North Africa

The current violence in Algeria is both tragic and deeply alarming in its scope and intensity to all observers, but it is especially heartbreaking for those who have followed the country's history for the last 40 years. Algeria was once a symbol of progressive anti-colonial struggle which brought women and men together to fight for their basic human rights. Djamila Bouhired and the other women fighters in the war of national liberation became the international symbols of Algeria's freedom struggle and were revered throughout the Arab World.
Today, in Algeria, the execution and murder of women, foreigners and intellectuals by Muslim extremists have become systematic. Such typically fascist acts have given rise to feelings of outrage. Logically, therefore, one would expect that the most lucid would rally around a struggle against such a political vision or, at the very least, in defense of the memory of the victims.
February 17, 1995

Human Rights Watch's Women's Rights Project and Middle East division today deplored the assassination by suspected Islamist militants of Algerian women's rights activist Nabila Djahnine. Ms. Djahnine, a thirty-year-old architect who led an organization called the Cry of Women, was killed on February 15 in Tizi Ouzou, the capital city of the Kabyle region. According to a February 16 El-Watan report, she was gunned down by two men in a car as she walked to work.
Women in Algeria must negotiate their access to the public sphere in a society torn between the residual patriarchal reflexes of the modern state and Islamist revivalism.
Freedom of Academic Research

CHRLA is greatly alarmed by the Cairo Court of Appeals ruling of June 14, 1995, which ordered the divorce of Nasr Hamed Abu-Zeid (the Cairo University professor) from his wife, Dr. Ibthal Younis, on the grounds that he was an apostate because of the opinions contained in his published research.

The argumentation of the ruling raises problems related to freedom of thought, religious interpretation and belief, and the privacy of family relationships.
An Egyptian man had been very strict with his daughter, only permitting her to work outside the home on condition that she be completely isolated from men. She found that ‘ideal’ job. Many months later, in the spring of 1988, this same man brought his daughter to the office of Nawal Al Saadawi to see her in her capacity as a psychiatrist. The following is based on the young woman’s true story.
A ‘Family Code’ law has been introduced which removes many of women’s basic human rights. She also speaks about contraception, the problem of abandoned children and the consequences for women of the insistence on virginity at marriage.

Marie Aimée: I would like to start with this new law, which is known in Algeria under the name “Family Code”, (not the name of it, that is “Law on Personal Status”) a title which is also used in Tunisia and Morocco.
The second trial of 50 of the "Cairo 52" men continued in Cairo today. The 50 defendants include both those who were acquitted as well as those who were convicted in an earlier trial that ended November 14, 2001.
On 8th December 2001, Abok Alfa Akok a Christian woman of 18 years of age from the Dinka tribe, was sentenced by the criminal court in Nyala City, Southern Darfur, to execution by stoning for the crime of adultery.
On February 3, 2002, a court in Boulak-al-Dakrour (in Giza, a suburb of Cairo) convicted four men for consensual homosexual behavior. A judge sentenced each to three years in prison with three years' probation to follow. Days later, Europe and the United States gave Egypt billions of dollars to keep such courts, police, and prisons running.
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