Archive | Human Rights

Please demand a detention visit NOW for Palestinian youth Lina Khattab

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Is she alive? Illegally detained? Secretly sentenced?

Save Palestinian Children/New Generations

18-year old Lina Khattab was arrested December 13, 2014, and immediately detained without formal charges. Her sentencing has been illegally postponed six times.

Inadequate translation, along with denied bail or house arrest, her judge remarked, “Looking at her, I can see the characteristics of a leader.”

The judge scheduled a CLOSED COURT formal hearing at the Ofer Prison for Monday, January 26, 2015, prohibiting her parents and local journalists from attending.

After six days there still is media silence regarding her status.

It has also been reported that Lina was under surveillance by the Nazi State of ”Israel” for her popularity at Bir Zeit University in being able to coordinate protests and speak strongly and authoritatively against the occupation. She is also a celebrated El-Fanoun dancer in a company that has become world reknown for promoting and protecting the Palestinian culture.

Palestinian children and youth are purposely targeted by the Nazi State of ”Israel” for arrest, detention, torture, and imprisonment. The alleged offenses include stone throwing incidents at Nazi soldiers that frequently lack adequate evidence.

It should be noted that under the 4th Geneva Convention acts of resistance against the military occupiers by those under occupation are permitted.

Once in the Nazi military justice system, the Palestinian child is further denied due process that an ”Israeli” child is afforded under the Covenant of the Rights of the Child and also Israeli law. Palestinian children are subject to the Nazi military justice system that is punitive and set up to deny their rights as children and youth, leaving them physically, mentally, sexually and psychologically harmed.

The last time that Lina’s parents saw their daughter, her appearance was starkly different indicating abuse and that she was experiencing difficult conditions which she was able to briefly attest to her lawyer.

Under the Covention of the Rights of the Child, Lina and other Palestinian children and youth are to be imprisoned only as a last resort. They are also to be immediately charged and brought into court withiin 24 hours. They are not to be interrogated without the presence of a parent, guardian or legal representative and questioning must be done by a specially trained investigator who is able to communicate with the chidlren in their native language.

Palestinian children are always denied these rights by the Nazi State of ”Israel” who strategically creates these opportunities to undermine the Palestinian population and further oppress both the child and parent. This is to further oppress the society and create the sense of fear and terror of not being able to protect their children or keep them from harm.

ICRC Report: Children, Detention and IHL, 2014

https://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/publications/icrc-002-4201.pdf ;

LETTER TO
ICRC Mission, Jerusalem ICRC
ICRC please demand a detention visit for Palestinian youth Lina Khattab.Her health and condition must be evaluated as well as her current legal

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Activists Call for Firing, Prosecution of John Yoo

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pic
Outside the Berkeley School of Law at the University of California, human rights activists call for the firing and prosecution of law professor John Yoo, who rendered legal opinions justifying torture in the George W. Bush administration. Staff photo Phil Pasquini.​

​On Dec. 12—three days after the release of 528 pages of the 6,000-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture during the George W. Bush administration—CODEPINK and other human rights organizations held a press conference outside the Berkeley School of Law on the University of California campus calling for the firing and prosecution of Prof. John Yoo. The activists also demanded that the tenured law professor’s recent faculty chair endowment be rescinded.

As deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the George W. Bush administration, Yoo drafted memoranda justifying torture during interrogation of detainees.

“Yoo’s recent faculty chair endowment is a slap in the face to the human rights community,” Cynthia Papermaster, one of the organizers of the press conference, told attendees. In the memos Yoo wrote while with the Department of Justice, he redefined “torture” as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which he deemed to be legal. “Yoo gave the legal green light to the Bush administration to do what they were already doing at the time, which was waterboarding detainees,” she pointed out. “Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment any complicity in torture must be prosecuted, and our attorney general must act to prosecute John Yoo.”

George Lippman of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission reminded the crowd that “international treaties are the supreme law of the land, and anyone who violates these laws is subject to prosecution.”

For several years, activists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area have relentlessly campaigned to bring the “torture memo writer” to justice for his role in supporting torture, indefinite detention and other violations of the Geneva Conventions on humane treatment of prisoners.

In addition to Yoo, the human rights activists called for the prosecution of former Vice President Dick Cheney, his former chief of staff and longtime government attorney David Addington, and Judge Jay Bybee (Yoo’s former colleague in the Bush administration).

In his 50-page “Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzalez, Counsel to the President,” otherwise known as the “Bybee” or “Torture” memo, Bybee concluded that the Convention Against Torture prohibits only “extreme acts.” He also stated in his memorandum that “for an act to constitute torture…it must inflict pain that is difficult to endure.” To any ordinary individual, waterboarding of any length would be “difficult to endure,” but Bybee considered less than 40 seconds to be allowable. He also provided legal justification for sleep deprivation of up to 11 days and “walling” (slamming a prisoner’s head against a wall).

CODEPINK and other activist groups gathered more than 100 signatures of UC alumni, current students and members of the community on a petition calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Yoo. Papermaster, accompanied by Washington Report staff photographer Phil Pasquini, delivered the petition to Areca H’Lael Smit, chief of staff to University of California Dean of Law Sujit Choudhry. Papermaster also requested a meeting with Dean Choudhry.

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Zio-Nazi Arrest Campaign Targets Palestinian Children

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According to volunteer organisation Military Court Watch, 151 Palestinian children are currently being held in Israeli detention for “security offences” in the Occupied Territories and within Nazi state.
Israeli
Nazi forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, violently arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Fourteen-year-old Malak al Khatib, one of the youngest Palestinian detainees and one of only a handful of girls, was released from an Israeli prison on Feb. 13 into the arms of emotional family members and supporters after being incarcerated in an Israeli prison for two months on “security offences”.

Details of what happened to the Palestinian minor were made public only after an Israeli gag order on the case was lifted on appeal after a global campaign for her release.

The slightly built, dark-haired girl, from the town of Beitin near Ramallah, was arrested in December last year and later charged with stone-throwing and possession of a knife. However, al Khatib says the confessions were coerced under duress during interrogation.

Al Khatib was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, a suspended sentence of three months and fined 6,000 shekels (approximately 1,500 dollars).

According to volunteer organisation Military Court Watch, 151 Palestinian children are currently being held in Israeli detention for “security offences” in the Occupied Territories and within Israel.

The group added that 47 percent of these children were being held in jails inside Israel in contravention of the Geneva Convention because this limits the ability of family and legal representatives from the West Bank and Gaza to visit them.

Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) says that in December last year 10 Palestinian children aged between 10 and 15 were incarcerated. However, children as young as eight have also been arrested by Israeli soldiers or police. According to DCIP, Israeli forces arrest about 1,000 children every year in the occupied West Bank.

However, it is not only the large numbers of Palestinian children arrested which is of concern to human rights organisations but also their treatment during incarceration.

In 2013, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was attacked by Israeli critics after releasing a report title ‘Children in Israeli Military Detention’, which slammed the Israeli authorities for using “intimidation, threats and physical violence to coerce confessions out of Palestinian children.”

“Children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member,” the report said.

IPS spoke to two Palestinian boys from the Jelazon refugee camp, near Ramallah, who were beaten, abused during interrogation and jailed on allegations of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces and settlers.

One hundred heavily armed Israeli soldiers, their faces masked, broke down the door and stormed the home of Khalil Khaled Nakhli, 17, in the early hours of Aug. 11 last year, terrifying his six younger brothers and sisters.

“My arm was broken after the soldiers beat me as they arrested me. They accused me of throwing stones at Israeli settlers from the Beit El settlement near Jelazon camp,” Nakhli told IPS.

Nakhli was taken to an Israeli prison where he was roughed up during interrogation and eventually sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, despite refusing to admit to the charges against him.

The home of Nakhli’s friend Ahmed Othman Safi, 17, was similarly stormed in the early hours of Sep. 7 last year. This time the soldiers used explosives to blow the door open.

Safi was left bloody and his skull fractured when the arresting soldiers used the back of their guns to club him on the head. An inch-wide indentation, where the hair refuses to grow, remains on Safi’s skull to this day.

“I was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment even though they failed to force me to confess to anything,” said Safi.

Their treatment has only further angered the boys. “We all feel bitter at the way we were treated and this exacerbates our anger at living under occupation,” Safi told IPS.

Palestinian minors are treated harshly in comparison with how Israeli minors are treated following arrest.

“Two children, one Jewish and one Palestinian, who are accused of committing the same act, such as stone throwing, will receive substantially different treatment from two separate legal systems,” the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a recently released report titled ‘One Rule, Two Legal Systems: Israel’s Regime of Laws in the West Bank’.

“The Israeli child will be afforded the extensive rights and protections granted to minors under Israeli law. His Palestinian counterpart will be entitled to limited rights and protections, which are not sufficient to ensure his physical and mental wellbeing and which do not sufficiently meet his unique needs as a minor,” said the report.

Moreover, in many cases, the criminal law applying to Palestinian minors is stricter and even more severe than the one applied to Israeli adults.

“If Malak al Khatib had been arrested for violent activity as an Israeli child she would have received certain rights. These were denied to her for being Palestinian,” ACRI spokesperson Nuri Moskovich told IPS.

Decades of ‘temporary’ Israeli military rule in the Occupied Territories have given rise to two separate and unequal systems of law that discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. The legal differentiation is not restricted to security or criminal matters, but touches upon almost every aspect of daily life.

“A series of military decrees, legal rulings and legislative amendments have resulted in a situation whereby Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories remain under the jurisdiction of Israeli law and the Israeli court system, with all the benefits that this confers,” said ACRI.

“By contrast, Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to much stricter military legal law – military orders that have been issued by Israeli generals since 1967.”

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

US Officials Silent on I$raHell Abuse of Palestinian Children

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Palestinian children arrested in jerusalem

NAZI’S AT WORK
By Matt Peppe 

Six weeks after being abducted on her way home from school in the occupied West Bank, 14-year-old Malak al-Khatib was released from the Israeli jail where she had been imprisoned on Friday. She was the youngest Palestinian girl ever to be incarcerated, and is one of hundreds of children to be prosecuted through the Israeli military court system each year. As of the December 2014, there were 156 child prisoners, 17 of which were under 16 years old, according to the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. As the patron benefactor of the illegal Israeli occupation, the United States government is complicit in Israeli’s disgraceful persecution and abuse of Palestinian children. While American officials refrain from condemning human rights violations against Palestinian children, they vocally condemn any resistance against the violent Israeli occupation.

During Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in August, the Obama administration expressed its strongest indignation regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during President Obama’s six years in office. After the apparent capture of Israeli Occupation soldier Hadar Goldin by the Palestinian resistance, administration officials said the action was “barbaric” and “outrageous.”

That morning a cease-fire was set to take effect after nearly two weeks of fighting in which hundreds of Palestinian civilians had already been slaughtered. A few hours before the designated cease-fire time, Israeli occupation troops continued operations trying to destroy tunnels inside Gaza used to smuggle food and goods that were denied to the Palestinian territory as part of the eight-year-long blockade imposed by Israel for voting the wrong way. When the IOF forces reached a tunnel they encountered resistance from Palestinian fighters in the Qassam Brigades. Several Israeli troops were killed. It appeared that Goldin had been captured and led away into the tunnel.

The Occupation Forces then reportedly employed the savage Hannibal Directive, a repulsive military procedure developed nearly 30 years ago in which the Israeli army uses massive amounts of firepower in an attempt to kill their own soldier rather than allow him to be captured. Journalist Max Blumenthal says that Israeli troops employed an “indiscriminate assault on the entire circumference of the area where … Goldin was allegedly taken.” According to Blumenthal, this was one of three possible instance of the Hannibal Directive during Israel’s murderous summer rampage in Gaza.

So during a military operation inside Palestinian territory shortly before or at the time Israel had agreed to a cease-fire the Palestinian militants defending themselves from the savage onslaught against homeshospitalsmosques, parks, sports clubscafés,high-risesambulancesdisability centerspower plants, and  UN schools, captured an enemy combatant consistent with the laws of war. Israel then orders indiscriminate fire to kill him rather then let him be taken alive. This is the situation American officials found to be barbaric – by the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

A month later, when Israel finally agreed to a cease-fire (which it has continued to violate nearly every day with impunity) more than 2,100 Palestinians had been killed, including 578 children. Among the children whose lives had been snuffed out was four-year-old Sahir Abu Namous, whose head was blown open by shrapnel; five-month-old Faris Juma al-Mahmoum, killed along with his mother and 18 other family members in shelling; five-day-old Shayma Sheikh Khalil, born prematurely after her mother was killed by an Israeli airstrike; and four cousins playing soccer on a beach, at least one of whom was killed in a second explosion after the Israeli gunner who had failed to kill him with an original shell re-aimed and fired again.

In his strongest language against the Israeli operation, Obama told Netanyahu that he was deeply concerned about further escalation. Yet he did not call any Israeli actions – which numerous human rights groups have since decried as war crimes that must be referred to the International Criminal Court – “barbaric” or “outrageous.” And he was apparently not concerned enough to stop the delivery of weapons to resupply Israeli so they could be used to massacre more Palestinian civilians. Neither was he concerned enough to direct his administration to join 29 other nations on the UN Human Rights Council in voting just toinvestigate potential war crimes.

The US government even fails to oppose child abuse by Israel against its own citizen. Several weeks before the bloodbath in Gaza, 15-year-old Tarek Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American from Tampa, was savagely beaten by Israeli police. The teen from Tampa was visiting Jerusalem with his family shortly after a cousin had been abducted, doused with gasoline and burned alive by Israeli settlers. Tarek and his family claimed he was ambushed while on his family’s property. After the assault that left the teenager with head wounds, he was jailed. This was deemed by the US administration to be profoundly troubling,” but again not “barbaric” or even “outrageous.”

For teenagers who do not hold American citizenship, their mistreatment by the US-funded occupation does not elicit as much as a shrug from American officials. As the Electronic Intifada reported, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem have demanded that the Israeli forces stop harassing schoolchildren and provoking confrontations with them.

As was the case with Malak al-Khatib, many Palestinian children are accused of throwing stones. Malak was also accused of having a knife, which would not be a problem if she were an Israeli settler, many of whom carry and use guns.

Human rights groups have claimed that Palestinian children are often accused of stone-throwing. When they are arrested and thrown into the Israeli military justice system, they are often detained arbitrarily and questioned without an adult present.

Malak was convicted after an alleged confession, which was obtained after hours of questioning by Israeli soldiers while she was unaccompanied. Her father dismissed the veracity of her alleged confession, telling the Israeli paper Haaretz “How can you question her without her parents and without a lawyer? Interrogate a little girl like this and she’ll admit to being in possession of an M16 rifle, too.”

Regardless, throwing stones is a legitimate act of resistance according to international law. A 1987 UN General Assembl yresolution differentiates terrorism from the “struggle of peoples for national liberation.” The resolution grants “peoples under colonial and racist regimes and foreign occupation … the right to these peoples to struggle to this end.” The measure was approved with 153 votes in favor. Only the United States and Israel voted against it.

Even militant resistance against occupying troops is clearly protected as part of a struggle against occupation. Clearly, stone-throwing falls within the protections explicitly stated by the UN resolution. In fact, some people have even said that Palestinians have a “duty to throw stones.”

“Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule,” wrote Israeli journalist Amira Hass. “Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance. Persecution of stone-throwers, including 8-year-old children, is an inseparable part – though it’s not always spelled out – of the job requirements of the foreign ruler, no less than shooting, torture, land theft, restrictions on movement, and the unequal distribution of water sources.”

Yet like Malak, the Israeli occupation uses stone-throwing to punish and abuse children whose land they have illegally occupied for 47 years.

The human rights group Defence for Children International Palestine found that “Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank last year fell victim to a pattern of abuse designed to coerce confessions.”

They reported that Israeli occupiers ordered solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and torture against the children they abduct. “Impunity for violations was a significant obstacle in 2014 as DCIP filed nine complaints with Israeli authorities concerning the ill-treatment and torture of five children while in Israeli military detention. Not a single indictment has been issued against a perpetrator,” the group wrote.

Another human rights group reported that 240 children detained in Jerusalem by Israeli authorities suffered sexual abuse.

Yet the only thing that the United States government will declare as “barbaric” is the capture of an adult Israeli combatant in a defensive military operation. To American officials, Palestinian life – even for children – does not matter. When Israelis teens are killed, President Obama and American officials express their condolences and lament the “terror against innocent youth.” This is never reciprocated for Palestinian children, who are killed by Israelis at nearly more than 15 times the rate of Israeli children being killed by Palestinians – with 2,060 Palestinian children killed since September 2000.

The United States government has long held as its policy that it values its strategic relationship with Israel above any concerns for democracy and human rights. Regardless of how serious Israel’s offenses of its oppression against Palestinians – including and especially children – government officials will refuse to allow actions to change this predetermined policy.

Not even the lives of Palestinian children matter enough to force American officials to show any semblance of humanity for the tragedy that they aid and abet in Palestine. The only outrage the US government is capable of showing is when Palestinians dare to resist the violence and colonial domination that Israel subjects them to, under approving American sponsorship.

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Vatican To Offer Haircuts, Shaves To Rome’s Homeless

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/30/vatican-haircuts-homeless…

The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis’ charity office said.The Vatican announced last year that it would provide shower facilities in St Peter’s Square for homeless people. Bishop Konrad Krajewski told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Thursday that it would also offer haircuts and shaves when the services start on Feb. 16 in an area under the colonnade of the square.

Krajewski, whose official title is the pope’s almoner, said barbers and hairdressers would volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy. They had already donated chairs, hair-cutting instruments, and mirrors, the newspaper’s website said. Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter’s Square last year after a homeless person told him that while it was relatively easy to find places to eat at Rome charities, it was difficult to find places to wash. He immediately received the pope’s backing for the shower project and then expanded it to include haircuts and shaves.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

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HRW Claims US ‘Most Powerful Proponent of Human Rights’?

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Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth speaks during a conference in Beirut January 29, 2015

Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth speaks during a conference in Beirut January 29, 2015
That the organization needs basic points explained suggests that it applies human rights selectively.

The quote above is from a January 4, 2015 article by Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). Imagine what the families of at least half million Iraqis killed as a result of the USA’s illegal invasion would say of that statement. Such crimes, when acknowledged at all, are downgraded to “faults” or “mistakes” by liberal elites like Ken Roth.

The recent death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah shows the impact that “special access” to Washington has on HRW. A statement released after Abdullah’s death by HRW was entitled, “Saudi Arabia: King’s Reform Agenda Unfulfilled: New Leadership Should Prioritize Improving Country’s Human Rights Record.”

In brutality and backwardness, there is very little to choose between ISIS and the Saudi government as Annas Abbas concisely explained, but HRW tries its best to put a positive spin on the legacy of an amazingly repulsive U.S. ally. This is just what you’d expect from a group that believes in the U.S.’s moral supremacy, and that highly values “special access to Washington.”

HRW’s statement not only obscures Abdullah’s remarkable barbarism at home; it says absolutely nothing about Abdullah’s very destructive role in the region. Murtaza Hussain, in an obituary written for the Intercept, reviewed the grim record that HRW ignored. Abdullah’s government tried to convince the USA to bomb Iran in 2008. In 2011, Saudi troops helped crush Bahrain’s reform movement. In Syria, the Saudi’s have been key funders of Islamic extremists against the Assad government. Abdullah eagerly bolstered General Abdelfattah al Sisi’s murderous dictatorship in Egypt with financial aid. A drone base for Obama’s global assassination program was also hosted by Abdullah. None of this was seen as worth mentioning by HRW when it summed up Abdullah’s legacy.

Now consider the statement HRW published hours after Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s democratically elected president, died in 2013. The statement was entitled, ”Chávez’s Authoritarian Legacy: Dramatic Concentration of Power and Open Disregard for Basic Human Rights.”

Clearly if Venezuela were in the good graces of the USA, it could convert itself into an absolute monarchy that beheads people for sorcery and arms like-minded fanatics abroad. HRW would then soften its criticism drastically to keep its “special access to Washington”. In its remarks about Venezuela, HRW has not only resorted to flagrant double standards and shoddy research but also to outright lying as I explained in this piece.  Part of Chavez‘s “authoritarian legacy” as far as HRW was concerned was that he “embraced abusive governments,” specifically North Korea, Libya, Iran, Syria and — most outrageously in HRW’s opinion — Cuba. HRW said that “Under Chávez, Venezuela’s closest ally was Cuba, the only country in Latin America that systematically represses virtually all forms of political dissent. Chávez identified Fidel Castro — who headed Cuba’s repressive government until his health deteriorated in 2006 — as his model and mentor.”

HRW’s characterization of Cuba doesn’t stand up to scrutiny as I explained here, but notice the unequivocally harsh language HRW uses to denounce the Cuban government which the USA has tried to destroy for several decades. Those words about Cuba provide quite a contrast with HRW’s weak, obfuscating and evasive statement about Abdullah’s legacy.

In May of 2014 this letter was sent to Ken Roth by over one hundred scholars including Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Mairead Maguire; former UN Assistant Secretary General Hans von Sponeck; and current UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk. The letter suggested that HRW “Bar those who have crafted or executed U.S. foreign policy from serving as HRW staff, advisors or board members. At a bare minimum, mandate lengthy ‘cooling-off’ periods before and after any associate moves between HRW and that arm of the government.”

HRW replied claiming that it regularly criticizes the U.S. government which is true but totally irrelevant to the concerns expressed in the petition. It is also true, for example, that HRW has criticized the track record of King Abdullah and that of Hugo Chavez.  That fact doesn’t answer the question of whether or not the criticism was remotely proportionate or accurate in each case.

Keane Bhatt, who organized and drafted the petition sent to Roth, along with four other people who signed, published a detailed response to HRW. Among other things, they carefully explained to HRW why having a former CIA official like Michael Diaz on their advisory board for years is not something a credible human rights group would allow — especially considering that Diaz subsequently returned to the U.S. government as an “interlocutor between the intelligence community and non-government experts.” That kind of revolving door corrupts the human rights industry as it does many others.

The response also politely explained the obscenity of Javier Solana occupying a place on HRW’s board since 2011. Solana was head of NATO forces in Serbia when they deliberately bombed a TV station killing 16 civilians — a war crime.

That points as basic as these should have be spelled out to a prominent human rights group illustrates how unlikely it is to reform in the absence of deep reforms within western countries. Movements that could bring about those reforms should learn from the positive things that have happened in many countries that are smeared by establishment-embedded groups like HRW — countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Honest criticism of these countries is obviously required as well, but people should be aware that HRW is not the organization to provide it.

Incidentally, the U.S. military is sponsoring an essay writing contest to honor King Abdullah. No, this isn’t joke. Just another illustration of what the “most powerful proponent of human rights” is all about.

 

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A Glimmer Of Hope for Julian Assange

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Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalist’s extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.
A figure depicts Julian Assange on a cross on top of a supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark his two years in refuge at the embassy, Thursday, June 19, 2014.  Photo: Sang Tan/AP

There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalist’s extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.

The head of Assange’s legal defence team, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, told IPS that in relation to this case “we have expressed satisfaction that the Swedish state“ has accepted the proposals of several countries.

The prominent Spanish lawyer and international jurist was referring to proposals set forth by Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Slovakia and Uruguay.

The final report by the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), adopted Thursday Jan. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland, contains indications that a possible understanding among the different countries concerned might be on the horizon.

The UPR is a mechanism of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine the human rights performance of all U.N. member states.

The situation of Assange, a journalist, computer programmer and activist born in Australia in 1971, was introduced in Sweden’s UPR by Ecuador, the country that granted him diplomatic asylum in its embassy in London, and by several European and Latin American nations.

The head of the Swedish delegation to the UPR, Annika Söder, state secretary for political affairs at Sweden’s foreign ministry, told IPS that “This is a very complex matter in which the government can only do a few things.”

Söder said that in Sweden, Assange is “suspected of crimes, rape, sexual molestation in accordance with Swedish law. And that’s why the prosecutor in Sweden wants to conduct the primary investigation.

“We are aware of Mr. Assange’s being in the embassy of Ecuador and we hope that there will be ways to deal with the legal process in one way or the other. But it is up to the legal authorities to respond,” she said.

Assange’s legal defence team complains that Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office is delaying the legal proceedings and refuses to question him by telephone, email, video link or in writing.

Garzón noted that parallel to the lack of action by the Swedish prosecutor’s office, there is a secret U.S. legal process against Assange and other members of Wikileaks, the organisation he created in 2006.

“The origin of the U.S. legal proceedings against Assange was the mass publication by Wikileaks of documents, in many cases sensitive ones, which affected the United States,” said Garzón.

Wikileaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and other classified U.S. documents revealed practices by Washington that put it in an awkward position with other governments.

Assange sought refuge in the embassy after exhausting options in British courts to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning related to allegations of rape and sexual molestation, of which he says he is innocent. He has not been charged with a crime in Sweden and is worried that if he is extradited to that country he will be sent to the United States, where he is under investigation for releasing secret government documents.

If the legal process in Sweden begins to move forward, there would be a possibility for him to be able to leave the Ecuadorean embassy, where he took refuge on Jun. 19, 2012, and give up the diplomatic asylum he was granted by the government of Rafael Correa on Aug. 16, 2012.

In the UPR report, Sweden promised to examine recommendations made by other countries and to provide a response before the next U.N. Human Rights Council session, which starts Jun. 15.

Garzón has urged the Swedish government to specify a timeframe for the legal action against Assange, as the delegation from Ecuador recommended in the UPR.

“The Human Rights Committee, another specialised U.N. body, stipulates that precise timeframes must be established for putting a detained person at the disposal of a judge,” he pointed out.

Söder told IPS that Sweden’s legal system does not set any deadline for the prosecutor to complete the pretrial examination phase, as reflected in the Assange case.

Garzón is also asking Sweden to introduce, as soon as possible, “measures to ensure that the legal proceedings are carried out in accordance with standards that guarantee the rights of individuals, concretely the right to effective judicial recourse and legal proceedings without undue delays.”

He also called for the adoption of administrative and judicial measures to make investigations before the courts more effective. With respect to this, he mentioned “the practice of measures of inquiry abroad, in line with international cooperation mechanisms.”

In addition, the international jurist demanded measures to ensure that people deprived of their freedom are provided with legal guarantees in accordance with international standards.

The Swedish delegation agreed to study a recommendation by Argentina to “take concrete measures to ensure that guarantees of non-extradition will be given to any person under the control of the Swedish authorities while they are considered refugees by a third country,” in this case Ecuador.

These should include legislative measures, if necessary.

This is important because Assange is facing the threat that the Swedish or British authorities could accept an extradition request from the United States for charges of espionage, which carry heavy penalties.

In his comments to IPS, Garzón said he was “disappointed” that the Swedish state has not accepted one of Ecuador’s recommendations.

He was referring to the request that Sweden streamline international cooperation mechanisms on the part of the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office in order to ensure the right to effective legal remedy, specifically in cases where the person is protected by the decision to grant asylum or refuge.

It was stressed in the UPR that the right to asylum or refuge is considered a fundamental right, and must be respected and taken into account, making it compatible with the right to legal defence.

The director-general of legal affairs in Sweden’s foreign ministry, Anders Rönquist, argued that there is no international convention on diplomatic asylum.

The only one referring to that issue is the inter-American convention, he said, adding that the International Court of Justice in The Hague does not require recognition of diplomatic asylum.

Posted in Human Rights, UK0 Comments

14-year-old arrested again after testifying to torture at Sisi detention camp

NOVANEWS

Mada Masr 

Fourteen-year-old Akram al-Sawy was detained in the early hours of Tuesday along with his father, following testimony he gave on torture at a Central Security Forces camp in Banha, according to Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.

Sawy had been held at the camp since last September and was only released from the camp on January 8.

Following his release, Sawy gave testimony on his incarceration, detailing torture and abuse that he and other children were subjected to since they were arrested and during their time at the camp.

Sawy said he was arrested from his home on September 22 when police mistakenly thought that he was at a protest with his friends. Sawy said that he and his friends were actually at a private lesson.

According to his testimony, he spent two days at the police station where he and his friends were severely beaten, kicked and electrocuted before they were moved to the Banha camp, which he said holds 200 detainees, the oldest of whom is 20 years old and youngest of whom is 13 years old.

Sawy said the cell holds 25 detainees, who weren’t allowed to leave the cell unless they were being taken to prosecution. He added they weren’t allowed visitations, but their families were allowed to send blankets for them.

In the same testimony published by Nadeem, Sawy’s father, Ibrahim Mohamed al-Sawy, said he and his son were also beaten at State Security headquarters when he went to pick him up after his release. He said he and his son were blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten. He said he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that they wouldn’t let them leave until he said that Mohamed Morsi is not returning.

The Nadeem Center reported the incarceration of 600 children between the ages of 14 and 17 in a Central Security Forces camp in Banha.

The Interior Ministry, however, continues to deny that this camp exists in the first place.

Independent rights group “Free the Children” claims that at least 1,000 minors have been detained in Egypt’s prisons over the last year and a half. Marwa Arafa, the group’s coordinator, says most of these minors have been randomly arrested during clashes between protesters and police across the country.

Posted in Egypt, Human Rights0 Comments

Nazi forces launch major detention campaign in Nablus camps

NOVANEWS

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Nazi army  launched a major detention campaign in the northern West Bank refugee camps of Balata and Askar in Nablus district overnight, Palestinian security sources said.

More than 15 young men were seized after forces ransacked many houses.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that more than 20 Nazi military jeeps stormed Balata and Askar refugee camps near Nablus at midnight and broke into dozens of houses.

Locals said most of the houses belonged to Fatah supporters. Among those whose houses which were ransacked are Fayiz Arafat, Nasser al-Khatib Abu Aziz, Ahmad Naji Abu Hamada, Muhammad Abu Dari, Abu Mahyub abu Leil, Muhammad Abu Zaabal, Hatim abu Riziq, Talal abu Thira, Abu Hazim Kharma, Atallah Hashash, Bashir Hashash, Hasan Sharaya, Abu Nasim Arayshi and Mahir Ayyad.

The sources identified some of the detainees as Ayman abu Kharma, Muhammad Saqir, Muhammad Murshid, Shahir Ali Mutlaq, Ammar Mithqal, Abed al-Salam Abu Riziq, Mahmoud abu Ayyash, Muhammad Ali Hashash, Hasan al-Ashqar, Kamal abu Rayya, Mujahid Mashayikh, Zuhdi Abu Kharma and Muhammad Abu Arab.

 

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

As US Releases More Prisoners From Guantanamo, Questions Languish Over Those Left Behind

NOVANEWS
More than a hundred detainees remain in military prison, while many of those named in last year’s US Senate torture report remain unaccounted for.
A detainee is escorted to interrogation by U.S. military guards in the temporary detention facility Camp X-Ray at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. Photo: Andres Leighton/AP

The United States transferred five Yemeni prisoners out of the Guantánamo Bay military prison on Wednesday, releasing them to Estonia and Oman in the first detainee handover of the year.

Four of them—Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad al-Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati and Mohammed Ahmed Salam—were sent to Oman. The fifth, Akhmed Abdul Qadir, one of the youngest prisoners at Guantánamo, was sent to Estonia.

Each of them had been held at the prison for at least a dozen years and had been slated for release for almost five years, having been cleared by a task force that comprised intelligence and military officials.

The handover occurred just a day after a number of Republican legislators called for a moratorium on transfers. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John McCain (Ariz.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who sit on the Armed Services Committee, invoked the recent attacks on Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris to call for a “time-out” on the transfers, writing in a statement that the detainees pose a risk to American lives.

According to a study published Thursday by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, only 36 of the men who were named in the U.S. Senate’s damning CIA torture report last year were sent to Guantánamo after their “interrogations”—and of those 36, only 29 now remain in the prison. One has been recommended for transfer. The rest of those men were either released without charge, handed over to foreign governments, or locked in U.S. military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to TBIJ.

“Even after publication of the CIA Torture Report, we’re none the wiser about the fates of dozens of men the U.S. disappeared,” Reprieve strategic director Cori Crider said of the report. “Tracing them and their precise dates in custody does not just honor the dispersed and the dead, it is a crucial part of building a record that, one day hence, may be the cornerstone on which accountability is built.”

The abusive treatment of detainees at the offshore prison received further media attention on Thursday when Joseph Hickman, a Guantánamo staff sergeant and author of Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay, spoke with Democracy Now! about the alleged suicide of three men held at the camp in 2008; as Hickman explains, Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi did not hang themselves, as was reported, but may have been tortured to death on a CIA black site on the base—one Hickman refers to in the interview as “our Auschwitz.”

“I knew right away that no one hung themselves in Camp One,” Hickman said. “It was completely impossible from my standpoint, from the guards under me that were serving in that area. No one saw any detainees transferred from Camp One to the medical clinic. It just did not happen.”

President Barack Obama, who has promised to shut down the military prison since his 2008 campaign, has recently stepped up his closure rhetoric. In 2014, the administration oversaw the transfer of 28 detainees—the most since 2009.

Wednesday’s handover still leaves an additional 122 prisoners in Guantánamo, most of whom have not been charged or tried. Protesters stormed Capitol Hill on Monday, marking the 13th anniversary of the military prison’s operation, to demand its closure and an end to U.S. torture with impunity.

“We are committed to closing the detention facility. That’s our goal, and we are working toward that goal,” said Ian Moss, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department on Guantánamo issues.

In his interview with Democracy Now!, Sgt. Hickman highlighted the dissonance between purported American values and their absence at the military prison. “[W]e pride ourselves on human rights and this is ridiculous,” Hickman said. “We have a place that breaks so many human rights it is ridiculous. I don’t think there should be a Guantánamo. I think people should be charged for crimes, but I think it should be here in the United States.”

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

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