HRW Criticizes Facebook Censorship of Palestinians, Demands Investigation

October 8, 2021

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Facebook has “wrongfully removed” content by Palestinians and pro-Palestine activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Friday.

According to the New York-based international NGO, Facebook unfairly removed posts describing human rights abuses carried out during the May 2021 Israeli aggression.

“Facebook has suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine,” said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at HRW. “With the space for such advocacy under threat in many parts of the world, Facebook censorship threatens to restrict a critical platform for learning and engaging on these issues.”

According to the HRW report, several posts were also removed by Instagram, the American photo and video sharing social networking service that was recently acquired by Facebook.  

“In one instance, Instagram removed a screenshot of headlines and photos from three New York Times opinion articles for which the Instagram user added commentary that urged Palestinians to ‘never concede’ their rights,” the report reads.

HRW also condemned Facebook policy to designate certain organizations as ‘dangerous’, thus limiting the freedom of expression.

“Facebook relies on the list of organizations that the US has designated as a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ among other lists,” HRW report said. “That list includes political movements that also have armed wings, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas.” 

“By deferring to the broad and sweeping US designations, Facebook prohibits leaders, founders, or prominent members of major Palestinian political movements from using its platform. It does this even though, as far as is publicly known, US law does not prohibit groups on the list from using free and freely available platforms like Facebook.”

In its report, HRW called for an “independent audit .. (to) evaluate Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli government’s Cyber Unit, which creates a parallel enforcement system for the government to seek to censor content without official legal orders.”

The California-based social media giant did not provide exhaustive explanations to justify its behavior, according to HRW. 

“Facebook has acknowledged several issues affecting Palestinians and their content, some of which it attributed to ‘technical glitches’and human error. However, these explanations do not explain the range of restrictions and suppression of content observed.”

The NGO ultimately asked for an independent investigation and urged Facebook to ensure “that investigators closely consult with civil society at the outset of the investigation, so that (it) reflects the most pressing human rights concerns from those affected by its policies.”

Last April, HRW issued a report, titled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’, concluding that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Sheikh Jarrah’s Activists Muna, Muhammed El-Kurd Make TIME Top 100 List

September 16, 2021

Mohammed and Muna el-Kurd. (Photo: via Twitter)

Time magazine has named Palestinian twins and activists, Muna and Muhammed El-Kurd of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The magazine said Muna and her twin brother Muhammed have become symbols of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation’s attempts to evict Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

“Through online posts and media appearances, sibling activists Muhammed and Muna El-Kurd provided the world with a window into living under occupation in East Jerusalem this spring—helping to prompt an international shift in rhetoric in regard to Israel and Palestine,” the magazine wrote.

“Charismatic and bold, they became the most recognizable voices of those threatened with losing their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.”

A statement by Mohammed El-Kurd after he and his sister were designated by Time Magazine as being among the 100 most influential personalities in the world. https://t.co/c0jlTE7RBZ

— J. Shawa جاسم الشوا (@shawajason) September 15, 2021

In response to the announcement, Muhammed El-Kurd wrote: “My sister and I’s selection as part of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’ may be a positive indicator of the centralization of the Palestinian cause in the global public sphere. However, the creation of symbols – which reduces the struggle of a whole people to a single face – is not enough.”

“What we are demanding is a tangible, radical change in the media system (including the Times) to end its Zionist bias.”

“The untold story of Sheikh Jarrah, of Jerusalem – in fact, of all of Palestin,” Ramzy Baroud is at it again: Muna is Palestine, Yakub is Israel: The Untold Story of Sheikh Jarrah – https://t.co/JhsGfRkrM3 https://t.co/c5J8AH5wyp

— Nasser Rabbat (@nasserrabbat) May 15, 2021

The list also includes current US President Joe Biden, his predecessor Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who is of Palestinian origin, was also named.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

NSO Group’s Spyware Used on Bahraini Activists – Report

August 25, 2021

NSO Group’s Spyware Used on Bahraini Activists - Report

By Staff, Agencies

In the course of violating human rights in the Bahraini kingdom, nine activists from Bahrain had their iPhones hacked by advanced spyware made by the ‘Israeli’ company NSO Group, the world’s most notorious hacker-for-hire firm, a cybersecurity watchdog reported on Tuesday.

Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said NSO Group’s Pegasus malware successfully hacked the phones between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile. At least one of the activists lived in London when the hacking occurred, Citizen Lab said.

Citizen Lab said it has “high confidence” that at least four of the activists were hacked by the Bahraini government, which has a history of using commercially available spyware.

One of the activists targeted is Moosa Mohammed, who said he was previously a victim of spyware, in 2012.

“When I fled torture and persecution in Bahrain, I thought I would find safety in London but have continued to face surveillance and physical attacks by Gulf regimes,” he said.

The government of Bahrain, a tiny island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that’s home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has a long history of suppressing dissent. Bahrain’s National Communication Centre dismissed Citizen Lab’s findings as “misguided” and said in a statement the country is committed to safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

NSO Group said in a statement that it had not yet seen the report, but questioned Citizen Lab’s methods and motives. “If NSO receives reliable information related to the misuse of the system, the company will vigorously investigate the claims and act accordingly,” the company said.

Citizen Lab found that in some instances the malware infected targeted iPhones without the users taking any action — what’s known as a zero-click vulnerability.

Bill Marczak of Citizen Lab said the exploits worked against a recent versions of the iPhone’s operating system, adding that there’s “no indication that the bugs exploited have been fixed.”

Ivan Krstic, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, said such attacks are costly and often have a short shelf life. “They are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users,” he said in a statement, adding that Apple constantly adds new protections for its devices and data.

The new report is the latest unwelcome news for NSO Group. The firm was the focus of recent reports by a media consortium that found the company’s spyware tool Pegasus was used in several instances of successful or attempted phone hacks of business executives, human rights activists and others around the world.

Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

August 23, 2021 

Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

By Staff, Agencies

As part of their nationwide campaign against an ‘Israeli’ arms manufacturer, pro-Palestine activists in the United Kingdom have staged a protest outside the company’s plant in the borough of Oldham.

Palestine Action, a London-based pro-Palestine advocacy group, shared a series of tweets showing masked activists standing on the roof of the Zionist arms factory on Monday, holding ‘Shut down Elbit’ banners.

They announced that they had taken to the roof of the Zionist arms factory in Oldham “once more,” spraying it with fire extinguishers, and “laying bare the profits of a military occupation and extinguishing Elbit through direct action.”

In another tweet, the group said they had “blockaded” the gates of the ‘Israeli’ arms factory in Oldham by vehicles, and halted its “deadly production line.”

“The roof’s ours,” it declared.

One of the pictures showed an activist sitting on the roof, with clenched fist. The caption read: “They may try to lock us up in chains but we’ll always keep coming back and taking the fight to Elbit to tear apart their links in ‘Israel’s’ killer supply chain.”

In a statement published on its website, Palestine Action said the move comes “as ‘Israel’ continues to raid Palestinian communities in Gaza and the West Bank while brutalizing civilians, using UK-manufactured weapons and technologies produced by firms such as Elbit Systems.”

It said the Oldham arms factory is used for the “production of a range of specialist weapons technologies, including components for ‘Israeli’ drones and battle tanks.”

“The activists currently occupying the Elbit Ferranti factory have once again shown the power of direct action against ‘Israeli’ oppression. While Western governments continue to side with the oppressors, and while media attention in Palestinian suffering has dwindled, Palestinians are still exposed to daily brutality, starvation, apartheid and death. These activists are bravely standing against this injustice – and we will continue to do so until Elbit is shut down,” the statement quoted the spokesman as saying.

It is the second time in three months that pro-Palestine activists in UK have scaled the roof of an ‘Israeli’ arms factory. In May, the week-long protest in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, had resulted in court action.

The group has been vigorously campaigning against Elbit, the Zionist regime’s largest arms producer, across the UK since last year, targeting a number of sites owned by the arms company.

Amnesty: PA Response to Nizar Banat Demonstrators ‘Violent Repression’

July 9, 2021

Palestinians rally to protest Nizar Banat’s assassination. (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via MEMO)

Recent violence by Palestinian government forces against demonstrators in the West Bank has constituted a “chilling campaign of repression”, according to Amnesty International.

The rights NGO slammed the use of “unlawful force” by the authorities in a press release on Wednesday. It said reporters, campaigners, and lawyers had been detained without justification, and that arrestees had suffered torture.

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in Hebron city in the occupied West Bank against the the assassination of Palestinian opposition activist Nizar Banat and demanding to apprehend the perpetrators, today.#NizarBanat pic.twitter.com/PAMWbqzMZg

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 9, 2021

The group explained that anger has reached boiling point after prominent anti-government dissenter Nizar Banat died two weeks ago in Palestinian detention.

It said the authorities have used unnecessary strength against demonstrators, including this Monday, when they “violently” broke up those rallying at a Ramallah police station before making 15 or more arrests.

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy MENA director explained: “Over the past two weeks, Palestinian authorities have launched a deliberate campaign of repression, clamping down on peaceful protesters and carrying out arbitrary arrests in an attempt to instil a climate of fear and crush dissent”.

When the PA men descended on Banat’s house on June 24, the ferocity of their violence was unprecedented https://t.co/1K1lRsyOFr via @PalestineChron #NizarBanat #Palestine pic.twitter.com/jQOyZ7s6Ua

— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) July 9, 2021

Higazi called for Palestine’s long-time president, Mahmoud Abbas, to put a stop to the “chilling crackdown” and see to it that any officers who have perpetrated abuses are held responsible.

Last week, also in Ramallah, Palestinian reporters gathered by a United Nations building to urge freedom of the press in the wake of the authorities’ aggression at Nizar Banat demonstrations.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Prominent Palestinian Activist Nizar Banat Dies during Arrest by PA Forces

June 24, 2021

Palestinian prominent activist Nizar Banat. (Photo: via Social Media)

A prominent Palestinian political activist and outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority died during his arrest by PA forces early Thursday.

In a brief statement, the Hebron governorate said that Banat’s “health deteriorated” when a force of the security services went to arrest him early Thursday. It added that he was taken to a hospital where he was later announced dead.

The Palestinian Authority has deliberately targeted and killed Nizar Banat in Hebron.
Nizar spoke up about repression and failed policies which keep Palestinians silent, chained.
Today, the PA proved that it doesn’t intend on keeping Palestinians safe and free. #nizar_banat pic.twitter.com/YPmVIGMSIr

— مريم البرغوثي (@MariamBarghouti) June 24, 2021

Nizar’s cousin, Mohammad Banat, told Quds News Network that around 25 Palestinian security forces stormed the home where Nizar was staying, blowing out doors and windows.

He added that they beat Nizar with an iron bar and sprayed pepper spray in his eyes before undressing him and dragging him away to a vehicle.

Mohammad and another cousin were present during the arrest.

(Quds News, PC, Social Media)

London: pro-Palestine activist defies death during solidarity action

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM ]

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Robert Carter
Press TV, London

The area surrounding the US embassy in London was brought to a total standstill early on Tuesday as a pro-Palestine activist staged, what’s been described as a “courageous stunt.” The action came after a disappointing debate was conducted at the Westminster, where MPs failed to convince the government to sanction Israel over its crimes to the Palestinians.

The area surrounding the US Embassy in London was brought to a complete standstill on Tuesday morning after a 69 year old pro-Palestine activist climbed atop a nearby crane.

Carrying nothing but some minor equipment and a large Palestinian flag, Nicholas Georges hopes his death defying stunt will help raise further awareness of the Palestinians suffering.

This action comes following a parliamentary debate held at Westminster the day before. Despite the demands from over 300,000 Brits to sanction Israel, the government sided with Tel Aviv.


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British schoolchildren face punishment for wearing Palestine flags and keffiyeh’s

Students said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and barred from taking exams due to their pro-Palestine activism

Children across the UK have faced disciplinary action for their Palestine activism on school premises (AFP)

By Areeb Ullah

Published date: 26 May 2021

Schoolchildren in the UK are being punished for their pro-Palestine activism on school premises, with some being disciplined for wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestine flags.

Several students who spoke to Middle East Eye said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and being blocked from taking their exams if they continued protesting for Palestinian rights on school premises.

The forms of activism being penalised by schools include displaying the Palestinian flag on face masks or their hands and putting up posters designed by students to educate their peers on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Every student and teacher who spoke to MEE requested anonymity as they feared possible repercussions from their school for speaking out.

Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds (Supplied)
Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds. Students had to take pictures in secret as phones are banned on school premises (Supplied)

Pupils who spoke to MEE attended schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Rochdale and different areas of London.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (BLM) and her school’s awareness campaigns on LGBT rights and mental health, Jay assumed Allerton George would encourage discussion on Palestine.

But when students put up posters around the school in communal areas without permission, teachers quickly took them down.

“The teachers went as far as ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching the ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching them up in our faces,” Jay told MEE.

“When we asked why they took down the posters, the teachers said they didn’t have to justify it to us and were given clear instructions to take down these posters as they were seen as sending antisemitic messages.”

Jay stressed the messages on the posters were not antisemitic and said: “End Israeli Apartheid, End illegal Occupation and Free Palestine”. 

She added: “They took our lanyards from us because they had the Palestine flag.

“When we asked them why it was okay to wear BLM or LGBTQ+ flags on our lanyards but not Palestine, they couldn’t give us an answer and later said as a political cause, it caused distress to others.”

Students from Allerton Grange later posted a video of headteacher Mike Roper describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and “symbol of antisemitism”. Roper has since apologised after facing protests outside the school. 

‘Posters were torn down and binned’

Jay said the school had refused to take down the Israeli flag displayed in the library after seeing the Palestine flag taken down.

Allerton George had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

Some teachers from other schools who spoke to MEE also confirmed that students were placed in detention for putting up posters in support of Palestine.

Like Jay, Sam from West London put up posters in his school for Palestine on their class boards and wore badges to raise awareness about Palestine.

“We put up small Palestinian flags and posters on our class poster boards wearing badges that read ‘Free Palestine’, drawing Palestine flags on our hands and wearing keffiyehs to spread awareness and pique student interest,” Sam told MEE.

“The posters were torn down and binned, the students were told to remove their badges at the threat of suspension from school and all ‘flags and symbols’ were removed from sight at the threat of detention.” 

Sam added that students were threatened with being withdrawn from their GCSE exams if they refused to delete a video of senior staff taking down posters or wore a Palestine badge.

Aisha faced a similar situation as Sam did at Brampton Manor Academy in Newham, east London, where she says she was punished for wearing a Free Palestine badge in her school.

She said her teachers banned students from protesting and threatened them with detention if they continued putting them up. 

Students fear speaking out

Several students from other parts of the UK also expressed their disappointment at how their schools reacted towards their activism following the BLM protests.

Letters given to MEE that were sent to teachers and parents by Redbridge Council and a school in Birmingham told them that schools are “apolitical” bodies and could not allow students to participate in Palestine protests despite holding discussions for BLM and selling poppies to students.

Ilyas Nagdee, an activist who campaigns against the Prevent strategy, said children and their parents had contacted him about schools clamping down on pro-Palestine activism.

‘What we are seeing now is a product of years of Prevent trying to micro-manage political conversations’

– Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary University

His call-out on Twitter to help students facing issues at school for their Palestine protests was retweeted 1,300 times at the time of writing.

Since then, Nagdee has received nearly a hundred requests for help, with many students afraid to speak out publicly.

“The cases we have received span the entire length of the country with hotspots where there are sizeable Muslim communities. The sanctions applied are wide in range, from young people being spoken to in class or given lunchtime isolation all the way to exclusions,” said Nagdee.

“We are also receiving a growing number of concerned parents who are contacting us due to fear their child has fallen into the clutches of Prevent or fearful of visits from the police.

Prevent in schools

Shereen Fernandez, a lecturer at Queen Mary University in London who specialises in Prevent in schools, believes the school reaction to Palestine protests is a direct result of the Prevent strategy telling teachers that campaigning for Palestine is associated with extremism.

Prevent is a strand of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to “safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

It was publicly launched in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was initially targeted squarely at Muslim communities, prompting continuing complaints of discrimination and concerns that the programme was being used to collect intelligence.

“Although Prevent will maintain that schools are ‘safe spaces’, that is not the case, as teachers will be anxious about approaching ‘controversial’ topics like Palestine because of its alleged association to extremism as indicated in the training material.”

“Symbols of solidarity such as wearing a badge supporting Palestine has been enough to refer students in the past to Prevent.”

In 2016, MEE revealed that the UK government told teachers in schools, colleges and universities to monitor Muslim students who display an interest in Palestine as being susceptible to terrorism.

And in 2014, Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17-year-old student from Luton, was reportedly referred to Prevent and visited by the police after he organised a Palestine fundraiser at his school.

A teacher from Mayfield school in the London area of Ilford said the school’s reaction to pro-Palestine protests was “confusing”, adding that colleagues perceive “pro-Palestine activism as racism”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Prevent is involved in constructing that line for schools across the country, and I’d say issues like BLM and poppies are allowed because they are considered neutral enough for schools to talk about.”

Mayfield School had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

Nagdee, the activist, said that many parents who spoke to him said they feared their children would be referred to Prevent because of their campaigning.

‘Biased’ assemblies

Following the protests, many schools across the UK held assemblies to address student concerns on raising awareness. 

But students who spoke to MEE said the assemblies fuelled further anger among students.

Images posted online showed students protesting at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester after it was perceived to minimise Palestinian suffering. 

It remains unclear whether students in the video were punished for protesting.

Sam noted how his teacher described the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as similar to a “messy bedroom” and disputed the phrasing of tensions as a “conflict”. 

“To address the discomfort many students felt about censorship of student voices, they organised an assembly on the concept of ‘conflict’ where the events in Palestine was compared to a ‘messy bedroom where a rebellious child and their parent had differing opinions on how it should be dealt with,” said Sam. 

“It just felt patronising and demeaning to us all.” 

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Amnesty Urges Saudi To Release Female Activists

Source

By Staff, Agencies

Amnesty Urges Saudi To Release Female Activists

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately release women human rights activists, including those who are “being punished for daring to drive.”

The kingdom on Thursday marked the second anniversary of the end of the ban on women driving.

“It’s been almost two years since the Saudi authorities detained Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and a group of Saudi women activists simply for demanding equality and defending human rights in the kingdom,” the group’s UK chapter said in a statement.

“For the first three months of their detention, several of the women activists endured torture, physical abuse and other forms of ill-treatment when they were held incommunicado and in solitary confinement with no access to their families or lawyers.”

Up until June 24, 2018, Saudi Arabia had been the only country in the world to prevent women from driving, and even jailed some who defied the ban.

Amnesty UK has launched a “Beep for freedom” campaign in support of the persecuted women’s rights defenders.

The campaign involves supporters sharing photos of themselves behind the wheel of a car or sharing the campaign’s “Beep for Freedom” car horn symbol, with an appeal to the Saudi authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release the activists and drop all charges against them.

Dissidents in the conservative country are often arbitrarily detained without charge or trial.

WhatsApp: “Israeli” NSO Deeply Involved in Hacking Our Users

By Staff, Agencies

In new court filings, WhatsApp has revealed that an “Israeli” spyware company used US-based servers and was “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 WhatsApp users, including senior government officials, journalists, and human rights activists.

The new revelations about NSO Group state that the “Israeli” company bears responsibility in serious human rights violations, including the hacking of more than a dozen Indian journalists and Rwandan dissidents.

For years, NSO Group has claimed that its spyware is purchased by government clients for the purpose of tracking down “terrorists” and that it had no independent knowledge of how those clients – which in the past have reportedly included Saudi Arabia and Mexico – use its hacking software.

But a lawsuit filed by WhatsApp against NSO Group last year – the first of its kind by a major technology company – is revealing more technical details about how the hacking software, Pegasus, is deployed against targets.

In the court filings last week, WhatsApp said its own investigation into how Pegasus was used against 1,400 users last year showed that servers controlled by NSO Group – not its government clients – were an integral part of how the hacks were executed.

According to WhatsApp’s filing, NSO gained “unauthorized access” to its servers by reverse-engineering the messaging app and then evading the company’s security features that prevent manipulation of the company’s call features. One WhatsApp engineer who investigated the hacks said in a sworn statement submitted to the court that in 720 instances, the IP address of a remote server was included in the malicious code used in the attacks. The remote server, the engineer said, was based in Los Angeles and owned by a company whose data centre was used by NSO.

NSO has said in legal filings that it has no insight into how government clients use its hacking tools, and therefore does not know who governments are targeting.

But one expert, John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab, who has worked with WhatsApp on the case, said NSO’s control of the servers involved in the hack suggests the company would have had logs, including IP addresses, identifying the users who were being targeted.

“Whether or not NSO looks at those logs, who knows? But the fact that it could be done is contrary to what they say,” Scott-Railton said.

The new developments in the case come as NSO is facing separate questions about the accuracy of a tracking product it has launched following the outbreak of Covid-19. The new program, called Fleming, uses mobile phone data and public health information to identify who individuals infected with coronavirus may have come into contact with. A report by NBC last weekend said NSO’s new tool was being marketed in the US.

But in a Twitter thread, Scott-Railton said his analysis showed it was relying on data that appeared very imprecise.

“When you are working with data with this much built-in inaccuracy, it would be pretty intense to issue alerts each time this happened. Or to require quarantines. Or testing. The rates of false positives here would be through the roof. But … so would false negatives,” he said.

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

By Staff, Agencies

A leading activist serving an 11-year prison sentence has died in detention in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said, highlighting the kingdom’s human rights record.

Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, died after a stroke in his prison cell earlier this month, according to multiple rights groups, including Amnesty International.

“Dr. Hamid was a fearless champion for human rights in Saudi Arabia,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends, who for the past eight years had been deprived of his presence as a result of the state’s inhumane repression.”

“He, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place,” Maalouf added.

Hamid was a founding member of the rights group the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association [ACPRA] and was sentenced to prison in March 2013, the rights groups said.

He faced multiple charges, including “breaking allegiance” to the Saudi ruler, “inciting disorder” and seeking to disrupt state security, Amnesty explained.

Other ACPRA members have also been imprisoned in the past, including another co-founder, Mohammad al-Qahtani, who was jailed for 10 years in 2013, Amnesty said.

Saudi Arabia has long faced international criticism over its human rights record. That criticism has grown since Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne in June 2017.

The murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and the increased repression of dissidents have overshadowed so-called efforts by the prince to modernize the economy and society.

Amnesty International Calls on Saudi Authorities to Release Prisoner of Conscience Has Been in A Coma

Source

2020-04-19


Amnesty International called on The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately release Dr Abdullah al-Hamid, a prisoner of conscience who remains detained despite being in coma and in critical condition early April.

“It is heartbreakingly cruel that Dr Abdullah al-Hamid remains in detention, even while in a coma,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Dr al-Hamid, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place. All those imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights must be immediately and unconditionally released.

The organization also called on the authorities to consider taking into account the immediate release of elderly prisoners, thoe with current health conditions, who are still at risk of contracting Covid-19, as well as all who are still awaiting trial.

In March 2012, Dr al-Hamid and Mohammad al-Qahtani were arrested and interrogated regarding their work with ACPRA and their peaceful activism. In March 2013, they were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison respectively, on charges of “breaking allegiance to the ruler”, “questioning the integrity of officials”, “seeking to disrupt security and inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations”, and “instigating international organizations against the Kingdom”.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid, a prominent human rights activist, is serving a 11-year prison sentence for his peaceful activity and suffering from high blood pressure. The doctor told him, three months ago, that he needed to have heart surgery in the coming months, and prison authorities have threatened him that if he is told His family, on his health, will cut his contact with his family, and among the prisoners of conscience still in detention in the Kingdom are many prominent women’s rights activists, including Lujain al-Hathloul.

It is reported that conditions in many of Saudi Arabia’s overcrowded prisons, like its counterpart in Bahrain, greatly increase the risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus. Amnesty International has previously expressed concern about the authorities’ failure to provide adequate medical care in the country’s prisons.

Executions Double In Saudi Arabia under King Salman

Executions Double In Saudi Arabia under King Salman

By Staff, Agencies

Saudi Arabia carried out its 800th execution last week, marking an almost two-fold increase in the use of the medieval practice since King Salman assumed power in 2015, a rights group warned.

Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization, alarmed in a report on Tuesday that the Riyadh regime last week beheaded Abdulmohsin Humood Abdullah al-Ghamdi, a national accused of committing murder, marking the 800th execution in the Arab country since Salman assumed power in January 2015, following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.

The report said that executions had almost doubled in just five years in comparison with the 423 executions conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 through 2014.

Reprieve added that the Saudi regime had executed 186 people in 2019 alone, 37 of whom were killed in one mass execution on April 23 last year. It said six of the men beheaded during the mass execution had been juveniles at the time of their purported offenses.

Of those who had been executed in 2019, at least 58 people were foreign nationals targeted for preaching Shia Islam, which the Saudi regime considers a crime, the report said, adding that others were executed last year for allegedly participating in or inciting political demonstrations.

Reprieve also criticized Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is regarded as the de facto ruler of the kingdom, for not keeping his word to limit the number of executions as part of what he initially claimed would be “reforms” in the highly-conservative kingdom. “The reality is far from that statement,” Reprieve said.

According to the report, the increase in the number of executions during the past five years is partly due to the number of people accused of politically-motivated crimes under Salman.

“For all the rhetoric of reform and modernization, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the king can get you killed,” said director of Reprieve, Maya Foa.

In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime, along with 46 other men on “terrorism” charges.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up the politically-motivated arrest, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners, particularly in the country’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

In Overcrowded Cells, Bahrain’s Political Prisoners Suffer New Calamity amid Covid-19

In Overcrowded Cells, Bahrain’s Political Prisoners Suffer New Calamity amid Covid-19

By Staff, Agencies

When jailed Bahraini activist Abdullah Habeeb Swar developed a bad cough that lasted several days, his 14 cell mates feared he might have contracted the coronavirus and would spread it through their overcrowded wing.

They share a cell designed to sleep eight in one of three wings in Manama’s Jaw prison reserved for detainees sentenced on security-related charges.

“You can imagine how scared they were,” Swar told Reuters by telephone, referring to last month’s coughing fits.

He is one of hundreds of opposition politicians, activists, journalists and human rights defenders sentenced in mass trials. Detained in 2019 after six years in hiding and serving a 40-year term, Swar said he was not seen by a doctor.

US-allied Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organizations over prison conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.

Rights groups including Amnesty International last week jointly called Bahraini authorities to release those who “peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of expression”, especially elderly prisoners or those with existing health conditions.

“The authorities don’t like to be seen to bend to political pressure,” said Marc Owen Jones of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

Mass trials became commonplace in Bahrain – home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet – after an uprising in 2011.

‘It Would be the End of Free Speech’: Protest Against Assange’s Extradition at Belmarsh Prison

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Today is the day a London court begins hearing on what looks to become (or at least precede) one of the defining cases of the decade – the extradition trial of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has found support from human rights advoctes from across the globe, including France’s Yellow Vest movement.

It’s chilly and windy in London, and Belmarsh Prison is definitely not the first place that comes to mind when you think of where to hang out.

But a small crowd of several dozen people, many clad in signature high-vis jackets, have come together at the nearby Woolwich Crown Court to demand freedom for Julian Assange. Some of them have spent a nippy night camped out outside the court; most arrived today.

Protesters are holding up banners reading, “Bent judges are killing Assange”, “Jail the war criminals, free Chelsea Manning”, and “No US extradition”.

The rally is organised by human rights campaigners, notably those from Reporters Without Borders and France’s Yellow Vest movement.

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Solidarity between Palestinians and Indigenous Activists has Deep Roots

Rally supporting indigenous communities in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Supplied)

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By Marion Kawas

Palestinian solidarity with indigenous struggles here in Turtle Island was highlighted last week, with both local and international Palestinian support for the Wet’suwet’en nation’s struggle on unceded territory in British Columbia.

The BDS National Committee (BNC) released a powerful statement at the same time as diaspora Palestinians in Vancouver sent greetings to the daily #WetsuwetenStrong protest in that city. Both emphasized the brave and tireless resistance of the indigenous defenders, with the BNC noting that Palestinians owe them “a great debt for teaching us how to resist settler colonialism generation after generation through your powerful resistance, grace and indomitable spirit”. 

But these strong expressions of Palestinian support are not new and have a long and rich history.

Mahmoud Darwish’s iconic and epic poem, “The Penultimate Speech of the ‘Red Indian’ to the White Man,” is one early example of the modern Palestinian resistance movement’s link with indigenous issues. Some verses of that poem have been put to music by Roger Waters in a segment appropriately entitled “Supremacy”.

Russell Means, leader of the American Indian Movement, also wrote a poem in response to Darwish, entitled “The Song of the Palestinian”. In fact, solidarity delegations of AIM visited Beirut in the 1970s and were welcomed at many Palestinian offices and centers.

Mahmoud Darwish was in Vancouver, Canada in 1976 as part of the Palestinian delegation to the UN-Habitat Conference. At a packed public meeting organized by local activists, he appeared on stage to recite his poetry along with celebrated indigenous poet Lee Maracle. He read several of his poems, and she presented the English translation of “Write Down, I am an Arab” for the audience.

Maracle later said that upon “Hearing his work…she felt an intrinsic connection. ‘He spoke to something so old inside my body it felt like floating in a sea of forever’.”

That same year, indigenous activists in Vancouver were also protesting the arrest and later extradition of Leonard Peltier. Peltier had been part of the 1973 resistance to the US military siege on Pine Ridge, but was falsely accused of murdering an FBI agent. He came to Canada, was jailed and later handed over to the US government, where he was incarcerated and remains to this day.

Weekly protests were held in 1976 to support Peltier, and Palestinians were there to support those actions. An article from the Native Study Group in a newsletter of the day “Palestine in Struggle”, highlighted Peltier’s case and showed why solidarity between all indigenous struggles is critical.

In 2012, there was a strong statement of support from Palestinians with the IdleNoMore movement and indigenous rights. Multiple organizations and individuals signed on to show the depth of support and understanding between the two struggles.

They said in part:

“We recognize the deep connections and similarities between the experiences of our peoples – settler colonialism, destruction and exploitation of our land and resources, denial of our identity and rights, genocide and attempted genocide.”

Indigenous activists from Canada have been part of the Gaza Flotilla multiple times. Both Robert Lovelace and more recently, Larry Commodore, sailed on Boat to Gaza vessels in solidarity with the Palestinians. Larry, in particular, was treated brutally and injured by the Israeli military upon his arrest from the al Awda in 2018.

Solidarity between Palestinian and Mohawk activists also has a long history across Canada. There are many examples of mutual support, with Mohawk flags being seen at Palestinian demos and Palestinian flags flying high on Six Nations land.

One activist, the late Splitting the Sky (John Boncore), who was part of the Gustafsen Lake standoff, was also pivotal in furthering indigenous solidarity in British Columbia. He joined the parents of Rachel Corrie and others on a Vancouver stage in 2003 in a remarkable meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians.

Slogans such as “Sovereign Forever, Never Surrender” and “If you deny our Existence, Expect our Resistance” have been highlighted in the #WetsuwetenStrong protests. These slogans also resonate completely with the current phase of the Palestinian struggle, as Palestinians deal with Trump’s apartheid plan and the crushing vision for the future it embodies.

The bonds of shared trauma, shared resistance to settler colonialism and the enduring spirit of defending the land will keep the solidarity between Palestinians and the indigenous people of Turtle Island alive for generations.

– Marion Kawas is a member of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.cpavancouver.org.

Polish Activist Praises Resistance Movements in the ME, Says Yemenis, Palestinians’ Sufferings Example of Inhumanity

Polish Activist Praises Resistance Movements in the ME, Says Yemenis, Palestinians’ Sufferings Example of Inhumanity

By Zeinab Daher

Beirut- Polish Shia Activist Sandrella Malazi, who visited Beirut last week to take part in the New Horizon Conference that was held in the Lebanese capital city, reflected to al-Ahed News her views towards the humanitarian issues taking place in the region.

The lady, who converted to Shia Islam some 13 years earlier, is connected to the first and oldest legally registered 12 Shia Imams organization in Poland that has been operating since the 1990s. The organization has been operating before since the 1970s illegally because at the time every religious organization was illegal in Poland and they used to operate underground. The organization’s Polish name is “Stowarzyszenie Jednosci Muzulmanskiej”, which means Muslim Unity Association”.

Sandrella Malazi participated in the conference held in Beirut to represent the Leader of the Polish political party “Zmiana”, which means “Change” and read a letter on his behalf because he is barred from leaving the country.

Mateusz Piskorski, the leader of the Polish opposition party, spent 3 years in prison for his anti-government views.

In her speech at the conference, Malazi voiced rejection of oppression and inhumane practices.
Speaking to al-Ahed News on the sidelines of the conference, the Polish lady elaborated on the issue. “What is currently happening in Yemen and Palestine, is the perfect example of oppressive and inhumane practices,” Sandrella Malazi said.

“Injustice that the Palestinians have been suffering from at the hands of Zionists for over than 70 years, and the unwillingness of the so called ‘civilized’ world to take any action, and even its support of ‘Israel’, is one of the darkest stains in human history,” Malazi told al-Ahed News.

As for Yemen, Malazi equated the Yemenis’ suffering to that of the Palestinians.

“Around three and half million Yemenis have lost their homes, and became refugees in their own countries. Yemen is suffering one of the world’s most humanitarian catastrophes,” Malazi warned, adding that she wholeheartedly supports the Yemeni and Palestinians resistance movements.

Commenting on the Lebanese resistance group, Malazi said that she also supports “Hezbollah that has its own and special place in my heart.”

“I’m sure that with the help of God, they will be triumphant over the enemies of God and humanity.”
In the letter Malazi read on behalf of Piskorski, she voiced opposition to US hegemony, adding that it is collapsing through its proxies in different countries.

“The American Hegemony must fail,” Malazi said. “I believe that it is only a matter of time, before their Empire falls. The world we live in, have certain undeniable rules, established by God. You cannot build a house on weak foundations, it will definitely collapse,” she stressed in the interview with al-Ahed.

You cannot just build a country upon human suffering, oppression, stolen land or death of innocent, she continued.

“Allah is the most Just Judge. And sooner or later everyone will receive what he deserves,” Malazi said expressing her beliefs.

In her message to the people of the region, namely those oppressed by wars and dictatorships, Malazi told them, via al-Ahed: “Do not give up! Because after difficulty comes ease, and the sun rises after every storm.”

“We must remain patient and steadfast in our resistance. Don’t give up and don’t be intimidated. We have the biggest and the most powerful ally on our side. Allah is with us. And Victory must be ours,” she concluded.

LOVELY ENCOUNTERS IN SEVASTOPOL, CRIMEA

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Eva Bartlett

I have a lot to update on from various areas of Russia over the past few weeks, but have been working hard on a special project that takes priority over all my other work and over even simple updates (and which unfortunately two days ago I had to re-start from the beginning when my project and backup project inexplicably failed).

Yesterday was one of the few exceptions to me taking time from that project to post an update, because it’s just too lovely to not post while still buzzing from the happiness of the encounters I had in Crimea today, again.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked 25 minutes or so from my Simferopol hotel to the train station, managed to buy a ticket thanks to translation app (119 Rubles, several hundred fewer than the bus prices I was seeing online), and had a delightful train ride in a slow train filled with locals getting off/on the train periodically over the two hours of the journey.

Wooden seats, chug chugging, sun beating down on me whichever side I moved to. Authentic simple travel that I love.

Aside from the lovely countryside, what I kept noticing was that on either side of the train I saw every so often more construction, improving the infrastructure.

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After arriving in Sebastopol, I realized I needed to find a cafe or somewhere I could sit and charge my phone enough to navigate to the room I thought I’d successfully booked for a few nights.

As I stood orienting the map route (on mobile)and zooming in to see if any signs of cafes or other popped up, a woman walked by me and said with a smile something with the word “shto”, which I think means ‘what’. When I replied in English, she laughed sweetly and flagged down another woman who spoke English.

That woman at first was suggesting I take one of the trolley-buses into the centre of the city, but when I showed the map and my destination, she said she and her husband would take me instead. I normally walk wherever I can, but this was a pretty great offer…one which I appreciated even more when the road became a slow and long incline which would have been a pain with the suitcase and laptop backpack.

I’d expected to walk only a few kilometers but by the time their car arrived at the guesthouse, I was relieved they’d offered to drive me: it was further than I had expected to walk.

As we drove, we chatted. At one point, I asked her about the referendum. I mentioned that some in Canada and elsewhere have the notion that it was done under duress, with a heavy military presence to influence the vote. She laughed, saying, “We are now under the wing of Russia.”

“There were no troops, no military, around us during the referendum.”

She spoke of the joy of Crimeans to vote.

She said that 98% of Sevastopol had voted in favour.

I asked about positive developments since then. She mentioned the improvements in roads, the opening of kindergartens and schools. Free courses (like music) for children.

I’d heard some of these points a few nights ago in Yalta (I have a very interesting, very informative, audio to post of a woman in Yalta speaking at length, but again I have to prioritize for now the project I’m working on, especially since all my work was inexplicably lost [corrupted?] the other day and I had to start over.).

The woman in Yalta mentioned (correct my memory if its wrong) 200 new kindergartens since the referendum. I jotted a couple notes on my mobile as she spoke, including that when she moved to Crimean in October 2012, everything was ‘dilapidated and run down’.

“The nice roads you were driving on, they didn’t exist when we were a part of Ukraine.”

As I stood inside the guesthouse I’d tried to book a room in, waiting for someone to greet me and sort the room, the woman who’d offered to drive me mentioned her parents have a guesthouse overlooking the bay. Ding dong! When nobody materialized after around 10 minutes, I took her offer to rent from her parents instead.

What a fantastic happenstance. Beautiful home, little apartment setup, 2 minute walk to a lookout of the bay, or 30 second walk if I go up to their balcony. They are lovely, so hospitable, have a fig and pear tree (and I consequently have a brimming bowl of fruit).

I have a pair of sandals I bought from a shoe-maker in Beirut. They’re comfortable and nice, but while walking, one of them became a flip-flop, the glue unstuck. Guesthouse owner had repaired it for me while I was walking back from the grocery store.

They invited me for dinner and also suggested I cool off in their little pool, but I had to politely decline in order to get back to my work. But I did take a few minutes just now to enjoy their pool, and the stars, the silence, and the incredible fragrance of some night blossoms.

A Bahraini Activist climbs the London’s roof of Bahraini embassy to stop execution of Two Activists on False Accusations

Update :

 

A Bahraini Activist climbs the roof of the Bahraini embassy in London to protest against executions and British police storm the building

Bahrain: Execution of Two Activists on False Accusations! UPDATED

Martyr Ali Al-Arab’s Last Words: I Didn’t Kill Him, I Don’t Even Know Where the Incident Happened!

By Bahrain Mirror – Translated by Staff

“I didn’t kill Hisham al-Hamadi, at all, I am satisfied with Allah’s judgement,” those were the last words mouthed by martyr Ali Mohammad al-Arab who was on imminent death row. His family was totally concerned about his fate after a visit that seemed to be the last ever.

Bahrain Mirror cited his mother, who described the last moments of meeting with her son who has been detained for two years, as saying: “Everything was unusual when we arrived at Central Jaw Prison.”

Ali’s family reported that there was tight security measures at the prison, huge numbers of officers and policemen, and double inspection. The first time was when entering the prison’s building, and the second time was before entering the room where they met their son.

“We entered as groups. The duration of the visit was around an hour and a half. Ali said that after having lunch he was moved into a solitary cell like what they did to Ahmad al-Malali. I was handcuffed and remained so until before I entered this room,” Ali narrated.

The mother, who was very confused out of the shock, and asked one of her sons about the year Ali was born, said that Ali was studying Accounting in Saudi Arabia. He turned 25 a few months ago. And he spent more than two years in prison.

“As he told us earlier, the moment he entered Jaw Prison after issuing the verdict was very difficult on him because, according to his jailers, they prepared for him a torture and humiliation party the moment he arrived there,” the mother added.

“He stood in front of us, he was very happy to hug us without a glass barrier after this long period of separation. He looked into my eyes and was very calm as he told me: don’t worry mother, martyrdom is my wish, and here it is coming true.”

The mother recalled that Ali was way stronger than her. He was resilient and very calm until the last moment with him. He didn’t mention writing a will, but perhaps he had told one of his siblings about it: “I don’t know, I just know that he was worried about me and he didn’t want me to cry.”

As a mother, I can bear witness that my son Ali Mohammad al-Arab was subjected to torture, the lady said. During the first visit after his arrest, the mother said she saw him on a wheelchair and that he mentioned the names of those who tortured him.

Ali’s brother also told Bahrain Mirror that during the farewell meeting, his brother stressed total satisfaction with Allah’s judgement, and that he feels he will soon be executed.

“He entered the room wearing the prison’s grey uniform. After we had a short chat, I had a question in my mind about the truth of the accusation filed against him. I asked him: Brother, do you have anything to do with the killing of Hashem al-Hamadi? He replied: Not at all, I have nothing to do with his killing, I even neither know him nor the place where he was killed.”

The policewomen were secretly listening to al-Arabs from the open window in the small visit room. They were listening to every detail, and were surrounded by armed guards. They have clearly seen that Ali didn’t care to any of their behaviors. “Perhaps they wanted to witness the reaction of humans passing through such hard times as we were doing,” the brother added.

Ali’s mother noted that her son didn’t experience imprisonment before: “This is his first time in prison.” His siblings say: “We asked him about his will, but he said the only thing he wanted is Allah’s pleasure.”

Martyr Ali al-Arab’s mother and his siblings couldn’t find words that describe their loved one during that horrible moments. One of his siblings said: “What could I tell more? There wasn’t but a strong calm man. He greeted us and was full with pleasure.”

According to a report issued by Amnesty International in March 2018 on the issue of Ahmad al-Malali and Ali al-Arab and what they were subjected to after arrest: “During detention, the two men were subjected to torture by the security officers, including electrocution and beating. The toenails of Ali al-Arab were also ripped out.”

This Happened in the Small Room, Martyr Ahmad al-Malali’s Father Describes the Farewell Visit

By Bahrain Mirror – Translated by Staff

“I wish I were martyred in a different way, but it finally happened,” these were the words of detainee Ahmad al-Malali who was facing imminent execution by Bahraini regime’s authorities on the issue of killing officer Hisham al-Hamadi, on which there is no evidence but the confessions made under systematic torture; a method that tops all kinds of evidence in Bahraini courts.

Isa, father of martyr Ahmad al-Malali told Bahrain Mirror that his son was pursued by the regime between 2011 and 2017, when he was only 16 years old. Now, as he turned 24, he didn’t enjoy his life, he couldn’t study or work, until he was arrested and accused of assassinating that officer.

Seeking freedom, martyr Ahmad was trying to escape via sea before a military force raided the boat and arrested him. During the urgent and quick visit that came a few hours before the expected execution, Ahmad said:

“I was hiding behind the edge of the boat. Bullets were flying over, so I told myself I wish one of them would hit me so I can be martyred. The bullet, however, settled in my wrist. I wished I could have martyred in another way. But it has finally happened, and this is the most important.”

The Urgent Visit

The urgent visit didn’t go as normal as before. The family received a call in which they were informed that they are allowed a special visit to see their detained son at noon. There number for the members allowed to visit was unlimited. It was a clear that it is a “farewell visit”, the father says. Isa al-Malali narrates that some 35 members of the family came to the gate of Central Jaw Prison to meet with Ahmad.

“The situation was unusual there. Military patrols were roaming the area surrounding the prison. We were divided into groups of five. Each group can enter to meet with Ahmad for 15 minutes and so on…” the father says.

Inspection was tight, the policewomen took off the women’s headscarves, even their headbands. After the inspection, every member was escorted with two police officers. On both sides of the corridor leading to the visit room, there were armed policemen. When the members arrived at the room, other officers were examining the names.

Inside the Room

The visit room has two doors, the one that the family entered through, and the other through which Ahmad entered. “We hugged him, he sat in front of us. He was aware of what was going on. He knew they were his last hours before the execution,” the father describes the situation.

There was a small window inside the room, it was open and the policewomen sitting behind it were listening all what was going on inside. Beside them there were some armed policemen. “You won’t doubt for a single moment that their looks hide killing and death.”

I talked to my son, the father says.

He described his escape attempt and how he was wishing for martyrdom. “We all know that my son is innocent, but unfortunately no one called us to ask about what he was saying over that period. Neither the family of the killed officer, nor the MPs called us. After this visit, only human rights activists called us although they learned that this will happen and that he will be executed after a few hours.

Inside the room, Ahmad asked for forgiveness from all the family members in case he had made something wrong to them during his life. “He wrote his will, he told us, and we will read it after his execution. He refused to give us details. He asked us to read it only after he leaves this world,” the father narrates.

We started performing prayers inside the room, and Ahmad participated with us. We also recited the Ziyara (visit) of Imam Hussein (AS). We were reciting as we heard the policewomen laughing as they were overlooking us from the window, Isa al-Malali explains.

An officer who seemed responsible for the visits entered the room and told me, “bid your son farewell, the visit is almost over,” the father said, adding that martyr Ahmad was the one helping us to stay patient, asking us to trust God and be patient and satisfied with Allah’s judgement and destiny.

“I bid my son who will leave this life at 24 farewell. He is my eldest. I only say that my son is innocent. May Allah avenge from anyone who wronged my son,” the father concludes.

According to a report issued by Amnesty International in March 2018 on the issue of Ahmad al-Malali and Ali al-Arab and what they were subjected to after arrest:

“During detention, the two men were subjected to torture by the security officers, including electrocution and beating. The toenails of Ali al-Arab’s feet were also ripped out.”

 

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Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

July 23, 2019

Dear friends,

As you may be aware, during the first half of this year I have been reporting on the “Yellow Vests” movement in France whilst being in the center of it. Since February 2019 (after I watched in horror on a live feed as a Yellow Vest’s hand was blown off by a grenade the week prior) I have travelled into central Paris every Saturday and observed for myself the now well-known protests against the current French government.

I’ve taken photos and recorded videos for the purpose of disseminating them on social media, hoping to counter the biased reports published by the mainstream media. In late March I decided to start writing articles on this subject (published on The Saker) and up the ante. We are now in the summer, and I have produced many articles about the “Yellow Vests” that were the result of taking some serious risks (I’ve already been hit by a detonating grenade and almost detained on May 1st because I, in my black Donetsk People’s Republic t-shirt and black trousers, apparently resembled a Black Bloc member) and walking/running kilometre after kilometre in order to keep up with the pace of events. In order to understand what is actually happening I have had to acquaint myself with the different aspects of the movement and acquire the trust of the “Yellow Vests”.

In the video below you can see me at Place de la Republique in April (in the same DPR t-shirt; you can see a bandage on my arm from the aforementioned grenade incident) about to leave the protest, when a bleeding Yellow Vest is plonked in front of me. I witnessed the sequence of events, and the police indeed violated human rights by bludgeoning a peaceful person who posed no threat and just wanted to leave the Square.

Sadly, this is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the “Yellow Vests” movement. The systematic use of police violence in order to intimidate and silence those who oppose Macron’s policies is unacceptable and factually criminal. But what is happening in France is much more than just Saturday demonstrations. Macron’s government barely has the time to sweep one scandal under the carpet before another one erupts. And the reporting on these scandals in the Anglophone mainstream media has been either non-existent or frankly pitiful. For example, how many readers know about Steve from Nantes? Or Alexandre Benalla? Francois de Rugy’s lobster dinners? Radioactive leaks in the water supply? The backdoor privatisation of the airports? Zineb Redouane? The list is very long, and in some respects it makes “European” and “democratic” post-Maidan Ukraine blush. And yes, what is happening in France is directly connected to events in all theaters of military and informational operations. Every actions has a reaction.

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:IMG_20190713_112638.jpg
Me at a Yellow Vests protest on July 13th in Paris

In order to continue my work with the Yellow Vests (#GiletsJaunes) movement I am seriously in need of financial help. I have done what I can so far with very limited resources to provide the best coverage I can of what is happening in France without the habitual mainstream media bias that we are all accustomed to and fed up of. This entails a certain level of danger, but as the saying goes – no risk, no reward.

During the autumn/winter of 2019 I want to, as a minimum:

• create and run a dedicated Yellow Vests website/hub;

• translate and publish a mass of information about the main demand of the Yellow Vests – Citizens’ Initiative Referendum – in the hope of raising awareness about alternatives to conventional party politics;

• provide a live stream that is more raw than state-funded media’s;

• continue my series of articles entitled “Inside the Yellow Vests”;

• travel to other French cities and document what is happening there in relation to the movement.

It is simply a case of the more means I have, the more I can achieve. I am present on the terrain and have created a network of contacts. I’ve lived the movement from the very beginning, and want to ensure that it receives the fair coverage in the English language that it deserves.

I have created a Patreon page that has a more in-depth description of my project, and I ask those who have enjoyed my “Yellow Vests” work so far to consider donating what they can in order to help me not only continue my existing work, but also to expand it.

I appreciate the support of each and every person!

Ollie Richardson

——-

Note by the Saker:

Dear friends,
For many weeks now we have been getting superb analyses by Ollie Richardson and equally superb translations of key Russian texts into English made by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard.
Some of the best reporting anywhere on the Internet about the Yellow Vests movement was recently made by Ollie.
Check out this page in which he summarizes his immense work: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests
Well, guess what?  Ollie and Angelina are not only awesome members of our community, but also real people who have to pay their bills ontime.
Friends – we need to help them.  Not only does their superb work deserve our gratitude, but we also want them to keep writing for us.
I therefore ask all those who can afford it to go to this page: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests and become patrons of Ollie’s crucially important work.
Many thanks in advance,
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