Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
Police Arrest a Man in Haiti Who Police Say Had Plans to Become President; Cuban Government Arrests Activists After Protests; At Least 45 People Have Died in Violent Protests in South Africa; Europe Struggles to Contain a Surge in COVID-19 Cases; Hospital Fire in Iraq Kills at least 92; Surrounding Afghan Commandos Gunned Down by Taliban; U.S. President Joe Biden Addresses the Constitutional Right to Vote. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 13, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNNINT HOST: Hello everyone, live from CNN London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A CNN exclusive, new details about the dramatic manhunt
that follow the assassination of Haiti's president. We'll bring you a full report from Port-au-Prince. Plus, the Cuban government cracks down after
protests while the Biden administration considers its response, we are live in Havana. And some countries are now mandating coronavirus vaccines for
healthcare workers. Is it legal? I'll ask an expert.
How do they pull it off and who was behind it? Six days after the shocking assassination of Haiti's president, we're getting some answers to those two
crucial questions. Haitian police say this man, Christian Emmanuel Sanon recruited the assassination squad because he wanted to become president
himself. Police say the attackers were originally hired as security guards for Sanon, but their mission soon changed. And CNN has exclusive details on
how police caught the team. Here now is the dramatic story of the standoffs, the shout-outs and eventual surrender from CNN's Matt Rivers.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hours after Haiti's president was assassinated, gunfire still crackled through Port-au-Prince. But this
time, it was the alleged assassins under attack. As bullets slammed into the concrete walls around the group, one fighter called his sister.
He told me they were in a house, she says, under siege, under fire and fighting. She added he's not a killer. Just 36 hours after a group of
more than two dozen Colombians and two Haitian-Americans allegedly assassinated a president, most would either be detained or declared dead.
This is how that happened according to a source with knowledge of the operation to track them down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DEA operation, everybody back up, stand down.
RIVERS (voice-over): Night time video from around the time of the president's death quickly went viral where you can hear a suspect claiming
there was a DEA operation ongoing. Later, a convoy of five cars can be seen leaving the area with ease. But down the road, a trap was being set. As the
convoy travelled down Kenscoff road, a road block was ready. Heavily-armed security forces would not let them pass without a fight. Arriving and
seeing they couldn't go any further, the convoy stops, part of which you can see here.
Our source says the suspects jumped out and saw this building across the road. They raced toward it, immediately taking the stairs to the second
RIVERS: It's in this building that these alleged mercenaries will begin defending themselves. But at the same moment they're coming in here,
according to our source, Haitian security forces are making a crucial decision. They know that these alleged attackers have limited food, water,
ammunition and no power. So, they essentially decide to wait them out.
RIVERS(voice-over): About 12 hours later after baking in 90-plus-degree Haitian heat, authorities throw tear gas in front of the building. It's
enough to force negotiations, and the Colombians inside eventually send out four people, including this man, one of two Haitian-Americans whom
authorities have detained. He is joined by the other Haitian-American and two Haitian hostages, a pair of police officers who were at the president's
RIVERS: According to our source, at some point during the negotiations, a group of the Colombians still here come out of this building and start
heading up this hill on the back side of the building. And eventually they make their way to a seemingly strange destination.
RIVERS (voice-over): Just about 100 meters up the hill from the building lies the Taiwan Embassy. Our source thinks the Colombians went there
because it wasn't an easy place for police to enter, given its diplomatic immunity.
RIVERS: In order to get all the way here to the embassy though, they had to walk through a pretty residential neighborhood. And according to our
source, someone tipped off authorities that this group of heavily-armed men was here. When they arrived at the embassy, they found a largely empty
building except for two security guards whom they tied up.
RIVERS (voice-over): Security forces quickly surrounded the embassy and then turned their attention back to the building below where they believed
a few suspects remained. It was time to go in. A small assault team went in on the ground floor and were met with fierce fire that you can hear from
the handful of Colombians that were still inside. The hour-long fire fight shattered windows, scarred concrete ceilings, walls, and in the end, the
government says at least three Colombians died in the fighting. The next day, with Taiwan's permission, authorities went into the embassy.
Our source says authorities checked CCTV cameras and found nearly a dozen Colombians in a room who ended up giving up without more fighting.
Nearly a half dozen still haven't been found.
RIVERS (on camera): Hala brings me in.
GORANI: And yes, Matt Rivers joins us now live from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with more on this investigation. Where does it go from here, and what of
these suspects, who are in custody, are they talking?
RIVERS: Yes, you know, Hala, that's the big question. I mean, what we know and what we talked about yesterday, right, is that there is this central
figure that authorities say they have arrested in this case. Christian Emmanuel Sanon. But after him, you know, they say he helped recruit and
organize all those people that we just talked about, those alleged mercenaries that carried out this assassination. But doesn't end with him.
And I don't think it's going to end with him. This investigation is very much continuing in earnest at this point.
Are there more people on the island here that had something to do with this? Was Sanon just a middle man of some kind? Was he duped into this or
is he truly the mastermind? These are answers we don't have. I mean, we don't even know what Sanon has been charged with officially because
officials haven't said that. So where it goes from here, big open question. The other thing, Hala, is my colleague Evan Perez in the United States last
night talked about or reported that several of the suspects in this case actually have direct links to U.S. law enforcement agencies as informants,
including at least one who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, who the DEA actually confirmed that in a statement.
In that piece you saw that one of the suspects shouted DEA operation during the assassination. The DEA said they're aware of that. They said at no
point was anyone here working on behalf of the DEA. But that's another fascinating thread here, is how many of these suspects have ties to the
United States. And it seems that with each day that goes by, that number keeps on getting larger.
GORANI: All right, thanks very much. Matt Rivers, great reporting, live in Port-au-Prince. Cuba is reportedly cracking down on dissent following rare
antigovernment protests this weekend. Rights groups say more than a 100 people have been arrested or reported missing since Sunday. Among them,
prominent advocates, protesters and independent journalists. The government has blasted the demonstrations as violent and held a high level meeting on
Sunday to discuss the unrest. According to state media, those talks include the former President Raul Castro.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann joins me now from Havana with more. So, first, the question on the imprisoned and the disappeared, is the government so
worried that some of these dissidents or government opponents are going to continue to get people out onto the streets to protest against the
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think officials were stunned on Sunday that protests happened as quickly as they did and were so
widespread. And what you're seeing now is a crackdown in response. And people we've talked to say that anybody who's really on the streets right
now runs a risk. We've seen media, credential media here get picked up and detained. We've seen people who are independent journalists who are not
necessarily part of the protests but were reporting on them get detained. And so, there is a pretty heavy-handed crackdown going on right now because
officials, one, were so surprised by the protests, but also just the level of anger that protesters expressed.
People chanting liberty in front of police, openly calling for the president to step down, and in some cases actually throwing rocks and
getting into fights with police. So, the government is now trying to regain control, and in most cases that appears to be what they're doing.
GORANI: And how -- I mean, so what you're saying is there are fewer protests or certainly smaller protests today across Cuba. We're not seeing
as much protest activity?
OPPMANN: Very much so. On Sunday, you know, thousands of people across this island, that's something that's never happened before. And one of the
reasons that took place was that people now in the last several years have access to internet on their phones and they can connect to WhatsApp and to
social media and all these other platforms where they could communicate and share videos. And people -- once they saw those images of the first protest
happening, people just immediately went into the street. And over the space of hours, it was just kind of one city after another.
So, the internet now, there's a blackout of the internet across the island. That is prohibiting, one, for people from knowing to go out and protest,
but also our ability to know what is going on. And then we have a widespread police presence on the streets here in Havana and other places,
and that is preventing people from going out and protesting because you simply do not have the right here to go out and protest against the
That is something the Cuban government has prohibited now for decades. So, while on Sunday, people were able to because the numbers were so
overwhelming, since then we've seen less and less simply because the Cuban government is not allowing it.
GORANI: Right, tactics we've seen in other countries for sure. Thanks very much, Patrick Oppmann. Turning now to South Africa. The death toll there in
this recent bout of unrest now stands at 45. It's pretty staggering. Police say they have arrested more than 700 people. A cross-country wave of
violence and looting was sparked by the imprisonment of former South African President Jacob Zuma. But political anger has devolved into
complete mayhem over the last few days. CNN's David McKenzie joins me now live from Johannesburg. And you've witnessed firsthand over the last
several days the chaos in some parts of the country. Tell us more about what you saw today.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, it started what feels like a very long time ago at a mall south of Johannesburg. We were there and it
was total impunity, people looting just hours after a presidential address, calling for calm and saying that the police and military would be out in
force. Well, no sign of the military and police then. And then through the day, it evolved and you did see the military get onto the streets in
relatively small numbers where we have been reporting. But certainly, someone in soldier uniform with live ammunition in the assault rifle does
paint a very different picture for people here, and certainly, it did seem to stem that total chaos somewhat.
As of right now, there does appear to be some sporadic looting still going on, less so in this province, more so in KwaZulu Natal. But the feeling now
across South Africa, will this drag into yet another day or have they managed to tamper down for now? Hala?
GORANI: Yes, give us a sense of how widespread these protests are across the country. Are they isolated pockets or are we seeing them throughout the
MCKENZIE: It's not throughout the nation, but it's not isolated either. I think in two major provinces here in Gauteng and in KwaZulu Natal Province,
there's been widespread looting and unrest. Ten people killed in a stampede trying to loot here in just a short distance from where I'm sitting. So,
I've never seen this level of unrest in this country, and certainly, the images of military on the streets is jarring anywhere. But in a democracy
with a very difficult past, seeing military resorted to is certainly significant.
It does appear that at least at this stage, there is some level of calm where I'm sitting. But you've also seen just citizens banding together,
whether you call them a community policing or vigilantes, even with the police at the same time trying to quell this. You've also seen in other
parts of the country where this unrest hasn't spread, where people are getting together to protect their communities and their malls. I think
it's really important to note also, Hala, that though this began through politics, most likely it has become something else.
And the massive wealth gap in this country between the rich and the poor, which has been growing since the dawn of democracy, is a major factor, I
think. And many of these malls and shops and places that have been looted are in poorer parts of this country where ultimately, they will pay the
price of this. Hala?
GORANI: Is COVID factoring into this because I presume it's really hurt the economy and also hurt poorer people much more than those with more
MCKENZIE: Yes, absolutely. And we are in the midst of a hideous third wave of COVID-19 here in South Africa, which we've been reporting on in recent
days. Several vaccine sites stopped today --
GORANI: I was just going to -- I was going to say when --
MCKENZIE: Others were curbed in the distributing vaccines and it's -- and it's one of the key moments in the fight against this wave of COVID-19, and
was seen as a critical moment to expand vaccinations. So, yes, it's not -- it's very badly-timed for this country. And the hope is that at least
tonight for many South Africans, is that the calm will continue and this won't go into another day of this unrest. Hala?
GORANI: All right, David McKenzie is talking to us live from Johannesburg. Thanks very much. Unrest in some parts of the country. And we saw those
shocking looting images as well, 45 people killed. Still to come tonight, was the writing on the wall ignored? British leaders are accused of
hypocrisy after England football players face continuing racist abuse.
Then Europe responds to a rapid increase in COVID cases fueled by the infectious Delta variant, but not all countries agree on how to handle it.
We'll have that story coming up.
GORANI: Welcome back. An England footballer is accusing the British Home Secretary of fuelling racism after three black players were targeted with
racist abuse for missing penalties at the Euro 2020 final. Tyrone Ming says Priti Patel; the Home Secretary had stoked a fire when she previously
called taking the knee, quote, "gesture politics". Patel is now joining the chorus of public figures condemning the online abuse of Marcus Rashford,
Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho have been facing. Both Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson are being accused of hypocrisy in all this,
especially considering deeply offensive comments which Mr. Johnson has made in the past.
Yet, a report just months ago said there was no evidence of institutional racism in the U.K. at all. You'll remember we reported on that particular
document, and it really caused many raised eyebrows. So, what's going on? And what are these instances of abuse directed at football players really
revealing about British society? Salma Abdelaziz brings us up to speed.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): What began as a joyous night for English football fans ended with a whimper, as their team lost the Euro
2020 final. The match came down to penalties. Three star players, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed the mark. The heartbroken
squad braced for impact, anger and grief was inevitable. And with it came racist backlash from some, with bigots blaming the trio for England's loss
and using the players' bad fortune yet again as a license for hatred. Vile comments flooded the athletes social media accounts, 19-year-old Saka
bearing some of the worst of it.
In Manchester, Rashford's hometown, vandals defaced a mural of him with profane graffiti. It was quickly covered up.
Their teammates quickly took to social media on Monday to make clear they stood as one. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke out too.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: And to those who have been directing racist abuse at some of the players, i say, shame on you and I
hope you will crawl back under the rock from which you emerged.
ABDELAZIZ: But many are calling out the hypocrisy. Campaigners say the government has long fueled a defensive backlash against the Black Lives
Matter movement. Earlier in the tournament, the Home Secretary refused to criticize fans who booed players for taking a knee for racial equality.
PRITI PATEL, HOME SECRETARY, BRITAIN: I just don't support, you know, people participating in, you know, that type of gesture, a gesture of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you think they --
PATEL: To try to watch outcomes --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The England fans are right to boo?
PATEL: Well, that's a choice for them quite frankly.
ABDELAZIZ: In a report commissioned by Johnson's government last year claimed there was no evidence of institutional racism in the U.K. That was
condemned by the U.N. as normalizing white supremacy. England's team manager Gareth Southgate and his players entered into this moment of racial
reckoning, advocating for a more inclusive and tolerant form of English nationalism. It drew fire.
GARETH SOUTHGATE, COACH, NATIONAL MEN'S SOCCER TEAM, ENGLAND: For some of them to be abused is unforgivable, really. I mean, we can't control that.
We can only set the example that we believe we should and represent the country in the way that we feel you should when you're representing
ABDELAZIZ: England lost the game, but Southgate and his team will keep fighting for a fairer, more equal England.
GORANI: An update on the mural by the way, that Salma mentioned in her piece, the Marcus Rashford mural. Hundreds of people have now left messages
of support and solidarity at the artwork in Manchester that was vandalized. It had been defaced, you'll remember, after the match. Talk a look though
at what's been going on there over the last several hours today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It's become kind of a gathering point of protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter has been held in front of the mural. A reminder
that the artwork itself reads "take pride in knowing that your struggle will pay the biggest role in your purpose." Let's go live to Salma now here
in London with more. I wonder if this is going to become some big cultural moment for this country, the abuse that these three players face, but also
the response. The -- it has to be said, overwhelmingly supportive response from many of the fans.
ABDELAZIZ: Hala, I think these cultural moments over the last year, they just keep happening. I mean, we had the huge Black Lives Matter's protests.
We saw the statue of a slave trader, Edward Colston being pulled down, that was a huge moment. We saw Meghan Markle, of course, leaving the country,
doing that interview with Oprah calling out racism in the royal family, calling out racism in the media, yet another huge cultural moment. I think
we are right now in a moment of racial reckoning, not just here in the U.K., but across the west.
And every time one of these incidents happen, there is going to be an outburst. There's going to be a moment like what you're seeing in front of
that mural right now because these tweets, Hala, they are a symptom of something larger. I want to go back to that Priti Patel moment. Because if
you really break that down, I think that's going to really expose what we're talking about here. Because it wasn't just about the home secretary
refusing to condemn those fans who were booing the players for taking the knee for racial equality. It was about the very reason that they were
taking the knee for racial equality.
Those players are not just tackling racism, i.e., a moment in which a tweet is written with horrific language, and yes, that should be stopped. They
are also talking about systemic racism, about the institutions that make the outcomes for black and brown people in this country so much worse. Take
Marcus Rashford who had to explain to the government that he was a school - - when he was in school, he lived in poverty and needed those free school meals. He needed to take that issue to the government and turn it around.
So, it's very difficult today when you see these comments coming from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government to really take it and believe it when
they have done so much to deny that racism exists in this country.
GORANI: And what has been the reaction of these players just in the last 48 hours or so? Because really we're still talking about this and we're
putting the story on an international news outlet because of just how much it resonates around the world and how much it fits into this big global
cultural moment of Black Lives Matter.
The players themselves, the youngest is 19. I mean, you are still -- emotionally, you're still a very young man at that age. What's been their
ABDELAZIZ: I think their response is to continue to call out this government, Hala. Because fundamentally, why are we having this moment of
reckoning? Why are we having this moment of examination, of looking at our own society? We are having this moment because people are asking the
question, why? How does it turn out that every person of color when it comes from healthcare to education to the outcome of a deadly virus to
housing to representation in government, why is it that they always fair worse? Why is that happening? And you have a government that's saying, you
know what? There's no problem here.
That's what happens when the home secretary, again, refused to boo -- refused to condemn those fans who were booing the players. She's saying
there's no issue here. There's no systemic racism here, and it's not the first time that this government has made that statement. So, how do you
begin to tackle a problem, Hala, if you don't even acknowledge it exists. And this is the issue. As long as people are saying --
GORANI: All right --
ABDELAZIZ: "black lives matter", that means there is a need to tackle racial injustice in this country, and until the government acknowledges
that there is an issue, it can't be tackled.
GORANI: All right, Salma Abdelaziz live in London, thanks very much for an update on that story. And still to come tonight, Europe's race against the
COVID-19 Delta variant. We'll take a look at what some countries are doing to contain the outbreak that is threatening to overwhelm the continent once
again. And we'll take you inside an Iraqi hospital where a COVID treatment unit turned into an inferno. The shocking death toll when we come back.
GORANI: Welcome back. There's now a big question, should governments make vaccines mandatory? Should they force people to get vaccinated in order to
keep certain jobs?
Europe is now scrambling to contain a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant with a focus on new restrictions and those
vaccinations. Now on Monday, France and Greece joined Italy in making vaccinations mandatory for health workers.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, warned the compulsory shots might soon apply to everyone.
Germany is taking a different approach. Chancellor Angela Merkel says vaccinations will not be mandated but she warned that more people need to
be inoculated before restrictions can be lifted.
A record number of people signed up for the COVID vaccine injections in France just hours after President Macron gave his televised address Monday
night. Melissa Bell has more on that and some of the challenges Europe is facing, as it braces for a potential fourth wave -- Melissa.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it really is a race against the clock to get Europeans vaccinated, including those who might have been
hesitant so far, even as that Delta variant continues to spread.
The announcement by the French president last night that health care workers would have to be vaccinated, a similar announcement made in Greece.
There, too, health care workers will have to be fully vaccinated.
Italy announced something similar back in April, which 2,500 health care workers are now contesting through the courts, a sign perhaps of something
yet to come in other European countries.
Here in France -- we were talking about this last night -- in the minutes after the French president made the announcement on French TV not only that
health care workers would have to be vaccinated but also suggesting France may at some point resort to vaccinations for all being mandated and in the
meantime really encouraging people to get vaccinated by making PCR tests now something you're going to have to pay for but also making access to
things like restaurants, cafes, shows, theaters, anything fun dependent on either your vaccinated status or PCR negative results.
Those announcements have really helped focus the mind here in France and what we saw in the minutes after the speech was the application to have to
book medical appointments in France overrun with the requests, 17,000 per minute were being made.
What we've seen since then in less than a 24-hour period is 1.3 million appointments being booked. It is a record as far as the application to book
medical appointments go and really an indication of how much that encouragement of getting people, showing people that they're going to have
to be vaccinated to get them the things they enjoy and that they're going to have to start paying for the alternative to a full vaccination program,
really helping focus the minds of the French, at least for the time being, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Melissa.
Nothing like telling people they can't get into a restaurant if they're not vaccinated to encourage them to get vaccinated.
Catherine Barnard is a professor of E.U. unemployment law at Cambridge University and she joins me now.
Thank you, Catherine, for being with us.
Broadly speaking, are employers legally entitled to mandate vaccinations for their employees?
CATHERINE BARNARD, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY: Gosh, that's a really tricky one to answer because it depends on the legal system. But, in essence,
employers can ask and certainly in the U.K. they can ask. And if the employee says no, they can't be forced.
And then the question is, can the employer can dismiss them?
And if the employer can dismiss them, then can they bring a claim for unfair dismissal?
Now it may be that the employer has a very good reason; take, for example, working in the health care sector, where of course the risk of transmission
to vulnerable people is acute. And so there may be good reasons for the employer to do that. But it would help a great deal for employers if the
government had already mandated vaccines in particular sectors.
GORANI: But you could argue it's a health and safety issue. I mean, anyone preparing food needs to wear gloves. They usually wear a hair net. I mean,
this is to protect the health of the customers and the clients.
In the case of health care workers, why would it be different to ask employees to get a jab?
And if they refuse, they are dismissed.
BARNARD: That's right. But the difference between having your hair tied back in a hair net or wearing gloves, is, of course, this does not invade
you physically. There's no jab involved. And it's only a temporary inconvenience, which you can take off when you get home.
There are some people out there who are COVID deniers and they might have a genuine belief, which means, of course, the other possibility is that they
could bring a claim not for unfair dismissal but for a discrimination based claim.
And they can say that their belief in not having a vaccine because they think vaccines are bad is a philosophical belief and that would -- should
be protected by the courts. Now there's been no cases yet that have tested this, because, of course, it's early days.
BARNARD: But there will be some because people will argue it is a religious or akin to a religious belief.
GORANI: Right. But if you deny something that is scientifically proven and you use that to bring a claim against your employer, would any court side
with the employee in a case like this?
BARNARD: Well, the law says, certainly the law in the U.K., which is based on the law which comes out of European Convention on Human Rights, is that
people have got to have a belief in not being vaccinated, which is akin to a religious belief.
And it's a serious and worthwhile belief in a democratic society. And, of course, that's the million dollar question. If the bulk of the evidence is
saying, look, you know, these vaccines are good for you, at least won't do you harm and they can give you major protection, then the courts might find
it is not akin to a religious belief.
GORANI: I was going to say a religious belief is obviously everyone's right in an open democracy with freedom of belief to believe what you want,
so long as, in the case of denying that COVID exists and refusing to take a vaccine, it doesn't hurt anyone else.
So if you're a hospital worker and you refuse to get vaccinated, you might infect a vulnerable patient, in which case, would that not be a reckless
And would employers then not entitled to dismiss someone for acting recklessly in their place of work?
BARNARD: I think you make a very good point. Of course, just let's imagine, for the court's sake, actually not believing in the COVID vaccine
is akin to a religious belief, then the employers have got to give a good reason as to why they are insisting that you be vaccinated or you be
And in the health care sector, it's much more obvious to be able to make that case. Very different if you are engaged in road maintenance outside
when the chances of you passing on the disease are much reduced.
But you're absolutely right. In the health care sector, it's much easier to see why it's so important to get vaccinated. And that's one of the reasons
why you see, in France, for example and, soon in the U.K. that there will be mandatory requirements for vaccination for health care/social care
GORANI: What about other, for instance, hospitality jobs?
So someone, waiters, someone who owns a cafe, employs three people in that cafe. Two of them say, fine, I'll get vaccinated because I want to keep my
job. A third one says, no, I'm not getting vaccinated and the cafe owner says I'm just going to have to let you go because I don't want one of my
employees infecting any of our customers with COVID.
Is that a gray area there or not?
BARNARD: It is absolutely a gray area although, if it's a small cafe, it may be that the employer can say, look, we're a very small cafe. We can't
think about putting you in a back room job, which might be possible in a bigger setting like a hospital, and therefore you have one choice.
You can either be vaccinated or you can leave this job and then they will claim unfair dismissal or dismissal without good cause, as it's called in
GORANI: Yes. Well, it's going to be interesting to see. We haven't had any cases, so it will be interesting to see. In the U.S. there was a case in
Texas and the courts sided with the employer. So we'll see what happens if a case is brought before a judge.
And I guess it will depend on the country as well and the set of circumstances as well. Catherine Barnard, Cambridge University, thank you
so much for joining us.
BARNARD: Thank you.
GORANI: Well, more misery in Iraq. A hospital built to treat COVID victims instead turned into a death trap overnight. Flames engulfed the hospital in
Nasiriyah, Iraq, when oxygen tanks exploded inside the ICU.
This video was shot inside the hospital as family members tried to penetrate the smoke to rescue loved ones. At least 92 people were killed
and Iraqi officials are vowing to investigate how it happened.
This is not the first time. Jomana Karadsheh is following this story. She is in Istanbul.
Just seeing these relatives trying to get through the thick, black smoke to their loved ones breaks your heart.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely devastating, Hala. As we understand, this fire broke out in the middle of the night on Monday.
And it would seem that the hospital was packed at the time with COVID-19 patients and family members because, in Iraq, a lot of patients come in
with their family members because of shortages in medical staff.
Family members are there to help out their loved ones while they are in hospital.
KARADSHEH: Iraq right now, Hala, is going through its third wave of the pandemic. They have been registering unprecedented numbers. So a really
busy time for hospitals in Iraq when this tragedy struck.
The prime minister of Iraq ordering an investigation, dispatching a high level delegation, promising that there's going to be results of the
investigation made public next week.
Now what we understand so far, according to local health officials, they're saying they believe it was an oxygen tank that exploded and caused this
fire. The interior ministry is saying that this happened at an isolation area, pretty much a makeshift area, where they have these caravans, 20
caravans, that caught fire.
They're saying they were made of a highly flammable material. The Iraqi prime minister has suspended a number of health officials, the hospital
director and others, pending this investigation. The Iraqi president and other officials blaming this on corruption and mismanagement.
But Iraqis have heard this all before. This is not an isolated incident. As you mentioned, less than three months ago, pretty much identical incident,
a fire at al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad claimed more than 80 lives.
So as you can imagine right now, Iraqis are angry. They are in shock, disbelief that this is happening once again.
How was this allowed to happen?
And we have seen the anger spilling out onto the streets. There have been protests outside the hospital in Nasiriyah. People are just fed up. They're
hearing their officials saying this is mismanagement, negligence, corruption.
What is being done about it?
And this is what Iraqis are calling for right now. They want real accountability here.
GORANI: And you say, as we reported, it happened three months ago in another hospital. Authorities keep promising investigations.
Are they getting investigations?
Are they getting to the bottom of what even caused the first explosion three months ago?
KARADSHEH: Well, again, that hospital fire at al-Khatib hospital was also blamed on an oxygen tank, an electrical situation, whatever was going on
with the electrics in the hospital, Hala. They do have these investigations. They do come out with results.
Is there real accountability?
That is the question. Some officials are fired. The health minister left his position after that previous fire. He hasn't been replaced yet. But the
question is, officials are fired, certain people are suspended from their jobs, but what is actually being done to prevent a repeat of these
You know, after something like that had happened, Hala, were there any inspections of all hospitals around Iraq to make sure that this doesn't
Making sure that there are fire exits, emergency exits for people, fire extinguishers, the sort of safety measures you would want in place,
especially in a place like Iraq, where the health sector is pretty much on its knees.
It has been decimated over the years by war, sanctions, corruption, mismanagement and now, on top of that, you've got COVID-19.
GORANI: All right. Well, yes, it's a terrible situation. Thank you very much, Jomana Karadsheh.
Still to come tonight, shocking video. Afghan soldiers lay down their weapons and surrender to the Taliban. And what the Taliban do next is
pretty unimaginable. That story in just a moment.
GORANI: In Afghanistan, the Taliban is continuing to advance as the U.S. withdraws. And as the Taliban push forward, they appear to be flouting one
of the most sacred rules of war.
A new video has surfaced, showing Taliban fighters executing Afghan soldiers who had surrendered. Hands up, weapons down and shot at point
blank range nonetheless. Anna Coren has the story -- and we warn you, you may find this report disturbing.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After over two hours of heavy fighting, all ammunition spent, Afghan commandoes walk out with hands in
"Surrender, Commander, surrender," yells a Taliban member.
COREN (voice-over): But the rules of war don't exist on this battlefield.
Seconds later, more than a dozen members of the elite special forces have been executed. The Red Cross confirmed the bodies of 22 commandoes were
A villager pleads with the Taliban to stop shooting, asking, "How are you Pashtun and you're killing Afghans?"
CNN has spoken to five eyewitnesses to this massacre, which occurred last month in Dawlat Abad, a district of Faryab province in northern
Afghanistan. All confirm these events took place.
"The commanders called for air and ground support but none came," says this local resident. "Then they surrendered but the Taliban just shot them."
Among the dead, 32-year-old commando, Sohrab Azimi, the son of a retired Afghan general. This born leader did his --
GORANI: We -- we -- we want to take you now live to Philadelphia, where U.S. President Biden is speaking on voting rights. Let's listen in.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- a place where the story of we, the people, we, the people, began. It's a story that's neither
simple nor straightforward. That's because the stories of some of our parts and all those parts are fundamentally human and being human is being
perfect driven by appetite and ambition as much as by goodness and grace.
But some things in America should be simple and straightforward. Perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things,
is the right to vote, the right to vote freely --
BIDEN: -- the right to vote freely, the right -- the right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted. The democratic threshold is liberty.
We think anything's possible. Without it, nothing, nothing.
And for our democracy and the work and to deliver our work and our people, it's up to all of us to protect that right. This is a test of our time,
what I am here to talk about today. Just think about the past election.
A 102-year-old woman in Arkansas who voted for the first time on the very spot she once picked cotton; a 94-year-old woman in Michigan voted early
and in person in her 72nd consecutive election.
You know what she said?
She said this election was, quote, "the most important vote that we ever had."
BIDEN: The daughter who voted in memory of her dad, who died of COVID-19 so others wouldn't have the experience of pain and darkness and loss that
she was going through. The patients out there and the parents, the parents who voted for school their children will learn in.
Sons and daughters voted for the planet they're going to live on. Young people just turning 18 and everyone who, for the first time in their lives,
thought they could truly make a difference. America, America and Americans of every background voted.
They voted for good jobs and higher wages. They voted for racial equity and justice. They voted to make health care a right, not a privilege. And the
reason Americans went to vote and the lengths they went to vote -- to be able to vote this past election were absolutely extraordinary.
In fact, the fact that so many election officials across the country made it easier and safer for them to be able to vote in the middle of a pandemic
was remarkable. As a result, in 2020, more people voted in America than ever, ever in the history of America, in the middle of a once-in-a-century
BIDEN: All told, more than 150 Americans of every age and every race and every background exercised their right to vote. They voted early. They
voted absentee. They voted in person. They voted by mail. They voted by drop box. And then they got their families and friends to go out and vote.
Election officials, the entire electoral system withstood unrelenting political attacks, physical threats, intimidation and pressure. They did so
with unyielding courage and faith in our democracy, with recount after recount after recount, court case after court case, the 2020 election was
the most scrutinized election ever in American history.
Challenge after challenge brought to local, state and election officials, state legislatures, state and federal courts, even to the United States,
even to the United States Supreme Court not once but twice. More than 80 judges, including those appointed by my predecessor, heard the arguments.
In every case, neither cause nor evidence was found to undermine the national achievement of administering this dark election in the face of
such extraordinary challenges.
Audits, recounts were conducted in Arizona, in Wisconsin; in Georgia, it was recounted three times. It's clear. For those who challenge the results
and question the integrity of the election, no other election has ever been held under such scrutiny and such high standards.
The Big Lie is just that, a Big Lie.
BIDEN: The 2020 election -- it's not hyperbole to suggest the most examined in the fullest expression of the will of the people in the history
of this nation. This should be celebrated, an example of America at its best.
But instead, we continue to see an example of human nature at its worst, something darker and more sinister. In America, if you lose, you accept the
results. You follow the Constitution. You try again.
You don't call facts fake and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you're unhappy. That's not statesmanship.
BIDEN: That's not statesmanship. That's selfishness. That's not democracy. It's the denial of the right to vote. It suppresses, it subjugates. The
denial of full and free and fair election is the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine, the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic,
yet, sadly, not unprecedented.
BIDEN: From denying enslaved people full citizenship until the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments after the Civil War to denying women the right to vote
until the 19th Amendment 100 years ago, to poll taxes and literacy tests and the Ku Klux Klan campaigns of violence and terror that lasted in the
'50s and '60s, to the Supreme Court decision in 2013 and then again just two weeks ago, a decision that weakened the landmark Voting Rights Act, to
the willful attacks, election attacks in 2020.
And then to a whole other level of threat, the violence and the deadly insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. I just got back from Europe,
speaking at the G7 and the NATO.
They wonder -- not a joke -- they wonder, Joe, they ask me, is it going to be OK?
The citadel democracy in the world, is it going to be OK?
Time and again we have weathered threats to the right to vote in free and fair elections and each time we found a way to overcome. And that's what we
must do today.
Vice President Harris and I have spent our careers doing this work. And I've asked her to lead, to bring people together to protect the right to
vote in our democracy. And it starts with continuing the fight to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act.
BIDEN: That bill -- that bill would help end voter suppression in the States, get dark money out of politics, give voice to the people at the
grassroots level, create a fair district maps and end partisan political gerrymandering.
Last month, Republicans opposed even debating, even considering For the People Act. Senate Democrats stood united to protect our democracy and the
sanctity of the vote. We must pass the For the People Act. It's a national imperative.
We must also fight for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and expand --
BIDEN: -- to restore and expand voting protections to prevent voter suppression. All the congresswomen and men here, there's a bunch of you.
You knew John, many of you. Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court yet again weakened the Voting Rights Act and upheld what Justice Kagan called, quote,
"a significant race-based disparity in voting opportunities."
The court's decision, as harmful as it is, does not limit the Congress' ability to repair the damage done. That's the important point. It puts the
burden back on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength.
As soon as Congress passes the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, I will sign it and let the whole world see it.
BIDEN: That will be an important moment. And the world is wondering -
BIDEN: -- the world is wondering --
BIDEN: -- and Dwight knows what I'm talking about for real.
You know, the world is wondering, what is America going to do?
We also have to be clear on it, about the obstruction we face. Legislation is one tool but not the only tool. And it's not the only measure of our
obligation to defend democracy today.
For example, attorney general Merrick Garland announced that the United States Department of Justice is going to be using its authorities to
challenge the onslaught of state laws undermining voting rights in old and new ways.
BIDEN: The focus will be on dismantling racially discriminatory laws, like the recent challenge to Georgia's vicious anti-voting law.
The Department of Justice will do so with the Voting Rights Division, at my request is doubling its size and enforcement status.
BIDEN: Civil rights groups -- civil rights groups and other organizations have announced their plans to stay vigilant and challenge these odious laws
in the courts. In Texas, for example, the Republican legislature wants to allow partisan poll watchers --