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.
Indonesian sharia police are "morally rehabilitating" more than 60 young punk rock fans in Aceh province on Sumatra island, saying the youths are tarnishing the province's image. Since being arrested at a punk rock concert in the provincial capital Banda Aceh on Saturday night, 59 male and five female punk rock fans have been forced to have their hair cut, bathe in a lake, change clothes and pray.
Zanan TV was launched on 25 November 2011, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because Zanan TV is an alternative space for marginalized women who are violated by the state and silenced by mainstream media in Iran. It is a space for building the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran.
A Saudi woman sentenced to be lashed 10 times for defying the country's ban on female drivers has had her punishment overturned by the king.
The woman, named as Shaima Jastaina and believed to be in her 30s, was found guilty of driving without permission in Jeddah in July. Her case was the first in which a legal punishment was handed down for a violation of the ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.