Saudi Arabian government attacks Yemen


This video from Bahrain says about itself:

Saudi Invasion of Bahrain

27 March 2011

Since the very first day Gulf Shield forces have been attacking and killing innocent Bahraini citizens, it’s considered as an invasion and it breaks the international law.

The regime in Saudi Arabia seems to be not satisfied with just killing its own people, or invading Bahrain … so, now this news from Reuters agency:

Saudi Arabia Launches Military Operations In Yemen

03/25/2015 7:53 pm EDT Updated: 21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON, March 25 – Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge, the Saudi envoy to Washington said on Wednesday.

Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir told reporters a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He declined to give any information on Hadi’s whereabouts.

He told reporters that Saudi Arabia had consulted with the United States but that Washington was not participating in the military operation. (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick, Yeganeh Torbati and Sandra Maler)

Saudi women get whip lashes for Internet messages


This video says about itself:

27 September 2011

Amnesty International says a Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving a car. CNN’s Fionnuala Sweeney reports.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi woman sentenced to 70 lashes for allegedly insulting man on WhatsApp

In a separate case, a judge allowed a man to divorce his wife after she told him she prayed ‘to be patient enough to put up’ with him on the messaging service

Henry Austin

Wednesday 18 March 2015

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a woman to 70 lashes after she allegedly insulted a man on the messaging service WhatsApp.

The 32-year-old, who has not been named, admitted to insulting the man but also refuted the verdict, according to reports in GulfNews.com and other local media.

The nature of their argument was unclear but she was found guilty of tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through the application, reported the Okaz newspaper who also said she was fined around £3,600 for the offense.

In a separate case, another Saudi judge allowed a man to divorce his wife after she told him that she prayed “to be patient enough to put up” with him in a WhatsApp message, the Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

The husband is said to have claimed that the message was “inappropriate.”

They are not the first to fall foul of the Saudi Anti-Cyber Crime Law, as in July last year two women in the city of Jeddah were sentenced to 10-days in jail and 20 lashes for insulting each other on WhatsApp.

A judge issued the verdict after reading the messages exchanged between the the women who were reportedly cousins.

Death penalty for Saudi Arabian blogger?


This video says about itself:

Bring Raif Badawi home to his family

13 November 2014

10 year old Doudi writes to his dad Raif Badawi in prison in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes after starting an online forum for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia. Demand his immediate release – write to the King of Saudi Arabia today.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty

Chris Green

Sunday 01 March 2015

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told The Independent in a series of messages that judges in Saudi Arabia’s criminal court want him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face a death sentence.

She said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Mr Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog.

In 2013, a judge threw out the charge of apostasy against the 31-year-old blogger after he assured the court that he was a Muslim. The evidence against him had included the fact that he pressed the “Like” button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians.

The news that the charge may now be re-examined will come as a bitter blow to Mr Badawi’s family and supporters, who had hoped that the international pressure over his case would prompt Saudi Arabia to reduce his sentence.

Although he remains in prison, he has only been flogged once since his sentence was passed, with subsequent punishments being repeatedly postponed.

More follows…

Washington summit ‘against extremism’, with ‘extremist’ regimes


This 16 November video from the USA says about itself:

Jon Stewart: Turkey Erdogan helps ISIS at Kobane

From Mashable in the USA:

Accused human rights abusers attend White House’s extremism summit

By Colin Daileda

10 hours ago

The White House is hosting representatives from more than 60 nations this week for a summit on countering extremism, but some of the attendees have been called extremists in their own right.

The conference focuses on using community outreach to thwart extremist tendencies before they begin, but several nations represented have records of using anti-radicalization laws as a way of shutting off all forms of dissent, including peaceful protesters.

See also: Satirical app helps Muslims ‘condemn’ Islamic extremism

A complete roll call of those in attendance is not publicly available, but we’ve listed some of the known attendees who represent nations with human rights records that show they have not been shy about committing abuses in the name of pursuing extremists.

Egypt

The Egyptian military recently bombed Islamic State targets in Libya after an ISIS affiliate in Libya beheaded 21 Egyptian citizens. The show of force displayed Egypt’s willingness to fight extremists. But then, Egypt’s security forces under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have hardly been shy about using force.

After Sisi‘s military deposed President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, they killed more than 1,000 Morsi supporters over the next several months. Sisi’s military has also thrown thousands of other Morsi supporters in jail using broad anti-extremism laws.

Countries such as Egypt are also “using the guise of countering terrorism and the need for security as an umbrella term to throw dissenters in jail and keep them there on bogus charges,” Sarah Margon, the Washington director at Human Rights Watch, told Mashable. She called it a “troubling sign” that governments of nations such as Egypt could participate in a conference meant to counter extremism but then not implement reforms that would ease potentially deadly tensions at home.

Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will attend the White House summit.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE Minister of States for Foreign Affairs, will speak at the conference about effective strategies to counter extremism, according to a senior White House administration official.

The UAE’s Center for Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism is the first international center of its kind. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “an important step,” for countering radicals in 2012. The U.S. has continued to acknowledge the UAE’s role in fighting radicals, but it has done little to acknowledge the nation’s potential human rights abuses.

“In the UAE’s case, they’re certainly deeply repressive and their rights record is very poor,” Nicholas McGeehan, a Human Rights Watch researcher on the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, told Mashable.

The UAE recently passed legislation it labeled as “counterterrorism” that, McGeehan said allows the death penalty for anyone with material that might be interpreted to oppose fundamental Islamic principles.

“The UAE’s new law could be used to class anyone who criticizes them in public a terrorist,” McGeehan said. “So the U.S. and others should really be taking a look at their ally’s credentials.”

Bahrain

Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa will also be at the conference, and McGeehan said the case for caution when dealing with Bahrain might be even stronger than the UAE.

In 2012, Bahrain’s government cracked down on a citizen uprising criticizing its Sunni monarchy. Officials violently suppressed many Shiite citizens who wanted reforms such as a new constitution and a parliament elected by the people. Now, McGeehan said there is evidence that Bahraini authorities have allowed anti-Shia sentiment to fester in its armed forces.

“I think it’s important we keep our eye on the big picture, and not lose sight of the fact that repressive autocrats played a role in the emergence of groups like the [Islamic State],” McGeehan said. “What will be the longterm benefits of fighting symptom with cause?”

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, which will be represented at the conference by Vice Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is another example of a nation that uses broad laws to ensnare extremists and peaceful dissidents alike, Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Mashable.

“There’s never really been a concerted effort to make human rights sort of part of that picture,” Coogle said of the Saudi-U.S. relationship.

The Saudi Arabian minister of the interior, he said, essentially has the power to jail whoever he likes.

The nation has used sweeping “anti-terrorism” laws to jail those willing to express an opinion other than the government’s viewpoint.

Recently, a prominent blogger and another well-known lawyer have made headlines from Saudi courts and prisons. They were both convicted of charges that human rights groups say amount to expressing views contrary to the government.

The blogger is serving a sentence of 10 years in prison and is to receive 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam,” while the lawyer is set to be jailed for 15 years for “inciting public opinion against the government.”

United States

The U.S. doesn’t exactly have a squeaky-clean human rights record, either, in the minds of human rights groups.

Abuses detailed in the recently released CIA torture report shed new light on the possible human rights crimes that U.S. agents may have committed. Six years after U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year, it remains open. Inside are many prisoners who have not been charged with a crime.

“There are a number of stains on the U.S. that need to be addressed in ways that show a commitment to reverse bad policy and make sure it never happens again,” Margon said.

The U.S. also needs to make a commitment to halt invasive surveillance of Muslim communities that sows distrust, Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, told Mashable.

The president gave some assurance on that subject to Muslim families while speaking at the summit Wednesday.

“We have to make sure that abuses stop…that we do not stigmatize entire communities,” Obama said, referring to U.S. law enforcement engaging with Muslim Americans. “Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance.”

The US president went on the front foot against fundamentalist violence in the Middle East at a summit in Washington. But he was hobbled by his failure to place human rights in the region front and centre: here.