Posts Tagged ‘Final Nominee MEA 2012’

Bahrain: denationalization, reprisals and travel bans against human rights defenders – will it ever end?

June 23, 2016

Bahrain does everything it can to keep itself in the spotlight of human rights concern. A coalition of NGOs, as well as the UN and (reluctantly) the USA have recently come out with criticism over travel bans, reprisals, denationalization and other violations:

When the 32nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on 13 June 2016, Nabeel Rajab, Bahrain’s best-known human rights defender, was arrested after dozens of police officers raided his home at around 5am and confiscated his electronic devices. The day before, Bahraini human rights defenders and victims of violations were prevented from flying to Geneva. On 16 June 21 NGOs signed a statement of serious alarm by Bahrain’s restrictions civil society especially preventing them from engaging with the UN.

[Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR – nominee of the MEA 2012), founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, was reportedly arrested under order from the Ministry of Interior’s Cybercrimes Unit. Bahraini officials had imposed a travel ban on Rajab a year ago, and since April 2015 have maintained charges against him for crimes related to freedom of expression online. Despite the submission of several appeals against the ban, authorities remained unresponsive. On 14 June 2016, Rajab was transferred to the public prosecution; and new charges were brought against him of allegedly ‘publishing and broadcasting false news that undermines the prestige of the state’. The public prosecution remanded him to seven days in detention pending investigation.]

In a new escalation of its crackdown against civil society, Bahraini authorities have now also banned other human rights defenders from leaving the country. The bans were imposed as the activists were attempting to travel to Geneva to participate in the Human Rights Council.

In light of this escalated attack on civil society in Bahrain, the 21 NGOs call for the immediate release of all human rights defenders in Bahrain, including Nabeel Rajab, and for the removal of the imposed travel bans which unfairly restrict activists’ freedom of movement. We also request that the President of the HRC, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association call on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban imposed on Bahrain’s civil society activists and guarantee Bahraini human rights defenders are free from intimidation and restrictions on their work, including at the UN. We also call on the international community to hold the government of Bahrain to its commitments and obligations to foster a safe environment for the peaceful enjoyment of universal human rights.  The government of Bahrain must immediately stop the ongoing reprisals against human rights defenders who are engaging with international mechanisms including the UN system. [21 signatories to be hound at the bottom of this post.]

On 21 June 2016, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stepped in with an expression of great concern over this intensification of a crackdown on free expression and association, and the right to a nationality: Read the rest of this entry »

Glimmer of hope for Sotoudeh and Iran crashed by Tehran Bar Association

October 21, 2014

The glimmer of hope for Nasrin Sotoudeh and Iran which I saw in my post of 6 September [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/glimmer-of-hope-in-iran-nasrin-sotoudehs-ban-to-practice-overruled/] seems to have been crushed already. Yesterday, 20 october, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the joint programme of FIDH and OMCT, has received new information that on 18 October 2014, a three-member disciplinary investigation panel of Tehran’s Bar Association has now suspended Nasrin Sotoudeh’s law license for three years, based on a complaint filed by the Islamic Revolution Court’s Prosecution Office (unlike the first disciplinary panel of the Tehran Bar Association which rejected a similar request). Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain: Travails of a Family of Human Rights Defenders

September 12, 2014

On Tuesday, 16 September, Maryam Al Khawaja, the Bahraini human rights defender will return to court for her second hearing on charges of assaulting a police officer, which she denies. It’s now been nearly two weeks since Maryam was arrested at the airport following her return to Bahrain to visit her father. She was initially detained for seven days, but over the weekend a Bahraini judge ruled to extend her detention by an additional 10 days. This is a good occasion to draw your attention to a long but fascinating piece by Lawrence Weschler on Truthdig of 11 September 2014. Under the title “Terrorizing a Family of Human Rights Champions” he describes in detail what happened to the remarkable al-Khawaja family of democratic non-violent human rights defenders [it is rumored that for the first time a family as such was considered for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize].  Read the rest of this entry »

Glimmer of hope in Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh’s ban to practice overruled

September 6, 2014

NASRIN_SOTOUDEH_PORTRAIT The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports on 5 September that the Lawyers’ Court denied the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office request for the suspension of Sotoudeh’s license to practice, and stated in a ruling that, “In the opinion of the Lawyer’s Court, Ms. Sotoudeh’s temporary suspension was unwarranted and will be overruled”. According to this ruling Ms. Sotoudeh can continue her profession as a lawyer says her husband Reza Khandan on Facebook.

[Prominent lawyer and human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh – final nominee of the MEA in 2012 and winner of the Sakharov prize- was arrested on September 4, 2010. A lower court sentenced her to 11 years in prison, a 20-year ban on her legal practice, and a 20-year ban on foreign travel, on charges of “acting against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “membership in the Human Rights Defenders Center.” An appeals court reduced her sentence to six years in prison and a 10-year ban on her legal practice. After almost three years in prison, Nasrin Sotoudeh was released on September 18, 2013. Upon release, Nasrin Sotoudeh objected to the ruling by the Tehran Revolutionary Court to suspend her license to practice law, asserting the Court’s lack of jurisdiction over this matter. She subsequently renewed her license and announced that she would continue her legal practice. However, judges have refused to allow her to appear in court to represent her clients.]

via Ten-Year Ban on Nasrin Sotoudeh’s Legal Practice Overruled: Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Returns to Law : International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

for more posts on Sotoudeh: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/nasrin-sotoudeh/

 

Iranian human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh speaks to the Guardian

June 2, 2014

The Guardian of 1 June 2014 contains a long and fascinating interview with Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian lawyer who won the Sacharov Prize and was a Final Nominee of the MEA in 2012. The now freed Iranian human rights lawyer – in an interview with Simon Tisdall – speaks out in a moving way about why she is a human rights defender and how she coped with the separation from her family. The title of the piece: ‘I’ve a bad feeling about the women I left behind’ is telling of her concern for others.
Nasrin Sotoudeh

(Nasrin Sotoudeh with her son, Nima, after being freed from prison last year. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

“Nasrin Sotoudeh’s seven-year-old son, Nima, wants to go out to play. His mother, the leading Iranian human rights lawyer whose arbitrary imprisonment in 2010 sparked an international campaign to free her, has been talking for ages. Nima is bored. At the door to their apartment in north-west Tehran, Nasrin takes Nima in her arms. The boy stands on tip-toe to embrace his mother. They hold each other for a minute or more. It is as though the two cannot bear to be separated..…….”. For more: Freed Iranian rights lawyer: Ive a bad feeling about the women I left behind | World news | theguardian.com.

other posts on Nasrin: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/nasrin-sotoudeh/

One of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders, Nabeel Rajab, released today

May 24, 2014

Nabeel Rajab, Final Nominee MEA 2012

Nabeel Rajab, Final Nominee MEA 2012

According to AhlulBayt News Agency prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been released in Bahrain today, 24 May 2014.  The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) welcome back their – respectively – President of the BCHR and General Secretary of the GCHR, free after a detention that lasted approximately two years. The two organisations warn that thousands of others continue to be imprisoned including BCHR and GCHR founder Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel. It is to be noted that Nabeel Rajab is being released because he served the full length of his arbitrary detention sentence.

Nabeel Rajab was initially sentenced on 16 August 2012, to three years in prison for advocating peaceful demonstrations to defend the civil and human rights of all the citizens in the country. On 11 December 2012, the Court of Appeal reduced the sentences to two years in prison. During his detention, he faced dire conditions and was subjected to ill-treatment and torture. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found that Nabeel’s detention was arbitrary as it resulted from the exercise of his universally recognized human rights. Despite this decision by the WGAD, all requests submitted to the authorities for an early release were summarily rejected.

Bahrain prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to be released after two years – AhlulBayt News Agency – ABNA – Shia News.

For the older posts that tell the story more in detail see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/nabeel-rajab/