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Petition Tag - human rights

211. Halt the flogging of the Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh

25 Lashes for drawing an official

created 05/07/2012

Cartoonist sentenced to flogging for depicting MP

An Iranian cartoonist has been sentenced to flogging after depicting a member of parliament in a local publication.

According to the country’s official news agency Irna, cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh has been sentenced to 25 lashes after drawing a cartoon that showed Arak MP Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani wearing a football jersey.

The Press Court of the Province, presided over by Judge Edalatkhah, issued the sentence.

The cartoon appeared in Nameye Amir, the Central Province’s best-selling publication. The magazine is currently in its tenth year of publication.

The harsh ruling handed down to Shokraiyeh is not an isolated case in Iran. In the past, other cartoonists such as Mana Neyestani have also been imprisoned for their work.

Source : GV The Green Voice of Freedom

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212. Stop labeling special needs children at school in order to prevent bullying

Currently children who are in special education are still presented to the student body and public in a separate category labeled "Special areas" or the like.

A child who is at a certain grade level but needs one on one instruction and is included in the special education program will be referred to as "special" in many awards programs and sometimes even yearbooks. This way of categorizing children is a very outdated notion, for we as a society are trying to stop the bullying and teach our children acceptance of the differences of their peers. This is teaching all the children that there is something different and perhaps less about the children in special education.

This makes these children more of a target for bullying and stereotypes and also will attach a social stigma to that person that will last throughout their lives. Mostly the schools have done a good job with inclusion as far as academics and socially, but there is still some work to do. As a parent of 2 children with autism and a former student at the schools they attend, I have been on both sides of the situation.

I remember how cruel children would be to other children only because they were labeled as special needs and they wouldn't be socially included. To this day when I see these people out and about the first thing I remember about them is the fact that they were in special education and how they were categorized. Also, it could have undesirable effects on the self esteem of the children in special education, as they could feel ostracized.

This is really unnecessary and can easily be altered to preserve the dignity of our children who will be productive adults in our community one day. Thank you for your time.

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213. Syria : Free Journalist Ali Mahmoud Othman

Syrian state TV aired Saturday what it said was a confession by citizen journalist Ali Mahmoud Othman, who activists say was arrested in March after he helped foreign journalists escape from the besieged city of Homs.

Othman helped run a media center in Baba Amr area of Homs, which provided information to international news media during a months-long crackdown on the civilian neighborhood by government forces. Reporters Without Borders, the journalist watchdog group, said last month it was "extremely concerned" for the life of Othman after his detention.

Othman was transferred to Damascus two days after his arrest by the intelligence services in Aleppo on March 28, the group said. Activists fear he may have been subjected to torture in detention. Rafiq Lutf, described as a Syrian media researcher, told the state TV program he had spoken to Othman for seven hours uninterrupted, all of it videotaped.

His subject states his name is "Ali Othman aka Al-Jid from Baba Amr of Homs. I work as photography director and live streaming with Khalid Abu Salah at the media center. I communicate with the satellite channels, on top of them Al Jazeera, Arabiya, CNN, BBC, Sky News and Turkish channel TRT." In the interview Othman describes how the media operation was set up in Baba Amr, and talks about demonstrations and the role of armed groups. It is unclear under what circumstances the interview was taped.

But Heather Blake, UK representative for Reporters Without Borders, said: "Research by our organization and many other organizations indicates that many human rights defenders who are detained have been shown to give false confessions under much duress and torture.

"We would advise anyone watching this to be very aware of that fact. The fact that Othman was arrested after committing no crime would suggest that he is speaking under duress." Reporters Without Borders calls for Othman's release and for justice to be served, Blake said.

Foreign news outlets have been severely limited during the government's bloody year-long crackdown against protesters. Critics say that the government has been dutifully working to stifle such independent reporting. Amateur videographers and news reporters dubbed "citizen journalists" have braved violence to undermine the government's news coverage restrictions. They have helped those international journalists who were able to sneak into Syria and report. And they have produced videos, photos and print reports every day that bear witness to the brutal crackdown.

Woes mount in Syria as UN mission grows Head of U.N. mission arrives in Syria U.N. response in Syria mocked. Those reports have helped news outlets around the world tell the story of the violence. Speaking shortly after Othman's arrest, Paul Conroy, a British photographer who was injured in the Baba Amr offensive, said the regime was taking steps "to ensure that independent reporting becomes impossible."
He said Othman helped him escape from Baba Amr, hammered for weeks by the military until resistance fighters retreated. Activists say other parts of the city continue to be shelled.

"After the attack and treatment of the wounded he played a significant role in assisting in our escape from Baba Amr. All our efforts must now be concentrated on saving his life. If it wasn't for him, no Western media would have been able to work in Baba Amr and bear witness to the slaughter of the civilian population," Conroy said.

The team that worked with Othman in Baba Amr has been pushing for the release of Othman and other detained activists.

Reporters Without Borders has also called for their release.

"Citizen journalists whose only crimes are to have witnessed, filmed and photographed acts of violence by a regime that persists in its deadly folly are being hunted down, arrested, tortured and murdered," the group said in a statement last month.

"We hold the Syrian authorities responsible for whatever may happen to them. The regime is more determined than ever to suppress all information about its crackdown. Syria has become a hell for both professional and citizen journalists."

A peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan last month calls on Syria to ensure freedom of movement for journalists in the country.

An apparent violation occurred this week when Sky News, a British broadcaster, said Syrian officials confiscated a television camera after a crew filmed an impromptu protest in Damascus.

SOURCE : CNN May 5, 2012

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214. Urgent: Stop the imprisonment of people in their homes for the Olympics

Disabled people who live in the locality of London 2012 will not have access to care provision or services such as Meals on Wheels.

For security reasons supermarkets will not be able to deliver either. Taxis and transport providers will also be unable to pick up or drop off in these areas.

This is effectively imprisoning people with limited mobility in their own homes.

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215. Stop Inhumane Siege of Camp Liberty Residents

In recent reports, we are seeing the Iraqi forces are increasing pressure the residents and treating them very inhumanely.

The Iraqi forces prevented the injured and disabled from taking their daily necessities to Camp Liberty. They prevented workers from entering for repairs to sanitary services. Repair or replacing damaged air conditioners is prevented. Residents are not allowed to bring working air conditioners from Camp Ashraf and to replace them. Despite Iraqi government's repeated promises, it continues not to replace or repair them.

These limitations are while the MOU signed between the Iraqi government and the UN on December 25, 2011, states: "It allows residents to enter into bilateral agreements with contractors to provide living necessities and requirements, such as water, food, communications, cleaning, and maintenance and reconstruction equipments at their own cost".

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216. Immediate & Unconditional Release of Kaveh Rezaie

Kaveh Rezaie, student activist, in a cell with drug addicts!

Kaveh Rezaie, 26 years old, needs our help NOW! He is a student activist who was transferred to Karaj central prison on April 24th to 'serve' his 18-month sentence! He is the only known political prisoner in this prison! It was reported today that he was transferred from the prison's quarantine ward to a cell where he is held with drug addicts! Aside from the daily psychological abuse he endures, Kaveh Rezaie is at serious risk of physical harm.

Kaveh Rezaie is a brave and bright student who must be released now!

Kaveh's only crime is seeking the truth! Please help free him!

Kaveh Rezaie, a 26-year-old university student, was taken to Karaj central prison on April 24th to 'serve' an 18-month sentence that had been previously issued to him by the Iranian judiciary. According to reports from Tehran, Kaveh is the only known political prisoner in this prison. Today Kaveh was transferred from the quarantine ward to a small cell where he is being held with drug addicts. According to Kaveh's mom her son endures psychological abuse on a daily basis and she fears he is at risk of physical harm.

Kaveh was a mechanical engineering university student who was close to graduation before the Iranian authorities labelled him a *starred student and expelled him from university.

STAR SYSTEM IN IRAN: The system of issuing stars against students was developed by Iran’s Ministry of Advanced Education so students with disciplinary issues would get penalized. After a student collects a certain number of stars, he or she is banned from education. The system is primarily used against student activists.

More information on Iran's star system (the Iranian government denies the existence of starred students):

Kaveh Rezaie was also a reporter for ISNA, the Iranian Student's News Agency (national news agency), but he was eventually fired due to the content in his personal blog. He was also a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, an initiative to support changing discriminatory laws against women in Iran.

He was a women's rights activist and a blogger.

Kaveh was involved in seeking the truth in the case of Zahra Baniyaghoub, an Iranian women political prisoner who allegedly committed suicide in prison. However, Zahra's family and Iranian activists strongly suspect that Zahra was murdered by the Iranian authorities. Kaveh wrote about Zahra in his blog. Iranian activists suspect his persecution is linked to the content in his blog, especially the post on Zahra Baniyaghoub.

In his blog Kaveh Rezaie wrote mainly about the everyday struggles of Iranian citizens. Kaveh felt that it is his duty as a concerned Iranian citizen to speak out about the truth.

Iranian authorities have increased the pressure on Kaveh due to his insistence on blogging and defending women's rights. He even helped found a university group in solidarity with the One Million Signatures Campaign called: Men in Support of the One Million Signatures Campaign. This group held workshops for women to discuss their stripped rights.

Kaveh Rezaie was arrested once before in 2008, again for his blogging and civil activism.

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217. Free Ali Moradi

* UPDATE 2013 -11-19

Kurdish Political Prisoner Stages Hunger Strike
by PDKI | on November 19, 2013

A Kurdish political prisoner by the name of Ali Moradi has begun a hunger strike because he will be transferred from Minab prison to a prison in Bander Abbas.

Ali Moradi has spent the last ten years in prison on charges of being a member of a Kurdish political party. Agents of Iran’s intelligence agency arrested him 11 years ago in the Kani Dinar district of Mariwan. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court in Mariwan sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

Witnesses state that he has staged a hunger strike in protest against the poor conditions he will face if he is moved to the prison in Bander Abbas.

Source :

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Iranian-Kurdish Prisoner on hunger strike

Mon, 04/30/2012

Ali Moradi, an Iranian-Kurdish prisoner, has sewn his lips together as part of a hunger strike he’s been on since April 4 in Bandar Abbas Prison in southern Iran, Moradi’s family reports.

Zamaneh has been informed that Moradi began his hunger strike to protest his “illegal transfer” to Bandar Abbas Prison from Minab.

The report indicates that Moradi has been transferred to solitary confinement and is in “critical condition.”

Moradi was arrested in 2004 in a Kurdish village near Marivan and sentenced to 30 years in jail and exile to Minab Prison for the charge of “enmity against God” due to his membership in a Kurdish dissident group.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has quoted a local source saying that last February, Moradi reportedly spoke to one of the national prison inspectors and reported shortcomings in the medical and hygienic facilities of the prison.

According to the Campaign report, Moradi was beaten in prison following his talk with the inspector and transferred to solitary confinement. After 15 days, in a reportedly illegal procedure, he was then exiled to Bandar Abbas Prison.

It is said that Moradi and several of his inmates have protested on numerous occasions for being held in the general section of the prison rather than in a special ward for political prisoners.

SOURCE : Radio Zamaneh

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218. 20 June 2012 - The International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran

The Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) has declared the 20th of June as The International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran. In response to this call, demonstrations were held in 50 cities around the world.

Why the 20th of June?

The 20th of June 1981 was an important turning point in the history of the struggle of the people in Iran against the Islamic regime. In 1979 the current regime hijacked the revolution in Iran and imposed their theocratic authoritarian power on millions of people.

Also in 1981, less than two years of coming to power, on the 20th of June the regime started its crackdown on the opposition parties and organizations including their members. Further, waves of mass arrests, tortures, and executions were carried out: the regime executed 300-500 people every day, a total of up to 7000 people were executed that year, some for merely reading opposition handouts. There is no precise information about the exact number of people that were arrested and executed since the regime carried out this cleansing act in secret and buried the bodies in unmarked mass burial sites. The parents of those executed were never informed of their children’s grave. Some estimate that between 1981 and 1988 a total of 20,000 innocent men and women were executed by the current regime in Iran.

20th of June 2011

In support of the call by CFPPI the International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran was held in 50 cities across the globe. For more information please Contact us.

20th of June 2010

CFPPI called 20th of June to be recognized as The International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran. This was done to highlight the imprisonment, torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners in Iran over the past three decades.

20 June 2009

Following the so-called “election” of Ahmadinejad in summer of 2009, thousands of demonstrators came to the streets in different cities in Iran. Thousands of demonstrators, some of them as young as 13, were arrested, brutally tortured and raped. As you read these lines, many of them are still in prison and awaiting their death sentence.

On the 20th of June 2009 the day that Neda Agha-Soltan (a 27-year-old philosophy student) was shot to death by the snipers of the Islamic regime on the streets of Tehran, regime arrested more than 500 of the demonstrators!


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219. Free Iranian Labour Activist Zabiollah Bagheri

Labour activist arrested before Workers' Day

Fri, 04/27/2012

Iranian labour activist Zabiollah Bagheri was arrested in Esfahan this week, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters

.The labour activist was reported arrested on Tuesday, as the lead-up to International Worker Day has put Iranian authorities on alert for the possibility of labour protests.

Bagheri was summoned by factory security as he was leaving work and was taken to an undetermined location by three officials in plain clothes.

The reason for the arrest and his whereabouts remain unknown.

The report indicates that in recent months, Bagheri was involved in organizing labour protests against the non-payment of wages and the suspension of worker benefits.

Bahgheri was previously arrested during the funeral ceremony for dissident cleric Ayatollah Montazeri in December of 2009.

The Kaleme opposition website reports that with the approach of May Day, the Islamic Republic has been ratcheting up pressure on labour activists and groups, and many workers have been summoned and threatened with arrest if they are caught participating in any labour event to mark the occasion.

The government has remained silent about a formal request from labour organizations to organize a march on May Day.

Source : Radio Zamaneh

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220. African Commission: To Fully Implement ACmPHR Decision on Mauritania


African Commission: To Fully Implement ACmHPR Decision on Mauritania

We are writing to invite Mauritanian Diaspora and allies to sign the petition below, supporting the work of the African Commission on Mauritania and requesting effective follow-up on the decision in Malawi Africa Association, et al. v. Mauritania (Communications 54/91-61/91, 96/93-98/93, 164/97, 196/97-210/98), issued in 2000. The petition seeks the full implementation of the six recommendations by the African Commission in the decision, designed to address gross human rights violations. This is a critical moment as the Commission is preparing to hold a hearing on implementation of the decision during its 51st Ordinary Session in Banjul.

In 2000, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) issued a landmark omnibus decision, addressing dozens of communications filed against Mauritania concerning severe human rights violations perpetrated by the government between 1986 and 1992. The Commission examined, inter alia, alleged Charter violations based on an array of atrocities, perpetrated or incited by the government of Mauritania against its citizens and in particular against members of various black ethnic groups. In its decision, the Commission found the government was responsible for grave or massive violations of human rights, including ethnic discrimination, torture, illegal detention, extrajudicial killings and mass expulsions of Black Mauritanians (Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or treatment), 6 (“massive violations,” right to liberty and security of person), as well as perpetuation of slavery and related degrading practices (Article 5)).

The decision included six recommendations designed to remedy the violations and to compensate the thousands of victims involved: (1) the need for an independent inquiry and prosecutions; (2) rehabilitation and reintegration of expellees; (3) compensation of widows and beneficiaries; (4) reinstatement of workers; (5) the eradication of slavery; and (6) effective enforcement of an anti-slavery statute.

Your participation in this collective effort to fully implement the decisions of African Commission on Human and People’s Rights will be greatly appreciated.

To learn more about the dossier, please click on this link:
Sponsoring Organizations:
Open Society Justice Initiative
400 West 59th St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 547-6999

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa
949 Brusubi Layout, AU Summit Highway
P.O. 1896 Banjul, The Gambia
(220) 4410413/4

For more information, please contact Mr. Humphrey Sipalla, Publications and Communications Officer at:



Commission Africaine: Pour l’Application Pleine de la Décision du ACmHPR sur la Mauritanie

Nous écrivons pour inviter les Mauritaniens de la Diaspora et leurs alliés à signer la pétition ci-dessous pour soutenir le travail de la Commission Africaine sur la Mauritanie et demander un suivi efficace de la décision de Malawi Africa Association, et al. v. Mauritanie (Communications 54/91-61/91, 96/93-98/93, 164/97, 196/97-210/98), publiée en 2000. La pétition vise l’application pleine des six recommandations de la Commission Africaine contenues dans la décision en reponse aux graves violations des droits de l'homme. Ce moment est crucial pendant que la Commission se prépare à tenir une audience sur la mise en œuvre de la décision durant sa 51eme session ordinaire a Banjul.

En 2000, la Commission Africaine des Droits Humains et des Peuples (CADHP) a rendu une décision historique de portee generale, relative aux dizaines de communications déposées contre la Mauritanie concernant les graves violations des droits humains perpétrées par le gouvernement entre 1986 et 1992. La Commission a examiné, entre autres, des violations de la Charte basees sur une panoplie d’atrocités, perpétrées ou incitees par le gouvernement de la Mauritanie contre ses citoyens et en particulier contre des membres de divers groupes ethniques noirs. Dans sa décision, la Commission a constaté que le gouvernement était responsable de violations graves ou massives des droits de l'homme, y compris la discrimination ethnique, la torture, la détention illégale, les exécutions extrajudiciaires et des expulsions massives de Mauritaniens noirs (articles 4 (droit à la vie), 5 (torture, traitements inhumains ou dégradants), 6 (violations massives, le droit à la liberté et la sécurité de la personne), ainsi que la perpétuation de l'esclavage et les pratiques dégradantes qui en sont relatives (article 5)).

La décision comprenait six recommandations visant à remédier aux violations et d'indemniser les milliers de victimes concernees: (1) la nécessité d'une enquête indépendante et des poursuites judiciaires; (2) la réhabilitation et la réinsertion des expulsés; (3) l'indemnisation des veuves et des ayant droit; (4) la réintégration des travailleurs; (5) l'éradication de l'esclavage, et (6) l'application effective d'une loi anti-esclavagiste.

Votre participation à cet effort collectif pour mettre pleinement en œuvre les décisions de la Commission africaine des Droits Humains et des Peuples sera grandement appréciée.

Pour en savoir plus sur le dossier, s'il vous plaît cliquer sur ce lien:
Les organisations sponsors :
Open Society Justice Initiative
400 West 59th St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 547-6999

L’ Institut pour les Droits Humains et le Développement en Afrique
949 Brusubi Layout, AU Summit Highway
P.O. 1896 Banjul, The Gambia
(220) 4410413/4

Pour plus d'informations, s'il vous plaît contacter M. Humphrey Sipalla, Charge de Publications et de Communications à l'adresse suivante:

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221. Citizen's Arrest of Stephen Harper

English version, French version below. Version anglaise, version française ci-dessous.





The accused, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, stands charged:

THAT he has and continues to commit High Treason and conspire with Members of Parliament against the people of all provinces and territories by failing to comply or communicate with Her Majesty the Queen in the Right of Canada in regards to levying war by purchasing F-35 fighter jets during peacetime under questionable circumstances (Appendix A), legislating the Crime Omnibus which creates a war zone for Canadian citizens (Appendix B), violating four sections of the Canadian Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act, 1982 (Appendix C), and violating three articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations (Appendix D).

Version française.





L'accusé, Stephen Harper, Premier ministre, est accusée:

Ce qu'il a et continuera à commettre une haute trahison et de conspiration avec des membres du Parlement contre le peuple de toutes les provinces et les territoires en omettant de se conformer ou communiquer avec Sa Majesté la Reine du chef du Canada en ce qui concerne la guerre perception par l'achat de F-35 de combat jets en temps de paix dans des circonstances douteuses (Annexe A), légiférer sur la Omnibus Crime qui crée une zone de guerre pour les citoyens canadiens (Annexe B), la violation de quatre du Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, La Loi Constitutionnelle de 1982, Canada (Annexe C), et de violer trois articles de La Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme, Organisation des Nations Unies (Annexe D).

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222. Return Due Process to Mississippi

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
~The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

With the NDAA's indefinite detainment without due process clause, (meaning legally, the Federal Government can arrest anyone for anything at any time secretly) It is time to recognize that Mississippians could lose their right to a fair trial.

With new bills being introduced to take away our first amendment rights, we should be worried about the consequences of disagreeing with any legal policies the government wants to implement.

If there is a suspected terrorist or protester, they should have the right to a fair trial by a jury of their peers to determine if their actions were illegal, and to determine the extent of punishment under law.

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223. Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei to release Nasrin Sotoudeh

This letter will be sent to Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei on May 14, 2012.

You can add your signature to letter through this petition.

Thanks to all those who decide to sign!

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224. Free Saudi Human Rights Activist Mohammed al-Bajadi NOW!!

Mohammed al-Bajadi, leader of Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was detained in March 2011 for supporting families gathering outside the interior ministry in Riyadh to demand the release of detained relatives.

His trial on various charges, including the tarnishing of the state's reputation, has been suspended as he refused to recognize the court. Judges have prohibited Mr Bajadi's lawyers from attending his trial at the Specialised Criminal Court, a state security tribunal for terrorism cases.

On the weekend, ACPRA published a letter from Mr Bajadi which was smuggled out of his prison by someone who visited another inmate.

"I inform you that I am still continuing with my hunger strike," he wrote.

"On Tuesday 20 March I was taken to the prison hospital for a check-up and force fed in the presence of five soldiers and the ward officer."

He added: "I have lost around 10kg (22lb) and my blood sugar level, according to them, has dropped to a dangerous level."

Activists tried unsuccessfully to visit Mr Bajadi in prison on 2 April.

"The interior ministry... carries full responsibility over the deteriorating health condition of the prominent rights activist and member of the association, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Bajadi," ACPRA said in a statement.

Mr Bajadi "stopped drinking water early Saturday... fainting four times in a row, which proves that his life is in danger and his death inevitable."

But on Tuesday evening, the interior ministry rejected the claim.

"Mohammed al-Bajadi did not go on hunger strike and he is in good health, consuming food on a regular basis and in the company of other inmates," Mr Turki told the Reuters news agency.

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225. Free Isma’il Othman al-Salihah, Age 70, Held In Communicado By Syrian Regime

Isma’il Othman al-Salihah, age 70, is from from Maarat al-Numaan, in the north-western Idlib province. He was arrested on 19 March 2012. An eye-witness told Isma’il Othman al-Salihah’s son Ghassan al-Salihah, that his father was arrested at a temporary check-point near the city of Aleppo, known by locals to be controlled by the Air Force Intelligence Directorate (Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-Jawiyya)--possibly the most powerful of Assad's secret police agencies

Ghassan al-Salihah, who participated in pro-reform demonstrations and other activities, believes his father was arrested in relation to pro-reform activities by family members. Ghassan al-Salihah, who is not currently in Syria, was detained by State Security officials on 31 April 2011 in relation to his activities and was released without charge on 1 June 2011 in a general amnesty covering "all members of political movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood”.

Isma’il Othman al-Salihah is a retired secondary school teacher and, according to his son, has not been politically active since pro-reform demonstrations began in 2011.

If he was arrested solely in relation his son’s activities, then he is a prisoner of conscience who is at terrible risk of torture as long as he is being held incommunicado. There is further concern for Isma’il Othman al-Salihah’s well-being as he requires daily medication for diabetes and high blood pressure.

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226. STOP involuntary confinement, treatment of Jhilmil Breckenridge

In response to the fact that Ms. Jhilmil Breckenridge, being locked up at IHBAS- Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, Shahdara, Delhi (also known as Shahdara Mental Asylum) against her consent has alerted and shocked many women who have undergone similar incarceration and emotional trauma. She was picked up by policemen and is in lock up at the asylum.

Ms. Jhilmil, a wonderful, warm, vibrant woman and mother of 4 children, has been forcibly institutionalised in the Shahadara mental asylum. She was becoming 'too difficult' to manage. And this, despite the fact that she has a supportive doctor who has confirmed over many instances throughout communications between her family and friends that she is NOT going through symptoms of mania (she has had a previous diagnosis of Bipolar).

Background, which is hugely facilitating a medico legal charge of insanity: She is in the middle of a difficult divorce - perhaps that explains why she is getting 'too difficult' to manage. Her reactions in any way, from holding her child, to being moody and difficult are being classified as 'mad'. She has asked for help from other authority figures, but they have only been shooed away by statements such as: 'Do not take her words seriously, she is crazy'.

Institutionalizing her is against the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Article 5: Equality and Non-Discrimination
Article 6: Women with Disabilities
Article 10: Right to Life
Article 12: Equal Recognition before the Law
Article 13: Access to Justice
Article 14: Liberty and security of the person
Article 15: Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Article 16: Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
Article 17: Protecting the integrity of the person
Article 19: Living in the community
Article 25: Health

Her case is that of thousands of other women in this country who have had to face atrocities due to laws that continue to function despite the ratification of UNCRPD in 2007. How many, many women have been towed away into asylums on an insanity petition, so that the man can gain custody of children, be irresponsible about alimony, hide domestic violence, and obscure an extra marital affair before the public eye and the eye of justice?

Jhilmil is eminently able to take care of herself, is a yoga teacher, and has a self discipline about her own well being and recovery. She is an inspiration to many regarding recovery and well being.

Her doctor's word is not sufficient for her release when she is being held under a government psychiatrist.

Read supporting documents at:

Documents pertaining to CRPD and human rights can be accessed at:

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227. Give our community a greater say in the licensing of lap dancing clubs

At present, lap dancing clubs are licensed in the same way as cafes and restaurants. But lap dancing clubs are part of the sex industry, not the ordinary leisure industry.

By adopting Schedule 3 Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council will be able to stop licensing lap dancing clubs like cafes and start applying necessary controls and regulations to the clubs. By adopting Schedule 3, local people will also be given a greater say in the licensing process.

The Gender Equality Duty 2007 legally requires local authorities to promote equality between women and men in all that they do. The Gender Equality Duty is particularly relevant in relation to the licensing of sex establishments because of the gendered nature of sex establishments like lap dancing clubs, and because of the negative impact that lap dancing clubs have on efforts to promote equality between women and men.

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228. Support Bill 310 and Stop Legal Prostitution to prevent further Human trafficking

1) In response to the recent legalization of prostitution ALLOWED in Bawdy houses, and victimizers and traffickers who can now disguise themselves as Body guards, phone operators and drivers to continue Exploiting women and Children and living off their avails. I have created a petition and expect to acquire 1000 signatures and Postal codes to help create awareness to appeal the Ontario court of Appeal decision and the consequences of it. Just because it can be taxed and legal does not make it immoral.

I have sent a copy to Human Trafficking Advocates and a copy to the Supreme Court Of Canada and The Prime Minister, Premier of Ontario and Members of Parliament regarding this urgent matter.

Article 1:
Prostitution laws struck down Article 2: Court ruling won't help protect most vulnerable prostitutes





Explanation/Concerns If the law for prostitution legalized is not appealed:

Ontario is probably the next landmark for human trafficking there is no law or prohibition in preventing men and women from driving the girls, bringing them to and from brothels or their home in peoples family neighborhoods and no way to tell if they are being "manipulated exploited" by others.

Employment rates are down already, men and women who would be owners of escort agencies will exploit them, they have to perform acts even if they do not want to,RUNAWAYS, ABUSED, vulnerable younger girls/boys wanting to make fast money and dropping out of school unless they have morals, or a good family and a stable income. Now perpetrators will be fueled and have a reason to exploit them it’s legal to transport them, and if they live together how do you prove they are living off the avails, there is no enforcement of these big factors not to mention Ontario will be a port of trafficking now worse than before.

I feel afraid for the new generation, the message that humans can be bought, IT doesn’t make it right to legalize something immoral as long as they can tax it?

I also am worried about my nieces and friends children. Also our young generation, this message is saying that it is ok for a guy to buy sex and/or females it is vs. Education and Morality and Employment Once again, I am calling for your support and immediate action to criminalize prostitution and bawdy houses, and to abolish the “support staff permitted aka pimps” and protect the minors and new immigrants from human trafficking, as Ontario will be a hub for prostitution for minors as there is no way to completely enforce protection for them. THEREFORE WE MUST STAND UP FOR CANADA AND SAY NO WE WONT ALLOW FURTHER EXPLOITATION

MP wrote the petition for me and I am posting it below
WE THE UNDERSIGNED CITIZENS OF CANADA, draw attention to the House to the following:

WHEREAS it is internationally acknowledged that the median age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 years of age;

WHEREAS 92% of prostitutes would leave prostitution if they could;

WHEREAS the demand for commercial sex with women and children is the root cause for prostitution and trafficking for sexual purposes;

WHEREAS child prostitution and violence towards women have increased in countries where prostitution has been legalized;

THEREFORE your petitioners request that Parliament amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services and criminalize the purchasing of sexual services and provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.

We are asking for tougher laws to be proactive against crime. The legalization of bawdy houses will not help the victims but cause more trafficked children and women and victims.


Josy Chafoya LOG1B0

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229. Free Kurdish Syrian Student Activist Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed

Student activist, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed, a member of Syria’s Kurdish minority, has not been seen since 3 March. There are fears he may have been arrested by the security forces. If so, with the security forces denying he is in their custody, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is a student at the University of Aleppo. He was last seen when he left the apartment he shares with fellow students around on 3 March. A contact told Amnesty International that after he left the apartment, heavily armed but unidentified security officials raided it, taking Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s laptop. Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed was previously arrested and detained for about 10 days in relation to his involvement in student activism and focus on Kurdish rights. He recently changed apartments in fear of another arrest.

On 5 March, Military Security officials visited Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s family in Qamishli, north-eastern Syria. The men enquired about Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s activities, his age, and education. When the family asked about the whereabouts of their son, the men denied that he was in their custody and insisted that their enquiry was routine. His family has received no information concerning his fate or whereabouts since 3 March but believes the available information points to his having been arrested.

If, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is now detained by security forces, the authorities should immediately inform his family of his whereabouts, permit him to make contact with them, and ensure that he has access to a lawyer and necessary medical care. He should be released unless he is charged with a recognizable criminal offence and tried in compliance with international fair trial standards. If he is held for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly then Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and would call for his immediate and unconditional release.

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230. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia MUST STAY!

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia MUST STAY!

Justice delayed is justice denied.

End the degrading treatment of Refugees.

Grant asylum to Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia NOW.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are lesbian/gay activists and civil rights leaders from Uganda and Senegal, nations where openly gay people are politically persecuted, imprisoned and murdered for being gay. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew, and Proscovia are seeking political asylum in Britain. Their outspoken and public opposition to the anti-gay political policies of the Ugandan and Senegalese governments means that a decision by the British government to return them to Uganda or Senegal is tantamount to a death sentence.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are members of the Movement for Justice and leaders of the struggles against racism and the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers here in Britain. They are also tireless leaders of the struggle for lesbian/gay equality in Britain, Africa and other parts of the world. Both the governments and anti-gay death squads of Uganda and Senegal know their sexual orientation.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia have not been granted asylum, even though each of them filed a claim many months ago. Three survived torture; the fourth’s partner was tortured and killed. Living under the constant threat of deportation, never knowing what the next day holds, is an especially excruciating experience for these political asylum seekers.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia have not been granted asylum thus far because of their political activism in Britain. All four are members of the Movement for Justice and leaders of the struggles against racism and the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers here in Britain. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are also tireless leaders of the struggle for lesbian/gay equality in Britain, Africa and other parts of the world. They are precisely the kind of leaders that Britain needs to progress as a society.

Last year Britain co-sponsored a Joint Statement on LGBT Rights by 85 countries at the United Nations, calling on governments like Uganda and Senegal to end the torture of LGBT people, protect their safety and human rights, and stop treating homosexuality as a criminal offence. Granting asylum to Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia is an easy, direct and meaningful way for the British government to show that its pious words will be backed by action.

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231. Thirsting for Justice: Stop the demolition of Rain Collecting Cisterns in Area C of the West Bank

1. From 2010 to 2011 there was an over 50% increase in cistern demolitions in Area C of the West Bank. International and local NGO’s have underlined this as concerted political strategy to target essential livelihood structures and force the displacement of Palestinians. From 2009 to 2011, nearly four hundred Palestinians were internally displaced as a direct result of the destruction of water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure.

2. Israel simultaneously violates its legal obligations as an occupying power under IHL, clearly stated by Article 54 of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, by not refraining from demolishing objects indispensible to the survival of the civilian population. Israel also violates its obligations as a signatory to international human rights conventions to respect, protect and fulfill the right to water of Palestinians. Additionally, both Israeli and Palestinian authorities issued a joint declaration in 2001, “for keeping water infrastructure out of the cycle of violence,” essentially but ineffectively protecting cisterns.

3. Rain collecting cisterns are essential water sources in Area C of the West Bank - an area which faces chronic water shortages due to lack of infrastructure developments and inadequate resource distribution. The survival of hundreds of Palestinian communities is dependent on cisterns as the main source of water for livestock, crops and domestic use. Cisterns are structures that collect rain water posing neither a threat a threat to the environment, nor is their destruction required by imperative military necessity which under International Law would be the only legal justification.

4. The policies aimed at cistern demolitions should be viewed in the larger context of occupation and the enforcement of a restrictive planning regime controlled by the Israeli military. To date, all structures are subject to a permit procedure which rarely grants Palestinians building permits. This hinders nearly all development in Area C, and puts many structures at risk of being demolished, including cisterns. Rain collecting cisterns should be excluded from the inefficient planning system and should not be subject to demolitions.

5. Urgent action is need now - 2012 will be a critical year for at-risk communities living in Area C, with the High Court of Justice making unprecedented rulings on cases linked to planning and demolitions, greater pressure coming from settler organizations, and over 3,000 outstanding demolitions orders existing today.

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232. Free the 3 medical workers in Bahrain

Three medical workers are currently in prison in Bahrain following the uprising in early 2011. They are Mr Ahmed Almushatat (a pharmacist), Mr Hassan Matooq (a nurse) and Mr Younis Ashoori (a hospital administrator). All were convicted at military trials and are reported to have been subjected to torture.

There are particular grave concerns over the health of Younis Ashoori, age 60, who suffers from a number of medical conditions and deteriorating health.

'Doctors In Chains' received this testimony from a family member following a recent court hearing where he spoke of his treatment in prison:

'Younis also said that as a result of torture, once he started urinating blood, he was taken to the BDF (Bahrain Defense Force) military hospital. The Doctor there asked him: “Where does it hurt you the most?” Younis replied: “My kidney”. Then the Doctor punched him on the kidney. Everybody in the courtroom was disturbed when they heard this'

You may read more about the 3 cases here:

Please help promote this petition and free these three good men who do not deserve to spend a single day more in prison.

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233. Holy Graves Restoration in Saudi Arabia


During the first quarter of 20th century, the British authorities made the leader of nomadic tribe, Abudl Aziz ibn Saud the king and altered Arabia to Saudi Arabia. Since that time the country is autocratically ruled under the nomadic ways and Wahhabi ideas.
By nature nomads do not settle at any location in the desert, so the graves are merely inconsequential disposing points for their dead.

In absolute contrast to such nomadic norms, Muslims unreservedly respect all graves regardless. Above all, the Holy grave of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is held in extreme honour and immense spiritual reverence. The graves of immediate family members of Prophet Mohammed, his relations, companions and other prominent personalities of Islam, buried in Jannat-ul-Al-Baqi in Madina and Jannat-ul-Maaula, in Makkah are as well duly revered by all followers of Islamic faith.

On 27 April 1925 the regime of Saudi Arabia conducted certain sacrilegious acts, in that, hundreds of Muslim inhabitants of Medina, for not being Wahhabi, were punished and killed, many revered historical shrines of Islamic heritage were demolished, the extraordinarily sacred graveyards of Al-Baqi and Al-Maulla were desecrated and levelled to ground. Serious attempts were also made to demolish the Green Dom of Masjid-al-Nabawi. Whereas practical attempts to demolish the grave of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the graves of his two companions, was somehow stopped by the personal intervention of King Abul Aziz ibn Saud.

These sacrilegious acts of desecrations attest unreasonable and unacceptable imposition of Wahhabi ideology upon Muslims. These violations have inflicted serious emotional, cultural and historical damages upon a vast majority of Islamic community and its upsetting affects have not diminished in the least; these were than strenuously detested by the Muslims all over the world and as at present are equally despised

These Holy Graveyards are Islamic heritage of immeasurable historical and spiritual importance and symbols of respect and homage to the family of Holy Prophet (PBUH) as well as other prominently revered personalities of Islam like the Daughter of the Holy Prophet Fatima Zahra (S.A.). Being sacrosanct to all Muslims of the world, it has become imperative that these Holy Graveyards should forthwith, fully and dignifiedly restored by virtues of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 – Declaration on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief – General Assembly Resolution 35/55 of 25 November 1981 and other Human Rights Conventions.


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234. بيان الأطباء لرفض إهانة نقابة الأطباء المصرية لسميرة إبراهيم وبنات مصر

أرفض البيان الصادر باسم نقابة الأطباء الذي يعلن فيه أن النقابة شاركت في الدفاع عن الطبيب المتهم بكشوف العذرية وأعتذر باسمي الشخصي كطبيب وإنسان قبل أي شيء لسميرة إبراهيم وكل بنات مصر الذين أصابهم من العسكر ما أصابهم مما لم يفعله الصهاينة في حربنا معهموأطالب نقابة أطباء مصر بالاعتذار وإصدار البيان التالي

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235. President Obama: End mistreatment of American children; Ratify the CRC!

Three former U.S. Presidents have denied children their basic human rights, and Obama will too unless we demand action. The CRC, The Convention on The Rights of the Child, is an international treaty that has been ratified by every country on Earth except the U.S. and Somalia. The CRC can change childrenʼs lives by finally giving our children their basic human rights.

These two children are paying for this:
Cristian Fernandez is a 12-year-old boy who faces life in prison.
This 6 year old Texan boy was hospitalized after a school paddling.

Thousands of children in America suffer in similar ways! But Obama has the power to stop this by ratifying the CRC!

What does the CRC guarantee American children?
•The right to play.
•The right to be safe.
•The right to practice the religion of their choice.
•The right to an education without physical punishment.
•The right to be tried as a child, and not sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 1995, President Clinton signed the CRC, but he didnʼt send it to the Senate. It is time for our President to take real action. Obama says heʼs committed to improving the lives of our children. He says he values their well-being. He says itʼs an embarrassment that the U.S hasn't ratified the CRC.

Enough talk, Mr. President. It’s time for action!

Over 200 non-profits support the CRC, yet a small group of people are afraid of children having rights. They think parents should have 'fundamental rightsʼ over their children, to include the fundamental right to be criminally negligent parents.
. Here are a few of the crimes that will start to disappear:
. Child beatings occur in schools in 19 states more than 200,000 times a year.
. Approximately 6 million cases of child abuse go unreported annually.
. At least 200,000 children are sexually trafficked across the U.S. annually.
. The U.S. is the only country on earth to imprison children for life without parole.
. America is the worst offender of child abuse in the Industrialized World.

It is time to end the hypocrisy, and give children their rights. It is time for our President to do the right thing.

Please also sign the petition on

For more information about...
The CRC:
Corporal Punishment:
Imprisoning children for life:
Child Abuse:
Take a Stand for the End of child abuse:
Child trafficking:

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236. US Must Disclose Attempted Defector's Testimony about China's Organ Harvesting of Live Political Prisoners

Wang Lijun, formerly the director of public security and vice mayor of the southwestern China megapolis of Chongqing, fearing that Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s Communist Party chief, meant to assassinate him, fled on Feb. 6 to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, a four-hour drive west.

He spent over 24 hours in the consulate and, according to a Radio France International report, revealed to consular officials details about crimes committed by him and Bo. He then left Chengdu under the protection of Beijing security officials.

Prominent among Wang’s crimes was his participation in forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, a practice the Chinese regime has denied. Earlier in his career, Wang gave a speech in which he discussed his involvement in organ harvesting.

In 2006, three years after becoming director of the public security bureau in Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, Wang was given an award—but it wasn’t for fighting crime. Wang had done pioneering research on how best to transplant organs taken from prisoners—who were possibly still alive when their organs were removed—and honed his techniques over thousands of on site trials.

Wang received the award in September 2006 from the Guanghua Science and Technology Foundation, a charitable organization meant to promote science and technology to youth. According to its website it is under the direct leadership of the Communist Youth League, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mass organizations used for recruitment.

For a veteran policeman, to see someone being executed and to see this person’s organs being transplanted to several other persons’ bodies, it was profoundly stirring.

In Wang’s acceptance speech, which is still available online (and archived here), he thanks Guanghua Foundation staff for “painstakingly traveling” to Liaoning Province to observe his work.

He notes one time when Guanghua staff had to rush back from overseas to view a trial. “They wanted to witness organ transplantation and examine it from their point of view: organ transplant benefits the public and improves Chinese law enforcement in a humane and democratic way,” Wang said.

“As we all know, the so-called ‘on the scene research’ is the result of several thousand intensive on-site transplants,” he added.

Wang accepted the award as director of the “On-the-Scene Psychological Research Center,” which according to its entry on the website of the Ministry of Commerce is an adjunct of Jinzhou City’s public security bureau. Its brief introduction says it has relationships and scholarly exchanges with universities in over 10 countries. Emails to the research center were not returned, and calls to the number listed did not go through.

In his acceptance speech, Wang said, “For a veteran policeman, to see someone being executed and to see this person’s organs being transplanted to several other persons’ bodies, it was profoundly stirring. This is a great endeavor that involved much hard work from many people. The secretary general of China Guanghua Foundation, Jinyang and his staff were right there at the transplant scene, they have experienced it all with us.”

In a speech given on the occasion of Wang’s award, Ren Jinyang, the secretary general of the Guanghua Foundation, explained that Wang was recognized for his “basic research and on-site experiments” in making transplant recipients more receptive to organs.

“They have created a brand new protective fluid,” Ren said. “After animal tests, out of body tests, and clinical operations, they have achieved an important milestone where the recipients become more receptive to a liver and kidney injected with such protective fluid.”

“The so called ‘research scene’ that Wang Lijun refers to is either an outright execution site with medical vans, or possibly a medical ward, where peoples’ organs are surgically removed,” said Ethan Gutmann, who has published extensively on organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience.

He added that the injections that the award refers to are probably “anti-coagulants and experimental medications that lower the chance of immune-system rejection as the organ is passed between one living body—heart still beating, soon to expire from the trauma—to another.” Gutmann added that this is “normal medical practice” in China, where hospitals, military hospitals, and public security bureaus intersect.

“There is zero guarantee that consent was involved,” Gutmann said. “Ample evidence has come to light that the victims could well have been Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, ‘Eastern Lightning’ Christians or—exponentially more likely—Falun Gong practitioners. In other words, Wang Lijun received an award for, at best, barbarism.”

David Matas, an award-winning Canadian human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former Canadian secretary of state (Asia/Pacific) and crown attorney, co-authored a report on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. The pair estimate that in the six-year period 2000–2005, 60,000 transplantation operations were done in China and Falun Gong practitioners were the likely source for the organs for 41,500 operations.

In other words, approximately two-thirds of the organs used in transplant operations during this time period—which in part overlaps the period of Wang’s “research”—came from prisoners of conscience, most of whom would have been Falun Gong.

CQ Global Researcher, a leading global affairs journal, quotes Kilgour and Matas and Gutmann as independently estimating over 62,000 practitioners have been killed for their organs in the period 2000–2008.

Live Harvesting
In the eyes of experts, a significant question left worryingly open in Wang’s remarks is whether the prisoners actually died before their organs were taken from their bodies. Given the reference to drug injections, it is highly possible that the hearts of the victims were still beating when their organs were removed, these experts say.

“It used to be that China would shoot for execution, then they shifted from shooting to using injections,” says Matas. “In effect they’re not killing by injection, but paralyzing by injection, and taking the organs out while the body is still alive.”

When an organ is removed from a still-live body, it is fresher and rejection rates are lower. “It’s possible to source an organ immediately after the victim is brain dead, but much more complicated,” says Matas. “The organ deterioration is more marked once they are brain dead, but if you keep the body alive through drugs you can harvest organs over a longer period of time.”

Wang’s conversations with the U.S. consular officials in Chengdu might shed light on such details as the function of the drugs he used in transplantation operations in Liaoning Province.

In any case Wang’s visit to the consulate provides the best opportunity to date of confirmation from a Chinese official of the ongoing practice of forced organ harvesting in China.

At a press conference on Monday in Washington, D.C., Falun Gong spokesperson Dr. Tsuwei Huang called on the U.S. government to release the contents of Wang Lijun’s conversations.

US House Resolution 605, passed by a vote of 412-1 in March 2010, cites the United Nations Committee Against Torture report that calls for an "independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants."

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237. Save N. Korean defectors from being deported back to N. Korea

Chinese government called these refugees "are not refugees but illegal defectors, that ran away to China for simple economic reasons" and kept their policy of sending them back to North Korea.

International communities have been heavily criticizing China's policies, and Korean government as well as international communities have been requesting China to reconsider them as refugees and treat them in more humanitarian way.

North Korean defectors that get sent back to North Korea are put in political prisons under the crime of "enemy of the people", followed by forced labor, torture, and even public execution.

Fully knowing all these facts, China still sends them back to North Korea as illegal criminals.

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238. Petition against an offensive article in the newspaper Delo# in Kyrgyzstan

On February 9, 2012 a newspaper Delo# published an article "A gang of prostitutes."
This article is written in a vulgar and insulting tone. It stigmatizes and demeans the human dignity of homosexual people.

9 февраля 2012 года газета Дело№ опубликовала статью «Шайка проститутов».

Эта статья написана в вульгарном, оскорбительном тоне. Она стигматизирует и унижает человеческое достоинство гомосексуальных людей.

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239. Free Syrian Journalist Mazen Darwish And Activists Hussein Gharir and Hani Zaitan

"I have learnt that the road to democracy is as far from the path of extremism and terrorism as it is from dictatorships and tyranny. May be, that the situation went in Syria worse than our worst nightmares, but can we give up the right to change our reality or our legitimate ambitions to freedom, because those mottos were used as a ride for tyrannical authoritarian regimes and violent Takfiri movements? Do we have to chew the cud of our experiences in the Arab world time af…ter time for each, time tyranny and corruption married, they only beget extremism, violence and terrorism.....One one one.... Syrian nation is one.... Syrian blood is one..... Syrian future is one." ~Mazen Darwish, writing from prison upon his receipt of the 2013 Bruno Kreisky Award.

UPDATE JUNE 26, 2013--Mazen Darwish is a Syrian lawyer and free speech advocate. He is the president of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (CMFE) News organizations including Reuters and the Associated Press have described him as one of Syria's most prominent activists.

Darwish was arrested on 16 February 2012 by men believed to be from the intelligence arm of the Syrian Air Force. Fifteen other journalists and activists were arrested on the same day, including blogger Razan Ghazzawi and Darwish's wife, journalist Yara Badr While Badr was released in May, Darwish was subject to forced disappearance with no official statements of his whereabouts or status. The Switzerland-based International Commission of Jurists reported in August that Darwish was being tried before a secret military court and could face a death sentence with no appeal.
Also imprisoned are Student Activist Hussein Gharir and University Instructor Hani Zaitan.

Full Text of Mr. Darwish's Acceptance Speech:

Esteemed Bruno Kreisky Foundation Board and staff..

Ladies and Gentlemen..

First, I would like to thank you all for coming today and for honoring me with this award that holds the name of Bruno Kreisky; the emblem, this award which persons like Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto and Lula da Silva has preceded me to it.

Though, there is no greater happiness for a prisoner than of the feeling that the outer world is remembering him, but before the devastation and the bloodshed that engulfed my homeland, the feeling of happiness becomes a kind of luxury that I am ashamed to have it.

Ladies and gentlemen..

I would to like to make a confession to you:

I always looked with wonder to Mr. Kreisky asking myself why a firm fighter and a statesman pushed his nation to permanent neutrality leaving voluntarily the ecstasy of victory and the joy of winning, till I have realized that there is no winner in wars, everybody is a loser, and there is nothing good in war except its ending.

From Baghdad to Budapest, Lebanon to Prague and from Vietnam to the two Koreas, I have learnt that there is nothing good in war except its ending, and from the victims of wars to the victims of racial indiscrimination in South Africa, to Rwanda and Bosnia to the victims of tyranny in our Arab world and Franco and Pinochet and the Greek colonels, I have learnt that the road to democracy is as far from the path of extremism and terrorism as it is from dictatorships and tyranny.

Ladies and gentlemen..

May be, that the situation went in Syria worse than our worst nightmares, but can we give up the right to change our reality or our legitimate ambitions to freedom, dignity and citizenship or our duty to reduce inequality and providing more freedom to our societies, because those mottos were used as a ride for tyrannical authoritarian regimes and violent Takfiri movements?

Do we have to chew the cud of our experiences in the Arab world time after time for each, time tyranny and corruption married, they only beget extremism, violence and terrorism.

Yes .. we want freedom and dignity and justice and yes we deserve it, but it surly is not the freedom of dying under torture or slaughtered, it is not to be killed by a shell from a jet or a by car bomb, it is the freedom of life on the basis of sharing and coalition between the universality of human rights values and the privacy of local social relations in order to reshape global human sphere that makes the life itself a moral human experience and we look at it as more owned by others than us.

Ladies and gentlemen

I wish I could address so many people by their names through your rostrum if time allows, but they are much more than time and far from the words to describe.

I want to address my colleagues who went with me to detention and to those who were lucky enough not get detained:

I am honored that I worked with you and touched your dreams and sorrows.

My friends who amaze me with their loyalty and adherence to what we believed in:

Do not lose your faith even those who do not have the bricks to build threw the sin at you.

My wonderful family.. thank you for your patience, love and support for all these hard years:

Nothing seems meaningful without your presence.

Jailers who assume their responsibility to discipline me for ten months, and especially to those who disciplined in the first days of Eid al-Adha :

I feel sorry for all of us and I wish a happy life for your children with no fear or torture but with festivals that are full of joy and love shared with my two children Inana and Adad.

Ladies and gentlemen

In the swirl of the crazy violence, I lost so much of my beloved, they were killed, detained, wounded, kidnapped, homeless like my colleague Dr. Ayham Ghazoul and the friend "Hasan Ahmad Azhary", my cousin first lieutenant Ali Darwish, my brother Sami Akel and my friend Khalil Matouk:

To them and to their families .. I bow

I strangled my tears because it is lesser than your sorrows, and I released my voice for you to get out to the sun hand in hand crying once again:

One one one
Syrian nation is one
Syrian blood is one
Syrian future is one

Mazen Darwish

10th June 2013



Syrians who have protested peacefully and spoken out against the brutal state machine are paying a high price for demanding freedom, writes an exiled human rights activist

As horrific events unfold in Syria, I think of Mazen Darwish and my other colleagues and what they might be working on had they not been in secret detention. Mazen would probably still be verifying videos, interviewing witnesses and sending out news releases in defence of arbitrarily detained activists. As the world watches people getting killed, and the brutality in Syria reaches new heights, I find myself missing his voice and principled approach more than ever.

I was the lucky one who was released on bail after a year of torture. But while we await the trial that I and other colleagues from the Syria Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression are facing, I know that Mazen and the others with him in secret detention would want me to be strong, and to keep telling the world about what Syrian human rights defenders endure in defence of those rights. When the Syrian security services descended on us, that February morning of 2012 in Damascus, we knew we would pay a high price for daring to exercise our right to protest peacefully, to organise, to speak out. We knew we were dealing with a ruthless, brutal state machine that did not tolerate dissent. We knew our work might cost us our lives.

And the price has been steep. In my 356 days of detention in an underground holding cell, I repeated like a mantra "freedom of expression, freedom of association" while security forces in the Syrian Army's Fourth Division detention facility in Mezze Damascus attempted to break my bones and crush my dreams. "Is this the freedom you want," they snorted at me while I tried to shield my head from their kicks. I raised my voice in my own head to try to cover the noises I was made to hear: cries of fellow detainees being tortured sometimes to death, being stripped out of their skin while their lives were being stripped out of them.

I wanted to survive. I wanted to look the world in the eye and say: we Syrians deserve to live as citizens. We have a right to gather, demonstrate, write freely, and hold our leaders accountable for breaking their contract with us, with humanity. I was eventually released. But they kept Mazen and our other colleagues Hussein Gharir and Hani Zaitan. Not a day goes by without me thinking of all three of them curled up in their damp cells, losing weight but not losing faith. I can still hear their voices, I can almost see them all sitting behind their computer screens, while the sun plays a game of hide and seek on that cold Damascus February day. I hold on to these memories of our office, full of life, hope, and a sense of urgency, as we documented abuses, informed the world about them, and stood up for our beliefs.

Our trial was to resume on June 26 and now has been postponed until late August. On that day, I will be with Mazen, Hussein, Hani, and Abdel Rahman Hamada, our other colleague still in Syria, in spirit in the Damascus courtroom where we will all be tried under the anti-terrorism law passed in July 2012 for "publicising terrorist acts". What is our crime? The publication of studies on the human rights and media situation in Syria, documenting the names of the detained, disappeared, wanted and killed within the context of the Syrian conflict, and receiving funding from western organisations? I still would like someone to explain to me how we qualify as terrorists. I would like to make sense of why we face up to 15 years in prison, with hard labour, for the legitimate work of documenting abuses and attempting to redress them.

While world leaders give statements about possible peace negotiations and plan a second round of Geneva talks, tens of thousands of Syrians remain detained in secret locations and inhumane conditions, subjected to torture because of their peaceful activism. As the crisis in Syria becomes more militarised, I know my colleagues would want me to remind the world that this whole affair started when peaceful Syrian activists felt it was time for the country to break with long decades of oppression and embrace a new era of freedom of expression and political participation. So to answer the question of those officers who tried to break my knees: no, this is not the freedom we want. What we are looking for is yet to come. When people like them, abusive officers, stand in courts to face charges of crimes against humanity.

And we will better them. We will not torture, disappear, kill, terrorise, and humiliate them. We will treat them with more humanity than they have shown us. We will teach them justice. Only then will I be able to answer: yes this is the freedom we want, this is the freedom we were ready to die for. This is the freedom of our colleague and friend Ayham Ghazoul who died while in detention. It might not be a coincidence then that our trial is to happen on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. It might be just the right message we want to send the world: we are being tortured for daring to speak out.
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FROM 2012--In a new escalation against freedom of expression and media work in Syria, the Office of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in Damascus was raided on Thursday 16 February at approximately one and a half PM by agents of the Air Intelligence Intelligence (Mazzeh branch).

The raid, that was carried out by members of the security apparatus along with a group of armed men, who caused panic and fear among employees and visitors of the center, especially since the officer in charge did not disclose the arrest or search warrants that are supposed to be issued by a public prosecutor.

The security forces took the IDs of SCM employees and visitors in addition to their mobile phones. They were prevented from proceeding their work and were asked to gather in one room until 4 PM; they were transferred to the Air force Intelligence detention center of Mazzeh then.

Following are the names of staff and administrators who have been arrested that day:

1 - Mazen Darwish, director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of expression.

2 - Yara Badr, Syrian journalist and the wife of Mazen Darwish.

3 - Hani Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Sociology and university teacher.

4 - Sana Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Sociology and wife Hani Zitani.

5 - Abdel Rahman Hamada, student at the Institute of Accounting.

6 - Hussein Gharir, graduate at the Faculty of Information Engineering.

7 - Mansour Al Omari, English literature graduate from Damascus University.

8 - Joan Fersso, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.

9 - Mayada Khalil, graduate at the University of archaeology in Aleppo.

10 – Ayham Ghazoul, a dentist.

11 - Bassam Al-Ahmed, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.

12 - Razan Ghazzawi, a graduate in English literature.

13 - Rita Dayoub.

Two visitors were also arrested; Shady Yazbek (student in medicine) and Hanadi Zahlout.

Female employees working at the center were released on Saturday 18 Feb 2012 around 10 PM (Yara Badr - Sanaa Mohsen - Mayada Khalil - Razan Ghazzawi) in addition to the visitor Hanadi Zahlout on one condition that at they are to show up at Air force Security every day from 9AM to 2PM for further investigation until unspecified date. Rita Dayoub was released.

The arrest of the President of the SCM, "Mazen Darwish," and male colleagues and visitor, however, continues: Hani Zitani - Abdel Rahman Hamada - Hussein Ghrer - Mansur Al Omari - Bassam Al-Ahmad -Ayham Ghazoul - Joan Fersso, and the visitor Shady Yazbek are still in custody.

Mazen Darwish was born in 1974 and graduated from Law School at Damascus University in 1998. A couple of years later he already began to advocate human rights and freedom of speech in particular by helping to establish the Committees for the Defence of Democratic Freedom and Human Rights (CDF) with a group of Syrian activists.

His fight for freedom of expression intensified in 2004, when he said, “there are no prisons to accommodate free speech” and claimed, “we cannot wait another 40 years”. Darwish then founded the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), the first non-profit organisation advocating human rights and defending freedom of speech in Syria. His aim was to highlight and spread freedom of opinion and expression, belief, variety and tolerance within the Syrian society, while promoting the work of journalists and defenders of these freedoms.

Providing legal and technical support to journalists and activists, as well as researching and publishing reports and around 10 studies on human rights abuses has put the SCM on the Syrian government´s watch list. Since its foundation the SCM´s members were subject to harassment, Darwish arrested and beaten several times. The authorities finally shut down the Centre´s offices in 2009.

Darwish and the SCM´s members continued their work undercover and have been one of the most important contributors to the fight for human rights in Syria though living in constant fear and facing enormous difficulties. In 2011 the SCM was granted “Consultative Status” by the UN´s Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC.

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2012: Reports Without Borders has issued the following statement:
"According to our sources, he has been badly tortured in detention. We have good reason to think his life is in danger because he suffers from serious ailments and his condition could worsen rapidly if he is not getting the treatment he needs. The Syrian authorities refuse to say where he is being held. He is not being allowed access to his family or lawyers, in complete violation of international law. So far, no charges have been brought against him.

Darwish is in grave danger. The authorities arrested him in order to silence him, because he was telling the outside world about acts of violence by a regime that persists in its deadly folly. A staunch defender of human rights and freedom of expression, Darwish played a key role in providing daily information about the situation in Syria, at a time when almost all foreign journalists are banned from visiting the country.

Without the courage of Syrian journalists and bloggers, no freely reported news and information would be available."

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240. Immediate freedom for Hamza Kashgari

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia deported a Saudi Arabian blogger on Sunday, police said, despite fears voiced by human rights groups that he could face execution in his home country over Twitter comments he made that were deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad.

Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old columnist, sparked outrage in the oil-rich kingdom with comments posted on the Prophet's birthday a week ago that led some Islamic clerics to call for him to face the death penalty.

Kashgari fled the country, but was arrested by police in majority-Muslim Malaysia on Thursday as he transited through Kuala Lumpur international airport.

"The Saudi writer was repatriated to his home country this Sunday morning," a police spokesman told Reuters. "This is an internal Saudi matter that we cannot comment on."

Malaysia has a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion. The Southeast Asian nation is also a U.S. ally and a leading global voice for moderate Islam, meaning that the decision to extradite Kashgari is certain to be controversial.

"Saudi clerics have already made up their mind that Kashgari is an apostate who must face punishment," Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Friday.

"The Malaysian government should not be complicit in sealing Kashgari's fate by sending him back."

Kashgari's lawyer in Malaysia, Mohammad Noor, told Reuters by telephone that he had obtained a court order to prevent the deportation, but had not been allowed to see his client.

"If the government of Malaysia deports him to Saudi Arabia, disrespecting the court order, this is clearly contempt of court, unlawful and unacceptable," he said.

The Star newspaper quoted Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that Kashgari had been repatriated and that the charges against him would be decided by Saudi authorities.

"Malaysia has a longstanding arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other," he was quoted as saying.

Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.

Reuters could not verify Kashgari's comments because he later deleted them, but media reported that one of them reflected his contradictory views of the Prophet - that he both loved and hated him.

Kashgari later said in an interview that he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict" over his comments.

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