Turkish women fight religious abortion ban


Turkish demonstration for abortion rights

From daily The Morning Star in England today:

Women demand abortion rights

TURKEY: Hundreds of woman and men have started protesting against plans by Turkey’s neoliberal-Islamist government to restrict access to abortion.

Women carrying banners that read “My body, my decision” gathered in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district yesterday in the latest and largest pro-abortion rights protest in the country.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has branded abortion “murder” and his government is working on legislation to ban abortion after four weeks from conception, except for emergency abortions.

It is presently legal in Turkey up to 10 weeks from conception.

See also here.

El Salvador’s stringent anti-abortion legislation has imprisoned 628 women since a law was enacted in 1998. Twenty-four of these women were indicted for “aggravated murder”: here.

Torture by Bahraini prince


This video is called The criminal face of Bahrain regime.

By Scott Lucas:

Bahrain 1st-Hand: “I Was Tortured by Prince Nasser” (Parweez)

Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 8:28

Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Jawad, nicknamed “Parweez”, is a long-time Bahraini activist. He was first arrested in 1994 and was also detained for 33 days at the start of 2011, released three week before the mass protests began on 14 February.

Parveez was arrested once more on 22 March, days after Bahraini security forces — backed by a Saudi-led military force — cleared out Pearl Roundabout, the centre of the demonstrations.

Parveez would be harshly interrogated and beaten once more, but this time would be different: on 9 April, his captors were joined by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, the eldest son of King Hamad and his second wife.

This is an extract from Parweez’s account in the Bahrain Mirror.

After the dawn prayer, Abdel Wahab Hussein (one of the opposition leaders) called worshippers in a mosque in the village of Nuwaidrat for jihad against injustice. Parweez was the first responder, shouting out for their demands. The shooting of the heavy tear gas by the police disunited the protesters.

Returnig to Sitra, the place of his residence, at eight in the morning, his eyes seemed red as a result of the tear gas. With the spirit of a rebel, he shouted out “We have started!” One replied sarcastically, “You had been repressed!” Parweez replied with confidence, “Be patient and do not hurry. This afternoon there are calls for marches at all villages. This time it’s a revolution”. On the afternoon of 14 February, he was first in Sitra’s march, the “lava” of the bullets by the security strewing blood on his clothes as he tried hard to aid the wounded….

On 22 March 2011, I went to Naim Police Station trying to receive my car, after the call of President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, through Twitter about the need for owners to submit complaints about the loss of their cars in the Pearl Roundabout.

I was arrested at a checkpoint near Naim Police Station, beaten and abused, and then taken to the Police Station, where a special group from the army took me to the Pearl Roundabout.

Everything was gone and demolished: the roundabout and the Pearl Monument, which were full of life for a whole month. Only the war machines were surrounding the place, and only army troops wreaked it heavily with their valor. They asked me furiously, “Where is your car?” I could not tell about its location, I couldn’t figure out the place. “Oh it’s there, oh no, there”, they got annoyed and furious, and then I was savagely beaten.

Revenge on a man in his sixties meant death. At that time, I read the verses and pray edfor forgiveness for them. They took me back to Naim Police Station, and then persons in civilian clothing came and took me to the clinic at the Fortress (a notorious Ministry of Interior building in the centre of the capital Manama).

At the clinic inside the Fortress, I was asked to take off my shirt for the X-rays. The doctor said after examination, “He’s strong like a horse, take him”, implying torturing me with their utmost effort. The door was opened, there was a staircase leading to the basement, the policeman pushed me strongly. I tumbled down and reached the first step, forced to get up quickly.

The Basement has a long and narrow corridor, the level of the ceiling is low to the height of an average person, on both sides of the corridor there are cells for torture, no windows to ventilate the scent of blood or clean the place. A bed made of metal was fixed to one wall of the cell, where I came in.

All senses were numb except for the ears; the voices of the detainees in the corridors penetrate the heart by the ear. In the basement, there is nobody other than the devils playing in your skin and bones, no light, no sleep nothing but torture. They forced us to face the wall while eating, without looking to the right or to the left, and usually we were fed fatty food to ensure that the body is able to bear the torture again. They released the blindfold while eating, while we were handcuffed in a sitting position.

After three days of continuous torture, the interrogator began to try to extract confessions, A thick voice shouted, “Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Jawad.” I answered quickly: “Yes, yes.” I was lying on the bed and my hands were handcuffed at the back. The cell was opened; one officer grabbed my beard while the second dragged me by my hair. Then eight people piled on me, beating and kicking and taking me to the interrogation room.

I heard the interrogator saying quietly “Please sit down. Did you go to the Pearl Roundabout?”

I was interrupted by him, “Fine, and who are the youth of February 14?”

I replied, “400,000 people marched, ask any of them.”

The interrogator: “Which others do you know?”

I replied: I know Hassan Mushaima, Abdul Wahab Hussein, Ibrahim Sharif (all three are well-known political leaders in Bahrain).

His voice rose high: “Who else do you know?”

I said, “I know one named Isa Al Jowder (a Deputy Secretary General of the Haq Movement, who died later in normal conditions) and Ali Rabia (another opposition leader).”

He interrupted: “Do not mention names from our side (Sunnis). I explicitly want names from your side (Shia). Mmm, you don’t seem to be cooperative? Sit back!”

He ordered the police to connect my feet, that were already tied with chains, into another long chain made of iron, pulled me up to the top of the ceiling, hung upside down. My head was down and my feet at the top, my hands behind my back with shackles as I was blindfolded.

I heard the sound of a sparking electric device, I was stroked in the chest and in my feet several times, my body shook from the intensity of the electric shock and jumped in the air –– the iron chains flew with me. Not only I was electrically shocked, but one of the torturers punched me with a heavy blow on my face while the other was trying to strangle me using a rope. The world of death appeared in front of me, I was shouting religious verses and the more they excruciated me, the more I shouted “Allahu Akbar”.

Suddenly the interrogator said, “Bring this heavy weight down.” Moments later, they threw me to the ground.

After long hours of interrogation, I was dragged outside while unconscious, thrown in the corridor with dozens of detainees mounted up over each other. Any of the officers who passed by would kick, spit and insult us, even the Asian worker who cleaned the place participated in the abuse. When they wanted to wake me up, they spilled a bucket of water. This means to get ready to eat a fatty meal, and then leave the dessert (torture) with another interrogator and another series of questions.

This brutality continued until April 9, when I was moved in another torturing room after removing the blindfold covering my eyes. The policeman threatened, “You will see what is waiting for you!”

The room had two chairs connected to electric devices; voltages were controlled by the interrogator. What a terrifying scene! I started reading a few verses from Qur’an. I sat on one of the chairs, my eyes were blindfolded, and a new interrogation session began. The more the answer was not satisfactory, the more the voltage was increased and subsequently the more the degree of electrical shock. My body shivered from such a horror of electricity that was passed to it.

The interrogator asked me: You know who sits on your side?” He continued, “This is Fakhrawi, your friend.” They had just brought him.

He began asking Fakrawi, “Do you have a relationship with Iran?”

Fakhrawi answered, “No, all my relationship with Iran is that I hosted a few clerics in the month of Muharram, in coordination with the Iranian Embassy in Bahrain and nothing else.”

We suddenly shared the suffering, felt the death according to the degree of electric shocks.

Suddenly, Fakhrawi became silent ,and the eclectic shocks stopped on me. One policeman panicky said to the other: “You killed him, you killed him!”

I thought that Fakhrawi had fainted, but months later I knew that he had died as a result of torture. His death broke me down.

Meeting the Prince

I was lying on the ground in the corridor when I was pulled to the torture room again with blindfolded eyes and my hands behind my back in shackles. The tone of the policeman seemed different as he prepared to receive an important person: “The Prince, the Prince has arrived!”

The sound gradually became closer, and a man asked amusingly, “Do you know who is talking to you?”

I kept silent while my neighbour answered, “No, we don’t know who you are.” I realised that my neighbor was my friend Mohammed Habib Al Mekdad.

The sound said again, “Sure you do not recognize my voice?”

Al Mekdad continued: no, he could not recognise it.

The sound reminded us again, “I was only separated by a wall between me and you in Al Safriya Palace. Here is Prince Nasser bin Hamad.”

We did not believe, until he held our heads and lifted our chins to the top, so that we can see him from under the blindfolded eyes.

We were shocked, a bolt out of the blue! What is the King’s son doing in the basement of the Fortress? Never before in history has the son of a king supervised the torture of his opponents by himself!

When he made certain that we knew him, he asked quietly, “Did you participate in the march that headed to Al Safriya Palace?”

Al Mekdad replied, “Yes.”

“What slogans did you chant?”

“The people raised the slogans.”

“Fine, and what slogans were raised by the people?”

Al Mekdad said, “The People Want the Downfall of the regime” and “Khalifa, Step down and Take Your Hands Off, as People Do Not Want You as a Prime Minster”, and “Sunni and Shiite are Brothers of This Country”.

Nasser said wickedly, “No, the slogan that you purposely have forgotten! You better remember!”

It did not take long for Al Mekdad to reply, saying “Down with [King] Hamad.”

Once Al Mekdad had finished saying the slogan, Nasser bin Hamad grabbed our heads and snapped them together. He shouted, “How dare you chant for the downfall of Hamad, and you are just scum.”

He started abusing us. He began to flog, beat, and kicked us everywhere, until he felt tired. He took a rest and drank water and then resumed the torture by pulling us by our hair and beards. No one else was involved in our torture and hence agony; they let him spill his rancour. He ordered the jailers to put our feet up to beat us. The torture continued for almost half a day until dawn.

[At that moment, Al Mekdad continued narrating the story]

They threw me in the corridor and as usual, after the torture session the food was ready, when I began to eat ,I was facing the wall. I heard Parweez screaming loudly,” O God, O God.”….Then I heard a creaking steel door open. I raised my head and turned it slowly to the side. The two policemen didn’t notice my move as their eyes were just like mine, fixated toward the sound.

I was able to see Parweez unconscious from the torture cell. He was bare-chested, exhausted, his feet were not able to carry him. The two policemen dragged him. Another policeman poured water on him to wake him up, but he did not.

There was someone who hit him from behind with a whip over his head and on his body. The two policemen wanted to throw him down the corridor, but a person commanded them to make him face the wall, I could see the torturer; he was Sheikh Nasser again. He kicked Parweez strongly and his body banged into the wall, he felt on the floor unconscious. When he noticed that Parweez did not feel the beating, Nasser left.

I was wondering if Nasser ran to his father to tell him how he was loyal to him by what he did to the scum as he put it! Did the King reward his son for the invaluable services of torturing us when he promoted his son Nasser to “colonel”, within two months of his visit to us?

Bahrain Student Suspended for Phone Message: here.

Bahrain’s ambassador to France has denied accusations of assault after the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that a formal complaint had been made against a foreign envoy: here.

Versatile Blogger Award again, thanks urbanperegrines!


Versatile Blogger Award

Blogger urbanperegrines has been so kind to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, and all the best for your fine blog!

I got this nomination at the same time as, when getting this award earlier, I had nominated urbanperegrines.

Here are the rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. In a post on your blog, nominate 10 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award; and link to them. 2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award. 3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog. 4. In the same post, share 10 completely random pieces of information about yourself. 5. In the same post, include this set of rules. 6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

I have nominated the following 10 blogs:

1 365 Days
2 Midnighthues Poetry
3 mothergrogan
4 bestrockmusical
5 Doli Siregar ~ Photography
6 Colddeadheart’s Blog
7 BlueDoorHotel.com
8 jmgoyder
9 Becoming Cliche. My Journey to Becoming My Mother
10 Gerry Frederick digital

And here are ten random pieces of information about myself:

1 Until yesterday, my only first hand experience of barn owls was hearing one and seeing one vaguely in the dark. Yesterday was my first opportunity to see (young) barn owls from a very close distance.
2 I saw my first little owl in Greece long ago. More recently, I saw this species on Lesbos island, also in Greece.
3 I also saw a scops owl on Lesbos.
4 I saw a pharaoh eagle owl in Morocco.
5 I saw various African owl species in the Gambia.
6 I have never seen a snowy owl in the wild, only in zoos.
7 Years ago, a tawny owl used to call in the tree opposite my window. I never saw it, only heard it.
8 I saw my first ever black woodpecker at its nest in a big tree. When I came back there many years later, that tree had decayed and the birds were gone.
9 I saw my first osprey in Egypt, near Philae island.
10 I saw my first redwing during summer months in Iceland (where they nest). I had seen wintering redwings much earlier, further south.

Peregrine falcons, kestrels and owls


This video is about a little owl nestbox.

The people who yesterday ringed young barn owls study other birds of prey and owls as well.

This spring, for instance, they found out that there are three young falcons in the peregrine nestbox at the Saint Vitus church in Hilversum. Last year, the first nest since a very long time, there was just one peregrine chick there.

As the barn owl ringing continued, many barn swallows flew to and from their nests in the cowshed, and a starling flew overhead, they said this year there will probably be a good nesting season.

The counting of nests in the region is not complete yet. So far, they found 17 buzzard nests. And 12 kestrel nests, five marsh harrier nests, two tawny owl nests, and three little owl nests. One little owl couple’s nest is in a woodpile.

This year, peregrine falcons nest for the first time in Utrecht city. A fledgling peregrine flew for its first time. It got tired and landed on a park bench. It was brought to a bird asylum to feed it, and return it to the nest later.

England: Jubilations as first Chichester Cathedral peregrine chick takes flight: here.

A sad goodbye to Chichester peregrines…but the story continues: here.

The peregrine falcons that led the recolonisation of the Capital by this amazing species are back on show at the Tate Modern for the seventh year on the trot: here.

Tawny owl sounds: here.

Blue tit fledglings on the balcony


This is a video of a blue tit fledgling calling for its parents.

At this time of the year, young barn owls are not the only birds which start flying or are almost ready to fly.

Yesterday evening, as I returned from the barn owls, there were young blue tits on the balcony.

Every now and then, one of their parents would land on the house-shaped bird feeder, get some food, and bring it to one of the chicks.

Landing on the feeder requires some flying skills, which the young birds, on their first day of flying, did not have yet.

This morning, sometimes three blue tit fledglings on the balcony again. A parent would go the feeder. Then, it would bring food to the youngsters on the balcony chair, the flower-pot, and the railing, respectively.

Sometimes, great tits (with chicks still in the nest?) would visit the feeder as well.

Once, a magpie tried to land on the feeder. Not very successfully: its weight made the feeder rock. It is also windy this morning, making the feeder extra tricky for bigger birds.

A male blackbird more or less succeeded in landing on the feeder on earlier days, but I did not see it today.