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Liverpool Fans Not Responsible for Deaths; U.S. Sends a Signal with F-22s in Romania; Bangladesh Killings; America's Choice 2016; Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 26, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(LIVERPOOL COURTROOM TESTIMONY)
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Ninety-six, 96 victims of Britain's worst football disaster. We've been hearing some aching testimony from those who lost
loved ones, some of the survivors. It's a big day today because, after decades of questions, of anger, of anguish, finally some answers in the
A jury in England found that 96 Liverpool football fans were unlawfully killed when they died in a crush during a 1989 match.
CURNOW: After the verdict, family members sang the song heard during the matches that has become an anthem for the victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): And you'll never walk alone. Now the key aspects of the verdict, the fans themselves were not at fault. Also police error was
a factor in their deaths. The findings end a two-year inquest. Now prosecutors will decide whether to continue to pursue criminal charges.
Our Don Riddell is with me on the set.
You have covered the story, you have a great documentary coming out. No matter what, 27 years later, the power and the emotion behind these
individual stories of the people who were lost, still gut-wrenching.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's remarkable. When I met some of the families of the victims to prepare for this documentary, what really struck
me was how much detail they remembered from what happened 27 years ago.
I mean, they could tell you in minute detail everything they experienced and it is absolutely devastating. And there are so many tragedies of
Hillsborough. But one of them, the main one is that these people have had to live these nightmares for so long. They were never able to move on
because they were forced down this road, they were denied the justice they wanted.
And you've just heard from some of the family members, saying we didn't want to have to walk down this road but we were made to. And they have
stuck together. They have stuck to their guns. They do deserve a tremendous amount of credit, even though they're not looking for it, for
being so determined and dignified but they've got there. But as we've just heard, it's still not over.
CURNOW: Yes. They said it's a long, arduous journey and it certainly has been.
Very specific, I mean, there are a number of questions that were answered by this jury. But the main headline, was, one, the police were responsible
and, secondly, the fans were not.
RIDDELL: Absolutely. And that second point is key because in the immediate aftermath of this, the fans were blamed. The media carried the
narrative that the fans were responsible for their own deaths and the deaths of their loved ones because, so the story went, they arrived late
without tickets and they were drunk and they kicked down the gates and caused the disaster, which was never true.
But it's taken the families 27 years to actually prove and have it recorded in a court of law that that wasn't the case.
You're right, the jury had to assess 14 different questions and effectively apportion responsibility for those who were responsible on the day. The
police have fared very, very badly in all of this. But it just wasn't just the police.
CURNOW: No, it wasn't just the police. I mean, I was listening it. A number of institutions.
RIDDELL: Yes, so Sheffield Wednesday, whose stadium was being held in, Hillsborough Stadium, they were responsible; the South Yorkshire Ambulance
Police Service, they were responsible.
The structural engineers, who did the work on the ground on the terracing, where the supporters were standing, they were also responsible. The
licensing authority, effectively Sheffield City Council, who gave the safety certificate to the stadium, which, by the way, was 10 years out of
date, they were also responsible.
So it's not just the police but a very, very important aspect, as you say, that these families now know what they've always known: the fans weren't
responsible at all. They had nothing to do with it. They were innocent football fans, turning up for a game and they were unlawfully killed.
CURNOW: OK. So there was this chain of causation, as it's being called. But let's talk about this cover-up. And it has been called a cover-up.
What exactly did the police do?
I mean, passages changed. There was very overt changing of the narrative, wasn't there?
RIDDELL: It's remarkable. Just hearing the family speaking just in the last few minutes, I mean, I didn't get all of the names but it was
described as a police cover-up of industrial proportions. "The most evil act of inhumanity," was how the families have been describing it.
CURNOW: -- failures, cowardly, dishonest, deliberate misinformation. Yes, we couldn't catch up.
RIDDELL: They have to be very careful with what they say because these people have become legal experts, having had to campaign for so long. And
they don't want to prejudice or wreck the possibility of future prosecutions as a result from this.
But the narrative that was spun of the fans' behavior ultimately came from the police.
I mean, it's an interesting question. When you think of any accident or disaster or something that goes wrong, who are the first people to take
control of that environment and effectively brief the press?
It's the police.
RIDDELL: It's always been that way.
But what happens when it happened under the eyes and under the noses of the police force in the first place?
I think the media bears some responsibility back in 1989 --
CURNOW: I want to talk about --
CURNOW: -- just stand by because we have a guest with us who can maybe illuminate on how the media dealt with this.
I want to bring in former England FA executive director, David Davies, from our London bureau. He's also the dad of our very own Amanda Davies.
Now before your role within football administration, you were a journalist in that region.
How much responsibility is laid at the hands of the media in the aftermath of this?
DAVID DAVIES, FORMER ENGLAND FA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, it's rare for me to defend the media in any way these days, I fear. But, of course, you
have to consider what's been called the culture of the time and that all these things were seen through the prism of hooliganism, which was killing,
frankly, soccer, football in England particularly.
And crowds were going down, stadia were very much in disrepair. And I still think that that is at least a small explanation of what happened on
that day in terms of the police response.
But let's be quite clear. This is a fantastic day for these families, some of whom I've been honored to get to know a little. And they have their
resilience, their tenacity at getting to the bottom of what really happened has been so praiseworthy. And you've seen it.
This is a humiliating and a humbling day for South Yorkshire Police and for the ambulance service as well.
And then, of course, as far as football is concerned, Don has just been talking about the questions that Sheffield Wednesday clearly were asked and
haven't satisfactorily answered for the jury. Sheffield Wednesday still have those questions to answer.
As far as the FA is concerned, who took the game to Hillsborough, should they have done more over the years?
Of course they should.
CURNOW: That's got to be a question of mine. Should there -- it's many q or criticize that the FA hasn't been brought into this enough.
DAVIES: Well, I would say very clearly, should the FA have done more over the years?
Yes, they should.
But to be fair to the FA -- I wasn't, as you've said, in the FA at the time but I know the profound impact it had on individuals within the FA. They
accepted the initial finding of the first inquest; these deaths were accidental and there were other inquiries, too.
And you know, nobody believed at that stage that a senior police officer had, by his own admission now, lied. And that was fundamental to what has
RIDDELL: David, it's Don Riddell here in the studio, alongside Robyn.
How much has football changed since that day?
And how much did Hillsborough play a part in changing football as we know it in Britain?
DAVIES: Well, football in England and beyond changed profoundly after that. You heard the Lord Justice Taylor report, which was the initial very
rapid report at the time, which indeed, when you reread it -- and it is fascinating to reread some of it -- it is extraordinary that the ultimate -
- that the next inquest, the actual inquest, came up with the findings that it did.
And then another inquiry after that that said there was no new evidence. So I go back to my basic point, this is a fantastic triumph for the
families today but -- and there is more -- there is certainly more to come.
The expectation is, the expectation after this finding, will be of the DPP, the director of public prosecutions, taking further action.
As far as, though, your fundamental point, are there going to be -- was -- did this change English football forever?
RIDDELL: David, you've spoken about some of the family members who you've come to know. I also have come to meet and spend some time with some of
them. I find them to be truly remarkable individuals, really inspiring.
I mean, how do they inspire you?
DAVIES: Well, I was lucky enough to host or commentate for television one year after the event a religious affairs program for another television
channel from the pitch at Anfield. And that was where I met some of the families.
And it affected me profoundly. Therefore, I was not surprised when I then later took a job --
DAVIES: -- inside the FA to find that there were people who had been there on the day, had been working for the FA on that day.
And I'm quite happy to say that their lives were changed forever. They never forgot what they'd seen, what they'd heard.
But as far as the families were concerned, it was a humbling experience to have met them. And the way they have fought on, even in those days, you
could never have expected that they would be fighting for more than 25 years like this.
CURNOW: Fighting for more than 25 years. It unfolded in six minutes. And it's taken so long for the truth to come out. But also, besides these very
personal stories of heartache, as Don was saying, this changed football.
And just give us some sense of how. It wasn't just how stadiums were built but also the commercial nature of modern-day football.
DAVIES: Basically, as I mentioned earlier, football in England was dying. People were not going -- people like me, who've taken, you know, who had
been as children to English football, were now frightened to take our own children.
And I can remember arguments with my own wife about whether I should do that. And people were starting to stay away. And then, of course, English
football had been banned from playing in Europe for five years after other problems.
And we'd had a -- some -- a terrible fire, which had killed people in Bradford, one of our cities in Yorkshire.
So I mean, there was a succession of awful incidents, of which Hillsborough was the climax. And people said, this is just not good enough. And it
led, in football terms, yes, to the Premier League, yes, to all-seater stadia and a belief that this is -- we have to change the game radically.
And I believe that's what's happened.
CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much, David Davies there, thank you for joining us, giving your perspective.
Don Riddell's here with me on the set. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN. Still ahead, much more on this top story, decades after the worst
disaster in British sports. Families say they're getting answers finally. And we'll bring you much more on this jury's decision in the Hillsborough
Stadium tragedy. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Back now to our breaking news, the momentous verdict ending a two- year inquest since the Hillsborough tragedy. A jury in Britain ruled 96 Liverpool football fans --
CURNOW: -- were unlawfully killed when they died in a crush during the 1989 match. The jury found the fans themselves were not at fault and
police error was a factor in their deaths. Prosecutors may pursue criminal charges.
Let's get reaction from Liverpool. Phil Black stands by there.
And, Phil, this has defined the city, specifically because this tragedy happened in the terraces behind the Liverpool goals; these were Liverpool
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Robyn. And you can see those words up on the building behind me, "Truth and justice." They're not just
words in this city; they were goals really, adopted not only by those most intimately affected by the disaster but by the Liverpool Football Club, its
fans and by the city broadly.
They together have been as one for the past 27 years, struggling to achieve the meaning behind those words. And they've only just been hung here
today, because they think today is really a significant step in actually getting there.
This has been a defining struggle for the club, the fans, the city. And that's why we've been seeing people gather here in this square, they say,
because they didn't know where else to go.
They've been coming, watching some of the live coverage on a large screen just a short distance from here. Constant crowd through the day; tomorrow
we're told there will be an even larger memorial service, filling the whole square behind us here.
And from tonight, this building, many of the other key buildings in the city are going to bathed in red light to mark the significance of this day
because it does, quite simply, mean so much.
By example, I was speaking to a man here earlier, who said he was driving along at the time when the news first broke that the jury had determined
that the deaths were unlawful, that key point there.
And he said he was so overcome by emotion that he had to pull over and stop and just weep there to himself for just a few moments.
The point is that people have lived through this, through the disaster itself. The struggle for this to be made an undeniable truth afterwards,
to establish the truth that they always knew to be the case. And so for that reason, although 27 years is such a long time, it is very much living
history and something that has influenced the lives of so many people in this city over the course of that time -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Influenced the lives just not of people not just in that city but across Britain. We were just hearing David Davies talk about the impact it
had on modern-day football. We've just heard comments from the prime minister as well.
BLACK: Yes. It is a cause that, over time, has been adopted by so many, has not felt with the passion and, I guess, the visceral feeling that you
get here in Liverpool. But there is no doubt that across Britain, over time, the sense that an injustice had been done, the sense that these were
people deserving of some sort of process that would help them determine the truth and would help lay to rest what had taken place there on that tragic
And so you're right, you've heard from the British prime minister, who said that this is a landmark day, he tweeted, and said that it has finally
brought some sense of justice, this inquest process, to the victims. And he also paid tribute to the people that have maintained the campaign, the
struggle to establish the truth for so long -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Phil Black there in Liverpool, thanks for your reporting, Phil.
Don Riddell still here on set with me.
And as we've been saying, this took six minutes and unfolded on that, behind the goals on the -- in the Liverpool terraces within six minutes but
the consequences still being felt nearly three decades later.
RIDDELL: Yes. Don't underestimate what these families have been through. They're incredibly strong, brave, courageous individuals. And there was a
lot of joyous scenes today. But behind the scenes, a lot of emotion. We heard the uncle of one of the children who died, saying the emotions are
very confused today.
I don't think they really know they feel. I don't think they've really ever thought they were going to get this day, many of them. And some of
them have admitted that they could have given up at several stages throughout this 27-year process.
It is a tremendous credit to them that they stuck together and fought on for the truth that was rightfully theirs and for the truth that they knew
was out there.
So much to reflect on today, not least how things have changed. I mean, these guys have been stuck in 1989 for 27 years but football has moved on.
Football in England is absolutely unrecognizable and it's because of Hillsborough that things look different. Have a look at this.
RIDDELL (voice-over): The Premier League is promoted as the best football league in the world. Every week, its games are broadcast all over the
globe, taking viewers inside England's state-of-the-art all-seater stadiums.
But 27 years ago it was a very different story. Stadiums were decrepit, many --
RIDDELL (voice-over): -- fans stood. The scourge of hooligans meant that rival supporters were kept apart by fencing. They were penned in on all
PHIL SCRATON (PH), AUTHOR: The conditions of the stadia, we took them for granted. We would cheer when people were handed who'd fainted in the cop.
And they were handed down to the front and passed over to the ambulance people. We cheered because it was just part of the way it was.
RIDDELL (voice-over): But in 1989, one game changed everything.
RIDDELL (voice-over): It was April the 15th, the semifinal of the FA Cup between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. More than 50,000 fans of both
teams had traveled to a neutral site in Sheffield, Hillsborough Stadium.
Usually fans accessed the stadium one at a time. But a crush outside prompted the local police in charge of crowd safety to open a large exit
In that instant, some 2,000 fans streamed down a tunnel into a section behind the goal, an enclosed section that was already too full. And then,
as the game kicked off, in full view of the stadium and the live television cameras, hundreds of people were crushed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt it was like you might imagine how to be where people are dying, people are dead, other people don't know what to do.
RIDDELL (voice-over): The game was stopped after just six minutes.
Back in the dressing room, Liverpool's manager, Kenny Dalglish, tried to counsel his players.
BRUCE GROBBELAAR (PH), FORMER LIVERPOOL GOALKEEPER: All of a sudden, a fan came in with tears in his eyes and shouting, "There's 10 people dead."
I said, "What do you mean?"
He said, "It's like a war zone over there."
RIDDELL (voice-over): Hundreds of people had been injured. And for 96 Liverpool fans, those injuries proved fatal.
GROBBELAAR (PH): And you see them, pressed up against the fence, and for them to get the air sucked out of them like that must be the most horrific
way to go.
RIDDELL (voice-over): It was an unspeakable nightmare and one that would only get worse. As the disaster was still unfolding, police pinned the
blame on the fans, saying they had arrived late, drunk and without tickets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People initially were stunned that the truth could be so quickly fabricated. And within days, they were being held responsible
for the deaths of their loved ones or their friends.
So it hit people at their most traumatized. And I think that it united the city and the region immediately around a search for what they considered to
be the real truth.
RIDDELL (voice-over): Professor Phil Scraton (ph) himself was a Liverpool fan. And he worked doggedly to uncover the real truth. What he found was
a shocking cover-up at official levels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I miss facing in these two statements is where they overlap word for word.
RIDDELL (voice-over): But his dedicated research and the fans' tireless campaigning took decades to force the British establishment to change the
Finally, the longest running inquest in British legal history determined the real story. The whole world now knows what the victims' families and
survivors have known all along: it was never their fault.
CURNOW: Don Riddell, joining me here in the studio and the last images in your story there playing as they -- this song, "You'll Never Walk Alone,"
it was sung outside the court today but also was also -- it has been sung through the last 27 years.
I want to play a snippet of it from within a stadium and from Anfield. And let's just get a sense of the emotion and I want to talk about what it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): "Don't be afraid of the dark, never walk alone," very poignant words.
Tell us about the song and why it's become so emblematic.
RIDDELL: This is just an incredible song. Football fans all over the world are familiar with this song. It really became Liverpool's unofficial
anthem. It was actually written for a musical, if you're familiar with "Carousel." It was written for that.
And in the early 60s, it was adopted by the Liverpool supporters. It's always sung very emotionally at Anfield Stadium. It's even become a part
of the club's emblem, "You'll never walk alone."
But this all happened before Hillsborough and it was almost as if --
RIDDELL: -- the song was written for the Hillsborough families and this long campaign for justice for their families and themselves for the last 27
years. The lyrics, "At the end of the storm, there's a golden sky, don't be afraid of the dark, walk on with hope in your heart, you'll never walk
And that wasn't why the club chose this anthem. It just happened that way. But it couldn't have been more perfect.
And when those families burst into a spontaneous rendition of it on the court steps this morning, it was incredibly moving, incredibly moving. And
this song just represents everything they've gone through.
CURNOW: Yes. It became sort of a victory song there on the steps of the Warrington Court House but also the sort of aching reminder of the journey
that they've taken.
You've got some sense of that journey. You've spent a lot of time with those who survived, those who lost family members. Just tell us about this
documentary and what it's meant to you in terms of investigating the story.
RIDDELL: Yes. I mean, it's been fascinating, it's been inspiring, it's been very moving. These family members, these campaigners, are truly,
truly inspirational people. I can't speak highly enough of just how incredible they are, their strength of spirit and their courage.
Margaret Aspinall is one of the ladies I've met. We've seen her on our air this morning, talking outside the court. She lost her 18-year-old son,
James. It was his first away game. She talked very movingly about how she can remember him going up the street that morning -- sorry. I'm just
thinking about what she said, it's very emotional.
And she said, "That's my beautiful son."
And she just thought that as he walked up the street and of course it was the last time she saw him. And everything she went through for the next 24
hours were just horrendous, with the worry and the fear and the not knowing and then finally having to go to the mortuary to make an identification and
not being allowed to cuddle him and being told -- and I quote -- "he doesn't belong to you anymore. He's now the property of the coroner."
I mean, can you imagine being told that?
She had four other kids, who were all weeping at the top of the stairs when she was finally told by her husband that James had died.
It's just remarkable. It's just remarkable that she's been able to campaign the way she has and the love for her son has really kept her
going. Let's hear a bit from Margaret from the documentary.
SCRATON (voice-over): In the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough, there were two sets of families. There are those that were already in Sheffield,
who were at the game, at the match, whose loved ones were on the terrace, and those who were at home in Liverpool or elsewhere, waiting for news.
RIDDELL (voice-over): One hundred and 20 kilometers away in Liverpool, Margaret Aspinall couldn't take it anymore. She had a plan with her
husband, Jimmy, that he would call every hour from Sheffield until he found their 18-year-old son, James. But at 4:00 am, no phone call came and
nothing again at 5:00 or 6:00.
MARGARET ASPINALL, MOTHER OF HILLSBOROUGH VICTIM: I saw my husband with his -- he wasn't a driver. He doesn't drive -- with his head in his hands,
his head in his hands. I could see him. I just looked at him.
And he goes to get out the car and I run away because I was terrified if he caught me, he was going to tell me my son had died.
CURNOW: Again, the ache nearly three decades on.
Don Riddell, thanks so much for not just reporting here on a story but also this deep, emotional wound that perhaps has gone some way to being healed
in Liverpool. That documentary airs at various times over the weekend.
RIDDELL: Sure, absolutely. Thank you, Robyn.
CURNOW: Well, I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN. We'll have more news after the break.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow.
The U.S. is sending a firm message to Russia with a sophisticated and stealthy pair of fighter jets. Two F-22 Raptors land at a strategic
Romanian air base on the Black Sea Monday. It's close to the Ukrainian border and the Russian navy fleet in Crimea. CNN's Clarissa Ward was on
board the refueling plane that traveled with the F-22s. She has more on the signal Washington is sending.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Air Force pilots are preparing for a unique mission. They will be accompanying two U.S. fighter
jets to Romania, a NATO ally on the Black Sea. It will be the first time America's fearsome F-22 Raptor has landed there, an opportunity for the
U.S. to show it is bolstering NATO defenses on Russia's doorstep.
Flying one of the two is Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Daniel Lahoski (ph). He explained what makes the F-22 special.
SQUADRON COMMANDER LT. COL. DANIEL LAHOSKI (PH): The combination of stealth, super cruise, increased situational awareness that the aircraft
provides us, which all that adds up to a unique asymmetric advantage on the battlefield.
WARD: So basically you're saying this is the best fighter jet in the world?
LAHOSKI (PH): The aircraft is truly incredible. And it is indeed the best (INAUDIBLE) in the world.
WARD (voice-over): The technology is so advanced that Congress has banned their sale overseas. En route to Romania, the jets must regularly be
refueled, a delicate balancing act we got to see close up.
A nozzle called a boom is lowered from the tanker. The jet then moves into place directly below it and the gas starts pumping.
Officially this is a training exercise (INAUDIBLE) U.S. fighter jets from a fixed base to a forward operating base. But it is the symbolism that is
important here. This is intended as a show of force to an increasingly assertive Russia.
Earlier this month, Russian jets repeatedly buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea in maneuvers the U.S. called "provocative and aggressive."
Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has steadily built up its military footprint on the Black Sea, unnerving many NATO allies in the
region, as Romanian air force chief of staff Laurian Anastasof (ph) told us.
ROMANIAN AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF LAURIAN ANASTASOF (PH): Increasing the air activities, they're increasing the missions, they're increasing the
training. This is the things that we are seeing every single day.
So we need to get ready for what's going to be. That's my major concern, how to get ready for what's going to be next thing.
WARD (voice-over): And like many here, he hopes that the U.S. will continue its commitment to its NATO allies, whatever tomorrow may bring --
Clarissa Ward, CNN, Constanta, Romania.
CURNOW: Great access there. Thanks to Clarissa for that report.
Now for millions of people, life was changed forever in one instance. It was a flash that occurred exactly 30 years ago today, the explosion of a
nuclear reactor at Chernobyl remains the worst nuclear disaster in history.
Thousands fled or volunteered to help, risking their lives. To this day, engineers work to contain the fallout. And this is what remains: a ghost
town, though the effect has been much wider. The U.N. says Chernobyl's radiation has affected 9 million people.
And an Al Qaeda affiliate is claiming responsibility for the brutal murder of a gay rights activist and his friend. It's the latest in a series of
attacks in Bangladesh to target minorities, activists and publishers there. And dozens have fled the country. CNN's Ivan Watson spoke with the young
men who now live in exile for their ideas.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty- five-year-old atheist blogger Ananya Azad (ph) fled his home in Bangladesh last year.
WATSON: Ananya (ph), good to meet you.
How are you?
WATSON (voice-over): Soon after arriving here in Germany, he says he ended up on the top of this hit list published by Islamist extremists.
ANANYA AZAD (PH), ATHEIST BLOGGER: This is the ISIS flag here.
WATSON: It says we do not forget, we do not forgive.
WATSON (voice-over): These online threats are not virtual reality. In the capital of Bangladesh, attackers with machetes have murdered at least six
atheist bloggers and secular publishers over the last 14 months.
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for the most recent murder, citing the victim's Facebook posts as justification for the
killings. Among the dozens of atheists who have now fled Bangladesh, Azad (ph) and two other online activists all exiles in Germany.
WATSON: What do you write about?
AZAD (PH): I wrote -- I criticized the Islamic militant. I criticized our government.
WATSON (voice-over): Azad (ph) knows firsthand the dangers of angering extremists.
AZAD (PH): In 2004, my father was attacked by Islamic militants.
WATSON: This is your father, covered in blood?
AZAD (PH): Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): His father, Humayun (ph), a famous atheist writer, died soon after. Even though he continues to receive daily death threats,
Azad says he won't stop publicly criticizing Islamist extremism, in part to honor his father.
Atheist blogger Asif Moyhudin (ph) still goes live on Facebook, even though in 2013 he was ambushed on his way to work in Bangladesh.
ASIF MOYHUDIN (PH), BLOGGER: Three people came from my behind and started -- they tried to cut my head from my neck.
WATSON: They were using what weapons?
MOYHUDIN (PH): Like big machete.
WATSON (voice-over): He barely survived. Just three months later, Bangladeshi authorities shut down Moyhudin's (ph) blog and sent him to
MOYHUDIN (PH): They arrested me for blasphemy.
WATSON (voice-over): A top government official says atheists like Moyhudin (ph) have no business insulting religion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reasonable criticism is acceptable. But unreasonable, abusive language is difficult to accept.
During his three-month jail stint, Moyhudin (ph) had a chilling encounter with another prisoner.
MOYHUDIN (PH): And I said, no, who are you?
I don't know you.
And then he told me that I'm the one who stabbed you that night.
WATSON (voice-over): Moyhudin (ph) says that man was one of several suspects arrested after his attack. Police tell CNN that suspect is
currently in jail, awaiting trial in connection with the suspected machete murder of another atheist blogger, Niloy Neel, in 2015.
WATSON: Did you have tea with the man who tried to kill you?
MOYHUDIN (PH): Yes. He told me he left Islam so the sharia punishment for apostasy of Islam is death penalty. And I told him that, OK, so I'm still
What are you going to do now?
And he told me he will try again. When he will get out of the prison, he will try again.
WATSON (voice-over): Bangladeshi officials insist they will bring the murderers of atheists to justice.
Meanwhile, from exile, Moyhudin (ph) says he still faces criminal charges in Bangladesh for insulting religion.
WATSON: When will it be safe for you to go back to your country?
MOYHUDIN (PH): When the government tell us very clear message that writing is not a crime, expressing one's view is not a crime. Killing people is
WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Germany.
CURNOW: Such a powerful report.
Well, turning now to the Philippines where the nation's military is promising justice after the terrorist killing of a Canadian hostage. The
remains of 68-year-old John Ridsdel (ph) were found Monday after a ransom deadline passed. The deadline was set by Abu Sayyaf militants, who
kidnapped Ridsdel (ph) in September while he was on vacation.
A statement from the Philippine national police and the military said the full force of the law will be used to bring the, quote, "criminals" to
CURNOW: And voters in five U.S. states are headed to the polls today, where they'll cast a ballot for one of the five remaining presidential
But could a partnership between two of those candidates make a difference in today's contest?
Jim Acosta reports.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Lyin' Ted!
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sensing an opportunity in the new alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Donald
Trump isn't just smelling blood. He's going in for the kill with a double- barrel attack on both Cruz --
TRUMP: You know, he's a joker. He cannot do it so he said let me form a partnership, which I call -- what do we call it?
It's called collusion, folks.
ACOSTA (voice-over): -- and Kasich.
TRUMP: He's like a spoiled guy, Kasich: "I'm not getting out, Mom. I'm not getting out."
ACOSTA (voice-over): Trump even ridiculed Kasich's eating habits as unpresidential.
TRUMP: Then you see him eating in the morning. You ever see -- I have never seen. He's stuffing pancakes in his mouth like this.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: He has no answer, how do you bring jobs back to America beyond just printing it on a baseball cap?
ACOSTA (voice-over): With a few one-liners of his own, Cruz is arguing to his supporters the name of the game is denying Trump the magic number of
delegates needed to clinch the nomination, which is why Cruz is planning to focus on Indiana, where he's stronger, while yielding New Mexico and Oregon
to the Ohio governor.
CRUZ: What that means is that Indiana gets a straight and direct choice between our campaign and Donald Trump.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But by Monday afternoon, the Cruz-Kasich alliance was already showing signs of strain, with Kasich refusing to explicitly tell
his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz over him.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't tell voters anything. I'm out there campaigning and it speaks for itself.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Stressing that he has own strategy to see through to stay alive until the party meets for its convention this summer.
KASICH: Look, I'd like to see an open convention. Ted Cruz would like to see an open convention. And I think Trump would not because he's afraid if
he goes to an open convention, he's got no chance of winning.
CURNOW: Jim Acosta there, reporting on the tricky balancing act of the Republican delegate math.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are facing off in the same five states as the Republicans; even though Clinton
can't reach the required delegate count in today's contest, she can certainly extend her dominant lead.
Sanders has acknowledged that his chances of winning are narrowing if he can't eke out a miraculous win this Tuesday. Sanders will face an even
slimmer path to the nomination.
And the familiar chimes of London's Big Ben will go silent this year. The House of Commons says the famous clock will be silenced for several months
for repairs. The Elizabethan tower where it's housed will also undergo repair work. The project is expected to start early next year and take
three years to complete.
I'm Robyn Curnow. You've been watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks so much for joining me. "CONNECT THE WORLD" is next.