.

"If, God forbid, we lose our father as well, it will destroy us," she says.

Her father, Hamdullah Abduweli, a Uyghur Muslim scholar, was nabbed by Saudi authorities in November while on a pilgrimage to Islam's holiest


Nuriman pleads, "Send him back to Turkey, where he's a resident, not China."

For her father, there is still time.

For others, there is little hope.

KARADSHEH: Activists say at least five Uyghurs have already been deported from Saudi Arabia. We spoke to two of those families who confirmed these

deportations. This is just one part of what appears to be a terrifying campaign by China.

Over the course of our investigation, we have also found cases of Uyghurs forcibly returned to China from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in

violation of international law and where they may face what the U.S. has labeled a genocide.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt did not respond to our request for comment. China's a major trade partner to these Muslim

majority countries, who have not only turned a blind eye to China's treatment of Uyghurs, their autocratic governments have also voiced support

for what China insists is a counterterrorism campaign.

Maryam Muhammad has been keeping a dark secret from her boys, trying to shield them from the cruel reality of the world they were born into, a

nightmare that followed them thousands of kilometers from their homeland in Xinjiang.

She tells them, Daddy is away working. The last time she heard from her husband, Muhtar Rozi, he was being detained in Egypt on July 16th, 2017.

MARYAM MUHAMMAD, MUHTAR ROZI'S WIFE: He said, you are -- you are my -- my precious. I love you so much. And from that day, I did not get any message

about him.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Maryam was living her dream.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): She and Muhtar studied in Cairo's Al Azhar University, got married and started a family. But when China's long arm

reached Egypt, they scrambled to get out.

Maryam says she flew to Turkey with the boys and, with reports of arrests at the airport, Muhtar tried to get the ferry out to Jordan but was


There was little Maryam could do to try and find her husband. She wrote letters to U.N. agencies and governments but she says no one responded.

Muhtar's detention was never acknowledged. Like others, he just vanished without a trace.

Egyptian authorities, believed to be acting at the behest of the Chinese government, rounded up dozens, possibly hundreds of Uyghurs, many of them

male students at Al Azhar. More than 20 were forcibly returned to China, according to human rights groups. The Chinese crackdown on Uyghurs had

expanded far beyond its borders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) 21 but it's not exact number. Maybe it will be more.

KARADSHEH: Abduweli Ayup is a Uyghur activist. He says he has documented at least 28 deportations by these Middle Eastern countries. But no one

really knows how many Uyghurs may be behind bars in the region or how many have already been deported back to China.

Too often, family members fear that going public would only make things worse for their disappeared loved ones.

Amannisa Abdullah, He is my children's dad.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Amannisa Abdullah is tormented by devastating guilt.

Did she push too much?

Did she not do enough to try and save her husband?

She fears family in China will pay the price for her speaking out now. But she says silence is no longer an option.

ABDULLAH: In two years this kind of guilty feeling is always inside of me. And I am not able to sleep, not able to -- even like -- if I feel happy, I

have no right to feeling happy. I have no right to smile. I'm living like this.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Her husband, Ahmad Talip, lived and worked in the UAE for 10 years. In February 2018, he was detained while picking up

paperwork from a Dubai police station. It was two weeks from hell for a nine-month pregnant Amannisa and her son, chasing Ahmed as he was moved

between police stations and jails.

ABDULLAH: I have fear, if I don't be hurry up, my husband will be deported. I'm really worried about him at that time. I feel extremely

helpless and that there is no one can help me at that time.

KARADSHEH: So this is the document you got from court?


KARADSHEH (voice-over): She says no one would even tell her what Ahmad was accused of, only that he was wanted by China.

This document Amannisa obtained from Dubai's public prosecution confirms the Chinese extradition request. It also states the prosecution decided to

close the case because Chinese authorities failed to provide the required documents. But Ahmad was transferred to Abu Dhabi and a few days later,

Amannisa was told he was sent back to China.

ABDULLAH: If my husband have any crime, he committed any crime, why they don't tell me? Why China don't tell me?

One of the most difficult question in my life is, where is my dad?

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Eight-year-old Musa is left with photos and patchy childhood memories.

KARADSHEH: This was in Dubai?

MUSA, AHMAD TALIP'S SON: Yes. We're making a castle. But I cannot make a castle without my daddy.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Musa says he's lucky his little sister, Amina, never met her father.

Like tens of thousands of Uyghurs, the family found sanctuary in Turkey. But as the government forges closer ties with China, Uyghurs feel their

safe space is shrinking. With nowhere left to turn, Amannisa says she once asked for directions to the sea.

MUHAMMAD: I say, I want to take my child. I want to sit there. Actually, what I want to do is I want to go inside because I don't know how to swim.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Amannisa asks, is this world just not big enough for Uyghurs?


SOARES: A truly heartbreaking report there. You saw there Amannisa said, as she's living in Turkey now, that's where we find Jomana, who joins us

from Istanbul.

Jomana, first, let's start with the Chinese government response.

What have they said regarding your reporting?

KARADSHEH: Well, first of all, Isa, I want to add that Human Rights Watch says that it is impossible, in many of these cases, to find out what

happens to those who are forcibly returned to China.


KARADSHEH: We reached out to the Chinese government. They did not respond to our request for comment on our reporting. But Beijing has repeatedly

denied allegations of human rights abuses targeting its Uyghur minority and accusations of genocide. Recently the Chinese foreign minister calling

these accusations preposterous -- Isa.

SOARES: OK, so what about Turkey's president?

What has he had to say about all of this?

Because Erdogan -- but correct me if I'm wrong -- once championed Uyghur rights, did he not?

KARADSHEH: Well, if you look at the situation of Uyghurs here in Turkey, Isa, I mean, so many Uyghurs have found sanctuary in this country, as we

mentioned in our report, over the past decade or so. You had tens of thousands who came to Turkey.

They felt that this was a safe haven. They've established a life here. You've got so many neighborhoods in major cities here, where, pretty much,

entire neighbor -- Uyghur neighborhoods have popped up. They've always felt that Turkey's doors have been open to them.

This is a country where they not only share a religion with its people, they also have close cultural ties and also they speak a similar Turkic

language. When you start now to see that things are changing, there's this atmosphere of fear within the Uyghur community.

And it is because they feel that Turkey is establishing closer ties with China. As you mentioned, President Erdogan is seen as a defender of Muslims

globally by so many in this region. He's toned down his criticism of China when it comes to the Uyghur issue in recent years.

And what is really putting Uyghurs on edge right now is China and Turkey have agreed on an extradition treaty. That was ratified by China late last

year. Right now, it's in the Turkish parliament. It hasn't been ratified.

You've had Turkish officials, including the foreign minister, coming out and saying that, basically, this is not going to mean Uyghur deportations.

They say they've had these requests in the past from China and they have not complied.

But this is doing very little to ease those fears that we hear from Uyghurs here in Turkey. Last year, there were reports of four Uyghurs deported from

Turkey to Tajikistan, including a mother and her two children. This is what activists, human rights activists were reporting last year.

And then they say that reports indicate they ended up in China. This is something the Turkish government denies. Immigration authorities say here

they have never deported any Uyghurs to China or to third countries.

But you can imagine, Isa, with the reporting that we've just done, these cases of deportations in the Muslim and -- in the Muslim -- in Muslim and

Arab countries, this has really sent shock waves across the Uyghur community, leaving so many fearing that they really have nowhere safe left

to turn to.

SOARES: Yes, should be a place of safety for so many of them. Jomana, heartbreaking reporting but really important reporting. Terrific. Thank you

very much for that report.

And CNN is committed, of course, to telling the stories of the Uyghurs. In 2019, our Matt Rivers tracked down the camps in Xinjiang and more recently

our David Culver found families that had been separated after China accused them of being terrorists. You can find all our reports, all our coverage,

extensive, exclusive reports, on

I want to get back to London because a Metropolitan Police officer has pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard. The 33 year-old

vanished in March as she walked home in South London. Her body was later discovered in a woodland in southeast England.

The crown prosecution service says that suspect, Wayne Cousins,, quote, "accepts responsibility" for killing her but hasn't yet been asked to enter

a plea on the murder charge. I'm connecting you to Nina dos Santos, who has been covering the story for us.

What happened today in court?

What more can you tell us?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Well, 48-year-old Wayne Cousins appeared via video link from the high-security prison Belmarsh at the Old

Bailey, the central criminal court here in London, to answer to those two pleas, as you said.

One was kidnap and the other was rape. He pleaded guilty to both of those but he was not asked to enter into a plea for murder at this stage, that

pending the release of medical records. And we're expecting the best hearings (ph) to take place on July the 9th.

You will remember that the case surrounding the disappearance of Sarah Everard, she went missing on the 3rd of March earlier this year, after

walking home in a quiet south London suburb. She literally vanished from the streets, from a nearby street, where she was just sharing a quiet

evening with a friend and walking home.


DOS SANTOS: That really prompted a wave of ire, anger and indignation in this country that really sent shock waves through the political

establishment here in Westminster.

We saw tens of thousands of women, converging upon the streets -- and men, by the way, as well -- to protest against a culture of violence, toxic

misogyny in this nation, one that continues to be a fierce debating point as well.

Having said that, though, this case is now a criminal matter, both separate from that. As I said, the next hearing will take place on July the 9th. So

far, he has pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape. We have not yet heard a plea it comes to murder. But he has admitted responsibility to Sarah

Everard's death and her family was in court to listen to that firsthand.

SOARES: Nina dos Santos, thanks very much. Good to see you.

On the heels of Sarah Everard's murder, a prominent British actress says she realized how far she goes to stay safe. Keira Knightley would have

been, of course, says that when women began describing the precautions they took while walking home, she realized she took them as well without really

thinking about it.

Knightley tells "Harper's Bazaar" that every woman she knows has been harassed whether in the form of lewd comments or even being groped or


As if to underscore the concerns, during the interview itself, a man shouted comments and briefly followed Knightley and the magazine's female


You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, internet users worldwide faced the dreaded service unavailable error code. We'll explain what caused

the massive internet outage.

Also ahead this hour, the sting; global law enforcement agencies team up to net huge numbers of criminals, guns and cash. A live report on Operation

Ironside coming up next.




SOARES: Now some major websites around the world are now up and running again after a massive internet outage caused them to go dark earlier. High

traffic sites and apps like our very own, Amazon, PayPal and others were affected.

This was all linked to widespread failure at the U.S. cloud service company, Fastly. Anna Stewart following developments and joins me now live

from London.

From what I understand, things are improving. Things are looking better.

But what do we know at this stage of what caused it?

What was behind this?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely huge web outage. It caused a lot of panic. Lots of people first thinking this would be the result of

some sort of cyber or ransomware attack but actually something less malevolent.

This was all to do with the catastrophic failure at Fastly. That is a content delivery network provider, a very big one, used by many websites.

It was very evident this morning. And this is a company that essentially has a distribution network of service around the world, geographically all

over the world.


STEWART: It means that users of websites have a server that is near to them, which means that their web pages can load fast. So when you want to

get your hit of CNN, whether you're in New York or in London, it should be fast, of course.

For a short period this morning it wasn't. Now Fastly have said that they have identified the issue. They haven't said exactly what it is but it is

now fixed. So things are getting back to normal but the panic this caused really goes to show just how reliant we all are on the internet.

SOARES: Yes, and this is it. This is what makes us question, doesn't it, Anna, why so much of our internet infrastructure let's say is in the hands

of very few companies for security reasons, obviously.

STEWART: That's just it. The internet is relying for its infrastructure on very few but very large companies, so Amazon, Google, Microsoft. Fastly is

another one. Cloud Fair. And while this is one of the biggest web outages of its sort, I think we've seen it's not the first. We've seen similar

things from Cloud Fair, from Amazon Web Services and it does make you question the centralization of internet infrastructure in just a few

companies because it makes it look so fragile on a day like today. Isa?

SOARES: Wish we had more time we can talk and geek out and talk about what companies can do and what politicians can do, we can do, leave it alone at

the week for G7. Anna Stewart, great to see you live in person as well actually and here in the bureau.


SOARES: Now to a sting operation that is resonating right around the world. For three years, criminals would use an encrypted app to plot crimes

ranging from drug trafficking to murder. They thought they were in a safe space.

Well, it turns out the app was covertly monitored by (INAUDIBLE) federal police, the FBI as well as other agency. The result, hundreds of arrests in

more than a dozen countries. And the seizure of weapons as well as drugs and tens of millions of dollars. Senior international correspondent Ivan

Watson has been tracking the case for us and joins us now from Hong Kong.

And Ivan, talk us through how this sting worked, how communications were intercepted to begin with.

WATSON: You've got law enforcement bodies, Isa, in at least 18 countries that are claiming credit for creating a digital Trojan horse, an encrypted

messaging platform, actually created, they say, by the FBI, that was adopted unwittingly by narco traffickers.

And it was monitored real-time by police in different countries. And they announced today, the -- that they were carrying out hundreds of arrests in

different countries around the world, cracking down really hard on these suspected criminals.


WATSON (voice-over): The police in Australia have been busy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police search warrant. Open the door.

WATSON (voice-over): Raiding homes, seizing tons of drugs, tens of millions of dollars in cash, more than 100 guns and conducting hundreds of


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're linked by members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian mafia, Asian crime syndicates and serious and organized crime

groups. We allege they have been trafficking illicit drugs into Australia at an industrial scale.

WATSON (voice-over): The crackdown in Australia, part of a parallel investigation with the FBI, rolling out across at least 18 countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Australian government as part of a global operation has struck a heavy blow against organized crime not just in this country

but one little echo around organized crime around the world.

WATSON (voice-over): The FBI's man in Australia says law enforcement fooled criminal gangs by targeting their communications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When criminal organizations have to engage in the logistics of moving their illicit materials, their money, organizing

violence, all of that activity has to happen over a communications platform of some kind.

WATSON (voice-over): Australian law enforcement say hundreds of suspected criminals communicated on customized phones, equipped with an encrypted

messaging app, called ANOM. That app was essentially created by the FBI and decrypted by the Australian Federal Police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We introduced a dedicated encrypted communications device into the global criminal marketplace.

WATSON (voice-over): This animated video, distributed by the Australian police, explains the operation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The customized phones were used by alleged senior crime figures, which gave other criminals the confidence to use the

platform. You had to know a criminal to get hold of one of these customized phones. The phones couldn't ring or email. It could only communicate with

someone on the same platform.

WATSON (voice-over): For nearly three years, law enforcement say they have monitored these communications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Essentially, we have been in the back pockets of organized crime and operationalized criminal takedown like we've never


WATSON (voice-over): Thanks to the app, Australian police say they intercepted a planned mass shooting, while acting on at least 21 threats to



WATSON (voice-over): Meanwhile, authorities across Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. say they have also joined the operation, conducting

their own raids and arrests.

With the round-up continuing around the world, police predict criminals may start turning on each other, as decrypted messages reveal their secrets.


WATSON: Now part of how this sting operation was unfolded was that the law enforcement bodies were able to bring down a previous encrypted

communications platform, called Phantom Secure, a number of years ago.

And the Australian Federal Police say that the FBI and the AFP worked together to kind of fill the void with this new app called ANOM. And

evidently, it's the criminal gangs themselves that started adopting it -- this again, according to the police.

And they were spread basically by word of mouth. And the criminals actually had to pay subscription fees to syndicates to be able to use these

specially configured phones, none of them knowing that law enforcement was reading their messages, again, in real time.

And the Australian authorities say that they think a number of cold cases might be unlocked and solved by the evidence they've been able to gather

through this operation.

But they also point out that only a fraction of the organized crime out there is believed to use this platform, suggesting there's an awful lot

more out there still undiscovered.

SOARES: And on that point, Ivan, it was so successful and so devastatingly effective, why not just keep going with this operation?

Why end it and reveal their findings?

Why not keep it going?

WATSON: Well, the authorities had to act on a number, at least 21 suspected death threats. And they also point out that they may have saved a

family of five in Australia, that could have been hit in a mass shooting that there had been chatter about.

So that may have contributed, something like that. But I want to stress the fact that the rollout of this announcement has been very carefully

choreographed with a press conference in Australia and then in Europe, from Europol and then expected, in a number of hours from now, from the FBI in

the U.S.

The Australians actually had a number of videos ready, scripted videos, to roll out, including an animated segment that we showed a piece of. So that

just illustrates that they have been preparing for this for some time.

And it's quite a victory lap. They are very pleased with what they've accomplished here, that they have been conducting arrests in the months

leading up to this and they also insist that there will be more arrests in the months to come.

SOARES: It's a long-running operation, three years in the making, and we're seeing the results. Ivan Watson, thank you.

Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the U.S. trying to curb immigration from its southern border. The vice president is tackling those tough issues as

she prepares to meet with Mexico's leader.

And the pendulum may be swinging in the race to become Peru's next president. With more votes counted, we'll tell you which candidate is in

the lead now. We'll bring you both of those stories after a very short break.





SOARES: The U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris says that, while there is a lot of work to be done in Latin America, there's also hope. Harris meets

with Mexico's president soon. It's the second leg of a trip aimed at curbing migration from the southern border.

In Guatemala on Monday, she had this message for migrants. Listen.


KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be clear to folks in this region, who are thinking about making that dangerous trek

to the United States-Mexico border.

Do not come. Do not come.


SOARES: Harris is expected to urge Mexico to work as a partner in curbing the human tide. CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins me now from Mexico City.

Jeremy, good to see you this morning. We know we're expecting the next hour or so to be some sort of agreement on migration development between Mexico

and the United States. Talk to me about what actually that is and what it entails.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived here late last night and, today, this

morning, she'll be meeting with the Mexican president Lopez Obrador. They will be signing this memorandum of understanding, which is expected to

really focus on cooperation between the two countries on how they will spur -- look to spur development in Central America.

And what's interesting about this -- and this is something that the U.S. special envoy for the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zuniga (ph) highlighted

yesterday, in a gaggle with reporters.

He said the U.S. and Mexico are increasingly aligned on this issue of migration from Central America and that is because, while the U.S. has long

been a destination for migrants from that region -- and we are seeing tens of thousands of migrants from that region heading up to the United States -

- many of them are also going to Mexico.

And they're not just going to Mexico as a transit country but as a destination country as well. And so that makes the Mexican president all

the more willing to work with the United States on some of these border security issues in terms of Mexico's southern border but also in terms of

how they will help to spur development in those Northern Triangle countries.

Just yesterday, we heard the vice president, as she was meeting with the Guatemalan president, Alejandro Giammattei, they focus on millions of

dollars in investments that the U.S. plans to make in that region, as well as on these anti-corruption efforts, which the U.S. is really trying to

push in those Northern Triangle countries.

Of course, while Vice President Harris met yesterday with the Guatemalan president, she'll meet today with the Mexican president. She is not meeting

with the other two leaders of the Northern Triangle countries, El Salvador and Honduras.

And that is certainly a glaring omission in U.S.' strategy here, in large part, because of the corruption and the drug trafficking allegations that

are linked to both of those other leaders.

But certainly an interesting day here in Mexico City. We will see how this meeting goes, especially as the political situation in Mexico -- also a lot

of implications as the Mexican president's own party losing some seats in Congress in those congressional elections, just a couple of days ago.

SOARES: Absolutely. And we have heard, Jeremy, heard the vice president spoke -- she's spoken frequently, I should say, of the really need to

improve those economic conditions for the residents of the region.

So basically they don't feel compelled to make the trek to the United States.

What economic incentives or what more do we know of this in terms of incentives or aid packages the U.S. may be offering here?

DIAMOND: I couldn't quite hear your question but I think you were talking about the aid packages here. What we do know is that there are tens of

millions of dollars that the U.S. announced that they will be investing in the region in the Northern Triangle, there is a question about exactly how

that money will be allocated.

And it seems like a lot of that is still being worked through. The vice president made very clear that she wasn't arriving in Guatemala -- and now

in Mexico -- with a fully formed strategy for addressing the root causes of migration.

She was also there in part on a fact-finding mission and that is why she met in Guatemala not only with the Guatemalan government but also with

young women entrepreneurs, to hear from them, their ideas and the struggles that they are facing, as well as with those civil society leaders to

address those issues of corruption, which she says she sees as one of the central causes of migration.


SOARES: Jeremy Diamond for us in Mexico City, where it's 9:34 in the morning, thanks very much.

Meantime, another dramatic election is playing out in Peru. With the final votes being counted, Sunday's presidential race is still being a lot too

close to call. The left wing candidate holds a precarious lead. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is following this from neighboring Colombia.

Stefano, yet again, I want to ask you the same, it's looking incredibly tight, a tight race. But now one side is talking of allegations of


What more can you tell us?

Not sure whether Stefano can hear us.

Stefano, can you hear me?


We'll try and fix the audio with Stefano. We'll take a quick break and we'll come back in just a moment.




SOARES: Now just before the break, if you remember, I was speak with Stefano Pozzebon, what you can hear me. We're talking about the Peru -- the

elections in Peru that happened on Sunday, a presidential race, incredibly close call between Fujimori and Pedro Castillo.

Castillo seems, is holding a precarious lead, Stefano. But already we're hearing of allegations of irregularities from the other side.

What more can you tell us?

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes, exactly, Isa. These allegations have started to arise yesterday night. And it was something

that you could expect almost, given how tight this race has been contested, with more than 96 percent of the vote already counted.

Everything is still on the ballot. The election could either -- go either way, very, very quickly. One thing I want to point out to you and to the

audience is that, just as yesterday, while a voter from rural areas of Peru were coming in -- and that showed a surge in the support for Castillo.


POZZEBON: Today we're seeing the vote -- the separation between -- the gap between Castillo and Fujimori being reduced, as voter from polling stations

abroad have started to being counted. It's part of how polarized Peru is right now with urban voters.

The capital, Lima, and the diaspora of Peru's migrants all over the world favoring Fujimori and, instead the rural regions, the rural provinces,

especially in the Andean highlands, going in strong in favor of Castillo, in some cases even 86 percent of preferences in some of the most rural

departments (sic).

And this means Isa, that whoever comes on top, whoever comes first, it could be either -- it could still be either Castillo or Fujimori -- would

face a daunting task to bring the country together at a time where Peru is facing many crises and perhaps a president (ph) that could speak to the

entire population is exactly what the country needs. But we could still be days away from hearing who the eventual winner of this tightly contested

election will be.

SOARES: Yes, many crises and one of the biggest crises, of course, is COVID-19. Stefano Pozzebon there for us, thanks very much.

I have some news coming in to CNN. A United Nations court has upheld the life sentence for former Bosnian Serb military (ph) leader Ratko Mladic,

rejecting his appeal against the lower tribunal's verdict.

The man once known as the butcher of Bosnia was convicted of genocide in 2017 for acts committed in Srebrenica in 1995, including the killing of

more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys. We'll have more on that story in the next hour.

And also we have heard in the last few minutes, a French president, news coming in to us, has been -- got slapped in the face. Mr. Macron was

visiting a restaurant owners in the southeast of the country ahead of COVID restrictions being eased.

And then it happened. You saw there, we played it there, you can see his security detail was pretty quick to act. We are replaying it, though, for

you. I want to get more from Melissa Bell, who is joining us from Paris.

Melissa, what more can you tell us of what happened?

He was visiting a restaurant?

Is this in relation to COVID restrictions, to his handling of the COVID crisis?

What more do we know?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, initially the COVID crisis and his handling of it had given him something of a bounce. He was a fairly

unpopular president. It had helped him since then.

The thing has lasted a long time. The mishandling by the government in the very beginning has emerged and it has cost him in terms of popularity.

What's looking very likely is an extremely tight race next spring, with once again a replay of a second round with he (sic) facing the far-right

leader, Marine le Pen.

This was his first attempt to go out and meet the public as those campaigns sort of kick off. The second round (INAUDIBLE) he was out and about last

week, this was the venue captured just today, not a very good start to a campaign as he tries to regain, reclaim the hearts of the French ahead of

that crucial next election, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and you're talking elections. I feel like I have deja vu when we saw le Pen and Macron again. Melissa Bell there for us, thanks very

much, Melissa, good to see you.