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United States: Send Detainees Home to Yemen (Video)

[Logo of Human Rights Watch. Image from hrw.org]

[The following video was released by Human Rights Watch on 7 April 2014]

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Open Letter to Saudi Minister of Interior Demanding Release of Human Rights Activist al-Qahtani

[Logo of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle Eastern Studies Association. Image from http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/committees/academic-freedom/]

[The following open letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA)] Your Royal Highness, I write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to express our concern regarding economics professor Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani.  In March 2013, Dr. Al-Qahtani was sentenced to 10-years in prison and to a travel ban of equal length following the end of his prison sentence for a series of security-related charges.  He is currently being held at the Ha’ir prison near Riyadh.  We believe that the charges against Prof. al-Qahtani are politically motivated ...

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Event Report-Back: Countering the Counter-Revolution in Egypt

[Logo of the American University in Cairo Middle East Studies Center. Image from aucegypt.edu]

On 5 March 2014, the Middle East Studies Center at the American University in Cairo hosted political scientist Timothy Kaldas for a lecture titled “Countering the Counter-Revolution.” Kaldas is a professor at Egypt’s Nile University whose work can be found on Mada Masr and other media outlets. Following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July, and the subsequent return of the Egyptian military to the political spotlight, activists in Egypt have struggled with how to proceed on the revolutionary path. For Kaldas, the first step in that process is admitting mistake. In his talk, Kaldas identified a number of key mistakes that Egypt’s political opposition has made ...

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The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents

[Logo of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Image from bahrainrights.org]

[The following report was published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights 13 March 2014] The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents Introduction In 2011, the grassroots movement that started in Bahrain demanding democracy, rights and freedoms was met with large scale brute violence by the government. Extreme measures were taken against pro-democracy protesters, and thousands were arrested, systematically tortured and given lengthy prison sentences. The government of Bahrain began to more liberally apply its vaguely defined terrorism law to go after its citizens. Hundreds of individuals, including opposition figures, human rights defenders, peaceful ...

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Joint Statement: NGOs Condemn Escalation of Violence in Bahrain and Reiterate Protestors' Demands

[Logo of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Image from bahrainrights.org]

[The following statement was issued by the undersigned and published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights on 4 March 2014] Joint Statement: NGOs Express Concern over Escalation of Violence in Bahrain and Reiterate the Legitimate Demands of Peaceful Protestors The undersigned NGO’s express in the strongest terms their concern in regards to the escalation of violence in Bahrain and the use of foreign security forces to police peaceful protests under the guise of secretive Gulf security agreements. For the past three years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have stated that foreign troops have not been involved in suppressing the peaceful protest movement, but the ...

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The State v. Individual: On State Crimes and Judicial Parody in Turkey

[A protester wears a mask with an image of Ethem Sarisuluk as the trial against the policeman accused of killing him starts in Ankara, 23 September 2013. The placard reads:

Let me make the hardest list of my life, for those who have not followed what has happened in Turkey during and in the wake of the Gezi Protests that began in the summer of 2013. On 1 June, Ethem Sarisuluk, a twenty-six-year-old laborer and activist, was shot in the head by a policeman in Ankara during the Gezi Park protests. He died after spending two weeks in the intensive care unit. On 2 June, Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a nineteen-year-old student, was beaten brutally by a group of men in the city of Eskisehir. He slipped into coma, struggling with a brain hemorrhage for thirty-eight days before losing his life. On the same night in Istanbul, Mehmet Ayvalitas, a ...

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Press Release: Where is Jamal Al Hammadi?

[Logo of the Alkarama Foundation. Image from alkarama.org]

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 4 March 2014] Jamal Al Hammadi, a teacher of Islamic education from Khor Fakkan abducted on 20 April 2013 by state security services, was last seen 5 February 2014 in Abu Dhabi's State Security prison. A group of detainees recently transferred from this prison facility reported that Jamal was being detained there in very harsh conditions. Jamal is the brother of Fuad Mohammed Al Hammadi, one of the "UAE94", serving a 10-year sentence in Al-Razeen prison following a grossly unfair trial. "Considering the reports of systematic torture in centres of detention in the UAE, we have great ...

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Press Release: Seven-Year UAE Prison Sentence for Qatari Doctor Based on Forced Confessions

[Logo of the Alkarama Foundation. Image from alkarama.org]

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 9 March 2014] UAE: Qatari Doctor Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison on Basis of Forced Confessions Dr Abdulrahmane Al Jaidah, a Qatari doctor arrested one year ago at Dubai international Airport by the State Security Services, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment following an unfair trial on 3 March 2014 by the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court for "helping an illegal secret organisation". He is currently imprisoned in Al-Razeen prison, the same detention facility where some of the UAE94 are being unlawfully detained. Today, Alkarama asked the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to ...

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Israel's Arrest and Detention of Palestinian Human Rights Defenders against the Annexation Wall

[Logo of Addameer. Image from addameer.org]

[The following report was published by Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association on 7 January 2014] Courageous Voices, Fragile Freedoms: Israel's Arrest and Detention of Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Introduction This report will examine the increasing use of arrest and detention by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) of Palestinian human rights activists taking part in protests and other peaceful acts of resistance against the illegal Annexation Wall and settlements in the West Bank since 2009. Although the popular resistance that arose in response to the continuing construction of the Annexation Wall has been facing acts of repression and often ...

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Rule of Fear: ISIS Abuses in Detention in Northern Syria

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 [The following report was published by Amnesty International on 19 December 2013] Introduction This briefing describes serious abuses of human rights committed in detention facilities run by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an armed opposition group that currently controls significant swathes of territory and people in northern Syria, including in al- Raqqa governorate and in and around Aleppo and Idlib. In these areas, ISIS claims it is fighting to establish an “Islamic state” and has introduced harsh rules that it said were based on Shari’a (Islamic law), including cruel and inhuman punishments such as flogging and summary killings in public. In ...

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'The Family Duress Was a Campaign of Torment': An Interview with Asli Igsiz

[Aslı Iğsız. Image via Radikal.]

WHY? Aslı Iğsız is a scholar who teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the US. At the same time, however, she is also the daughter of retired General Hasan Iğsız, who has been sentenced to life on the charges of “leading” the Ergenekon Terror Organization. Despite my persistence, Aslı Iğsız had refused to talk until today. She is speaking out on the subject for the first time. While reading about how her family suffered hell on earth, I would like for you to keep in mind that this situation is not something peculiar to the Iğsız family (as Aslı Iğsız also mentions in ...

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التطهير العرقي في القدس

[مقطع من لوحة للفنان الفلسطيني إسماعيل شموط]

انتهجت إسرائيل في فلسطين التاريخية منذ سنة 1948 سياسة لا يمكن لأحد أن ينفيها أو يتجاهلها عُرفت تحت اسم "التطهير العرقي"، إذ كان القادة الصهاينة يصدرون أوامر تقضي بتطهير المناطق التي كانت تستولي عليها قواتهم من مواطنيها الفلسطينيين، وذلك من أجل إيجاد مجتمع متجانس عرقياً ويقتصر على اليهود.[1]ولم يخفِ هؤلاء القادة ذلك، فقد صرّح موشيه دايان في خطابه أمام طلبة التخنيون (المعهد الإسرائيلي للتكنولوجيا) في حيفا عام 1969 أنه جرى تشييد القرى اليهودية على أنقاض القرى العربية، وقال مخاطباً الطلبة: "إنكم لا تستطيعون حتى معرفة أسماء هذه القرى، وأنا لا ألومكم لأن كتب الجغرافيا لم تعد موجودة، ليست الكتب فقط لم تعد موجودة، القرى العربية ليست قائمة ...

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ACRI Petitions High Court: Restore Water to East Jerusalem

[The following press release was issued by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on 25 March 2014] For some three weeks now, tens of thousands of residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods east of the Separation Barrier have been without running water. In response, local residents, community leaders and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) have filed a petition to the High Court of Justice. In the petition, ACRI Attorney Karen Tzafrir noted that most of the homes in the neighborhoods of Ras ...

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On Prison & Egyptian Regime’s "War on a Whole Generation": Democracy Now! Interview with Alaa Abd El-Fattah

In a Democracy Now! global broadcast exclusive, we spend the hour with one of Egypt’s most prominent dissidents, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, speaking in his first extended interview after nearly four months behind bars. An open Internet and political activist, Fattah has been at the forefront of the struggle for change in Egypt for many years and has the distinction of having been actively persecuted by Egypt’s past four successive rulers. Facing a potential return to prison in the coming months, Fattah sits ...

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Human Rights Watch Briefing on Saudi Arabia's New 'Terrorism Laws'

[The following briefing was published by Human Rights Watch on 20 March 2014] Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism law and a series of related royal decrees create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism. The sweeping provisions in the measures, all issued since February 2014, threaten to close down altogether Saudi Arabia’s already extremely restricted space for free expression. “Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their ...

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Joint Statement: Palestinian NGOs in Israel Reject the "Sectarian Representation Law"

[The following statement was issued by the undersigned and published by Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on 27 February 2014] We, the Palestinian civil society organizations in Israel, absolutely reject the new law enacted by the Knesset on 24 February 2014, which replaces Arab representation on a public advisory board of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with sectarian representation. This new law is a dangerous attempt by the state to distort the Arab identity of ...

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Oman Intensifies Localization Strategies

[The following briefing was published by Migrant Rights on 13 February 2014] Nationalization policies in Oman and the wider Gulf region are not new; many programs began in the late 1980s and enforcement has since fluctuated – often waning in periods of heavy development and revived in economic downturns. The spade of crackdowns and mass deportations in 2013 encompassed a renewed implementation of localization schemes throughout the Gulf, largely to pre-empt rising national unemployment and the social ...

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Press Release: Crackdown on 'UAE94' Activists Extends to Relatives

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 19 March 2014] Two days ago, Osama Al Najjar, a 25 year-old architectural engineer, was arrested on the road by several men in civilian clothes on his way back home from a visit to his doctor at around 4 pm. Osama is now being held in an unknown location outside the protection of the law. Given the systematic use of torture in detention centres controlled by the Emirati security services, Alkarama solicited the urgent intervention of ...

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BCHR: Discrimination Against Women in Bahraini Society and Legislation

[The following report was published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights on 10 February 2014]  Discrimination Against Women in Bahraini Society and Legislation Overview of Women's Rights in Bahrain: Initially, one should look at the context of what human rights means. Are government officials in the Arab countries, which often claim that human rights are a Western invention, able to uphold the individual’s right to not be subjected to torture, their right to religious freedom, education, or ...

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Press Release: Saudi Human Rights Defenders on Hunger Strike after One Year in Prison

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 9 March 2014] Saudi Arabia: On One-Year Anniversary in Prison, Prominent Human Rights Defenders are on Hunger Strike On 9 March 2013, Abdullah Al Hamid and Mohammad Al Qahtani, two prominent Saudi human rights defenders, were sentenced by the Riyadh Criminal Court to heavy prison sentences for inter alia "disobeying the ruler", "inciting disorder", "setting up an unlicensed organization" and having ...

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Human Rights Roadmap for a New Libya

[The following report was published by Human Rights Watch on 3 February 2014] Human Rights Roadmap for a New Libya Introduction After four decades of authoritarian rule, Libya faces the challenge of reforming outdated and repressive legislation and writing new laws that guarantee the full panoply of citizens’ rights. The enduring legacy of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule includes laws that have curtailed the freedoms of generations of Libyans. Since the 2011 revolution in Libya, with some exceptions such as ...

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Trigger-Happy: Israel's Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank

[The following report was published by Amnesty International on 27 February 2014] Trigger-Happy: Israel's Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank Introduction “Out of nowhere many soldiers jumped out and ambushed Samir. They shot him first in the leg, yet he managed to run away towards the village. But how far can an injured child run? Twenty, maybe 30, metres? They could have easily arrested him, especially when he was injured, but instead they shot him in the back with ...

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Yemeni Teacher Unlawfully Detained Since Revolution

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 21 February 2014] Mohammad Muthana Al Ammari, a 34 year-old Yemeni teacher who had participated, like so many others, in the demonstrations that toppled former Yemeni president Saleh, was abducted from the street in Sana'a on 5 December 2011 by a dozen armed men. After being disappeared and tortured, he was sentenced on 19 October 2012 to two years in prison by a special courtfor political motives after a grossly unfair trial. It has ...

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Cynical and Macabre 'Politics of Migration' at Morocco’s Borders

“Despite a year marked by successive tragedies as a result of the recrudescence of repression, institutional violence and racism, will 2013 mark a historical turn for politics of migration in Morocco? Will foreigners and migrants be recognized into society?” These questions headed an article by Micheline Bochet Milon, a member of the Groupe anti-raciste d’accompagnement et de défense des étrangers et des migrants (GADEM), in the last issue of the Louna-Tounkaranké network’s newsletter. At the time, ...

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