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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
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NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Iran’s ‘year of shame’: More than 7,000 arrested in chilling crackdown on dissent during 2018
The Iranian authorities carried out a shameless campaign of repression during 2018, crushing protests and arresting thousands in a wide-scale crackdown on dissent, said Amnesty International, a year after a wave of protests against poverty, corruption and authoritarianism erupted across the country. The organization has today revealed staggering new figures showing the extent of the Iranian authorities’ repression during 2018.
Date: 24 January 2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Algeria: Absurd conviction of journalist Adlène Mellah must be overturned
Algeria’s Court of Appeal must end the ordeal of the journalist, Adlène Mellah, who was jailed simply for covering a peaceful public gathering last month, said Amnesty International today ahead of his appeal hearing on 23 January. Adlène Mellah, director of news websites Algerie direct and Dzair Press has been held in solitary confinement since he was jailed in El Harrach prison on 11 December 2018. "It is outrageous that a journalist has been imprisoned simply for carrying out his work and exercising his rights to freedom of expression.
Date: 22 January 2019
CAMPAIGNS
PALESTINE (STATE OF)
DETENTION
State of Palestine: Further Information: Activist Risks Charges Over Forced ‘Confession’: Suha Jbara
On 9 January 2019, Suha Jbara was released after spending over two months in detention where she says she was tortured by interrogators. She spent over 26 days on hunger strike in protest against her treatment by security forces and prosecutors. Suha Jbara still has not been read her charges in court and her upcoming hearing is scheduled for 30 January. She is at risk of being charged based on information obtained under torture, although the prosecutor’s office has not provided any credible evidence against her.
Date: 22 January 2019
Ref:
MDE 21/9721/2019
CAMPAIGNS
ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Israel/OPT: Prominent Bedouin Leader Imprisoned by Israel: Sheikh Sayyah Abu Mdeighim al-Turi
On 25 December 2018, 69-year-old human rights defender Sheikh Sayyah Abu Mdeighim al-Turi, started serving a 10-month prison sentence for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly. Sheikh Sayyah is the head of al-‘Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev/Naqab that is unrecognized by the Israeli authorities. He is currently held at Maasiyahu Prison, in the city of Ramle in central Israel.
Date: 21 January 2019
Ref:
MDE 15/9702/2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Morocco: Conviction of Hirak El-Rif protest leader Nawal Benaissa upheld
Responding to the news that the appeals court in Al Hoceima has upheld the conviction of Nawal Benaissa, confirming her 10-month suspended prison sentence with a fine, Heba Morayef Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa said: “This verdict is an appalling miscarriage of justice. Nawal Benaissa’s only ‘crime’ was to join peaceful protests to demand the rights of people in the Rif region.
Date: 18 January 2019
NEWS
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
REFUGEES
European leaders are manufacturing a "migration crisis" for political gain
“We have a safe port,” a crew member tells dozens of despondent asylum seekers crammed into a cabin aboard the Sea-Watch 3 NGO rescue ship. After almost three weeks of being stranded in the Mediterranean, the news takes a moment to sink in. “We’re going in,” he explains. “C’est fini. ” Within seconds the room erupts in unrestrained relief and joy. This was the end of an ordeal, last week, for 49 women, men and children aboard the Sea-Watch 3 and Professor Albrecht Penck NGO vessels, who were finally disembarked in Malta.
Date: 18 January 2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Morocco: Abandon Attempts to Dissolve Cultural Group
Moroccan authorities should immediately abandon attempts to dissolve the cultural group Racines, over critical comments made by guests on an online talk show it hosted, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. Racines, a Casablanca-based association, was targeted because its office was used as a venue to record an episode of the talk show ‘1 Dîner 2 Cons’ (One Dinner, Two Fools) on August 5, 2018.
Date: 18 January 2019
NEWS
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
REFUGEES
EU leaders must fix “broken system” that leaves people adrift at sea
European leaders must urgently act to fix a system which deters states from assisting refugees and migrants in peril at sea, said Amnesty International in an analysis published today. Cut adrift in the Mediterranean outlines how the outsourcing of European border control to the Libyan authorities, in combination with a system which fails to share responsibility for asylum-seekers fairly across Europe, has created a situation where people are frequently stranded in the Mediterranean.
Date: 18 January 2019
CAMPAIGNS
EGYPT
DISAPPEARANCES
Egypt: Lawyer Detained in Undisclosed Location: Hoda Abdelmoniem
On 15 January 2019, Hoda Abdelmoniem appeared before the prosecution for investigation, and her pre-trial detention was renewed for 15 days. Hoda told her daughter that she is being detained in an undisclosed location. Hoda’s last appearance before the public prosecution was on 21 November 2018, after her 20 days of enforced disappearance. From 2 December 2018 until 14 January 2019, Hoda’s lawyer and family could not find her in any prison and did not know about her fate and whereabouts.
Date: 17 January 2019
Ref:
MDE 12/9705/2019
CAMPAIGNS
EGYPT
DETENTION
Egypt: Arbitrary Detention Extended: Islam Khalil
On 8 January 2019, the Cairo Criminal Court renewed Islam Khalil’s detention for a further 45 days. Islam Khalil was a victim of an enforced disappearance and has been held in pre-trial detention on trumped-up charges since 10 March 2018. He is being denied access to necessary health care. The charges, of which Islam Khalil maintains his innocence, are believed to have been brought against him in retaliation for his political activism.
Date: 17 January 2019
Ref:
MDE 12/9703/2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
ARMED CONFLICT
Syria: US withdrawal does not erase Coalition’s duty towards Raqqa’s devastated civilians
UPDATE: This has been modified to reflect a clarification by US forces that the early stages of the withdrawal involve military equipment, but not troops, leaving Syria. Reacting to today’s statement by the US-led Coalition that it has begun “the process of deliberate withdrawal” from Syria, Lynn Maalouf,  Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said: “It is deplorable that the US-led Coalition continues to ignore its responsibility of carrying out any meaningful investigations into the hundreds of civilian deaths it caused in Raqqa and elsewhere – even as it starts to withdraw from Syria.
Date: 11 January 2019
CAMPAIGNS
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNFAIR TRIALS
United Arab Emirates: Human Rights Defender’s 10-Year Sentence Upheld: Ahmed Mansoor
On 31 December 2018, prominent human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor, had his 10-year prison sentence upheld by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. He was convicted on charges that include “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols”, including its leaders, “publish[ing] false information to damage [the] UAE’s reputation abroad” and “portray[ing] the UAE as a lawless land”.
Date: 10 January 2019
Ref:
MDE 25/9666/2019
CAMPAIGNS
BAHRAIN
UNFAIR TRIALS
Bahrain: Human Rights Defender Loses Final Appeal: Nabeel Rajab
On 31 December 2018, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld the five-year prison sentence of human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab. He was convicted of “spreading false rumours in time of war”, “insulting a foreign country" and “insulting public authorities”, in relation to peaceful tweets about the conflict in Yemen and torture allegations in Jaw prison. Nabeel Rajab has therefore exhausted all legal remedies in this case.
Date: 9 January 2019Ref:MDE 11/9656/2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Saudi Arabia: Censorship of Netflix is latest proof of crackdown on freedom of expression
Responding to news that Netflix have removed an episode from a comedy show in Saudi Arabia, after officials from the Kingdom complained that it violated cyber-crime laws, Samah Hadid, Middle East Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International, said:  “Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix using a cyber-crime law comes as no surprise, and is further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression in the Kingdom.
Date: 2 January 2019
CAMPAIGNS
BAHRAIN
TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT
Bahrain: Deported Bahraini At Risk of Ill-Treatment: Ali Mohamed al-Showaikh
On 20 October 2018, Ali Mohamed al-Showaikh was deported from the Netherlands and arrested upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport. For more than ten weeks since, he has been held without access to an attorney while the Public Prosecution’s terrorism unit proceeds with charges against him. There are strong reasons to fear he has been subjected to ill-treatment.
Date: 2 January 2019Ref:MDE 11/9555/2019
NEWS
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
UAE: 10-year prison sentence upheld for prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor
Responding to today’s decision by the Federal Supreme Court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to uphold the conviction and 10-year prison term of prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said: “Today’s court decision to uphold Ahmed Mansoor’s conviction and 10-year prison sentence confirms there is no space for free expression in the United Arab Emirates.
Date: 31 December 2018
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