Human rights violations in Bahrain continue

This video is called Bahrain Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested Over Tweets.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Open Letter from Nabeel Rajab to President Obama

Editor’s note: This letter was written in a Bahraini jail cell by Nabeel Rajab, a leading human rights campaigner in Bahrain who was arrested April 2 after tweeting about torture in the country’s central prison, Jaw. Here is his letter.

April 9, 2015

From: Nabeel Rajab
President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Isa Town Detention Center

Dear President Obama,

I write to you from a Bahraini jail cell, and this message was never meant to go beyond its walls. Even though I have never advocated for violence nor harmed another living soul, I have spent 28 of the last 36 months in a Bahraini prison for actions that can only be counted as crimes in a nation that stifles free expression and criminalizes open assembly. I have documented my government’s use of torture. I have reported on civilian casualties in Yemen. I have held a different opinion than that of a king. In retaliation, I may spend the next ten years of my life in jail.

While my government punishes me for demanding an end to its assault on civil and political rights, other GCC states, especially Saudi Arabia, subject human rights defenders to harsher abuse. Their repression can be seen in the flogging of free speech activist Raif Badawi and the death sentence against the religious scholar and human rights advocate Nimr al-Nimr. Saudi courts even sentenced Raif’s lawyer, Waleed abu al-Khair, to 15 years in prison. We as human rights defenders are targeted for giving voice to the marginalized, people seeking to take the reins of their own destiny; our governments do everything in their power to prevent us from acting upon the best ideals of our conscience.

The message you directed toward your Gulf allies last week laid the foundation for real change. Your words tacitly acknowledged what we in the region understand: only democracy can bring stability to the Middle East. And while democracy may take time to develop, the process cannot begin unless our right to free speech is protected. Right now, our governments divide us along religious lines, preventing us from collectively challenging extremism within our societies. As well, our rulers aggressively punish critics of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. We simply ask, however, for greater democratic participation in our nation’s affairs, and the ability to freely express our contempt for violence and extremism.

I thank your administration for calling for my release, and the release of my fellow human rights defenders. I urge you to defend our right to free speech when you meet with the monarchs of the Gulf, and call for:

The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;
An end to the criminalization of free speech and expression, including any laws against criticism of government institutions or defamation of a king;
The cessation of all acts of torture and reprisal in GCC detention centers; and
The protection of free and open civil society space capable of fostering long-term stability and growth in the region.

The citizens of Bahrain and her neighbors have extraordinary potential. With unshackled voices, we can build stability and challenge extremism. What we need today is space for tolerance, plurality, and honest dialogue, the foundations of a democratic process that the reprisals against me and my colleagues seek to undermine.

Yours Sincerely,

Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain’s Prison Crisis Deepens: here.

This video says about itself:

Pinay OFW in Bahrain who Asked for Help was Finally Rescued

10 April 2015

Pinay OFW In Bahrain Asking For Help (Abby Luna)

From the South China Morning Post:

Filipino maid ‘beaten and raped‘ is rescued from Bahrain employer after Facebook appeal goes viral

Agence France-Presse in Bahrain

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 April, 2015, 8:05pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 April, 2015, 10:53am

The Philippines rescued a Filipino maid from her employer in Bahrain after she posted a desperate cry for help on her Facebook page.

Staff at the Philippine embassy were alerted to the plight of Abby Luna, who claims she was raped and beaten by her employer’s son, after she posted the video on her Facebook page. The video attracted about 78,000 shares and 19,000 likes.

“The rescue was prompted by the video message… She is now under the care of our embassy,” foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said. Philippine embassy officials and staff from Luna’s employment agency picked her up from her employer’s house, Jose said, adding that police were investigating the incident.

Luna’s alleged assailant denied to he attacked her, Ricky Aragon, vice-consul at the Philippine embassy in Bahrain, said.

In the three-minute long video, which appears to have been made on a webcam, a sobbing Luna accused her employer’s “drug addict” son of raping her. She also posted a written appeal for viewers to contact the Philippine embassy on her behalf.

“Help me get out of here. I’m scared. Until now, my genitals hurt. My leg is bruised. He (attacker) punched my leg to immobilise me,” said the 28-year-old, who had been working in Bahrain for a year.

“After my employer’s son abused me, he threatened to kill me and bury me in the desert if I tell anyone about what happened.”

Luna said her employer did not believe her claims of being raped and beaten and insisted she finish the remaining two months of her contract before she could go home. Her employer also told her to have an abortion if she fell pregnant, she added.

Luna is among an estimated 10 million Filipinos working overseas to escape poverty and high levels of unemployment in the Philippines.

Many overseas Filipino workers, who account for a tenth of the country’s population of 100 million, work in menial jobs and endure dangerous working conditions.

Last year, a Filipino maid, Nargelene Mendez, was rescued from a house in Saudi Arabia after posting a video on her Facebook page claiming her employer had abused her.

In Hong Kong, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, an Indonesian domestic worker accused her employer of subjecting her to six months of physical abuse.

Erwiana, 23, underwent treatment at the Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital in Sragen, Indonesia, after boarding a flight from the SAR.

Photographs of Erwiana’s injuries quickly spread through social media and led to a demonstration of thousands of people through Hong Kong’s Central district. Police arrested her employer former beautician Law Wan-tung on January 20, 2014, as she tried to board a flight to Thailand. She was sentenced to six years in prison and fined HK$15,000 earlier this year.

Maids working in the Middle East frequently suffer abuse.

Human Rights Watch has called on the United Arab Emirates to reform a restrictive visa system and pass a labour law to stop domestic workers [from being] exploited.

OFW raped by employer’s son in Bahrain rescued by embassy: here.

Human rights and free speech lagging in Gulf monarchies. Post-Arab Spring oppression increasingly involves harsh penalties for dissent, including torture, stripping citizenship: here.

Australian priest blames victim for her murder

This video from Australia is called ABC colleagues pay tribute to Jill Meagher.

Australian priest blames victim Jill Meagher for her murder: here.

See also here.

Turkish women demonstrate against rape, murder

This video from Turkey says about itself:

14 February 2015

Women in Turkey have raised reactions to the savage murder of Özgecan Aslan.

On Feb 11th, Ozgecan Aslan (20) university student, caught a bus from Adana to Mersin as was her routine from school to home. As the last passenger gets off the bus, she’s left alone with the driver, his father and his friend. Two days later, three suspects were captured and Özgecan’s body was found. Initial autopsy report shows young woman was stabbed to death after she was raped, and then her body was burnt.

Aktivist Kamera 14.02.2015 Kadıköy / İstanbul

Twenty-year-old Özgecan Aslan was a psychology student at Çağ University in Mersin. DHA Photo

From Doğan News Agency in Turkey:

20-year-old Turkish woman brutally murdered, body burned

The burned body of a 20-year-old female student who had been missing for two days was discovered Feb. 13 in a riverbed in the Tarsus district of the southern province of Mersin.

Three suspects have been detained for stabbing Özgecan Aslan to death and later burning her remains.

The family of Aslan, who was a psychology student at Çağ University, had filed a missing report with the police on Feb. 11 after failing to contact her. As the search for the missing girl continued, gendarmerie forces stopped a suspicious minibus on Feb. 12, discovering blood stains and a hat in the minibus.

The driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old S.A., his 50-year-old father, N.A., and 20-year-old F.G. were detained when the victim’s father recognized the hat and said it belonged to his daughter.

During the interrogation, N.A. and F.G. admitted to the crime. According to the suspects’ testimonies, after all other passengers disembarked from the minibus, S.A. exited the scheduled route in spite of Aslan’s protestations and drove to a secluded spot.

When he attempted to rape the woman, she fought back and used pepper spray against her attacker. S.A. then stabbed Aslan several times and hit her with an iron pipe, killing her.

He also allegedly cut off Aslan’s fingers in an effort to ensure that no DNA match would be made with the scratches the woman made on his face during the struggle.

After the murder, S.A. went back home with the body and asked for his father and friend’s help in disposing of the remains. The three then tried to burn Aslan’s body to eliminate any evidence.

The remains of a woman were found Feb. 13 at a location indicated by the suspects. One of Aslan’s close friends, who was with her on the day she went missing, failed to identify the severely damaged body, but she said the clothes on the body matched what Aslan wore the day she disappeared.

“We were together at the school until noon, then we went shopping, ate something and got on a minibus to go home,” the witness said. “I got off near my home and she stayed on the minibus to go home. I later learned that she did not go home and was missing.”

The gendarmerie and the police have launched an investigation to find out the details and the reasons for the murder.


Women carry the coffin of Özgecan Aslan, who was killed during a rape attempt

From Doğan News Agency in Turkey:

Women defy imam in murdered woman’s funeral, carry the coffin

Thousands bid farewell on Feb. 14 to Özgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old woman who was murdered during a rape attempt, in a funeral ceremony held in her hometown Mersin.

Although the imam requested women to step back during the ceremony, hundreds of women attended the funeral prayer on the front lines, while they also carried he coffin of Aslan before and after the prayer. …

Songül Aslan, mother of Özgecan, was devastated. …

“Özgecan had a wonderful heart, she would work hard, help everyone. I cannot accept that she was massacred when she took a minibus to come home. Is my daughter’s only mistake is to get on a minibus to come home?” she added. …

Protests have been held across the country to protest the brutal murder, with the demonstrators carrying photographs of Aslan and other female victims of violence.


See also here.

From Revolution News:

Turkey: Outrage over Horrific Rape and Murder of Student Ozgecan Aslan


On Feb 11th, Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old university student, caught a bus from Adana to Mersin as was her routine from school to home. As the last passenger gets off the bus, she’s left alone with the driver, his father and his friend. Two days later, three suspects were captured and Özgecan’s body was found. Initial autopsy report shows young woman was stabbed to death after she was raped, and then her body was burnt.

Women all over Turkey are organizing protests today, claiming this is not “just another criminal incident”, but a result of a systematic misogynist state policy. Recent declarations by government officials against women’s employment, abortion, and similar statements to restrict women’s rights including even “when to go out and what to wear” have been responded to with public outrage. Also, perpetrators of rape and murder of women get the minimum sentence due to “incitement” or “consent” by the victim or “no psychological damage observed” on the victim. The extent of femicide in Turkey has once again been revealed by the murder of Ozgecan Aslan, while according to official figures murders of women have increased 1,400% during the period of AKP rule.

Turkish women demonstrate against the murder of Ozgecan Aslan

FIVE Turkish MPs were injured yesterday in a brawl that broke out in parliament. The fight started after opposition parties submitted motions to hamper the passage of a draconian new Bill restricting the right to protest: here.