Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Saudi Arabia Beheads a Yemeni and Crucifies His Body


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with sword
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with sword

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In Saudi Arabia, authorities beheaded a Yemeni man convicted of murdering a Pakistani national. The execution took place on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in the southern city of Jazan, the Arab News reported.

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Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry spokesman listens to a question during a news conference in Riyadh Stringer
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry spokesman listens to a question during a news conference in Riyadh Stringer

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On Wednesday, the state news agency SPA carried a statement of the Saudi Interior Ministry that said: “The Yemeni citizen Mohammed Rashad Khairi Hussein killed a Pakistani, Pashteh Sayed Khan after he committed sodomy with him.” 

The Yemeni was also charged and convicted of carrying out several robberies.

The execution took place in the southern city of Jizan followed by crucifixion of the dead body and the corpse put on public display for three days.

Under Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative Sunni Islam, murder, rape, apostasy, drug trafficking and armed robbery are all punishable by death. The grisly ritual of crucifixion is reserved for more serious crimes, including sexual offences.

Beheading with a sword remains the most common method of execution in Saudi Arabia. However, due to a growing shortage of swordsmen throughout the kingdom, the authorities were considering abandoning this traditional method of execution in favour of firing squads.

Sevag Kechichian at Amnesty International said:

“The execution is shocking, no matter how heinous his alleged crime. His beheading and posthumous ‘crucifixion’ were acts of sheer brutality. This comes at a time when the Saudi authorities are saying to the world that they are currently holding responsible discussions about capital punishment and the supposed mercifulness of various methods of execution.”

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Maldives: 15-year-old Girl Raped by Stepfather Flogged for ‘Fornication’


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Maldives Queen of all islands
Maldives Queen of all islands

Every year, around 700,000 visitors from around the globe visit the Maldives, lured by its pristine beaches. However, this paradise nation has become increasingly conservative in recent years due to influence of more fundamental forms of Islam.

In the summer of 2012, in the remote Feydhoo island in the Maldives, a police investigation after finding the corpse of a baby buried beneath an outdoor shower area outside the home of an unfortunate 15-year-old girl revealed that the teenager gave birth to her stepfather’s baby, which he allegedly killed and buried.

Feydhoo island, Maldives
Feydhoo island, Maldives

The teenager reportedly confessed to the police that apart from her stepfather she had consensual sex with another male. It is unclear whether the police has identified or charged this person. The police have charged the girl’s stepfather for raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore.

On February 25, 2013, a juvenile court in the Maldives, instead of sympathizing with the plight of the 15-year-old girl, has found her guilty of having “sex outside marriage.” The Court sentenced her to spend eight months under house arrest and to receive 100 lashes according to the Sharia Law when she turns 18, unless she requests it earlier.

This incident has triggered widespread worldwide condemnation. 

Under the current laws of the Maldives, pre-marital sex is a crime and those found guilty are often flogged. Flogging as a punishment for this ‘crime’ directly violates international law, which completely prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments. Yet, flogging remains all too common in the Maldives. In 2009, the courts sentenced over 180 people for flogging for the ‘crime’ of fornication. Almost 90 per cent of them were women.

However, under the international human rights laws and standards, to which the Maldives is a signatory, ‘fornication’ is not a recognised offence and member states must not criminalize or punish young people who engage in consensual sexual activity, or are victims of abuse.

While visiting the country in 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay called flogging “one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women” and she requested the Maldives to stop this barbaric practice.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: “The girl is already a victim and is traumatized. The authorities should be trying to protect her, not punish her.”

Mohammed Waheed Hassan, President of Maldives
Mohammed Waheed Hassan, President of Maldives

President Mohammed Waheed Hassan of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure. The president’s office has released a statement saying that the girl is a victim to be protected and not punished by the government. A government spokesperson has also said that the Maldives are considering changing the law.

The Amnesty International UK / Blogs says:

If one good thing could come out of this case, it is that the international outrage prompted by this girl’s story and focus on the darker side of life in this seemingly idyllic holiday destination will convince the authorities to end the practice of flogging and decriminalise consensual sexual activity.

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High Noon in Koodankulam by Niranjan Ramakrishnan


Reproduced from http://www.counterpunch.org/

As the World Awakes, India Sleepwalks Into Nuclear Peril

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Many countries are rethinking their nuclear plans post-Fukushima.  Some are proceeding to draw down their nuclear power operations.  According to an AP report,

Germany…turned decisively against nuclear power after the Fukushima crisis, shutting down eight reactors and planning to close the remaining nine nuclear power plants by 2022.

Last June in the wake of the Japanese disaster, Italians held a referendum and rejected nuclear energy for their country, leading then Prime Minister Berlusconi to concede that his country would have to bid “addio” to nuclear power.

Having known nuclear devastation up close, first during wartime in 1945, and then in peacetime last year upon seeing the writing on the tsunami wall, Japan has acted with alacrity, From the same AP report,

Japan will be free of atomic power for the first time since 1966 on Saturday, when the last of its 50 usable reactors is switched off for regular inspections. The central government would like to restart them at some point, but it is running into strong opposition from local citizens and governments.

As Harvey Wasserman writes in CounterPunch, the recent election may hasten France’s move away from nuclear energy,

And France has replaced a vehemently pro-nuclear premier with the Socialist Francois Hollande, who will almost certainly build no new reactors. For decades France has been the “poster child” of atomic power. But Hollande is likely to follow the major shift in French national opinion away from nuclear power and toward the kind of green-powered transition now redefining German energy supply.

Anti nuclear power movement's Smiling Sun logo...

Wasserman’s article also declares that the chances of the United States building any new reactors are slim to none – the price tag of around $10 billion a reactor puts it at a decided disadvantage compared to – renewable energy!

Following Fukushima, China is engrossed in a bottom-to-top reevaluation of its nuclear energy strategy.

Thus is there a pensive re-examination of faith even among fervent believers in nuclear power.  Theoretical argument is one thing; the sight of one of the world’s most efficient and advanced populations struggling to cope with a nuclear emergency gives an entirely different aspect to the matter.  The slightest chance that huge centers ofpopulation might not just be devastated, but rendered unlivable for hundreds of years, alters the mental odds-making completely, as well it should.

This is the setting in which an establishment high on the  ‘development’ narcotic and tantalized by the apsara of growth rate has decided to commit India to building no less than 30 new nuclear reactors in the next 20 years.

Deeming the Fukushima meltdowns no deterrent to their previous plans, the Indian government and its agencies have tried to downplay fears about nuclear power in general, and those concerning the Koodankulam nuclear plant in particular. The plant, located right on the ocean at the country’s southern tip, bears a certain situational resemblance to Fukushima.

Widespread misgivings about safety and health issues have been sought to be pooh-poohed by trotting out an army of ‘experts’, led by former missile scientist and ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam, best known for his well-publicized ardor for turning India into a ‘developed’ country by year 2020, read, an endorsement of every grandiose scheme to take Indians as quickly as possible into the top ranks of the world’s consumers.

But, Koodankulam’s residents and their neighbors have begged to differ with the authorities. Their movement (there have been local agitations against the Koodankulam plant long before Fukushima), which the government has tried to ignore, belittle, slander and disrupt, is now engaged in a peaceful protest that has caught the attention of the world. According to PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy), some 9000 people are engaged in a sit in, with several hundred on an indefinite fast.  PMANE is now starting a ‘Respect India‘ campaign along the lines of Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ movement of 1942. A line from their crisp  indictment of India’s development mania says it all, ”As a result of our ruling class’s nuclear madness, our land, water, air, sea, sea life, sea food and food security will all become spoiled and poisoned.”

It is noteworthy that the anti-nuclear struggle has no backing from major political parties, handmaidens all to a development ideology run amok, unhinged from any concern but economic growth rate.

If establishment luminaries are in the least troubled by the fact that there is still no good solution to the problem of nuclear radioactive waste, they have not let on. Even if no earthquake or tsunami ever came near the nuclear reactors, the dangers of soil and groundwater contamination are serious enough. It is reasonable to add that human (and yes, computer) error is an eternal fact – it wasn’t an earthquake that caused the Chernobyl disaster.  Seeing pictures of its after-effects 25 years later, it is clear one does not have to live through nuclear war to recognize the truth of a phrase attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, “the living will envy the dead”.  A malfunction is enough.

“As the world sleeps, India awakes to freedom”, Jawaharlal Nehru declared as he became free India’s first prime minister. It was the midnight hour of August 14-15, 1947. Some wags granted Nehru his eloquence but raised a minor technicality. Since it was 12 AM in India, it was actually daytime or evening in much of the world, which therefore was quite wide awake, thank you!  Today we might be on more solid ground in paraphrasing Nehru’s words: “As the world awakes to its dangers,  India sleepwalks into nuclear peril“.

Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a columnist and writer living on the West Coast. He is the author of Bantaism: the Philosophy of Sardar Jokes. His forthcoming book, ‘On the Other Hand’, is a collection of essays on Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas in the context of current-day issues. He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com

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Day 10: Abduction of Alex Paul Menon, District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh.


Alex Paul Menon, Collector of Sukma District, Chhattisgarh.

The Maoist rebels who abducted Alex Paul Menon, the District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh on April 21, did not allow the two mediators selected by them – B.D. Sharma, former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer and Professor G. Hargopal of Hyderabad – to meet him.

The two mediators met the rebels on Saturday (yesterday) in the Tadmetla forest. They stayed overnight and briefed the Maoists on their talks with the government elected mediators, Mr. S.K. Mishra, former chief secretary of Chhattisgarh and Ms. Nirmala Buch, former Madhya Pradesh chief secretary.

They returned yesterday (Sunday) morning from the forest area with a reply from the Maoists, but refused to divulge what transpired during their meeting. The two mediators said: “Collector Menon is safe, we will share our discussion with Maoists only with the government-mediators in Raipur.”

“As someone who has served in the Tamil Nadu cadre of the Indian Administrative Service, I feel worse than miserable reading and hearing of Collector Alex Paul Menon’s ordeal. But unlike Alex, who has put his life on the line, I have never had to face personal or physical danger in the course of official duty,” said Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

To read the full text of the statment of Gopalkrishna Gandhi click this link –> “Alex’s bravery is an example to cherish and follow

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Kudankulam Protest: Amnesty International steps in.


This is a photo copy of the letter sent by Amnesty International to Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India:

Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 000
India

Dear Prime Minister,

As members of Amnesty International Geneva,Switzerland, we are dismayed by the detainment of the Tamil Naduu nuclear plant protesters, the charges of sedition, conspiracy and rioting lodged against many of them, and by the prospect that some of these protesters continue to remain in jail.

The protests, which were massive, were organized because local people feel the project to build a nuclear power plant next to the coastal village of Kudankulam poses a danger to the health of local communities. The charges against the protesters constitute a deliberate attempt by the authorities to silence them, despite the fact that the protests have been peaceful.

Dr S P Udayakumar, a teacher living in nearby Nagercoil town and leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has said the Indian authorities have failed to respond satisfactorily to several site and safety concerns raised by an independent group of experts. We are dismayed that officials belonging to the Ministry of Home Affairs searched Dr Udayakumar’s home and that police harassed shopkeepers who were in solidarity with the protesters.

We call on your government and the relevant authorities to comply with international law by respecting the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly of the peaceful protesters. We call on you to:

  • release all remaining peaceful protestors immediately and drop the false charges against them; and
  • put an immediate end to the harassment of those resorting to peaceful protests, and respect the protestors’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in accordance with international law.

Thanking you for taking action in this matter.

Yours very sincerely,

signed

Peter Cattan, route de Malagnou 54 A
1208 Geneva, Switzerland

cc: Ambassade de la Republique de l’Inde, Kirchenfeldstrasse 28, Caes postale 406, 3000 Berne 6

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