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July 30 2013

Why Contribute to GV in Arabic ?

Ahlam Safi from Saudi Arabia explains [ar] what motivated her to translate for Global Voices in Arabic and what she has gained from her contribution.

She blogs:

وفرّ لي موقع الاصوات العالمية فرصة نادرة لاكتساب خبرة في الترجمة ما كنت لأجدها في أي مكان آخر، وتعرفت عن طريقه على مجموعة من الشباب المدّون في مختلف الدول، واستطعت انهاء ساعات التطوع المطلوبة مني في الجامعة لخدمة المجتمع بسهولة ويسر

Global Voices provided me with a unique opportunity to gain experience in translation I wouldn't have found anywhere else. I got introduced to bloggers from different countries and managed to complete the number of volunteer hours required from me to complete my community service project which was part of my university studies with ease.

July 29 2013

Saudi Security Forces Burn Down House and Cars in Awwamiya Raid

Saudi security forces raided Awwamiya village in Qatif today [July 30] to arrest Abbas Al-Mazraa. Al-Mazraa appeared on the 23 wanted persons list issued by the government for his participation in protests that swept Qatif with the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. The raid lasted from 5.45am to 2pm.

Forces raided Al-Mazraa's house under heavy gunfire which started a fire that burnt down the house and the cars around it.
Some neighboring offices were also damaged. According to Twitter users, firemen were prevented from reaching the fire for over two hours.

This video, uploaded on YouTube, shows the damage left on the scene in the aftermath of the raid:

Along with Abbas Al-Mazraa, six of his brothers were arrested.

Dr Reema shares this tweet [ar]:

They burnt his house and his car, the source of his income, and tied up his brothers and arrested Abbas Al-Mazraa

It was also reported that Al-Mazraa's mother, aunt and sisters were taken to Awwamiya police station where they were held briefly then released.

It's not the first time for security forces to attack and fire arbitrarily in a residential area. Last month, they killed Ali Al-Mahrous and Morsi Al-Rebh in Qatif.

The spokesman of the ministry of interior told the official government news agency, SPA, [ar] that Abbas Al-Mazraa and eight other men are accused of drug trafficking and that's why they were arrested.

The 23 wanted persons are accused of causing disorder and riots, among other charges and were called to hand themselves over to authorities. Many of them denied all charges and said their only crime was protesting peacefully demanding their rights. Citizens in Qatif complain of the discrimination they face as Muslims of the Shiite sect, but the government denies such discrimination.

Since March 2011, at least 20 people have been killed in the eastern province by security forces and 850 people were arrested. Around 190 are still in jail.

Cairo: “There was a non-stop sound of gunshots”

More than 100 people were killed and 1,500 injured during clashes at a sit-in by supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in the Rabaa Al Adawiya mosque area, in Nasr City, Cairo.

According to the Daily News Egypt, the Public Prosecution have started investigations into what happened late that Friday [July 27] night.

Egyptian blogger Mosa'ab Elshamy was at the scene and shares what he saw in the following tweets:

 

 

 

 

 

Rabaa ... After the clashes. Photograph by Mosa'ab Elshamy. Used with permission.

Rabaa … After the clashes. Photograph by Mosa'ab Elshamy. Used with permission.

On flickr, he shares these photographs from the tragedy.

Saudi Website Founder to be Imprisoned, Lashed

Free Saudi Liberals website founder Raif Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes earlier today [July 29]. Badawi was arrested on 17 June, 2012 in Jeddah and was charged with “setting up a website that undermines general security” and ridiculing Islamic religious figures.

The Free Saudi Liberals website was an online forum for public discussions. It was shutdown following Badawi's arrest, and it had been blocked within the country for years. In today's sentence, the judge also ordered the permanent shutdown of the website:

حكم القاضي في قضية رائف بدوي بغلق موقع الشبكة الليبرالية الحرة

@abualkhair: In today's sentence in Raif Badawi's case, the judge ordered the shutdown of the Free Saudi Liberals website.

On December 17, 2012, the case was referred to a higher court, The General Court in Jeddah, after he had been charged with apostasy, which carries the death penalty. Badawi was asked by the judge to abandon his views, but he refused.

Badawi is the father of three children who have left the country with their mother following his arrest. They are currently based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Amnesty International has considered him “a prisoner of conscience detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression” and demanded his immediate, unconditional release.

In Egypt, Young Men “Die for Nothing”

Egyptian blogger Zeinobia shares photographs and a video of an 18-year-old revolutionary artist Eissa Essam. Essam was killed during clashes on July 26 with Muslim Brotherhood supporters camped in the Rabaa Al Adawiya neighbourhood in Nasr City. Zeinobia describes Essam as the liberal son of an MB member, who was visiting his family at the sit-in when the clashes happened.

She writes:

I do not know who killed Eissa Essam for real, I know that he was shot in his back. His anti-MB friends say that he was killed by the Muslim brotherhood while his MB family says that he is killed by the police and its thugs. All I know that he was killed and his rights will be lost forever like those young men who died for nothing in the past three years. He will be another graffiti, another name used in that fight

Bogus Doctors Apply for Qatar Hospitals

Group Qatari blog Doha News reports:

Some 66 percent of job applicants for nursing positions at state hospitals last year were found to have forged their educational qualifications, the Supreme Council of Health has said.

Some 13 percent of people applying for jobs as doctors and 21 percent up for paramedic posts also submitted fake documents.

The fraudsters were caught after their degrees were cross-checked.

Qatari Doctor Detained in UAE for Muslim Brotherhood Ties

On Doha News, Shabina Khatri shares the story of a Qatari doctor Dr Mahmood Al Jaidah, detained in the neighbouring UAE under suspicion of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Doha News reports:

According to his lawyer Abdullah Tahir, who has been tweeting about the case, Al Jaidah has also been accused of accepting an envelope with Dh100,000 (about QR100,000) from an Emirati to be handed over to another UAE citizen in Qatar.

[...]

Unlike in Qatar, which has had strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the UAE has little tolerance for the group.

Earlier this month, a UAE court sentenced 56 individuals affiliated with Al Islah to prison for three to ten years over charges of trying to overthrow the government. Eight people were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail and 26 were acquitted.

Al Jaidah's family denies he is linked to the group.

July 28 2013

State Funeral for Tunisian Opposition MP as Protests Continue

Protests continue in Tunisia, following the state funeral for opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi, a socialist and an Arab nationalist, shot dead outside his home on Republic day [July 25].

Two gunmen shot Brahmi, a leader in the Popular Front, a coalition of leftist opposition parties, and then fled on a motorbike. This is the second assassination, in the span of five months, after the fatal shooting of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid on February 6.

Ennhdha blamed:

The assassination sparked street protests calling for the fall of three-party coalition government [referred to as Troika] led by the Islamist Ennahdha Movement and the dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly, elected in October 2011 to draft a new constitution. Protesters pointed fingers at Ennahdha, which denied any involvement in the assassination.

Brahmi's widow leading her husband's funeral procession

Brahmi's widow leading her husband's funeral procession

Under the Troika rule, Tunisia witnessed an increase in violence targeting opposition politicians, activists and outspoken critics of Islamists. “So far, little has been done by the authorities to ensure that reported attacks against members of the opposition are adequately investigated and those responsible are brought to justice, fuelling a climate of impunity and increasing political polarization. While there is an ongoing judicial investigation into the killing of Chokri Belaid, and some suspects have been arrested, nobody has been tried yet for this crime”, said Amnesty International on July 25, urging Tunisian authorities to “deliver justice”.

Brahmi's family has accused Ennahdha.

Brahmi's widow: ”I congratulate you, Ennahdha and Troika. You have once again silenced a free and just voice

Security forces criticized:

During a press conference, the Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jedou said that the same radical Islamist group involved in the murder of Chokri Belaid on February 6, is also involved in this week's killing of Brahmi. The minister also claimed that the same gun was used to kill both opposition figures and that the authorities had identified 14 suspects, some of whom belong to Ansar Al-Sharia Tunisia. The group has released a statement [ar] denying any involvement in the assassination.

Security forces are facing fierce criticism over their “incompetence” to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Belaid and their failure to prevent a second assassination.

Sarah Ben Hamadi writes for the Maghreb edition of the Huffington Post [fr]:

Le ministre de l’intérieur n’a pas divulgué ces détails sur les antécédents du meurtrier présumé de Mohamed Brahmi, mais a déclaré que Boubaker Al Hakim était “activement recherché dans des affaires d’introduction et trafic d’armes sur le territoire tunisien”, et “est lié à Kamel Gadhgadhi” l’assassin présumé de Chokri Belaid, toujours en fuite.

The Interior Ministry did not reveal details regarding the history of Brahmi's alleged killer, but only declared that Boubaker Alhakim was “actively sought-after in cases related to arms smuggling on Tunisian land” and he “is linked to Kamel Gadhgadhi” the alleged killer of Chokri Belaid, who is still on the run.

A few days before the assassination, security forces stormed a house in the same neighborhood, where Brahmi lived, and confiscated arms but made no arrests. Ben Hamadi writes [fr]:

Comment Boubaker Al Hakim, activement recherché, a-t-il alors pu revenir dans ce quartier, qui devait être théoriquement, surveillé jour et nuit, tirer 14 balles et s’enfuir?

How could Boubaker Alhakim, actively sought [by the police], come back to this neighborhood, which theoretically should have been under surveillance all day long, shoot 14 bullets and run away?

Ben Hamadi has also raised questions over the involvement of Jihadists in the assassination of Brahmi:

Mais pourquoi les salafistes djihadistes élimineraient Mohamed Brahmi? Un musulman pratiquant, loin de correspondre au profil des “ennemis de l’Islam” que combattent d’habitude les djihadistes. Un militant originaire de Sidi Bouzid, pas très médiatisé et n’ayant pas un grand poids électoral. Le connaissaient-ils vraiment? C’est possible. En véritable militant baâthiste et nassérien, Mohamed Brahmi soutenait le gouvernement du président syrien Bachar Al Assad, dont le régime est combattu depuis maintenant deux ans… par des djihadistes, y compris Tunisiens.

But, why would Salafi Jihadists eliminate Mohamed Brahmi? A practicing Muslim whose profile does not fit with “enemies of Islam” whom the Jihadists usually fight. An activist from Sidi Bouzid, not very much publicized and does not have a large electoral weight. Do they really know him? It is possible [that they do]. A Baathist and Nassirist activist, Mohamed Brahmi supported the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad, whose regime has been in battle with Jihadists, including Tunisians, for two years

First death in Gafsa:

During an overnight protest on Friday, one protester died [warning: graphic video] in the southern city of Gafsa. He was reportedly hit by a tear gas canister in the head, when police fired tear gas at protesters gathering in front of the local governor's office.

Photo: Mohamed Belmufti, father of two, telecommunications engineer and an activist from the Popular front. He fell a martyr tonight in #Gafsa.

July 24 2013

Sudanese Refugee Detained for Owning a Bicycle in Israel

In September 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Interior implemented a new regulation that allows the State of arrest and detained indefinitely, without trial, asylum-seekers suspected of crimes, even if those suspicions are unsubstantiated and would have not led to a conviction in court. In July 2013, the regulation, The Procedure for Handling Infiltrators [the term used by the State of Israel to vilify asylum-seekers] Involved in Criminal Proceedings, was expanded to include refugees suspected of even misdemeanors. Over 500 asylum seekers have been detained under the Criminal Procedure and sent to the internment camps for refugees in the Negev desert until their deportation from Israel is possible.

On July 18, a Darfuri asylum-seeker and actor, Babaker (Babi) Ibrahim was arrested by Israeli police for not having a receipt for his bicycle, which was thus presumed to be stolen. Babi, a well-known figure in the Sudanese community in Israel, is a member of a refugee troupe that recently staged a satirical play about the mistreatment of refugees in Israel, One Strong Black. Babi's arrest and indefinite detention without trial sparked outrage and an online and offline campaign to release him and other refugees in his situation. On July 20, dozens protested in front of the residence of Attorney General, Adv. Yehuda Weinstein, who approved the regulation:

The Hotline for Migrant Workers, an NGO advocating for the rights of refugees, migrants and human trafficking victims in Israel, provided an update about Babi's current legal situation [heb]:

לאחר שעתירת הביאס קורפוס שלנו נדחתה על ידי בג”ץ, אתמול הגשנו עתירה בשם באבי… עתירתנו דורשת את שחרורו של באבי וגם תוקפת את הנוהל שמכוחו הוא עצור בטענה שאינו חוקתי…
אנו נמשיך להאבק למען שחרורו של באבי ושל כל הפליטים הכלואים בישראל ללא משפט. לא ייתכן שיתקיימו בישראל שתי מערכות משפט נפרדות: אחת לפליטים ואחרת לכל היתר. לא ייתכן שפליטים ייזרקו למעצר עולם ללא ראיות, ללא משפט הוגן, ללא יכולת להתגונן ומבלי שהמשטרה תצטרך להוכיח שהם אשמים בדבר. לא ייתכן שבמדינה דמוקרטית יתקיים נוהל שמשמעותו הנחה מראש שכל רכוש שנמצא בידיהם של בני אדם בעלי צבע עור מסוים הוא גנוב.

After our habeas corpus petition was rejected by the High Court of Justice, yesterday we filed another petition on behalf of Babi… Our petition demands Babi's release and the abrogation of the regulations under which he has been arrested, claiming that the regulation is unconstitutional… We will keep fighting for Babi's release and the freedom of all refugees detained in Israel without trial. The existence of two separate legal systems in Israel: one for refugees and one for everyone else cannot stand. It is outrageous that refugees are sent to life in prison without evidence, without a fair trial, without the opportunity to defend themselves and without the police having to prove that they are guilty of anything. A regulation that it predicated on the assumption that all property possessed by people of a certain skin color is in fact stolen cannot exist in a democratic country.

Advocates Yonatan Berman and Oded Feller wrote on their blog Laissez Passer about the absurdity of detaining people for owning property:

הבלוג פותח בפני קוראיו את פינת הרולטה – נחשו מה יהיה הצעד הבא. ההימור שלנו – מבקשי מקלט שלא יוכלו להציג קבלות המוכיחות כי רכשו את הבגדים שלגופם ייעצרו. כך נבטיח כי כל מבקשי המקלט יסתובבו בעירום. או שאולי, בעצם, כך נבטיח כי כל מבקשי המקלט שיסתובבו לבושים ייעצרו בגין עבירת גניבה, וכל מבקשי המקלט שיסתובבו בעירום ייעצרו בגין התערטלות במקום ציבורי.

The blog opens the roulette section before its readers – guess what will be the next move [by the government]. Our guess – asylum seekers who won't be able to present receipts proving that they've purchased the clothes on their back will be detainees. Thus we will ensure that all asylum-seekers will walk around naked. Or maybe, actually, this way we will ensure that all clothed refugees will be detained for stealing, while all the asylum-seekers who walk around naked will be detained for indecent exposure.

Prominent leftist blogger Yossi Gurvitz wrote on his blog Friends of George:

כמעט 160 שנים אחרי דרד סקוט, כמעט 150 שנים אחרי שהתיקון ה-13 שם קץ לעבדות, מאשר וינשטיין בחתימתו שיש קבוצה שלמה של בני אדם – לגמרי במקרה, כמובן, צבע עורם שחור – שהם, אם לא סחורות ממש, פחותים מבני אדם. די בעלילה עליהם (למשל, מצד נוכל בן העם הנבחר שלא רוצה לשלם להם את משכורותיהם) כדי להשליך אותם לבור משפטי שממנו אין כמעט דרך לצאת. לאברהים יש מזל נדיר: הוא דמות מוכרת. יש לו לא מעט חברים. כמאה מהם יצאו במוצ”ש הביל של יולי להפגין למענו מול ביתו של וינשטיין. לרוב הפליטים אין מזל כזה. אין מי שיכיר אותם, אין מי שיגיש בשמם עתירות הביאס קורפוס. הם נאלמים, ונעלמים אל הבור שחפר עבורם וינשטיין. בציבוריות הישראלית, המקבילה של החלטת דרד סקוט של וינשטיין עברה ללא כל רעש; יש בה יותר מדי תואמי יאנסי, ומעטים עדיין מעיזים לומר ש”אתם טועים בנו, לא נעשה זאת.”

Almost 160 years after Dred Scott v. Sandford, almost 150 years after the 13th Amendment ended slavery [in the U.S.], Weinstein approved with his signature that there is an entire group of people – incidentally, of course – their skin color is black – that they are, if not property per se, are less than human. Libelous claims (for example, from a swindler of The Chosen People who does not want to pay them their salaries [refugees have been threatened with this by employers - E.T.] are enough to dump them into a legal hole from which it is almost impossible go get out. Ibrahim is very lucky: he is a known figure. He has quite a few friends. About one hundred of them went out on a hot July Saturday night to protest for him in front of Weinstein's home. Most refugees are not that lucky. There is no one who knows them, there is no one of file a habeas corpus for them. They are silenced and disappeared into the hole Weinstein dug for them. The Israeli public did not react to Weinstein's decision that parallels the Dred Scott ruling; there are too many twins of William Yancey [southern Democratic congressman, leading proponent of slavery] and few still dare to say “you mistake us. We will not do it!” [response by a northern Democrat to Yancey's demand that the Democratic Party's platform for the 1860 election include pro-slavery statements]

The Facebook page freeBabi was launched, quickly gaining hundreds of “likes”. The page asked users to submit photos and videos of themselves asking for Babi's release. Many sent in their photos, including famous Israeli actors and musicians.

Famous Israeli singer-songwriter Alma Zohar posted a photo of herself with a sign reading: “Free Babi! Keeping innocents in jail costs you and me a lot of money!”
alma

The producers and directors of the play One Strong Black visited Babi in Giv'on Prison on July 23 and informed him about the ongoing campaign to release him. Babi is set to be transferred to the Sahaornim internment camp on July 24.

Giv'on

The campaign received attention in Turkey, Tunisia and Greece as well. Simge and Vulkan from Izmir, Turkey, took this photo of themselves.
Simga

John Brown created this meme using the image of Attorney General Weinstein:

"I don't always approve to lock up innocent people for life But when I do, they're always black"

“I don't always approve to lock up innocent people for life
But when I do, they're always black”

July 23 2013

Saudi Arabia Jails Seven Facebook Users for Calling for Protests

Seven Facebook users were slapped with prison sentences ranging between five to 10 years for allegedly calling for protests in Saudi Arabia. They were also further banned from travel, after the completion of their sentence.

According to Human Rights Watch:

Saudi authorities arrested the men between September 23 and 26, 2011, then detained them in the General Investigations Prison in Damman for a year and a half before charging them and putting them on trial on April 29. They were tried before the Specialized Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to deal with terrorism-related cases. Authorities did not accuse the seven of directly participating in protests, and the court failed to investigate their allegations that intelligence officers tortured them into signing confessions.

[...]

In the court judgment, which Human Rights Watch obtained, the charges against the seven varied. But the court convicted them all of joining Facebook pages to “incite protests, illegal gathering, and breaking allegiance with the king” and of “assisting and encouraging these calls and corresponding with the [Facebook pages’] followers and concealing them.” All seven were also convicted of violating article 6 of the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, which prohibits producing, sending, or storing any material via an information network that “harms public order.”

Yusur Al Bahrani comments:

And activist Tarek Siala asks:

Seven people have been jailed in Saudi Arabia for calling for protests against the ruler on Facebook between five to 20 years! What is the punishment for incitement to murder?

Political dissent is not tolerated in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy.

Is the New Lebanese Family Violence Law Enough?

Portrait of Roula with her mother sitting at the protest in Akkar on Sunday the 21st of July,2013.  Taken by Joey Ayoub

Portrait of Roula with her mother sitting at the protest in Akkar on Sunday the 21st of July,2013.
Taken by Joey Ayoub

A law to protect women against domestic violence was approved and amended in Lebanon by the Joint Parliamentary Committees to include all family members yesterday [July 23, 2013]. This comes a day after a protest was staged in Halba, Akkar, town of Roula Yaacoub, the 31-year old woman who was beaten to death by her husband a couple of weeks ago. The protest was merely one of many that have been occurring since 2008 calling for a complete law protecting women against domestic abuses of all kind.

Lebanese netizens were quick to voice their doubts which were mainly focused around the vagueness surrounding marital rape, lack of gender focus, accompaniment of children and sectarian law overruling this law.

Nadine Moawad, a well-known Lebanese feminist activist, was one of many who pointed out the flaws in the law:

But this is still seen as a first step towards a better law that would fully protect women in Lebanon. Ahmad Yassine, blogger at lobnene.com adds:

July 21 2013

Iranian Mountain Climbers Missing in Pakistan

The three Iranian climbers missing in Pakistan. Image from Iran's Professional Sports Team Facebook page via @ANPour

The three missing climbers. Image from Iran's Professional Sports Team Facebook page via @ANPour

According to the head of a Pakistani mountaineering club, the search for three missing Iranian climbers has been called off, as of Sunday July 21, 2013.

The mountain climbers sent a call for help on Thursday July 18, on their way down from Broad Peak after successfully reaching the 8,051-meter (26,414-foot) summit.

Their distress call said they were exhausted and had run out of food. The three men were last in touch with Iran through a satellite phone on Saturday, July 20. Pakistani rescue teams were dispatched to find them, but failed.

The blog Altitude Pakistan has details about the Iranian Broad Peak expedition and updates on the communication from the climbers as they ran into trouble during their descent.

 

 

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

Saudi Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood Supporters

Following the fall of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president and government, the Saudi government is reportedly enforcing a crackdown on Islamist figures within the country, including the two prominent religious leaders – Mussen al-Awaji and Mohamad al-Arefi.

Khaled al-Matrafi, Al-Arabiya channel manger in Saudi Arabia who is known to have close contacts with the Interior Ministry and for his vague hints, tweeted on July 14, 2013:

قريب جدا ان شاء الله حلحلة الصواميل.

@Almatrafi: Very soon, the closely connected will not be.

Many thought he was referring to the Saudi Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamist figures.

It started on July 17 with the arrest of a well-known Islamist reformist figure, Mussen al-Awaji, who, a few days before, called Saudis [ar] to sign a petition condemning the military coup in Egypt, and to “act as one Muslim body.”

Al-arefi, reportedly detained in Saudi Arabia, has 5.8m followers on Twitter

Al-arefi, reportedly detained in Saudi Arabia, has 5.8m followers on Twitter

At the same time, news broke about a travel ban on Mohamad al-Arefi, a very well-known figure who was in very close contact with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood administration. He was supposed to give a series of lectures in Qatar. Journalist Abdelelah al-Qahtani tweeted:

العريفي كان غدا ضيف ملتقى نسائم الخير في قطر ..وأبلغهم الشيخ اليوم بمنعه عن السفر .

@alsaleeh al-Arefi was supposed to be the quest of Breeze of Mercy festival. He informed them today about his travel ban

The news was later confirmed by the event organizers:

لأسباب خاصة نوّد إخباركم والإعتذر عن قدوم الدكتور محمد العريفي لمهرجان بشائر الرحمة التي ستقام غداً في مسرح الدراما.

@kataraqatar: For special reasons, we would like to inform you that Dr. Mohamad al-Arefi will not be attending the Omens of Mercy festival tomorrow in the Drama Theater.

During this time, al-Arefi account, which is followed by over 5.5 million users, kept tweeting. al-Matrafi retweeted one of al-Arefi's tweets and wrote another hint:

“من ثلاثة ايام ماجاني خبر”.. اكيد في الضيافة

@Almatrafi: It has been three days and I received no updates. He is surely in their hospitality.

Anonymous activism group, e3teqal, wrote a series of tweets explaining what happened:

الشيخ العريفي في فلة تابعة للداخلية #السعودية يتواصل من هاتفه مع والديه و أبنائه بشكل مستمر ، يوهمهم أنه في قطر #اعتقال_محمد_العريفي

@e3teqal: Shaikh al-Arefi is in a house that belongs to the Interior Ministry. He is in contact with his parents and children, deluding them that he is in Qatar.

تعامله وزارة الداخلية معاملة حسنة ، يبررون احتجازه بالمحافظة على أمنه الشخصي خشية اعتداء بعض المصريين عليه #اعتقال_محمد_العريفي

The interior ministry treats him well. They reason, they explain, was his personal safety because they were afraid some Egyptians may attack him.

المطلوب من الشيخ العريفي حتى يفرج عنه يوم الخميس كتابة بيان لفض اعتصام #رابعة_العدوية

@e3teqal: What they ask from Shaikh al-Arefi for his release next Thursday is to issue a statement calling for an end for [pro-Morsi] Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya sit-in in Egypt

@e3teqal also reported that several other figures are on the list and they will be arrested any time now.

July 20 2013

Pro-Morsi Women Protesters Killed in Mansoura

At least three women were killed in Mansoura when a protest in support of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was attacked by “thugs” tonight. Dozens of people were also reportedly injured by shotgun and knife wounds.

Egyptian blogger Zeinobia exclaims:

And @egyrevolution12 adds [ar]:

The Ikhwan protests in Mansoura start after prayers and half of it is usually women. Complete families/ Attacking them cannot be excused.

Ibrahim Elgarhi is shocked at those who excuse the murder of women. He writes:

Let's sell our values and keep quiet over the murder of women. Let's go against our conscience and say what took them (the women) there (to the protest).

On June 30, Egyptians took to the streets to demand that president Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, steps down. On July 3, Morsi's one-year reign was cut short and an interim government now runs Egypt. Morsi's supporters have since been staging protests calling for his return to power.

Egyptian Journalist Menna Alaa Attacked by Pro-Morsi Protesters

Blogger and video journalist Menna Alaa was attacked by angry pro-Morsi supporters today. She shares her testimony, in English, in this post on Egyptian Chronicles. She writes:

A smack on my face, a bruise, and a stolen camera won't stop me from reporting. I report what I see and I will continue to report even if it will cost me my life. The truth is what will always keep me doing what I love.

Egyptian Protesters United in Anti-US Chants

On Twitter, Egyptian Hani Shukrallah observes:

Tahrir Square, in downtown Cairo, is the epi-centre of the Egyptian revolution. On June 30, Egyptians gathered there again to demand that president Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, steps down. On July 3, Morsi's one-year reign was cut short and an interim government now runs Egypt. Morsi's supporters have since been staging a sit-in in Rabaa, also in Cairo, to protest his ousting.

July 19 2013

Online Gambling No Longer Accessible from Lebanon?

Gambling sites have been blocked in Lebanon reported Blog Baladi last month:

It was brought to my attention that gambling and poker sites are no longer accessible in Lebanon. I looked up a bit online and tried opening some websites and they weren’t accessible indeed. The decision to block the gambling sites was apparently taken by the Ministry of Justice (…)

Then a few days ago on Twitter, @MoNajem raised the issue with Telecommunications Minister @NicolasSehnaoui:

@MoNajem: Under what law online gambling has been blocked in #Lebanon. Who has the right to do so? We only know u @NicolaSehnaoui to ask

The Minister replied by saying this has been done in order to comply with the law, although he also specified he disagrees with the decision.

@NicolasSehnaoui: @MoNajem The law that gives casino du liban monopoly over gambling. The order was issued by the highest judge. 1/2

@NicolaSehnaoui: @MoNajem I went to see him to plead against the decision but couldn't convince him. 2/2

He his referring to a 1995 law that gives Casino du Liban (Lebanon's only legal casino) monopoly over all gambling activities on the Lebanese territory as explained by @sygma:

@sygma: @MoNajem under decree 6919 of June 29 1995, Casino du Liban was given monopoly over all gambling activities to “protect public morals”.

Mohamad Najem ‏pointed out it could start a vicious and worrying cycle of more filtering.

@MoNajem: @sygma on Lebanese lands, and not on z online sphere. Otherwise, blocking other kind of websites will start to happen for different reasons

Other Twitter users shared their concern over what became an interesting conversation.

@walasmar highlights the dangers of applying national legislation to online space:

@walasmar: @MoNajem @NicolaSehnaoui the issue is that tomorrow he can use media law to block all blogs bcz not part of the press syndicate

And @ralphaoun warns of a potential slippery slope:

@ralphaoun: @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem now it's Poker, next it's Adult content, then Blogs, then…

with some perspective:

@ralphaoun: @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem debate in Euro Internet Forum -> only thing that could possibly be blocked is child pornography


The discussion also showed how disconnected from (virtual) reality these decisions can be…

@LeNajib: @ralphaoun @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem It's funny hearing about things getting blocked on the internet as if its possible or sustainable

@AbirGhattas: hello VPN @LeNajib @ralphaoun @walasmar @MoNajem

Iran: Campaign Against a Mobile Phone Network Operator

Several bloggers and news sites say Irancell, second largest mobile network operator in Iran, in a sms competition insulted Caliph Umar (Omar).Netizens launched a campaign against this mobile network operator and urged Irancell to apologize to Sunnis for this insult.

Saudi Women Banned From Attending Public Trials

This post is part of our Special Coverage: Reformists on Trial in Saudi Arabia

Saudi judges continue to ban women from attending public trials, even when they are very close relatives. Yesterday [July 18], the second session in the ongoing trial of Umar Al-Saeed, a member of the country's leading human rights organisation, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was held in Saudi Arabian city of Buraydah. The session was supposed to be held last Thursday, but it was postponed without a prior notice after several activists had traveled to attend it.

Al-Saeed, 23, was arrested on April 28th after refusing an interrogation without a lawyer. Currently, seven members of ACPRA are imprisoned.

In yesterday's session, Al-Saeed responded to the charges and accused the interrogator of maltreatment:

تم التحقيق معي وأنا مقيد, ورفض المحقق فك القيد, وكان القيد موثوق بقوة ويألمني, كما أن المحقق يتلفض علي بعبارات قذرة ويصفني بألفاض نابية منها (أنت ثور، أنت مجرم) وغيرها أترفع عن ذكرها.

I was interrogated with while being handcuffed. The interrogator refused to remove the handcuffs and they were very tight and painful. The interrogator also was provocative, calling me vulgar names including “you're a bull, you're a criminal” and others that I am not willing to repeat.

Some of the attendees in today's session via alajmi01

Some of today's session attendees via alajmi01

Furthermore, Al-Saeed, a senior university student who was about to graduate when he was arrested, said that the interrogator blackmailed him:

المحقق أحمد الذكري كان يبتزني بحرماني من حضور الاختبارات, إن لم أقر بما يمليه علي.

Interrogator Ahmed al-Thukri blackmailed me by threatening to deny me final exams if I did not confess to what he wanted.

Al-Saeed's wife and mother tried to attend the session, but the judge refused. In a previous trial, another judge said that “men are good enough,” leading another ACPRA member, Abdulkareem al-Khadar, to refuse to attend the trial and he was arrested.

This post is part of our Special Coverage: Reformists on Trial in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Activist Denied the Right to Leave Saudi Arabia

Saudi activist and journalist Iman AlQahtani was denied the right to leave Saudi Arabia. She announced that in a tweet late last night, after being prevented from traveling to Turkey.

Al-Qahtani is an outspoken human rights activist and journalist. She has drawn the state's attention after expressing her strong support for Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and their organization The Association for Civil and Political Rights, during their trial for “breaking allegiance to the ruler and his successor” and “trying to impede the country’s developments”. Earlier this year, they had been sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison respectively.

On Twitter, she announced [ar]:

I was traveling from Dammam Airport to Istanbul and I was forbidden to travel. I have been informed of my travel ban, then asked to wait at the passport office.

Iman Al Qahtani. Source: @ImaQh

Iman Al Qahtani. Source: @ImaQh

She has previously been subjected to harassment by security forces for her online activities and reporting on human rights. After her live-tweeting of the trials of the two activists, a judge had ordered her arrest for “providing false information to the court” but the arrest was later canceled.

On Twitter, netizens discussed Al Qahtani's travel ban under the hashtag #منع_ايمان_القحطاني_من_السفر which translates to Iman Al Qahtani banned from traveling.

Ms Reem comments [ar]:

Arrests, travel bans, oppression, corruption, unemployment, poverty and misery. Where is my country heading to?

Dr Mohamed explains that travel bans are common in Saudi Arabia:

While Fawaz Ahmed reasons that such bans are no longer useful:

The Saudi regime continues to be authoritarian but this policy of oppression and muzzling voices does not work at a time when people continue to speak up and demand their rights

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