Archive for the ‘International News’ Category

Nabeel Rajab: Bahrain activist jailed for tweet

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

BBC News

One of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights activists has been sentenced to six months in prison over something he posted on Twitter last year.

Nabeel Rajab was charged with insulting a public institution and the army.

In the tweet, he suggested that security institutions in Bahrain had served as what he called an “ideological incubator” for jihadists.

The court has granted Mr Rajab bail of $500 (£430) while he appeals against the verdict, if he chooses to pay it.

Mr Rajab has served several prison sentences since setting up the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.

He confirmed his latest sentencing in a tweet that read: “I was sentenced to 6 month.”

Rights groups say this sentence is the latest move against activists by authorities in Bahrain.

On Monday, the head of the country’s main opposition group was charged with promoting violent regime change.

Read more here: Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab sentenced to 6 months in prison for a tweet

Nabeel Rajab: Bahrain activist jailed for tweet

Follow Nabeel Rajab on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nabeelrajab

Raif Badawi: Saudi Arabia publicly flogged liberal blogger and activist accused of ‘insulting Islam’

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Raif Badawi: Saudi Arabia publicly flogged liberal blogger and activist accused of ‘insulting Islam’

Heather Saul  Friday, 9 January 2015

Saudi Arabia has been condemned for publicly flogging liberal blogger and activist Raif Badawi, who was accused of insulting Islam.

Amnesty International confirmed to The Independent that Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, received the first round of 50 in a public flogging after Friday prayers, which it says continue every Friday for 20 weeks.

A witness told the human rights organisation that Badawi was removed from a bus in shackles and taken to a public square in front of the al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. He was then flogged in front of a crowd and security guards for 15 minutes, before being put back on the bus and driven away.

Amnesty says Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was arrested in June 2012  for creating an online forum for public debate and over accusations that he insulted Islam. His website has also been shut down.

Read more: Saudi Arabia orders 1,000 lashes and 10-year sentence

Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial – which then earned him a more severe sentence of 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had earlier joined world-wide calls for the inhumane punishment not to be carried out and said the US was “greatly concerned” by reports of the inhumane punishment.

Ms Paski said: “The United States government calls on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment and to review Badawi’s case and sentence.”

Badawi’s lawyer, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, has also been jailed for 15 years after being charged with “undermining the regime and officials”, “inciting public opinion” and “insulting the judiciary”.

Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, condemned the flogging as a “vicious act of cruelty prohibited under international law”.

“By ignoring international calls to cancel the flogging Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated an abhorrent disregard for the most basic human rights principles,” he said.

“It is appalling that 19 weeks of flogging await Raif Badawi over the coming months. Saudi Arabia’s authorities must act immediately to halt all further floggings.”

Read more here:  Saudi activist to be flogged in public, Amnesty International says

Saudi blogger to be publicly flogged on charges he insulted Islam

A Saudi Rights Activist Will Be Publically Flogged Today For Speaking His Mind

Bring Raif Badawi home to his family – Write for Rights

Charlie Hebdo: Gun attack on French magazine kills 12

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack.

Four of the magazine’s well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers.

A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack “of exceptional barbarity”.

It is believed to be the deadliest attack in France since 1961, when right-wingers who wanted to keep Algeria French bombed a train, killing 28 people.

The masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris, where they hijacked a second car.

Death threats

Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great” in Arabic (“Allahu Akbar”).

The number of attackers was initially reported to be two, but French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later said security services were hunting three “criminals”. He said that Paris had been placed on the highest alert.

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Read more here: Charlie Hebdo: Gun attack on French magazine kills 12

Newspapers React To Charlie Hebdo Attack With Show Of Solidarity On Front Pages

What is Charlie Hebdo, the provocative satirical newspaper attacked by gunmen in Paris?

Charlie Hebdo attack

China Adds New Barrier to Gmail

Monday, January 5th, 2015

BEIJING — The Chinese government appears to have blocked the ability of people in China to gain access to Google’s email service through third-party email services like Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook, which many Chinese and foreigners had been relying on to use their Gmail accounts after an earlier blocking effort by officials, according to Internet analysts and users in China.

The blocking began on Friday and has ignited anger and frustration among many Internet users in China. Data from Google shows traffic to Gmail dropping to zero from Chinese servers.

But it is not just a matter of convenience for Chinese Internet users. Some foreign companies use Gmail as their corporate email service, for example, and so companies will have to ensure that employees have V.P.N., or virtual private network, software to get into Gmail.

Read the rest of the story here: China Adds New Barrier to Gmail

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Update: Gmail traffic trickles back into China

by  

“Gmail is starting to see life again in China.

Google’s e-mail service has seen a slight uptick in traffic going into the country, according to the company’s Transparency Report. The Financial Times (subscription required) was the first to notice that access had returned.

The increase hints at the end of a four-day outage in China, one with no explanation. Greatfire.org, a China-based anticensorship group, suggested the country may have been responsible, Reuters reported.”

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More information:

Gmail reportedly has been blocked in China

Gmail access appears to be blocked in China