Resources updated between Monday, December 22, 2014 and Sunday, December 28, 2014
December 27, 2014
"Turkish police have arrested a 16-year-old high school student in the city of Konya on charges of insulting President Tayyip Erdogan, local media reported on Thursday.
"The teenager's lawyers have appealed against the prosecution, which came after he read out a statement during a ceremony to commemorate the killing of a Turkish soldier by Islamists in the 1920s.
"In a video broadcast by Dogan News Agency, the teenager was shown defending secularism and the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.
"He criticised the ruling AK Party government and Mr Erdogan personally over corruption allegations, as a crowd surrounding him chanted 'everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption'.
"Mr Erdogan portrayed a high-reaching corruption scandal that was initiated a year ago as a coup attempt orchestrated by his former ally, the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, to undermine his rule.
"The scandal posed one of the biggest challenges to his 11-year-rule, leading three members of his cabinet to quit and drawing international criticism for his response, tightening Internet controls and reassigning police, judges and prosecutors.
"The teenager, who is being held in detention, has pleaded not guilty, Dogan News Agency said...
"An Egyptian Christian couple were murdered and their daughter kidnapped on Tuesday in Libya in what Libyan officials said may have been an attack motivated by religion.
"'Unidentified armed men killed Christian Egyptian doctor Magdi Sobhi Toufik and his wife in their house at the Jarf health centre in Sirte,' 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Tripoli, local council chairman Yussef Tebeiqa told AFP.
"He added that the killers abducted the couple's 18-year-old daughter, leaving her two younger sisters behind. Tebeiqa said the attack may have been motivated by religion.
"'Money left on the table and the wife's jewellery left at the crime scene were not touched,' he added.
Several Coptic Egyptians have been killed in Libya in the past two years...
December 26, 2014
"Mauritania on Thursday condemned a man to death for 'insulting the prophet', a human rights group said, a day after the country opened the trial of an anti-slavery activist.
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, 28, was arrested a year ago for writing an article about the Prophet Mohammad and the caste system, an extremely sensitive subject in a West African country with deep social and racial divisions."
"The condition of Ayala Shapira, the 11-year-old Jewish-Israeli girl who was seriously wounded after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at her and her father while they were driving home on Thursday afternoon in Nablus, continues to be serious.
"A slight improvement in Ayala's breathing and heart functioning was noted overnight, however she is still sedated and on a respirator.
"Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon payed a visit to Ayala's father, Avner Shapira, who was also wounded in the attack. Avner dished out criticism during the visit, and said to Yaalon: 'The IDF conducts wasteful operations like Operation Protective Edge, but in this case they are calling the terrorists 'criminals.'
"'What matters to me is not the terrorists, but rather who sent them,' continued Avner.
December 25, 2014
"The controversy began-as virtually all political and religious debate in Saudi Arabia does these days-with a provocative tweet. On January 18th, Souad al-Shammary, a liberal activist with more than a hundred thousand Twitter followers, tweeted her thoughts about the idea, popular among devout Saudis, that Muslim men should grow long beards in order to differentiate themselves from unbelievers. The notion was 'silly,' Shammary wrote, pointing out that "Jews, priests, Communists and Marxists" have also been known to wear beards.
"Shammary is the co-founder of a group that calls itself the Saudi Liberal Network, in a country where liberaliyeen-Saudis use the English word, giving it an Arabic plural-are so widely reviled that even prominent feminists and human-rights advocates shy away from the label. She has never been popular among Saudi conservatives. But her remarks about beards were met with an unusually violent reaction. Sheikh Adel al-Kalbani, a former imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca (in 2008, when he became the first black man appointed to the post, some in the Kingdom dubbed him 'the Saudi Obama'), announced that Shammary should be tried for insulting the Prophet, adding that he prayed for her to become blind and to lose the use of a hand.
"In the past month, via Twitter, thousands of conservatives have echoed Kalbani's remarks, attacking Shammary and calling for her to be put on trial. Some have gone a step further, accusing Shammary of apostasy, an offense that carries the death penalty under Sharia law. Last week, Shammary told an interviewer for the BBC World Service that she and her family had received so many threats that she had gone into hiding..."
"A 13-year-old says her father gave her to Boko Haram extremists and that she was arrested after refusing to explode a suicide bomb in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city in the north.
"Nigeria has suffered numerous suicide bombings in recent months carried out by girls and young women. That has raised fears that the insurgents are using kidnapped girls.
"The girl told a news conference Wednesday night that she saw many people being buried alive at the Boko Haram camp where her father took her in Bauchi state, east of Kano.
"She said her captors asked if she wanted to go to paradise and, when she said yes, explained she would have to be a suicide bomber. 'When I was told I would have to die to enter paradise, that I would have to explode a bomb and die, I said I cannot do it,' she said.
When they threatened to kill her, she allowed them to strap her into a vest primed with explosives, saying 'I was afraid to be buried alive...'"
"UNRWA in Gaza has become little more than a surrogate for Hamas. During its summer rocket assault against Israel UNRWA schools were storehouses for Hamas rockets while UNRWA employees cheered the murder of Israelis. Belatedly mindful of this travesty, the new State Department Framework states, rather preposterously in light of recent events, that 'the United States and UNRWA share concerns about the threat of terrorism.' Tunnels beneath and rockets above Israel's borders are not mentioned...
The State Department report might also have noted, but overlooked, the actual number of Palestinian refugees from the Arab war to destroy Israel in 1948. It was not 5.4 million, as UNRWA now claims, nor even 900,000 as The New York Times repeatedly asserted over the years. Rather, according to the diligent research of historian Efraim Karsh, it was between 583,000-609,000. A tragedy, to be sure, foisted upon them by their own leaders and abetted by the determination of neighboring Arab nations to annihilate the fledgling Jewish state. It is long past time for the State Department to reconsider the shill game it supports in which Americans continue to be ripped off by UNRWA."
December 24, 2014
"Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that eight amendments were made to the Palestinian proposal which will be submitted to the UN Security Council and calls to set a timetable to end the "Israeli occupation." One of the central amendments made to the proposal was to emphasize that the future capital of the Palestinian state is to be located in East Jerusalem."
December 23, 2014
"One would think that the killings of 132 children in Pakistan at the hands of Taliban terrorists would cause the international community to focus on how to deal with the untrammeled mayhem and chaos caused by jihadi organizations.
Instead, that old favorite of multilateral organizations, bashing and marginalizing Israel, is back with a fury, but with some new twists. Over the past few months, a perfect storm of bias has come about: from the 'recognition' of a Palestinian state by a growing number of European parliaments, to the convening of the signatories to the Geneva Convention to condemn Israel's acting in self-defense during this summer's Gaza conflict to the current attempt to impose a date and time certain for creation of a Palestinian state in the United Nations Security Council."
"Amid the cover up of rapes in DR Congo and now in Darfur by UN Peacekeeping, whose chief Herve Ladsous met with Sudan's International Criminal Court - indicted president Omar al Bashir without ever explaining why, 123 non-governmental organizations and human rights experts and activists have called for Ladsous to be fired...
Here is the letter...
The UN Security Council has had many opportunities to enforce numerous resolutions on Darfur from 2004 onward concerned with pressing the Sudanese government to stop bombing and attacking its own unarmed civilians. However, the Security Council has consistently refrained from enforcing resolutions giving permission to impose targeted smart sanctions and travel bans on the architects of the ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Consequently, those indicted by the ICC have continued to travel without fear of arrest; their assets could have been frozen, according to the UNSC's resolutions, and yet no action has been taken, despite the repeated refusal of indictees to make good their promises to the UNSC and to you personally...
Another consequence of the UN lack of consistent and meaningful pressure on the government of Sudan is that UNAMID [African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] has been rendered impotent. While its personnel know they cannot count on support from New York when they are prevented from performing their duties by Sudanese officials, they will be unwilling to risk their lives by trying to fulfill their mandate to protect civilians and report on suspected human rights abuses. The result has been a vastly expensive and discredited UN mission, led by Herve Ladsous, who consistently and deliberately diminishes the scale of the conflict in Darfur, thereby enabling Khartoum's crimes to flourish, whilst the international community congratulates itself on improved circumstances in Darfur.'"
December 22, 2014
The UN Human Rights Council's March 2015 session is taking up the "Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Islamic Republic of Iran" by UN Human Rights Council. The report includes:
Iran's claim that it "renounced, as a victim of terrorism, all forms of violence, and called for more concerted international efforts to combat all forms of terrorism and extremism..."
Not one nation countered this anti-terror claim by Iran.
"Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) forces raided the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) premises on Sunday in the capital, Khartoum.
SOHR, an independent voluntary organisation monitoring violations of human rights in Sudan, was conducting a training workshop for journalists and activists on human rights reporting.
NISS force stormed the Observatory and ordered its administration to stop the lectures, saying the force also searched the building and confiscated staff computers and documents, said SOHR director Nabil Adieb."