Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

Good news: Iran temporarily frees human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh

November 9, 2020

Many media outlets (here the Guardian) reported on Saturday 7 November 2020 that Iran has temporarily released Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who was jailed two years ago on spying and propaganda charges. Sotoudeh’s release followed warnings last month by human rights groups that her health had severely deteriorated after she staged a six-week hunger strike to demand the release of political prisoners and rights activists.

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“Nasrin Sotoudeh … went on furlough with the agreement of the assistant superintendent of the women’s prison,” the judiciary’s Mizan news agency said, without giving further details.

Sotoudeh, 57, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their headscarf, was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader.

Sotoudeh has been recognised widely with seven major human rights awards.

See also:

Mugabe wins Chinese peace prize – this time for real

October 23, 2015

When I wrote my 1 April 2013 post about President Robert Mugabe getting the revamped Gaddafi award [], I could not know that one day he would actually get an award. But according to the Guardian and other newspapers this what happened when he was given the “Confucius award“, which was set up in 2010 as a Chinese alternative to the Nobel peace prize after the Norwegian Nobel committee infuriated Beijing by handing its annual peace prize to the jailed dissident writer Liu XiaoboRead the rest of this entry »

Tony Blair’s Children’s Award in contrast with his PR work for a dictator

November 27, 2014

This blog has always had keen interest in awards and in celebrities abusing their reputation. The current row over Tony Blair receiving an award from Save the Children USA as described by Katie Nguyen of Reuters on 26 November 2014 is exactly at the crossroads of these two interest.

Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the International donors conference on financing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in Cairo October 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Files
(former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at International donors conference on October 12, 2014. 
Save the Children’s U.S.A chapter gave its annual Global Legacy Award to former British prime minister Tony Blair last week. It stated that it was to recognise Blair’s role in persuading the G8 to agree to debt relief of $40 billion for the poorest nations. Staff working for the charity were furious about the award, the Guardian newspaper reported and more than 100,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Save the Children revoke the award.

Read the rest of this entry »

Snowden a human rights defender? – Russia seems to think so

June 13, 2013
Human Rights activist, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a national her, anti-fascism New Yorkers said at a rally on June 10
(Getty Images)

Yesterday I referred to the difficulty of defining human rights defenders in relation to a Nigerian politician, and here comes another, maybe more difficult one:

As the United States Justice Department prepare charges against  Edward Snowden, former federal government contractor who revealed the NSA’s secret surveillance program rights violation, as ABC News reportedRussia said Tuesday 11 June that it would consider a request from him for safe haven and The Guardian reported tuesday that Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says any appeal from whistleblower Edward Snowden for asylum will be looked at ‘according to facts,’

Aleksey Pushkov, chair of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said Snowden is a “human rights activist.” Referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Pushkov said, “In this sense, Snowden — like Assange — is a human-rights activist.”

I’m willing to sacrifice all that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people all around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” Snowden himself told The Guardian.

Russia might aid Snowden human rights activist – National Human Rights |

Arms sales to human rights violating regimes? – the UK and Arab world

November 10, 2012

In a letter to the editor of the Guardian of 8 November 2012, Andrew Lovatt puts the question very clearly:

Countries that sell arms to states that have repeatedly violated the human rights of their people should receive universal condemnation from their own citizens for the role they play in furthering the misery and bloodshed around the globe, and Britain’s sale of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be no exception. Human Rights Watch has reported numerous human rights abuses conducted by both states, which have included the assault and intimidation of nonviolent human rights defenders, political activists and civil society actors in an attempt to suppress freedom of expression and protect the regimes from democratic change.

Britain’s long-standing international support for democracy and human rights has already been undermined by the sale of 72 Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Should Britain prop up these oppressive states further by putting an extra £6bn worth of military hardware into their hands, its position will rightly be viewed as hypocritical by the rest of the world.
Andrew Lovatt
Market Drayton, Shropshire


Valentine ‘massacre’; Ugandan minister blathers about gay rights conference

February 15, 2012

Further to my post from yesterday I am glad to report that MEA Laureate Kahsa is for the moment safe. But I cannot resist to provide some quotes from the Guardian article which speak for themselves in demonstrating the state of mind of the minister concerned which is, to use an understatement, confused and, when invoking terrorism, even dangerous :

Simon Lokodo, the minister for ethics and integrity, was accompanied by police to a hotel where he told activists their workshop was an “illegal assembly” and ordered them out. Defending his actions later, Lokodo told the Guardian: “You should not allow people to plan the destruction of your country. You cannot allow terrorists to organise to destroy your country. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists are reportedly referring to the shutting down of Tuesday’s workshop at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe as a “Valentine’s massacre”. But Lokodo expressed no regrets. “It was an illegal meeting because we were not informed,” he said. “We found out the meeting was being organised by people from within and without. People from Europe and other African countries outside Uganda. They were recruiting people to go out and divulge the ideology of LGBT. In Uganda, the culture, tradition and laws do not support bestiality and lesbianism. They were illegally associating.” He added: “We tolerate them, we give them liberty and freedom to do their business, but we don’t like them to organise and associate.”

The minister also tried to order the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a prominent LGBT rights activist. The winner of the 2011 Martin Ennals award for human rights defenders was forced to flee the hotel. “I wanted to arrest a lady who was abusing me and calling me a liar,” Lokodo said. “I want to subject her to a court of law. She must be arrested. This is hooliganism. You cannot be insulted in this country. We must be a civilised country. This particular one was talking like she came from the bush.”

Ugandan minister shuts down gay rights conference | World news | The Guardian.