Return to Transcripts main page


Iraqi Civilians Caught in Fight against ISIS; Teenager Escapes Grip of ISIS Recruitment; How ISIS Recruits Women; Americans Freed in Prisoner Swap Still in Germany; China's Growth Weakest Since 1990; Actors to Boycott Oscars; Iran to Sell Oil on World Markets; Heavy Security to Keep El Chapo in Prison. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 19, 2016 - 10:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hi, there. Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, the U.N. says Iraqi civilians face staggering violence.

New details about El Chapo's prison security.

And why some black celebrities are boycotting the Oscars.


CURNOW: You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK, welcome, I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining us this hour.

We begin in Iraq, where we are getting an idea of just how dangerous it is to be a civilian as Iraqi forces battle ISIS. The United Nations now says

nearly 19,000 Iraqis were killed in violence between January 2014 and October of last year.

That includes everything from suicide bombings, to airstrikes, to ISIS beheadings. Another 36,000 Iraqis were wounded and more than 3 million

people were internally displaced.

So Iraqis again caught in horrible violence as they try to go about their everyday lives.

Let's bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh from Amman, Jordan.

Hi, there, Jomana. You've spent many years reporting from Iraq and the messiness of the Iraqi state right now, again, particularly dangerous for


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As it has always been, Robyn. Here we are again reporting on another grim statistic coming out from Iraq, as

you mentioned, that report from the United Nations, the reporting period there between January of 2014, that's where we saw the emergence of ISIS in

Iraq, until the end -- towards the end of 2015.

As you mentioned, nearly 19,000 civilians killed in the violence and more than 30,000 wounded. Now the United Nations is also saying that the number

could be much higher than that. There are areas of the country that are very difficult for them to access, to try and get accurate casualty

figures, for example, in Anbar province, where fighting has been raging for months now.

And also, Robyn, if you want to compare this to previous figures that we saw in previous years, between 2005-2007, that was the height of the

sectarian violence in Iraq, there would be an annual casualty figure that we'd see with more than 30,000 people killed.

But after that we started seeing the number of civilian casualties dropping for a certain period and, again now, as we see from this U.N. report, the

numbers, again, increasing with the civilians there bearing the brunt of the violence in Iraq and also the report, Robyn, detailing certain attacks

that have taken place.

They also point out that ISIS has carried out widespread human rights violations and abuses that could amount to war crimes, crimes against

humanity and even genocide.

But they also say that violence has been reported to be committed by other groups, including Shia militias and the Iraqi security forces and other

paramilitary groups.

And as you mentioned, Robyn, 3 million people displaced just during that period in Iraq internally. Yet again, the civilians bearing the brunt of

that violence.

CURNOW: Indeed. And all of them individually traumatized by that.

Also the U.N., you know, going on, as you said, about child soldiers and the use of, you know, slaves as a weapon of war. Tell us more about that.

KARADSHEH: Well, if you recall, back in August of 2014, as ISIS swept through Northern Iraq, CNN extensively, our colleague, Ivan Watson, really

extensively reported what was going on at the time, when ISIS swept through that part of the country and they did capture what was reported at the time

and documented as thousands of women, especially from the Yazidi community in Northern Iraq, women and children who were captured by ISIS,

approximately 5,000 at the time.

What the U.N. mentions in this report, Robyn, they say that ISIS continues to hold up to 3,500 women and children, most of them from Yazidi the


And this, of course, happening after the international community, the U.S.- led coalition going after ISIS, the airstrikes we're seeing, some losses that we have seen on the ground when it comes to the military campaign with

ISIS losing some territory.

But they still continue to hold these people, women and children, and really they have gone through what is described as sexual enslavement,

something that CNN has extensively reported on in the past year and a half.

CURNOW: Yes, and letup to that horror.

Thanks so much, Jomana, great to have you back on air. Thanks so much.

Meantime, there's still no word --


CURNOW: -- on the fate of some 400 civilians reported abducted by ISIS in Syria over the weekend. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says they

were taken during fighting in the city of Deir ez-Zor. The monitors say they include families of pro-regime fighters and there are fears they may

have been executed.

Well, for all the reporting we do about the atrocities linked to ISIS, the group still successfully lures a steady stream of recruits, including

women. Many of them are young and they are courted through the siren song of ISIS supporters on social media.

Well, CNN's Atika Shubert got exclusive access to an intervention for a teenager in France, where counselors set out to reverse the toxic ideology

that nearly led her to join ISIS. Take a look at this report.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the midst of the Paris terror attacks in 2015, a 15-year-old girl found herself in contact with

one of the women directly involved in the attack.

"JOANNA," DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM PARTICIPANT (through translator): This woman spoke to me on social media. She wanted to go Syria with someone.

She didn't want to go alone. She was also trying to control everything I was doing.

SHUBERT (voice-over): "Joanna" -- not her real name -- is one of the youngest in France's deradicalization program. Along with mandatory

counseling, she must now report to police every day.

She and her mother allowed CNN to observe her counseling session. Both wanted to remain anonymous.

She tries to explain to her counselor the grip ISIS recruiters had.

"JOANNA": (Speaking French).

BOUZAR (through translator): It's really hard to make them doubt. Our first call is to deradicalize them by making them think for themselves.

They think they know the truth. They are paranoid. ISIS is good. We are bad. Those who are right, those who are wrong.

We are here to make them doubt. We are here to make them think by themselves.

SHUBERT (voice-over): "Joanna" was recruited entirely online, groomed by propaganda that painted ISIS as a defender of Muslims.

As a fervent convert seeking more understanding of Islam, "Joanna" was an easy target.


SHUBERT (voice-over): At first "Joanna's" mother chalked it up to teenage rebellion. But when her daughter called her an infidel she called a

national hotline to alert authorities.

"JOANNA'S" MOM (through translator): I felt really bad. I was feeling guilty. Our first reaction is to feel guilty as a mom. We try to find out

the reasons why our child suddenly changed. We think of what we could have done to prevent this from happening. We were always fighting with each


SHUBERT (voice-over): "Joanna" says the program has allowed a way for her to reconnect with her family and still maintain her faith far from the

toxic ideology of ISIS.

"JOANNA" (through translator): I took the decision not to get a new phone. It's better this way. I need to learn how to think by myself. Without a

phone and Internet, there's no one to tell me what to do anymore.

For now I don't feel like going back on social media. I'm afraid that one day I'll feel lonely and I'll fall into the trap again. I received loads

of messages from them. I was constantly in touch with them. It's my phone. It was like my baby.

SHUBERT: What advice do you have for other girls like you on how not to fall into those same traps?

"JOANNA" (through translator): You should always be careful on the Internet. Don't even go there. Don't speak with them. Don't take any

risks. For those who are already radicalized, please open your eyes to reality. Don't go Syria. It's suicide. It's death.

SHUBERT (voice-over): There are some days when Joanna is confident but she still fears a relapse. She refuses to have a smartphone and won't touch a

computer with Internet access. But it's a daily struggle, especially for a girl so young -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.


CURNOW: So much to talk about after watching Atika's piece there.

Joining me now Mia Bloom, a terrorism expert, she's also the author of a book called "Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists."

Mia, have a look, let's have a look at me, I just want to make sure -- I know, our director told you to look into one camera and I'm yanking you

back to look at me.

So you heard Atika's piece there and I think what is very important about this -- and we were saying it while we were off air -- is that the grooming

of young girls, particularly foreign young girls, is very specific and you say a parallel --


CURNOW: -- to watch.

MIA BLOOM, AUTHOR: It's parallel to what we've seen online grooming by pedophiles, and so, for example, we have great deal of research over

several decades of being able to look at how do pedophiles groom young people and how do they use the Internet, and so there's a process.

So first is to isolate them from friends and family. They try to build a rapport, they create an environment of secrecy, and so eventually like the

pedophiles there's a meeting.

The meeting, the difference being is that this meeting will occur in Turkey or in Syria but they use some of the same tricks of the trade and so what

they'll do is establish rapport by trying to be cool and young. So very rarely do we see the young girls talking to old men.

We see the young girls talking to women like Aqsa Mahmood, who's the Scottish girl, or we see them talking to Hoda Muthana from Alabama. These

women act as a deviant pair, as an intermediary.

CURNOW: And the language, in one of your articles, I was just trying to find it, you say there's a cool patois, there's a slang; they use emojis

with, you know, there's a little bit of jihadi text in it but there is a language that's used and different language targeting two different types

of women or girls.

BLOOM: Not only that but the language is all very regionally located. So, for example, when Aqsa Mahmood is targeting a British girl, she's going to

talk about Jaffa Cakes and PG tips tea and the kinds of music, that's not going to resonate in the same way with a girl coming from America.

So they need to sort of be in the know with what's cool, what's hot, what is going to resonate and make the girls trust them.

The other thing we've seen, like with the pedophiles, there's love bombing. The moment a girl starts being engaged with these women in ISIS, they'll

get 100 new friends on Facebook, 500 new followers on Twitter and it's overwhelming.

CURNOW: They feel like they are being appreciated, although it's, like you say, there's a love bombing -- I haven't heard that term before.

So with that in mind, how do you fight that?

What are the countermeasures if it's so alluring?

BLOOM: So it's very difficult, you know; there are different ways to look at it, whether in the same way that we've warned children about, their

online experiences and what to be aware of. We also have to warn them what to be fearful of with regard to online recruitment.

We have to give our girls the power and tools to be able to fend off these kinds of attacks, if you will, and so part of it is knowledge. Part of it

is also being very involved in your children's life.

If your child starts to pull away, starts doing poorly in school, stops hanging out with the same friends, this is the same things that would be a

red warning for drug use or other problems. The parents need to get more involved and find out what's going on.

CURNOW: And just one last question, quickly, why is it that some of these girls, they are educated, they see all the negative press about ISIS, they

have some idea, surely, that there's a disconnect between the promises and the realities.

Why do they still go ahead?

BLOOM: Well, part of it is they don't realize the disconnect until they are there. And then it's a huge, rude awakening, once they get to Syria

and they are housed in the marcar (ph), they can't leave until they are married. What they are told ahead of time is don't believe the Western

press. The Western press is lying to you.

We've even seen on CNN, where there was a woman who was contacting her family in France from an Internet call center and she was saying to her

parents in French, don't believe what you see in the media, we're told the truth here.

And so that's where we -- we have to understand that these girls are very vulnerable and they are going to be trusting and believing of this


CURNOW: And as you were saying also, it's not just very young girls but also converts and that also is a whole new conversation, a whole different

angle in terms of propaganda and recruiting.

Mia Bloom, thank you so much for joining us. It's great having you here.

BLOOM: Thank you so much.

CURNOW: Well, we can still count "Joanna" among the lucky ones, from Atika's piece there, for whom intervention came in time to interrupt her

plans. Well, Atika also spoke with another young woman who made the trip to Syria lured by ISIS propaganda like this. Her story airs later on

"AMANPOUR," right here at CNN.


CURNOW (voice-over): Well, this is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Ahead, Iran's Supreme Leader makes his first public comments after the start of the

nuclear deal. The warning he's giving about the United States.

And later, the backlash over this year's Oscar nominations. Some prominent players in Hollywood are so angry they say they'll boycott the awards

ceremony. Stay with us, a lot to talk about.





CURNOW: We're back. Thanks for watching.

Iran's supreme leader is praising the recently implemented nuclear deal but voicing words of caution about the U.S.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says comments from U.S. officials made after the deal was finalized are, quote, "cause for suspicion." He called the U.S.

"an arrogant government" and urged Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to make sure Washington meets its obligations.

Meantime, one of five Americans released by Iran last week is back home. Matthew Trevithick finally says he's now in Boston. Iran detained him last

month. He was not part of the prisoner swap that involved the release of four other Americans; one of them chose to stay in Iran.

The others remain at a military hospital in Germany. Our Fred Pleitgen explains why they are still there.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They do need a reintegration process, if you will, and that's a protocol that is going on

here at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which is a very big American military hospital, the biggest outside of the United States.

And there, the physicians say that the reintegration process is something that does require time. There's health checks that are going on; there are

psychological checks that are going on; evaluations, obviously, then talking to specialists as well.


CURNOW: OK. That was Fred Pleitgen there.

Now the Iran nuclear deal put pressure on financial markets, because Iran is poised to add to the global oil glut.

The other big factor is, of course, China, which reported its annual economic growth on Tuesday. The economy expanded 6.9 percent last year,

the weakest number in a quarter century. It's close to Beijing's 7 percent target but low enough to boost hopes of more government stimulus.

Well, investors responded with a buying spree; European markets are seeing big gains today after Asia markets surged on Wall Street in the first hour

of trading. The Dow industrials are up, you can see there, over 140 points.

Well, Richard Quest joins me from Davos, Switzerland, on the eve of the World Economic Forum.

Richard, wonderful to see you and chat to you.

So do you believe these numbers out of Beijing?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Now you can't ask me that question, Robyn. That's the same question I've been asking everybody else.

CURNOW: That's why I'm asking you.

QUEST: And the reality, well, the reality is that, no, most people do not think that they are as rosy as 7 percent. Maybe 6 percent, maybe even 5.5

percent but it doesn't really matter whatever numerical number we're talking about.

It is the philosophy of a slowing China that is at issue here. And as the Chinese economy slows down, it is how other countries respond, the emerging

markets who sell into China, commodities and who send raw materials and even some manufactured goods.

But also is there a feeling that the Chinese government have properly got their hand on the economic tiller?

Now various ham-fisted attempts to gerrymander the markets earlier this year and late last year were spectacular for their failure. Now, of

course, the question is, as we go into '16 and beyond, are they a little more savvy at handling this turmoil?

CURNOW: Yes, and are they really willing to embrace free markets?

Principles, do they have a clear plan;


CURNOW: -- all of that I know that you're going to be speaking about all week there at Davos.

Let's talk about oil. I know you and John Defterios have also been having some very in-depth, insightful conversations on that. Of course, the

emergence of Iran on the market, in a market that's already drowning in oil.

QUEST: Yes, the IEA, the International Energy Agency, says that the world is potentially drowning in oil there is so much supply. Maybe 1.5 million

barrels of it, nearly up to 2 percent more being produced than demand can consume.

So the question, of course, for Iran, Iran wants and has said overnight that it will immediately increase production by half a million barrels a

day. Now that's a relative drop in the ocean.

But if that portends that Iran will increase even more to do it, to increase production, then that adds a certain laity to the idea that

concrete plans are in place to actually dramatically increase production.

CURNOW: OK, Richard Quest, thanks so much. Keep warm, love. We'll speak to you again throughout the week.

QUEST: Thank you.

CURNOW: You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. The Academy Awards have glitz, glamor and talent but say yet again this year some prominent actors

say the awards are missing something: minorities. The controversy -- that's ahead.




CURNOW: Welcome back.

Well, from the moment the awards, the Academy Award nominations, the Oscars, were announced last week, anger has been building -- and here's


Take a look at the nominees in the four acting categories, all talented actors but a critic says a sea of white faces igniting conversation on

social media about #OscarsSoWhite. That's the hashtag. This is the second year in a row that no minorities have been nominated in those categories.

The academy's president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, says she's disappointed by the nominations.

Quote, "I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation and it's time for big


That conversation might be too little, too late for this year's awards, some prominent African Americans in Hollywood are calling for a boycott of

the show. Sara Sidner now joins me from Los Angeles.

So who's saying they're going to boycott?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jada Pinkett Smith, who is Will Smith's -- A-list actor Will Smith's wife, and she's an actress herself, and acclaimed

director, Spike Lee, both of them coming out on the day, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, saying, you know what, we're going to go ahead and boycott


We do think that there can be a solution, we think that the president can work on that, obviously, the president being African American herself.

And I want to let you hear a little bit about what Jada Pinkett Smith said, because she went out on YouTube and made this plea to other African

Americans, not just people who are actors and actresses but people who are also behind the scenes. Here's what she had to say about the reason why

she was boycotting.


JADA PINKETT SMITH, ACTOR: Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes --


SMITH: -- power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful. And let's not forget it.


SIDNER: So that is her statement that went on for about five, six minutes, just talking about the reasons why she was frustrated with the academy.

Also want to let you see what David Oyelowo said, he being the person who played Dr. Martin Luther King in "Selma," that was snubbed. He said, "For

20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing. For that to happen again this year is

unforgivable," unforgivable.

So the frustration is building. What's interesting is we haven't heard from Will Smith himself, who is Jada's husband and who is a major

moneymaker for Hollywood, an actor who also had a movie that came out that a lot of people said they were surprised he didn't get a nomination for,


So it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Michael Moore, director, also came out, said I support this, others should support this

boycott until things change.

But all of them have said something about they believe that a change is coming -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, so what does that mean?

How does the academy vote?

And would that mean a change in how people vote or who votes?

What exactly does that mean?

SIDNER: That's a good question. So there are about 6,000-plus members, who can vote for who deserves an Oscar -- which films, which directors,

which writers, which screenplay -- so there are a lot of people.

But when you break that down, the "Los Angeles Times" actually looked very specifically at what it looks like. And what it looks like is about 94

percent of those who vote are white and about 76 percent of those who vote are male.

So we're talking to the 94 percent white, 76 percent are male. When you look at that, it's white males who have the most power when it comes to

who's going to get a nomination. And they are also lifetime members.

And that may be the key right there, the lifetime membership, that may be the thing that is eventually changed because if you change that, you'll

probably change the number of people, younger people and people of color, who will be asked to come into the academy.

CURNOW: OK, and all of this taking place within the context of a broader conversation about race in America. Sara Sidner, as always, thanks for

talking to us.

Well, still ahead, as Iran celebrates the lifting of economic sanctions, we'll hear from an American man who wonders if he will soon have the chance

to visit his mother in Iran without fear of detainment.





CURNOW: Hi, there, thanks for joining us. Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center. Here's a check of the



CURNOW: Well, the lifting of U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran will likely mean a better economy for the nation. But the effects of this deal

are reaching way beyond Iran's borders.

Majid Rafizadeh is an Iranian-Syrian scholar and human rights activist and he has a personal connection to the sanctions that have been weighing on

Iran. He joins me now from our Los Angeles bureau.

Thank you for waking up a little bit earlier. I know there's a big time difference for you.

Just from your perspective, from your conversations with people in Iran, when will Iranians start to feel the benefits?

Is that the question everybody's asking?

MAJID RAFIZADEH, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL SCIENTIST: Thank you for having me, Robyn. It's a good question.

I talked with many Iranian people and thanks to the social media, it's now easier to receive feedback.

Politically speaking and economically speaking, the short-term benefits, Iranian people are not going to see the short-term benefits of the

sanctions relief anytime soon.

As you know, Iran now involved in several conflicts in the region. And they need the money, they need the dollar in order to modernize their

military and their intelligence. So Iranian people know, many of them I talked to, they know that they are not going to see any impact on their

economic life anytime soon or the prices are not going to come down, inflation is going to remain in place.

So it's -- in the long term it's hard to say but in the short term, unfortunately, I don't think they are going to see the fruits of the

sanctions relief.

CURNOW: And also, no doubt, conversations, all eyes on the tensions on the balance between the moderates and the hardliners. That also has


RAFIZADEH: Yes, exactly. You know, moderates are trying to score a political victory here; there's a parliamentary election in February and

they want to win the parliament elections. So they are viewing this as a victory.

On the other hand -- on the other side, the hardliner, when I'm reading their newspapers or listening to the officials, they are calling the

nuclear agreement actually a nuclear burial, because they think that moderates compromised a lot and they killed the Iran nuclear program.

So there is this tension, as you mentioned, Robyn, between the hardliner and moderates.

Hardliner are still -- their policy's a combination of ideological ideals and pragmatism but moderates are focusing on only pragmatism. And they

believe that better ties with the United States or better ties with the West is not going to endanger the hold on power of the government.

But the hardliner have deep mistrust towards the United States and that -- it is because of this deep mistrust that it's really unlikely to see, for

example, embassies, U.S. or Iranian embassies, opening in Washington or Tehran anytime soon.

And that's why as your headline mentioned now, Supreme Leader Khamenei, who's part of the hardliners, he also warned about the United States, about

their cultural and economic infiltration in Iran.

So they have this deep mistrust about the United States and also about the Republican-controlled Congress, that it seems that it's going to remain in

place for a while.

CURNOW: OK, so with all of that in mind, this, though, is still deeply personal for you and millions of others. Just tell us what the lifting of

sanctions will mean for you.

RAFIZADEH: You know, I came to the United States six years ago. I was in Iran until 2009.


RAFIZADEH: And since then, I haven't been able to go back to Iran. My family live there, so -- and I haven't been able to help them in any way,

even financially, because of the sanctions.

So when I -- they were excited about the sanction relief but since they don't know that much about the politics, they didn't know that there was a

difference between the U.N. Security Council resolution -- U.N. Security Council sanctions, which are lifted, and U.S. unilateral sanctions, which

remain in place.

So for an Iranian American, for me, there is really -- this lifting of sanction did not make any difference, because I still cannot -- I can -- I

still am not sure, if I go to Iran, I will be treated well at the airport with the officials as a political analyst or I will be headed to the Evin

Prison or interrogated.

So still I couldn't explain all this complexity to my family when I talk to them.

But, you know, we still -- there is a still a period uncertainty, so for Iranian American, particularly, and for American, that they will -- there

are not -- they don't know if they go to Iran what is going to happen.

And I think that's the important question. And as I wrote about it, also, you know, it seems like United States had itself left behind because now

even American firms can't do business with Iran.

But, you know, on the other hand, Iranian people are -- the general mood is optimistic. I mean, I -- they hope that this is going to develop really

to build more ties with the West.

I have many people that, you know, roughly 60 percent of Iranian population are under 30 years old. And they were telling me that they hope they can

really, you know, get a better, you know, they can come here to the United States.

They are really pro-American, you know, society and they can visit United States, study or talk to American and to travel around the world, be

treated as a normal citizen, not with suspicion. I have personal experience with trouble --


CURNOW: -- experiences. Yes, thanks so much, Majid. I'm going to have to interrupt you because your personal experiences are exactly what I want our

viewers to go to.

There's a fantastic article on Thanks so much for joining us.

More of Majid's reflections and the question his mother asked him, that's all at We'll have much more on the INTERNATIONAL DESK after a

short break.




CURNOW: No surprises here: Mexican authorities aren't taking any chances as El Chapo once again sits in the prison he's already escaped from. The

Mexican newspaper, "El Universal," reports officials are --


CURNOW: -- taking extreme measures to make sure the drug lord stays locked up.

Our Rafael Romo joins me with all those measures, including dogs that have been trained.

Tell us about that.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, that's the one that caught my attention, in addition to the other ones.

These are dogs, Robyn, that are trained to detect El Chapo's scent, of course, these are dogs handled by K-9 officers and they're going to be

there, surrounding El Chapo at all times.

Also, El Chapo is going to be constantly changed from cell to cell. Sometimes, Robyn, it may be as short as a few minutes but some other times

it will be a few hours. And each move is being followed by guards with helmets, with cameras on their helmets so that every single second is


And last time, when he escaped, we were talking about the fact that there was a blind spot in his cell near the shower stall. Well, this time

around, there's no blind spot whatsoever.

And we're talking about 400 fixed cameras in all of these 30 cells that he's going to be moving around. And then you know he escaped through the

ground using a tunnel. This time, underground on all of those cells, there's going to be reinforcement of steel rods that are three-quarters of

an inch in thickness.

So all of these incredible security measures that I have never seen before, totally unprecedented. But, then again, we're talking about El Chapo.

CURNOW: And the network, more importantly, that he supports or supports him, because he didn't do any of this alone. And of course, he escaped

before in a laundry bag, I think. He didn't need to go through all the trouble of digging a hole before.

So with all of this in mind, how long do you think he's going to be in this prison?

ROMO: Well, the Mexican attorney general has said that it's going to take at least one year to go through all of the legal process that requires this

case -- and I'm talking about all of the injunctions that El Chapo's attorneys can go to; I'm talking about the whole legal process in the

federal courts in Mexico and then the communications between the government of Mexico and the United States.

And she also said it can be as long as five years.

Can you imagine that?

Five years.

CURNOW: That's a lot of security, a lot of extra expense.

Now, this has been a theater in many ways. A lot of bit players, a lot of main actors on the story. One of them, Kate del Castillo.

What about her, have we been hearing something about what authorities might be interested in talking to her about?

ROMO: Well, in the last 24 hours, the Mexican attorney general's office has confirmed she that has been called in to testify in this case. Now she

lives in Los Angeles and, the question is, how is this going to happen?

Is she going to be forced to return to Mexico or can she go to the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles?

Has not been determined but definitely there's a line of investigation also dealing with her businesses in the American state of Delaware as well.

CURNOW: And whether there was a connection between her and El Chapo?

ROMO: Between her and El Chapo.

CURNOW: OK, this is not over, is it?

ROMO: It's not.

CURNOW: Thanks so much, Rafael Romo, appreciate it.

ROMO: Thanks, Robyn.

CURNOW: Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back in just over an hour with more on the new U.N.

report on violence in Iraq.

But in the meantime, don't go anywhere, "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas is up next.