Incarceration

In an unprecedented statement, over forty senior academics including more than a dozen former presidents of the most important professional association for scholars of the Arab and larger Muslim world, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), have signed a letter to US President Obama and Secretary State John Kerry calling for the Administration to demand the immediate release of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah and other political detainees in Egypt, for Egyptian officials to suspend the protest law of 2013 and end the repression of free speech rights guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and international law, and end the regime of violence, including torture and extra judicial execution, that still governs Egypt after the electoral victory of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as President. Even as Iraq is engulfed by violence and Syria continues its brutal civil war, these scholars and officials, with literally centuries of experience in Egypt and the broader region between them, warn that growing political violence in Egypt epitomized by the recent reimprisonment of Alaa Abdel Fattah and ongoing rights abuses, risks permanently destabilizing Egypt, and with it, the region more broadly. They call upon the Obama administration to suspend non-humanitarian military, security, political, and economic cooperation with Egypt until the government heeds these demands.

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Join the international campaign against Egypt’s repressive protest law and to free the thousands of detainees seized by the military regime.

GENEVA (19 May 2014) – A group of UN human rights experts Monday expressed alarm after Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman pregnant with her second child, was sentenced to death and 100 lashes for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her faith. Her trial did not comply with basic fair trial and due process guarantees, said the experts.

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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.’

DUBAI, March 18 (Reuters) - An Iranian woman sentenced to die by stoning for adultery and later given a 10-year jail term instead has been allowed to leave prison, the judiciary said, in a new twist to a case that has triggered years of criticism of Iran's rights record.

A judiciary spokesman told Reuters that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been given "a leave" from prison several weeks ago for good behaviour. He said, without elaborating, that the decision was a sign of "our religion's leniency towards women".

Main Findings
 
[Trigger warning: details of sexual assault and torture]
 
This report documents abuses to which the criminal justice system subjects women during arrest, interrogation, trial, and imprisonment. Between December 2012 and April 2013, Human Rights Watch interviewed 27 women and 7 girls, Sunni and Shia; their families and lawyers; medical service providers in women’s prisons; civil society representatives; foreign embassy and United Nations staff in Baghdad; Justice, Interior, Defense, and Human Rights ministry officials, and two deputyprime ministers. We also reviewed court documents, lawyers’ case files, and government decisions and reports.
Introduction
 
1. Many countries are witnessing a significantly disproportionate rate of increase of women being incarcerated, compared to their male counterparts. Globally, women and girls constitute a minority of the prison population as a whole, and it is estimated that they represent between 2 and 9 per cent of the total population. Throughout the world, women prisoners face similar human rights violations 
relating to the causes that led to their imprisonment, the conditions they face in prison and the consequences of their incarceration.

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