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Resources updated between Monday, April 07, 2014 and Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 8, 2014

"A court in Egypt has sentenced four men to up to eight years in prison for committing homosexual acts. The men were accused of attending or arranging "deviant" sex parties, and dressing in women's clothes and wearing make-up. Egyptian law does not explicitly ban homosexual acts, but prosecutors have used legislation banning debauchery to try homosexuals...One of the men was jailed for three years with hard labour by the court in Cairo...The latest case echoes that of the mass trial in 2001 of 52 men accused of homosexual acts and other offences under Egyptian law. Twenty-three of the men were sentenced to up to five years in jail with hard labour, drawing international condemnation."

Egypt jails four men for gay acts Document

April 7, 2014

Members of Kafa protest new anti-woman laws

"The Lebanese have long pointed to their democratic system and liberal state as a beacon for the turbulent Middle East region. But this week Lebanon's parliament showed how backward the country can still be by passing an archaic and sectarian domestic violence law, activists charge. The parliament on Tuesday passed Lebanon's first domestic violence law that had been pending since 2010. The law amended a draft written by the local rights group Kafa, Arabic for enough, stripping away protections against marital rape and allowing religious laws to prevail over civil, among other issues. The current law also favors fathers in child custody battles, even if they're proven to be abusive...In the new law 'marital rape has been renamed and legalized,' said Maya Ammar, a Kafa member. Diana Mokalled, an activist, charged that the 'law assures that a woman's body is owned by her husband [by deferring civil legislation to] religious personal status laws.'"

New Lebanese Domestic Violence Law Evokes Sharp Criticism Document

The infamous Evin prison in Iran

"Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has pardoned 920 Iranian prisoners on the anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran on March 31, 2014. According to the Iranian news agencies, after Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani sent a letter to the Supreme Leader recommending pardons and reductions in the sentences of 920 prisoners, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei signed off on the recommendations...As of this time, none of the released prisoners are known to be political prisoners. With few exceptions, the few 'pardons' recently granted to political prisoners have been applied to prisoners who often had only days left before completing their full sentences...In his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in March, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, noted: 'As of 14 January 2014, at least 895 "prisoners of conscience" and "political prisoners" were reportedly imprisoned. This includes 379 political activists, 292 religious practitioners, 92 human rights defenders (including 50 ethnic rights activists), 71 civic activists, 37 journalists and netizens, and 24 student activists.'"

No Political Prisoners Among the 920 Pardoned Document