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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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Qaraqe: torture of Palestinians in Israeli jails increased by 200%

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RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Issa Qaraqe, head of detainees and ex-detainees committee, disclosed that torture operations of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have increased by 200% since mid of 2014.

Qaraqe told a Polish delegation, visiting the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees in Ramallah, that the operations of torture in Israeli prisons are conducted under the supervision and by direct instructions of Israeli government and the shin bet.

Qaraqe previewed the conditions of six thousand detainees in Israeli jails including 500 prisoners held under administrative detention without trials or charges.

1700 captives are suffering illness including 85 detainees complaining of serious diseases such as cancer and Hepatitis viruses, paralysis and others. The Palestinian detainees also include 25 women, 200 children, hundreds of youths and leaders of Palestinian captives as well as 4 MPs of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Qaraqe revealed.

He pointed out that Palestinian minors are abused at the hands of Israeli soldiers by different violations including beating, cursing, assaulting and threatening of sexual abuse.

Qaraqe asked Poland to pressure Israel in order to halt its offensive practices against Palestinian prisoners and to prosecute it for its daily crimes practiced against them in full disregard to the international conventions and charters.
(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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Palestinian youth attacked, injured by Israeli vandals in Shu’fat

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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– 22-year-old Abdul Kareem Youssef Abu Khdheir afternoon Saturday sustained wounds and bruises after he was attacked by a horde of Israeli settlers near the illegal settlement of Reches Shu’fat, in Occupied Jerusalem.

“I sustained injuries in my left hand and was rushed to the Hadassah hospital in al-Issawiya after a gang of over 20 Israeli settlers, in their 20’s of age, suddenly attacked me with stones and smashed my car windshield while I was driving near the Reches Shu’fat settlement,” the victim said.

His father said none of the Israeli assailants were arrested by the Israeli occupation police, who were at the scene and remained mum over the attack.

An altercation and fistfight flared up between a group of Palestinian unarmed protesters and the Israeli vandals following the assault.

The father spoke out against the increasing settler attacks against Palestinians in Shu’fat and Beit Hanina following the murder of the Palestinian minor Mohammed Abu Khdheir.

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

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Israeli minister says IDF should have fired on unarmed Palestinian protesters for humiliating a soldier

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Regev

That video of Palestinian women protesters pulling down an Israeli soldier in Nabi Saleh on Friday when he was beating a boy has shocked the world. Well, it has shocked an Israeli leader too. Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev says that the unarmed protesters should have been shot.

Regev’s twitter account says she was shocked by the incident:

Our soldiers can’t be sent on missions with tied hands

This post is now updated to include a translation from Tali Shapira.

Regev said she wanted to change the army’s policy on the use of live-fire because of the “humiliation” the soldier endured.

“We need to decide immediately that a soldier that is attacked is permitted to return fire. Period. I call on the minister of security to put an end to the humiliation and change the open fire regulations immediately!” Regevwrote in a Facebook statement.

“Anyone who tries to harm Israeli civilians and soldiers needs to know his blood is in his head,”  Regev continued, using a Hebrew expression to convey that the Palestinians who assaulted the soldier are fair game for shooting.

A spokesperson for the IDF said Friday that Palestinians were to blame for the incident: “A violent disturbance of the peace in Nabi Saleh, in which Palestinians threw stones at IDF forces that were in the place.” The spokesperson added that the soldier was attempting to detain 12-year old Mohammed Tamimi after he allegedly threw stones at the Israeli military. 

For the Tamimi’s the brawl was a victory, and celebrated across the front pages of Palestinian newspapers on Saturday. The footage and stills show a soldier applying force against a Palestinian boy with a casted arm in an attempt to arrest him. Yet the arrest does not take place, as a half dozen female Palestinian, including young girls, slap, bite, bash and choke the soldier who calls for back-up, but ultimately abandons arresting the boy.

There is a bit of folklore around the Nabi Saleh protesters. The town’s children are known to chase down soldiers during protests, and punch, hit, and kick them. In 2012 Ahed Tamimi—the girl in the pink shirt and braids in the video above, then 12, was filmed throwing a right-hook at a soldier.  She was later honored by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with an award in courage.

Regev is a former spokesperson for the Israeli army. Her comments were first reported to us by two reliable journalists. Ira Glunts:

Crazy Israeli minister was shocked by Nabi Saleh video. She thinks soldier should have opened fire.

From David Sheen:

Israeli minister @regev_miri: Palestinian protestors deserve death, soldiers should shoot unarmed women & children

Regev2Miri Regev Facebook post on Nabi Saleh incident

And look: Even Haaretz characterizes the women as the bad guys in that confrontation. An attack? Really?

Regev3

Haaretz characterizes Palestinian women as attacking Israeli soldier

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah discuss flashpoint Al-Asqa Mosque

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AMMAN (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman to discuss recent tensions at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as regional issues.Abbas briefed Abdullah on his latest meetings with international and regional leaders that allegedly aimed to revive the peace process.The Palestinian president told Abdullah about the current situation in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian role in protecting the city and its holy sites was discussed between the two.Earlier Sunday the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowment said that Israel is imposing severe restrictions on Palestinian entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a bid to initiate a daily schedule for Jewish prayer at the holy site.The statement came amid reportedly increasing restrictions on Palestinian access to the holy site, while Jewish extremist groups tour the compound under the armed protection of Israeli forces.Jordan has custodianship over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem — which is holy to both Jews and Muslims — and other Muslim holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.The custodianship is enshrined in the peace treaty that the Hashemite Kingdom signed with Israel in 1994.Amman is also seen as a key player in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and King Abdullah II has repeatedly called on Israel to end “its unilateral action and repeated attacks” against Jerusalem’s holy sites.King Abdullah told Abbas Sunday that Jordan would continue its efforts and coordinate with regional sides to help overcome the hurdles currently blocking the peace process.Abdullah rejected Israeli policies in Jerusalem, adding that Jordan will maintain its role in protecting holy sites and preserving the city’s identity.Jordanian leadership has criticized Israeli violations several times in the past, often referring to violations at the Al-Aqsa compound as a “red line.”

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Politics

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Forced Disappearance in Syria Gone Without a Trace

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Forced Disappearance

Introduction
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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Including A Child, Three Palestinians Kidnapped In Ramallah And Jerusalem

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Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the town of Silwad, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, kidnapped a child, and held his 10-year-old brother in the bathroom while interrogating and threatening him. The army also kidnapped two young men in occupied East Jerusalem.

Kidnapping in Silwan

The child, Hamza Shokri Hammad, 15 years of age, was kidnapped after a large number of soldiers smashed the family’s main door, and detained him in one of the rooms after forcing him brother Bilal, 10 years of age, into the bathroom, where he was threatened and interrogated.

Hammad was taken prisoner before the soldiers left the property; the family said the army confiscated mobile phones, Game CD’s, in addition to destroying a computer.

The family added that the soldiers also took some of Bilal’s toys, and scattered them outside the property.

The kidnapped child is the son of Moayyad Hammad, who was taken prisoner many years ago, and was sentenced to seven life terms.

Last week, the Israeli Prison Authority denied Hamza the right to visit his imprisoned father under the pretext that he is underage and needs a permit, although under Israeli law, children do not need a permit.

Also on Sunday at dawn, soldiers invaded the al-‘Eesawiyya town, in occupied Jerusalem, kidnapped two young Palestinian men, and took them to an interrogation center in the city.

The two have been identified as Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf Mahmoud, and ‘Amid ‘Obeid.

(Source / 30.08.2015)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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