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Al Jazeera journalists face uncertain future

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According to Egyptian law the president can’t issue a presidential pardon unless the verdict is final

Journalisten Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera television journalists Mohamed Fahmy, C, and Baher Mohamed, L, talk to the media with lawyer Amal Clooney, 2nd R, Troy Lulashnyk, R, Canadian Ambassador to Egypt, before hearing the verdict at a court in Cairo, Egypt, August 29, 2015

Three Al-Jazeera journalists and their advocates are still pushing for presidential pardons or deportations after an Egyptian court sentenced the journalists and other defendants to three years in jail on Saturday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met with prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney, the advocate for convicted Al Jazeera bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, to discuss the possibility of a pardon, Al Ahram Arabic news website reported.

According to Sherif Fadel Fahmy, Fahmy’s brother, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt Troy Lulashnyk, along with Clooney, met Egypt’s justice minister Ahmed El-Zend.

“We were told that there was a feeling in the meeting of a positive outcome,” Sherif Fahmy told Ahram Online.

In a TV appearance with Egyptian CBC satellite anchor Lamis El-Hadidy on Saturday, Clooney said that it was time for the presidency to “put an end to this fiasco”.

Clooney also pointed out that although a pardon is the preferred route, they would still continue to press for a deportation for Fahmy, as it could happen more quickly.

However, while advocates and lawyers for the three journalists remain hopeful about a solution for a case that has been portrayed as an embarrassment to Egypt, the future of the three journalists still remains ambiguous.

According to Egyptian law, the president can’t issue a presidential pardon unless the verdict is final.

The Al Jazeera prison sentences are not final, as they can be appealed. Appeal cases in Egypt can take months to be processed due to an overloaded legal system.

Both lawyers representing the defendants in the case, Mostafa Nagui and Shabaan Said, told Ahram Online that they would file an appeal.

Nagui added that he is optimistic the appeal session will take place by January or February 2016.

According to article 155 of the 2014 Egypt constitution, the president of the republic may issue a pardon or reduce a sentence after consultation with the cabinet.

The article reads: “General amnesty may only be granted by virtue of a law, ratified by the majority of the members of the House of Representatives”.

Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the lower chamber after ruling it was not constitutionally elected.

In regards to deportation, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi  issued in 2014 a presidential decree that allows foreign nationals to continue their pretrial detention or post-trial prison sentences in their home countries.

Peter Greste, one of the three Al Jazeera journalists who was handed a three-year jail terms, was deported in early February 2015 under the presidential decree.

Fahmy, a naturalised Canadian, gave up his Egyptian citizenship in February 2015 in an attempt to seek deportation like Greste.

His fate, however, still remains unclear after the convicted were taken to Tora prison following the verdict and declined visitations by family on Sunday.

Following the ruling on Saturday, Clooney told reporters outside court that “it is time for President Sisi to intervene”, adding that he said that he would pardon the journalists after the judicial process is over.

In June 2014, Egypt President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that Egypt’s authorities “will not interfere in judicial matters” following the first trial where the defendants were sentenced to between seven and ten years in jail.

El-Sisi also said he did not wish to see the foreign journalists prosecuted through a criminal process, and would have preferred for them to have been deported.

The defendants were found guilty of operating without a press license and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt.

The verdict garnered a series of international criticism and condemnation on Egyptian judiciary and whether its courts are ‘politically motivated’.

On Sunday, Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs summoned the British ambassador John Casson to express its rejection of his comments regarding the prison sentences handed down Saturday.

Casson expressed his country’s support for stability in Egypt on Saturday, but added that “the question today is whether this will be a fragile and temporary stability on the basis of suspending freedoms of media and expression and depriving individuals of their rights in the Egyptian constitution.”

Canada said on Saturday it was disappointed by the Egyptian court’s conviction of the Canadian journalist who worked for Al-Jazeera and called for his “immediate” return.

The United States said it was “deeply disappointed and concerned” following the ruling.

The European Union also criticised the ruling, describing it as “a setback” for freedom of speech in Egypt”.

In a statement issued on Sunday on its official Facebook page, the Egyptian foreign ministry labeled the international criticism of the ruling as “politically motivated”, considering it an “unacceptable interference” in the Egyptian judiciary.

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Revolution Egypt

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Forced Disappearance in Syria Gone Without a Trace

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Forced Disappearance

Since the beginning of the popular uprising in March 2011, detention and forced “disappearances” have occurred on a daily, and increasing, basis. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that a variety of parties rule different areas of Syria. The regime of Bashar al-Assad holds the greatest number of arbitrarily detained people, accounting for 96 percent of forced disappearances. The remainder are the responsibility of ISIS, the Kurd Self-Management Forces and other armed opposition groups.

Forced disappearance is a tragedy for both those captured and held alive for days, weeks or years, and their families. The victims are kidnapped from either their homes or the streets. Sometimes the crime is carried out by people in military uniform, and no matter what they wear, they universally refuse to divulge who they are or the basis for their actions. The various parties involved in the civil strife often deny possession of the victims.

In the second article of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from forced Disappearance, the crime is defined to be “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, placing the person outside the protection of the law.”

full pdf report

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Egyptians to vote for parliament in October

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Egypt’s legislative elections, the first since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office, are to be contested in phases between October 17 and December 2, the electoral commission announced on Sunday.

The polls had initially been scheduled for early 2014 but were repeatedly delayed on legal grounds amid charges from rights groups of repressive measures by Sisi’s regime which has cracked down on the Islamist opposition.

In a complex electoral system for the 568-member parliament, a sector of the electorate living abroad will vote on October 17, followed on the following two days by voters in 14 of the country’s 27 provinces.

Runoffs in the same constituencies will be held on October 26, 27 and 28.

Remaining voters abroad and inside the Arab world’s most populous country will take part in a first round on November 21, 22 and 23, followed by runoffs on November 30, December 1 and 2.

The polls are to start more than two years after the military under Sisi, who was then army chief and won a presidential election last year, toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, whose now-banned Muslim Brotherhood had swept Egypt’s last legislative vote in late 2011.

The constitutional court had ruled in March that part of the electoral law was unconstitutional, prompting the latest delay before the electoral commission started work on setting new dates.

Lawyers who appealed against the law said it did not divide districts in a way that would adequately represent voters.

After Morsi’s ouster, Sisi announced plans for a new constitution, to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.

A new charter was adopted in January 2014 and Sisi was elected president in May of last year.

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Posted in Revolution Egypt

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A new Israeli war will not be a picnic, says Islamic Jihad official

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A Palestinian stages a protest as he bind himself with chains demanding the release of hunger striker Palestinian lawyer Muhammad Allan who is under arrest at an Israeli prison, on August 13, 2015 in Gaza City, Gaza

The Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement said on Friday that a new Israeli war will not be a picnic, Qudsnet has reported. Ramadhan Shallah added that there is nothing “holy” about the ceasefire with the Israeli occupation.

“It is true that we accepted the ceasefire as a temporary measure,” Shallah told Al-Mayadeen TV, “but it is not holy and it will be broken if the Israeli enemy plays with the life of the Palestinians.” He pointed out that the movement’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, was ready to target Israeli cities recently when the life of Palestinian hunger striker Mohamed Allan was in danger.

“This is the second time that the Israeli occupation has been beaten inside its own prisons,” he added. “The first time it was beaten by hunger striker Khader Adnan and now by Mohamed Allan. This is the fruit of the legendary steadfastness; it’s a massive victory.”

Earlier this month, Islamic Jihad warned that it would end the ceasefire if Mohamed Allan died. The Israeli Supreme Court decided to release the Palestinian activist after refusing to allow him to be force-fed, and he lapsed into a coma. Allan suspended his hunger strike after his formal release and will leave hospital when he recovers.

(Source / 29.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Al-Qassam Announces Death Of A Fighter In Tunnel Accident

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The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has reported that one of its fighters was killed, Saturday, in a tunnel accident, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Al Qassam

On its webpage, the al-Qassam said Anwar Faraj Abu al-Ghalban, 23 years of age, died while working in a tunnel, and that the slain fighter is from Khan Younis city.

The Brigades said it will continue its operations and activities, including digging siege-busting tunnels, and military training, until ending the Israeli occupation, and the liberation of Palestine.

Dozens of fighters, and tunnel workers, have been killed in similar accidents, while many were killed after the Israeli army bombarded tunnel areas as they were working in them.

Many Palestinians in Gaza, not affiliated with the armed resistance, work in tunnels to provide food to their families due to the deadly Israeli siege on the coastal region.

(Source / 29.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Pro-Brotherhood channel to re-broadcast under Ayman Nour

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Pro-Brotherhood channel to re-broadcast under Ayman Nour

Pro-Muslim Brotherhood Channel (Al-Sharq) Logo

CAIRO: A month after its closure, Turkey-based pro-Muslim Brotherhood channel (al-Sharq) will resume broadcasts under the leadership of Ayman Nour, head of Ghad Elthawra Party, the channel announced in a Friday statement.

“After the channel went through a financial crisis in the last phase, and was exposed to attempts of blocking and frequent jamming, al-Sharq comes back with new image and administrative shift,” the statement said.

Anonymous sources told Youm7 Friday that Nour bought the channel for $250,000 from its owner Bassem Khafagy, who lives in Turkey. The official added that the broadcast will operate Tuesday.

On July 31, Muslim Brotherhood supporter Haitham Abu Khalil, who lives in Turkey, announced that the channel had halted broadcasts due to a financial crisis.

Al-Sharq was one of a number of pro-Brotherhood media outlets established since 2013 in Turkey; the channels have been accused by Cairo of inciting violence against military and security personnel.

Istanbul-based pro-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) channel, Misr Alaan, stopped broadcasting after the Turkish government put pressure on the owners, MB sources on Aug.15.

Following the dispersal of pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins at Rabaa and Nahda Squares Aug. 13, 2013, hundreds of MB members and supporters have been detained over charges of inciting violence, committing murders, sabotaging public utilities, and belonging to a banned group that was designated by the former interim government a “terrorist group” in December 2013.

Fleeing the Egyptian government’s crackdown, Brotherhood members and supporters travelled to Turkey, Qatar, London, and other European countries.

(Source / 29.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Revolution Egypt

Tagged with ,

Jihad: Al-Qassam did not mind firing rockets in support of Allan

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BEIRUT, (PIC)– Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad Movement Ramadan Shallah revealed Friday that al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, did not mind rocket fire on Israeli targets in support of the hunger striker Mohamed Allan.

During a televised interview, Shallah said that his movement’s armed wing, al-Quds Brigades, was ready to fire rockets at Israeli targets when the hunger striker Mohamed Allan was in very critical condition.

Al-Qassam Brigades did not mind the rocket fire at that time, but they demanded to be informed in advance of the zero hour in anticipation of any possible Israeli retaliation, he explained.

“There is no individual decision. Hamas is a resistance group, and Gaza is a resistance project.”

In another context, Shallah said that the truce agreement is a temporary measure that could be broken in case of an Israeli rashness.

Shallah hailed Allan’s strong determination and legendary steadfastness, considering his victory on Israeli jailers as a victory for all the Palestinian people.

“We took a firm decision to target Israel in case of losing Khader Adnan and Mohamed Allan during their hunger strikes,” he pointed out.

On the other hand, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad denied any relation to the rocket fire in Syrian Golan Heights, saying that his group has no armed presence outside Palestine.

(Source / 29.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

Tagged with ,


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