Saudi Arabian regime imprisons poet


This video says about itself:

Saudi Man Beats Servant

This painful to watch video clearly demonstrates the plight of domestic staff in Saudi Arabia and shows that these servants are treated inhumanely.

From the BBC:

23 December 2013 Last updated at 17:18 GMT

Saudi security court jails poet Habib al-Maatiq

A security court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Shia poet and journalist to a year in prison in connection with protests in Eastern Province.

Habib al-Maatiq has already been in detention for more than a year, and it is reported that he has been released.

It is not clear what he was charged with, but he was involved in a website that reported on pro-reform protests by Eastern Province‘s Shia minority.

His detention prompted a petition on Twitter for his release, #FreeHabibNow.

According to the campaign group PEN International, Mr Maatiq was arrested in February 2012 at the offices of the Al-Fajr Cultural Network website in the eastern city of Jubail.

A colleague, Hussein Malik al-Salam, was arrested the next day, as was Jalal Mohammed al-Jamal, the manager of another news website.

They were subsequently held at a prison in Dammam.

Al-Fajr Cultural Network was shut down after Mr Maatiq’s arrest.

Since protests erupted in 2011 in Eastern Province, hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens remain in custody.

The security forces are also alleged to have used excessive force against demonstrators, with about 10 reportedly shot dead.

(CNN) — A judge in Saudi Arabia has recommended that imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi go before a high court on a charge of apostasy, which would carry the death penalty upon conviction, according to Badawi’s wife: here.

Nelson Mandela, Obama and dictators


This video says about itself:

SABC TV Live Stream Coverage: Nelson Mandela‘s funeral in Qunu

15 Dec 2013

The funeral service of South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Top 5 Hypocrites at Mandela’s Funeral

12-16-2013

By Diana Sayed

At Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, President Obama delivered a speech in which he said “Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals” that “[t]here are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation… who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”

But some of those countries who sent representatives are top United States allies that persecute those who dissent:

1. Bahrain –Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed bin Hamad Al Ma’awda

Ever since Bahrain’s democratic uprising began in February 2011, the regime has brutally cracked down on activists. Many prominent human rights defenders have been targeted and imprisoned, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), currently serving a life sentence after being arrested in April 2011. Nabeel Rajab, current president of the BCHR, is serving the remainder of his 2-year sentence for Tweeting about the government’s prime minister and for participating in illegal gatherings. Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested for sitting on a highway in protest of her father’s detention. She was formally charged with disrupting traffic and insulting an officer and remains in prison today.

2. Pakistan – President Mamnoon Hussain

Many journalists that report on matters perceived as offensive or critical of the government are threatened, harassed, and intimidated by a host of actors, including members of Pakistan’s security and intelligence apparatus. One of the most notable cases was that of Umar Cheema, who was abducted in September 2010 by unknown assailants, stripped, beaten, and photographed in humiliating positions.

3. Saudi Arabia – Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia has no elections, parliament, or political parties. King Abdullah and his family exercise unchecked power, and the kingdom remains one of the most repressive countries in the world, particularly for its 9 million female citizens, who are prevented from holding many jobs or driving and are considered as chattel under oppressive guardianship laws. Practicing any religion other than Islam is banned. Mohammad al-Qahtani is co-founder of the Saudi Arabian human rights organization Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and, in 2011, its leader before he was sentenced to ten years in prison on several charges relating to his peaceful activism.

4. Ethiopia – His Excellency Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister

Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe has been Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2012 following the death of Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam was elected as the Chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party. Prior to his rule the 2010 election, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party won a remarkable 99.6 percent of the vote, he closed down space for political dissent and independent criticism. The crackdown included attacks and arrests of prominent opposition figures, the shutting down of newspapers and assaults on journalists critical of the government. Eskinder Nega, a prominent Ethiopian journalist, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on in July 2012 under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 for publishing an online column critical of the use of the terrorism law to silence dissent and calling for the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end torture in the country’s prisons.

5. Uganda – His Excellency Yoweri Kagota Museveni, President

Museveni abolished term limits before the 2006 elections after nearly three decades in office and proceeded to launch legal attacks on independent journalists and harass opposition parties. NGOs have also documented numerous cases of unlawful detention and torture by the country’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force. Uganda came under international condemnation in 2010 for a proposed law, still pending, that would punish homosexuality with harsh sentences including the death penalty. The country’s most prominent gay rights activist, David Kato, was beaten to death in January 2011 just weeks after a popular tabloid published his photo along with the caption, “Hang Them.”

These regimes and other dictatorships are key allies of the United States. President Obama is right to criticize those who suppress dissent but his words are undermined by his administration’s support for repressive regimes that do just that.

A comment to this blog post by Vanessa Blaylock says:

I certainly won’t defend the atrocities you call out, but why pick on nations from that region and imply that Obama/USA has some sort of moral high ground? What about Chelsea Manning, given a longer prison sentence than even Mandela for telling the truth? What about Edward Snowden living in exile in that freedom loving country Russia because the USA can’t handle the truth? Obama/USA have no monopoly on freedom and no love of truth. Let’s not even start on Senator Lieberman’s extra-legal persecution of the journalists at Wikileaks or the Bush v. Gore forged election.

6 Things Nelson Mandela believed that most people won’t talk about: here.

Peaceful Activists Face Inhumane Conditions in Bahrain’s Overcrowded Central Prison: here.

Uganda: Former national football team coach arrested for allegedly having gay sex with player: here.