A death sentence was issued in June 2014, against Ms. Aminettou Mint El Moctar, president of the Association of Women-Headed Households (AFCF) in Nouakchott. This was not an act of the Mauritanian justice system, but a fatwa from Yadhih Ould Dahi, the leader of a radical Islamist movement, Ahbab Errassoul. This fatwa was relayed in many mosques in the country and in the media, which resulted in violent threats against Ms. Mint El Moctar. The judicial authorities refused to accept the complaint she tried to file against the religious leader. The pressure on Ms. Mint El Moctar remains very strong.
Since 21st June 2014 Yara Sallam, WLUML networker and award-winning human rights defender has been held under the unconstitutional 'Protest Law', along with six other women arrested on the same occasion. Countless more are being held on similarly spurious charges in a wave of crackdowns on civil society and dissenting voices in Egypt. On 26 October 2014, a Cairo Misdemeanours Court sentenced Yara - along with 22 other human rights defenders and protesters - to three years' imprisonment, a further three years' police monitoring, and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian Pounds each. An appeal has been launched to overturn the sentence, but they remain behind bars.
On 13 September 2014, the Police Institute near Tora postponed the trial of the seven women human rights defenders until 11 October 2014. The decision to postpone was taken after the court heard the prosecution’s evidence. The defense attorneys requested the postponement in order to allow a technical expert to examine and determine the veracity of the video footage evidence presented during the session.
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition has grave concerns for the wellbeing of Ms Sanaa Seif, a prominent Egyptian Woman Human Rights Defender, who began a hunger strike on 28 August 2014 to protest the Protest and Public Assembly Law. Ms Seif is currently being held in Qanater prison.
Ms Seif was one of seven women defenders who were arrested on 21 June 2014 while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of the law, which essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.
Yara Sallam, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh) also remain in custody awaiting trial, which has been set for 13 September 2014.
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC) condemns the arrest of seven women human rights defenders in Cairo on 21st June 2014.
Yara Sallam, Sanaa Seif, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed, and 15 other activists were arrested by the Egyptian authorities while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of Egypt’s army-backed Protest and Public Assembly Law. Law 107 of 2013 essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.
SIHA STATEMENT, 15 MAY 2014, KHARTOUM: In a shocking decision that the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) strongly condemns, Meriam Ibrahim, the 27-year-old pregnant Sudanese women charged with apostasy and adultery, was given a sentence today of 100 lashings and execution by hanging at the Haj Yousif Court Complex in Khartoum. In explaining the sentence, the deciding judge, Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa, commented to the defendant, whom SIHA has been publically and confidentially advocating for since February, that, ‘We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death.’ In a show of great bravery given that the charge of apostasy, which carries the death penalty, hinges on Meriam’s claim that she is in fact a Christian, Meriam responded to the judge, ‘I am a Christian and never committed apostasy.’
The Sudanese civil society organizations conventionally celebrate the International Women Day on the 8th of March every year through many events to commemorate and promote the role of the Sudanese women in the society by organizing activities that demonstrate the various issues which reflect women`s contributions to improving their conditions and achieving social and gender justice from their different positions.
This year, after the extensive arrangements carried out by more than 30 organizations, including the formation of committees and designing the programmes and activities which had been planned to be held at the Nubian Club on that day, and which included following-up the procedures of getting police and security permissions a long with the early preparations for the entre details of the celebration which reflected the solidarity among women and the power of collective action, and depicted the organizational skills of each organizing group.