Paris-Geneva, April 5, 2012. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), deplores the sentencing of human rights defender Ms. Mansoureh Behkish and calls for an end to her judicial harassment.
This is the thought constantly running through my head.
As a human rights defender I have learned to numb my emotions and continue working. I have been working on covering human rights violations in Bahrain for more than two years now, documenting all the arbitrary arrests, systematic torture, rapes, kidnappings, extra-judicial killings; the list goes on.
Les 8 Mars se suivent et se ressemblent pour la femme algérienne. Le combat pour ses droits et son émancipation bute sur de multiples obstacles. A l’approche des législatives, elle se retrouve courtisée pas tous, y compris par ceux-là-mêmes qui ne croient pas à la nécessité de revoir le code de la famille.
Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli, Iranian journalists and bloggers who were arrested last week, are being kept in solitary cells at Tehran’s Evin prison. Latest reports from Iran indicate that the two are held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (Sepah) in the so-called ‘Ward AA’ (do Alef). The AA Ward of the Evin Prison is not under the jurisdiction or supervision of the Iranian Prisons Organizations, and is illegally run by the Intelligence Department of the IRGC.
Last week, agents stormed the houses of Dokouhaki and Rasouli and arrested the aforementioned, confiscating their laptops and other personal belongings. The two have been charged with “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime” – loosely defined charges that are repeatedly used in a range of cases. The real reasons for the arrests are, thus, not clear. So far, the journalists have been denied the right of access to attorney and no visitation with their family has been granted.
The international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws is shocked to learn that the Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests against journalists and women’s rights activists. This is a worrying development, as it shows the pressure on political activities and prisoners are mounting in Iran.
We, the undersigned strongly protest the arrest of Mr. Yunus Ali, the Head Teacher of KC Technical and Business Management College of Pirojpur, on 4 January, 2012. Mr. Ali was arrested or having allegedly kept a copy of writer Taslima Nasreen's novel "Lajja" ("Shame") in the college library. This arrest is a clear breach of the right to freedom of speech and shows the presence of a broad range of communal and generally reactionary forces in our society.
Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests of activists and journalists, accusing them of charges such as "acting against national security". Marzieh Rasouli, blogger and jouornalist, is one of the latest arrested on such charges. Pressure on political prisoners is mounting. It has been reported that Ms. Rasouli's personal effects, such as her laptop and mobile phone, were confiscated and when she was arrested. Security officicals said that she was taken to Evin prison.
The recent parliamentary elections in Morocco have led to the creation of the first ever elected Islamist government in Morocco’s history. After winning more than forty percent of the votes in the November 25th elections, the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) led by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane formed a coalition government with the socialist Parti du Progrès et du Socialisme (PPS), the nationalist Istiqlal party and the royalist Mouvement Populaire (MP). Benkirane’s first task as Prime Minister was to form the government by appointing ministers. After much speculation and many rumors in the press and social media, Benkirane finally introduced his cabinet on January 3, 2012 at the royal palace in Rabat where he was summoned by King Mohammed VI. The newly formed government is surprising in some respects but predictable in others. It includes controversial PJD members like Mustapha Ramid, an outspoken activist and critic who was appointed Minister of Justice despite rumors in the press that he was blacklisted by the palace. A polygamous man and the father of six children, Ramid has spoken out against limitations on freedom of the press and has argued in favor of limiting the powers of the king. A lawyer by training, he has expressed his support for the February 20th youth movement, has represented Salafi political prisoners as well as journalists like Rachid Nini, the editor of Almassae newspaper who was sentenced to one year in jail for criticizing the unfair trials of Islamists. However, the government of Benkirane, which had to be approved by the king, also includes the usual technocrats and palace loyalists who will ensure that the new government does not deviate much from the palace line or challenge the interests of the country’s elites.
On January 11, 2012, the criminal case “the State versus Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho” will resume, marking the 41st hearing since the opening of the trial in November 2010 before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
Alieh Eghdam Doust, women’s rights activist was released from prison today on January 8, 2011 after serving a three year prison term. Alieh was sentenced to serve three years in prison after she was arrested on June 12, 2006 along with nearly 70 other protesters in Haft-e Tir Square, during a protest demanding equal rights for women. Alieh was subsequently tried in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts, on charges of acting against national security and sentenced to 3 years and four months in prison and 20 lashes.