August 9th, 2012

Saudi Arabia must charge or release detained dissident cleric

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 5:46pm

Saudi Arabia must charge or release detained dissident cleric

A Saudi Arabian cleric and outspoken critic of the Saudi government held in detention for more than a month must be either charged with a recognizably criminal offence or released, Amnesty International has said.

Sheikh Nimr Baqir al Nimr, 51, who has frequently criticised the Saudi Arabian government over discrimination faced by members of the Shi’a community in the country, has been held without charge since his arrest by Saudi Arabian security forces on 8 July in al- Awwamiya in the Eastern Province.

“It has been a month since his arrest and Amnesty International is not aware of any charges being brought…

Bahrain must free prisoners of conscience after ‘travesty of justice’

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 5:43pm

The Bahraini authorities must release 13 opposition activists and prisoners of conscience Amnesty International said today, ahead of next week’s expected final verdict on their appeals.

The 13, who include prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, were originally sentenced by military court in June 2011 to between two years and life in prison on charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution”.

All of the men maintain their innocence.

Several of the defendants have spoken out in previous court hearings to describe their alleged torture and other ill-treatment in detention, including sexual assault, to coerce “confessions”.

“The Bahraini authorities must end this travesty of justice, quash all 13…

President Obama’s Tax Cuts for the Middle Class

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 5:09pm

Unless the House of Representatives takes action before January 1, 2013, taxes will go up on 114 million middle-class families. Nearly everyone in Washington agrees that’s a bad idea. That’s why President Obama is calling for — and the Senate has already passed — legislation that will keep the middle class from paying thousands of extra dollars next year.

Republicans in the House of Representatives, however, are refusing to extend middle-class tax cuts without also giving massive tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. In fact, House Republicans have proposed their own tax plan that would actually raise taxes on 25 million families making less than $250,000,…

President Obama’s Call with the Prime Minister of India

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 5:01pm

Yesterday morning, President Obama placed a call to Dr. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India. The two leaders discussed the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the President expressed his condolences for the senseless attack.

According to a readout of that conversation, “Prime Minister Singh expressed his gratitude for the many messages and gestures of support from the United States, and for the prompt reaction and heroism of the local police department.”

To learn more about the call, check out the full readout here.

In the United States, the American flag remain at half-staff until sunset tomorrow to honor the victims of…

UN highlights vital role of media in empowering world’s indigenous people

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 10:03am

Marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, United Nations senior officials today highlighted the key role played by the media in empowering indigenous people, stressing that traditional and new media are an essential component to help them preserve their cultures, participate in the social and political aspects of their societies and challenge stereotypes.

“From community radio and television to feature films and documentaries, from video art and newspapers to the internet and social media, indigenous peoples are using these powerful tools to challenge mainstream narratives, bring human rights violations to international attention and forge global solidarity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day.

“Indigenous voices are…

Palestinian hunger strikers detained in Israel must be treated humanely

Posted on 09 Aug 2012 at 9:42am

The Israeli authorities must investigate allegations that two Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in protest at their continued administrative detention have been ill-treated while in detention, Amnesty International said today.

Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq have been on hunger strike since 21 June and 22 May respectively. Independent medical examinations conducted last week found that both men were weak and that they risk death if the hunger strikes continue.

While they are barely able to stand and use wheelchairs for their daily needs, guards have repeatedly beaten and verbally abused them while in detention at the Israel Prison Service Medical Centre in the central city of Ramleh.

Hassan Safadi’s health deteriorated on…

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