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22 Dec 2007 - 1 Jun 2012
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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Judiciary
Iran: Opposition Leaders Will Be Prosecuted Says Judiciary
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
Amid calls from hardline Iranian lawmakers to execute opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karoubi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, has said that the two will be tried for “sedition” in their role for calling for protests against the regime: ” […] the Islamic system will not tolerate any person harming the revolution.”  Karoubi has said he is willing “to pay the price” for calling for such protest and opposition organizers are already planning more demonstrations for Sunday to commemorate slain protester Sanee Zhaleh, killed by Iranian security forces on Monday, whose funeral was commandeered by the government which subsequently tried to claim he was a pro-government Basij militia member killed by anti-government protesters.
Posted in Iran, Judiciary, Protests | Comment »
Iran: Following Protests Iranian MP’s Call for Death of Opposition Leaders
February 15th, 2011 by Kyle
Following Monday’s anti-government protests across Iran, The New York Times, reports that members of Iran’s Parliament were shouting slogans in support of executing opposition leaders during a session of parliament on Tuesday. The official IRNA news agency reported, 222 members of the 290-seat Parliament issued a statement on Tuesday saying the opposition leaders “are corrupts on earth and should be tried.” Opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Mussein Moussavi, were prevented from attending the protests on Monday in Tehran and remain under house arrest. It is not confirmed whether or not the Iranian Government will attempt to put these leaders on trial. Iran’s state controlled PressTV reports that Prosecutor General and Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said that the Judiciary will “firmly and swiftly” deal with those behind the protests on Monday.
During a press conference on Tuesday, President Barack Obama supported the courage of the Iranian protesters and stated: “I find it ironic that you’ve got the Iranian regime pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt, when in fact they have acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully in Iran.”
Posted in Freedom, Iran, Judiciary, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: Trial of Imprisoned Activists Postponed
January 6th, 2011 by Kyle
The trial of 25 activists, accused of plotting a coup against Bahrain’s rulers, was postponed again Thursday, after nearly all the court-appointed defense attorneys dropped out when the suspects rejected them in favor of their original defense team. The original defense team walked out after the court disregarded requests to investigate torture claims. The next hearing is scheduled for January 13th.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information called the trial “a serious test to Bahrain’s credibility, judiciary integrity and the extent of respect shown to local and international laws and the international covenant for civil and political rights.”
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Judiciary | Comment »
Iran: Reform Leaders Threatened with Prosecution
January 3rd, 2011 by Jason
At last weeks Friday Prayers, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi​, announced that the leaders of the Green Movement “will definitely be prosecuted.” On Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also referenced the opposition, saying that the “seditionists” had “hurt the Islamic Revolution and the people.” In response, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi said that he is ready to stand trial if it is open to the public. Female MP’s have also called for the prosecution of Zahra Rahnavard​, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, for actions that are “anti-Revolutionary.”
Posted in Civil Society, Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Judiciary, Reform | Comment »
Iran: Sit-in for Sotoudeh at the UN
December 21st, 2010 by Jason
Freedom House released a statement yesterday expressing “solidarity and support for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and other women’s rights activists,” who began a sit-in Monday at the United Nations in Geneva in support of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin SotoudehPaula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy at Freedom House, said in the statement that the “human rights abuses inflicted on its people by the Iranian government, particularly on women, are in direct violation of international human rights treaties to which Iran is a state party.” Gissou Nia, a researcher and analyst at the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, writes at CNN that Sotoudeh was arrested for “a range of ’security’ offenses, including her legal representation of Ebadi,” and that the human rights lawyer has been denied “the ultimate legal right: a fair trial.” Nia goes on to describe the role lawyers have in protecting human rights in Iran and calls on the international community to “commit itself to protecting lawyers in Iran from arrest and imprisonment.”
Posted in Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Judiciary, United Nations, Women | Comment »
Kuwait: Government Arrests Constitutional Scholar
December 20th, 2010 by Evan
Prominent Kuwaiti legal scholar Obaid al-Wasmi was detained last week after he gave a speech at an opposition gathering that was disrupted by security forces. The prosecutor’s office is reportedly holding al-Wasmi on charges that he had spread “false news abroad” and was actively working to undermine the emir. The detention is the latest development in a government crackdown on opposition groups and media in Kuwait.
Posted in Freedom, Human Rights, Judiciary, Kuwait | Comment »
Egypt: Trouble Ahead for NDP
December 14th, 2010 by Jason
Michele Dunne and Amr Hamzawy write in a recent article that the parliamentary elections in Egypt “solved” one problem for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) by ending the Muslim Brotherhood presence in parliament, but created “a host” of other issues. Dunne and Hamzawy argue that the “three components of legitimacy—voter turnout, a fair electoral process, and balanced representation in the legislative branch combined with its relative autonomy from the executive branch,” have effectively ceased to exist, bringing Egyptian politics to a “new low.” The authors foresee two other problems for the NDP: Legal challenges to the new parliament, which have already begun, and the “political cause for concern” of how the NDP will handle the upcoming presidential race in 2011. “The last thing the NDP wants is real opposition competition for the presidency, but the second-to-last thing it wants is the appearance of no competition at all.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Judiciary, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
Jordan: HRW Calls for Release of Former Parliamentary Candidate
December 13th, 2010 by Jason
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement Sunday calling for the release of  Tahir Nassar, who unsuccessfully ran as an independent in the November parliamentary elections. Part of his platform called for the end of “discrimination between citizens on the basis of the birthplace.” Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said that the authorities “waited for the international election monitors to leave before clamping down on a candidate who sought reform […] The authorities persist in using criminal laws to stifle unwelcome views.” Nassar was charged under article 150 of the penal code for “undermining national unity and ’stirring up sectarian strife.’”
Posted in Civil Society, Freedom, Human Rights, Jordan, Judiciary | Comment »
Yemen: Change in Elections Law Provokes Sit-In
December 13th, 2010 by Jason
The Agence France Presse (AFP) is reporting that Yemen’s Parliament has passed an amendment to the elections law that would change the composition of the high electoral commission by “stipulat[ing] the high electoral commission be composed of judges rather than delegates from parties represented in Parliament as has been the case until now.” The opposition complained that the amendment was passed “unilaterally” by the General People’s Congress (GPC), President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in April 2011. AFP also reported on Saturday that a leader of the supreme council of the Southern Movement was released after being arrested for “‘planning to hold unauthorized protests in a number of southern prov​inces.’” His arrest sparked several days of protests in which five people were injured. 
Posted in Judiciary, Legislation, Political Parties, Yemen | Comment »
Bahrain: Lawyers, CPJ Protest Trial
December 9th, 2010 by Evan
Lawyers for the 25 Bahraini activists accused of supporting terrorist activities staged a walkout on Thursday, effectively bringing the trial to a halt. “‘We withdrew because the court disregards our requests to investigate the torture claims.We now consider this trial to be unfair and against international standards and we won’t be part of it,’” said defense attorney Jalila al-Sayed.  The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa calling for the release of the detained activists: “We are concerned that these bloggers could well be punished for the mere expression of opinions that the government finds distasteful, and we ask that you intervene to ensure that they receive a fair trial. Bahrain’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, vowed on October 27 that his government was ‘keen to promote Bahrain’s image to be in harmony with the landmark political, economic, and social strides.’ The ordeal of these detained bloggers stands in direct opposition to that declaration.”
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Journalism, Judiciary | Comment »
Saudi Arabia: Human Rights First Society Report
December 9th, 2010 by Jason
The Human Rights First Society-Saudi Arabia has released a report titled “Unholy Trespass: How the Saudi Legal Code Violates International Human Rights Law.” The report seeks to “serve as a roadmap for the Saudi officials, so that they will know where the Saudi laws are either in violation of international conventions or treaties,” according to the group’s president, Ibrahim Almugaiteeb​. While the report acknowledges that “[g]overnment and societal tolerance for the public discussion of human rights and civil liberties in Saudi Arabia has increased substantially in the last decade,” Saudi Arabia’s human rights record remains troubling.
Posted in Civil Society, Freedom, Human Rights, Judiciary, Saudi Arabia, Unions, Women | Comment »
Lebanon: Names of Indicted to be Withheld for “Several Months”
December 9th, 2010 by Jason
The Daily Star is reporting that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will not announce indictments for “several months.” The article also reveals that “acting registrar Herman von Hebel said the budget had allocated funds to hold trial proceedings ‘toward the end of next year.’” Meanwhile, at a press conference Wednesday, Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad​described the STL as “rushed by the illegitimate cabinet of Fouad Siniora without being constitutionally ratified and placed within constitutional norms. The agreement was not signed by the president and it was not endorsed by Parliament as well.”
Posted in Hezbollah, Judiciary, Lebanon | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Crisis in Lebanon: Sectarian Politics, Regional Dynamics, and the U.N. Special Tribunal”
December 8th, 2010 by Jason
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a panel discussion Wednesday titled “Crisis in Lebanon: Sectarian Politics, Regional Dynamics, and the U.N. Special Tribunal.” The speakers were Aram Nerguizian​, a scholar with the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Randa Slim, an independent consultant and a board member of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and the Project on Middle East Democracy, Andrew J. Tabler, a Next Generation Fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, and Mona Yacoubian​, head of the Lebanon Working Group at USIP and special adviser to USIP’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention.
 (To read full notes, continue below the fold or click here for pdf.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, DC Event Notes, Hezbollah, Israel, Judiciary, Lebanon, Military, Political Parties, Saudi Arabia, Sectarianism​, Syria, US foreign policy, United Nations | Comment »
Iraq: Inclusive Government May Lead to Gridlock
December 6th, 2010 by Jason
Kenneth M. Pollack, writing in The National Interest, argues that the new Iraqi government may be too inclusive: “The Iraqis went for an all-inclusive government because they could not sort out their political divisions. But forming one simply means bringing all of those differences inside the government, where they are likely to prevent it from actually governing.” Pollack goes on to say that “Iraq’s fragmented and immature political systems,” will be prone to gridlock due to the inability of the parliament to act as credible check on the power of the prime minister.
Reidar Visser, in an article supporting the idea that there are difficult times ahead, writes that a ruling by the Iraqi federal supreme court will give the newly elected speaker of the parliament, Usama al-Nujayfi of Iraqiyya, “preeminence” as the speaker, rather than an equal role within a “three-man presidency of the parliament” that has existed since 2006. However, Visser notes that it would be “prudent of them (Iraqiyya) to be aware that their logic of an orthodox reading of the constitution will probably apply with equal force to another institution that is much debated these days: the national council for strategic policies […] which is not even mentioned in the constitution precisely like the ‘[collective] presidency of the parliament’ which Iraqiyya complained about to the supreme court.”
Posted in Civil Society, Iraq, Judiciary, Political Parties, Sectarianism | Comment »
Palestine: HRW Criticizes Detention of Blogger
December 6th, 2010 by Evan
Human Right Watch released a statement Sunday calling for the release of Palestinian blogger Walid Hasayin, who was arrested by the Palestinian General Intelligence Services on October 31, 2010. Hasayin has not been charged with a crime, but is suspected of posting statements on his blog criticizing Islam and other religions. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said “The Palestinian authorities’ claim that Hasayin offended Muslims is no excuse for arbitrarily detaining him. The Palestinian judiciary should demonstrate its integrity by protecting the right to free expression and ordering Hasayin’s release and his safety.”
Posted in Journalism, Judiciary, Palestine, Technology | Comment »
Egypt: Judiciary Challenges HEC, NTRA Decisions
December 1st, 2010 by Evan
The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (EACPE), a member of the Independent Coalition for Elections Monitoring, recently released a statement on an administrative court ruling affirming the organization’s eligibility to monitor the election. In the run-up to the vote, the High Election Commission (HEC) rejected EACPE’s application, citing “security-related reasons.” In a separate ruling, a judge struck down the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s decision to increase monitoring of SMS messaging ahead of the election. Meanwhile, Ghad Party leader Wael Nawara documents government backlash against judges who do not toe the party line in a new piece at the Huffington Post.
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Judiciary | Comment »
Egypt: Pressure on Egypt’s Election Monitors Builds
November 24th, 2010 by Evan
After rejecting U.S. calls for international election monitors, the responsibility for ensuring the validity of elections falls squarely on the Egyptian government, writes Al Masry Al Youm’s Ashraf Khalil. “‘If the elections on Sunday are perceived to be as non-transparent and lacking in credibility as people expect, then we could see a revival [of the Washington-based push for domestic reform],’” POMED’s Stephen McInerney told Khalil. Over at the Los Angeles Times’ Babylon and Beyond, Amro Hassan describes the National Council for Human Rights’ (NCHR)  preparations for domestic monitoring. According to NCHR vice president Mokbel Shaker Egypt is prepared to supervise the election: “‘Monitoring elections through a foreign authority is a procedure that could only be taken in underdeveloped countries carrying out elections for the first time, and Egypt certainly doesn’t belong to such a category.’”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Judiciary | Comment »
Bahrain: New Amnesty Report on Torture Allegations
November 18th, 2010 by Evan
Amnesty International released a new report this week on the treatment of detained Shi’ite activists in Bahrain. Following their initial trial on October 28, the activists report that they were beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to remain standing for long periods in retribution for complaining about previous torture during their hearing. Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme called on Bahraini authorities to “conduct a prompt and independent investigation into both these allegations of torture,” adding that official must now “take steps to protect the 23 defendants from possible further retaliation, following their new allegations.”
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Judiciary | Comment »
Turkey: Trial of Kurds a “Shame”
November 10th, 2010 by Anna
At the Guardian’s Comment is Free, human rights lawyer Margaret Owen describes the trial in Turkey of 151 Kurdish politicians, lawyers, and other leaders as “a trial that would shame any democracy.” Observers have “widely condemned” the process - evidence-gathering and courtroom procedures “breach all international and European standards on human rights and fair trials,” Owen writes, and the trial is essentially political, not legal. She mentions the closure of pro-Kurdish political parties, arrests of Kurdish political leaders, and bans against some civil society organizations. This trial, Owen concludes, “will reveal Turkey’s true status in the context of democracy, justice and the rule of law.” The judge will decide at the end of this week whether the trial will continue or whether the detainees will be released, and Owen calls on the ruling AKP to bring the trial to a close and release the accused.
Posted in Judiciary, Kurds, Turkey | Comment »
Egypt: Political Opposition Responds to Continued Obstacles
November 8th, 2010 by Anna
Yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm​reported that Mohamed ElBaradei has accused Egyptian officials of wiretapping the office of his campaign’s general coordinator. On his Facebook page, ElBaradei wrote that he will “request an investigation into this scandal which has attacked the rule of law and violated the personal privacy of citizens,” adding that this is further indication of the regime’s “insistence on oppression and on dispersing opposition voices and the demand for democratization.”
On Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood held a series of protests in Alexandria, following the reported rejection of some members’ registration papers last week. Observers said that violence broke out in some neighborhoods between demonstrators and security forces. Also on Saturday, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that all political parties must be allowed broadcasting time on state television in order to publicize their platforms.
Posted in Egypt, Judiciary, Middle Eastern Media, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties, Protests | Comment »
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