Albanian Police Say Iranian ‘Terrorist’ Plot Foiled

Albanian police thwarted an attack allegedly planned by a Tehran-backed “terrorist cell” against opponents of the Iranian regime in the Balkan country last year, police said on October 23.

The cell belonged to the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) responsible for foreign operations, police said in a statement.

This cell “had planned, among other things, a terrorist act foiled in March 2018” targeting a religious ceremony of the Bektashi, a Sufi group, in Tirana, the statement said.

The ceremony was attended by members of the exiled Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), according to police.

Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is not illegal in Iran but rights groups accuse the Iranian government of harassment and discrimination against their followers.

In 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of the MEK at the request of Washington and the United Nations.

They currently live in a compound in northwestern Albania.

Police on October 23 published photos of three Iranians and one Turkish national allegedly involved in the “terrorist cell.”

The leader of the alleged cell “resides in Turkey” and another “has an Austrian passport,” the statement said.

Police declined to say whether international arrest warrants had been issued.

Authorities also did not say whether the incident had any connection to Albania’s expulsion last year of two Iranian diplomats who the United States accused of plotting “terrorist attacks” in the Balkan country.

In January, the European Union sanctioned Iran’s intelligence services after accusing Tehran of being involved in plots to assassinate regime opponents in Europe.

Paris accused Iranian intelligence of being responsible for plotting a planned attack on a MEK rally north of Paris in June 2018.

Albania joined NATO in 2009.

Hofstra University Fraternity Placed On Interim Suspension Following Hazing Accusations

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A fraternity at Hostra University has been placed on interim suspension and faces possible disciplinary action.

This after one of its pledges came forward alleging hazing in September, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.

Taylor Rose Clarke is editor of the Hofstra student newspaper, The Chronicle.

“I am just honored that my sources would trust me with such vulnerable details and trust me to tell their story,” Clarke said.

Following weeks of interviews, Clarke broke the story of alleged fraternity hazing involving Sigma Alpha Mu — also known as “Sammy.” The local Delta Alpha chapter has since been placed on interim suspension.

One sophomore said he was victimized during what he called a nightmare inside an off-campus frat house.

“They had strippers over one night for new members,” the student said. “They gathered you in a room and they took a lighter, they said, ‘This guy’s got hair like a girl’s, maybe we should just burn it.’ They got close and burned off two inches. I stamped it out.”

He said they put the pledges into a bathroom and turned up the heat.

“For an extended amount of time. It was almost like a sauna,” the sophomore said.

And played dare with cigarettes.

“They were throwing cigarette butts, along with some of the alumni. A couple of them hit me and someone spat on me too. It was pretty hellish,” he said.

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The reports were first taken to public safety with claims some pledges were threatened with bodily harm if they were to reveal secrets.

The national chapter told McLogan it is looking into the chapter’s conduct, adding it does not tolerate hazing because it is against state law.

Hofstra immediately launched a formal inquiry.

“I guess ‘scarring’ is the right word. A lot of trust was lost,” the sophomore said.

MORE3 Former Penn State Frat Members Get Jail Time In 2017 Hazing Death

The school newspaper, the alleged hazing victim, and other fraternity sources told McLogan the university has been open, supportive and cooperative during its Greek life investigation.

“We are a small campus. We are a good campus. It is our lead story because it is an important topic,” Clarke said.

The status of Sigma Alpha Mu has yet to be determined, pending the outcome of the investigation.

On Capitol Hill, the federal “End All Hazing Act” is being debated. It seeks to prevent hazing incidents on college campuses and calls for more accountability and transparency from Greek organizations.

Hofstra University Fraternity Placed On Interim Suspension Following Hazing Accusations

Penn State suspends fraternity after a 17-year-old died in an off-campus house

Penn State University announced on Tuesday the interim suspension of a fraternity after a 17-year-old died last weekend at an off-campus house.

State College Police responded to a medical emergency Saturday evening at about 9:30 p.m. at an off-campus residence where a 17-year-old male was unconscious and was experiencing shallow breathing, police said in a statement. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.
Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers identified the teen as John Schoenig. The cause of his death is pending toxicology, Sayers said.
His family referred to him as “Jack” in a statement released Thursday through attorney Catherine Doyle.
“Jack was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. We are devastated by his passing. We thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support that we have received,” the family said.
The off-campus house was allegedly occupied by members of the Chi Phi fraternity but was not the fraternity’s official house, Penn State said,
The Alpha Delta Chapter of the fraternity has been suspended until more information is known, the university said. State College Police and the University’s Office of Student Conduct are investigating.
“The interim suspension means the fraternity loses all privileges as a recognized student organization pending the outcome of the investigations,” Penn State said in a release.
Schoenig was visiting the area and was not a Penn State student, according to the university.
“The Chi Phi Fraternity prayers are with this young man’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time,” said Michael Azarian, executive director of the Chi Phi Fraternity. “While the incident at an off-campus residence was not part of fraternity activities, we will monitor the investigation by the university and local officials.”
An obituary posted on the Quinn Funeral Home website remembered John “Jack” Schoenig as passionate about ice hockey and “with a presence larger than life.”
Alexander Luddy, Schoenig’s hockey coach at Cathedral Preparatory School, told CNN that the senior was a leader on the team with a “contagious personality.”
“Jack was loved by his friends, his family, and his teammates and he will be missed dearly,” Luddy said.
The death comes more than two years after 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, a sophomore at Penn State, died during a night of pledging at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. The death led to charges against a number of fraternity members and jail time for three people.