Translations and roundups

Morocco: Activists behind Bars

Alaa Kamal
     The status of the Arab countries is a clear evidence of  the frenzy that swept the Arab regimes to persecute  the lawyers and activists of human rights defenders , opponents of torture  and supporters of freedom of opinion and expression .The  Arab prisons are wide open to  many of the militants who are  convicted by multi-jurisdictions. Yet  the first charge is  exposing  tyrannical regimes haunting their countries.

    Chakib Khayari journalist and human rights activist, head of the Moroccan organization “AlReef” for Human Rights, member of the Support Committee of Prince Muhammad ibn Abd el-Krim Al Khatabi in Agadir and a member of the Federal Amazigh Bureau in World Congress, is one of the leading anti-drug trafficking in Morocco.
Before his arrest Khayari made several international media statements in Morocco as well as in Europe, questioning the seriousness of the Moroccan authorities in combating the smuggling of  drugs from Morocco to Europe. Khayari is also an Amazigh rights activist. He criticized the ill-treatment of Moroccan authorities  to African migrants trying to illegally  enter Europe , and ill-treatment of Moroccan citizens by Moroccan and Spanish security in of Melilla under Spanish occupation.
 On 17/2/2009 he was summoned to  Casablanca judiciary police  , then  he  has not been  heard of since then .

Yemen : Assassination of human rights organizations

Alaa Kamal
It is always tense between the Arab countries – all suffering dictatorships - and human rights activists and organizations, especially those working on anti-torture – an official regular practice. Activists aim to orchestrate torturers expose them on all levels, locally and internationally.
Arab States not only violate the activity of these organizations by prohibition and closure of organizations but  in other cases have been dumping some activists behind prison walls.
It is observed recently that those incidents  of violations are the least  severe. Governments will to attempt assault , detain and even threaten the lives of human rights activists that are a  persistent headache to those autocratic regimes.
       In this regard, a few days ago according to Belqueood  and   Marib Press that “Shaqua’eq Alnoaman” Forum for Human Rights in Yemen was raided on 22/11/2009 , where the windows were broken files tampered with and all drawers were broke open.  Majed Almzhadji , forum spokesman , said that that the police was informed and charged no one.
The police made some investigations, but no result were announced yet. Majed added there was nothing missing , only the doors and drawers were broken, but no laptops , cameras or  anything “of value “ was stolen .

Egypt Vs. Algeria : Football Turning Into Public War

Alaa Kamal
Football is worshiped by the masses . it is  beloved by millions, and  thousands of young Arabs dream that they will one day  famous players. However , it is sport  primarily meant  to develop the competition  and cooperation spirits, and not for spreading  hostility and hatred. now with Egypt vs. Algeria in World Cup  qualifier  match coming in a few hours’,  negative shadows are cast  quickly on the relations between the two Arab peoples.
Football matches between both countries are usually tense  especially  from the Algerian side known for its quick temper and enthusiasm. But tension has never gone this far, life threats , injuries and insults exchanged between officials . Both parties have exchanged accusations, the Egyptian side held  the chairman  of the Algerian Football Federation responsible for the dangerous escalation. On the other side, the Algerian side charged  the Egyptian satellite channels represented in the Dream, Hayat and Modern Sport of the responsibility of the escalation. But things have become  serious when they  moved from  officials and satellite TV programs to the unemployed  masses already  congested to display in the form of attacks and clashes.
 Following the match on 14/11/2009, in which Egypt scored two /nil , the Algerian press published alleged news of serious injuries and fatalities among Algerians being  assaulted by the Egyptian fans.

War against Press is On

Alaa Kamal
War against the press in the Arab countries is as fierce as never before.  The heavy club  of prevention and control is  braking any newspaper or print media going beyond the lines drawn by regimes of theses countries. Any newspaper that dares to expose corruption or take an anti-torture stance or defend human rights as per international conventions and treaties is prone to be banned or at least seized by an issue.
     Algeria Times, an electronic independent newspaper, the location of the international reality and the media and the location and the freedoms and rights on the location of Al-Jazeera, published that  the biweekly journal '”Sirry Lelghaya”, ”strictly confidential”, has been suspended last week, by order of the prosecutor at the Court of Sidi Mohamed capital. The editor considered this order as abusive  as the journal reported on corruption of the mayor of Central Algeria.

The editorial staff  was surprised to be notified of the  report by the head of the Criminal Division of the department of the Center state.  interest of the judicial police for the security of the province of Algiers, who notified the editor of the decision  of the prosecutor at the Court of Sidi M'Hamed to withhold “Sirry Lelghaya”, starting 3/11/2009, cliaiming it is unlicensed. The vague wording of the decision did not specify whether  the newspaper , which has been operating for  months was unlicensed  or that authorities canceled the license.

Bloggers Intifada In Solidarity With Fatma

Alaa Kamal
Reporters Without Borders, “Mohammed Abu Allan” blog and “ freedom to the blogger Rafat Al-Ghanim” blog  said that the Tunisian authorities stopped early November 2009, the  professor of theater and blogger Fatima Riahi owner of the blog “Fatma Arabica” pending investigation on charges of "slander" . A statement of RWB  stated that  the police called in the known blogger “Fatima Arabica” on 2/11/2009 and she was released at  the night of the same day. Two days later,she was called in again   and detained pending investigation . The statement added that the date set for hearing in the case was 9/11/2009. It is not clear whether the trial will be conducted as per the criminal  or journalism laws.
 And legally, anti-crime  force is entitled  to keep the accused in detention for six days at the most, to be presented to court. The statement  said that "the authorities have resorted to such arrests to reveal the identity of bloggers who use pseudonyms," calling to "release Fatma immediately". Fatma , 34 years ,has not been able to meet her lawyer, Leila Ben a bear, except for only three minutes.

NDP , A Promise Fulfilled

Alaa Kamal
As usual, the NDP's speech in the annual conference held in 30/10/2009 – 1/11/2009, held a hostile and threatening tone to the opposition parties. The speech pointed out that opposition is lying shamelessly to distort NDP’s accomplishments and especially the striking economical growth , reduction of unemployment and job opportunities. The speech listed the  achievements of human rights and political freedoms with strict promises  developing  and deepening them  to an unprecedented  limit in Egypt, but only under Mubarak, Mubarak junior and associates
As he wrote, the pro government   journalist , Samir Ragab, on the promises of President Mubarak's his book  “ A promise Fulfilled “ .We have say that the National Party fulfilled its promise, and there was  no time wasted  between words and deeds, the state security and National Party, which fully delivered the message, as  the  blogs, sons of Egypt and strangely the business forum and twitter, arrested three of the “6th  April Youth” Movement : Mohamed Adel Amr Osama ,bloggers and  Amr Ezz  last night 4/11/2009 without charge .. Security agents beat and insult members of the group down town  in Cairo  and took them to Azbakia police station  to be prosecuted on 5/11/2009. Sources  said they were  writing “ No for succession “ on the walls.

Human rights organizations in Egypt stands in solidarity with intellectuals Qimni Syed Hassan Hanafi and file cases against reli

Ebtsam Ta’alab
Egypt witnesses full solidarity of civil society institutions, in support of freedom of opinion and expression with the great thinkers Hassan Hanafi and Sayed  Qemani regarding that they are exposed to an attack from   Sheikh Yusuf AlBadri. AlBadri filed a law suit requesting the minister of culture  to withdraw the State Merit Prize from both.  ALBadri claimed that "through their works,  articles and their speeches they attacked Islam  provisions and symbols and insulted the Muslim faith."
 The human rights organizations, which joined the "support of the intellectuals" campaign to defend the right of creators in scientific research and freedom of expression , with an emphasis on the seriousness of “Hesba “ cases on freedom of thought and freedom of expression in Egypt.
The campaign stressed on recognition that the forum to discuss of ideas and visions, should not be the law court and that resort to the courts to settle intellectual disputes is an attempt to muzzle the mouths and blackout minds.
The lawsuit filed by Badri against Qimni and Hanafi, was held on 3/11/2009 and the Administrative Judiciary Court deferred it 19/1/2010 to give the lawyers and human rights organizations a chance for legal intervention .
Human rights organizations stressed that such actions are taken by fame seekers who did not read any books or studies of the scholars they are perusing in court.

Press in court , a non ending show in Arab countries.

Alaa Kamal

Freedom of the Press in Morocco : Stereotypes Sweep away Achievements

Saeed Ben Jabali
Reports of international organizations interested in freedom of expression are parading to the media scene in Morocco, mourning the good times when the country witnessed an atmosphere of relative openness on freedom of expression and the press.
Because of unfair decisions and harsh sentences that were issued against media workers and media institutions recently, Morocco lost five points in Reporters Without Borders Rating and other reports ranked Morocco among ten other countries experiencing a setback for freedom of expression.
Some organizations  have also decided to write to  Hillary Clinton to urge  Moroccan authorities to respect freedom of speech during her visit to Morocco.
The government  could not find any justification to the reports and observations but invoked the tactful  spokesman and communications minister Khalid Naciri, who has repeatedly, and as usual,  attacked the international reports accusing them of bias and defended  the  government decisions  in such a barefaced manner similar to that of the minister Al-Sahaf’s  in Saddam Hussein's regime according to some bloggers.
Driss Shehtan  being arrested from his office  is an  inflection point in the  Moroccan authority  way to  Freedoms, on which it has been going ahead.

Palestine : militias muzzle singers


Alaa Kamal

Egypt: Further Violations Of Freedom Of Opinion And Expression

Alaa Kamal 30\10\2009
From bad to worse the states of freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt are moving,more towards gagging  and inhibition and trying journalists.
There is no Egyptian journalist, whatever his position , who is prone to facing trials and imprisonment for disclosing facts and doing their jobs which was provided for by  all the international legislations to be respected and protected.
A few days ago, and according to AlBadeel blog, Shorouk newspaper, and the network of Arab Journalists , the misdemeanor Court of Dokki sentenced in absentia the businessman Mohamed Ahmed Omar, owner of "the Al Haitham Contracting Company to a year in prison, the great columnist Salama Ahmed Salama, editor of Shorouk, and Saber Mash’hour, a reporter of Shorouk.The first defendant was accused of hoax reporting , second and third of insult and slander .
According to legal documents, the Administrative Control Authority arrested Mohamed Ahmed Omar caught offering bribe to some officials of the ministry of housing.

Tunisia : Continuing Internet War

Alaa Kamal
For many years, Tunisia has been ranked among the worst countries in the world in dealing with the Internet, where the monitoring  and blocking of sites and blogs, as well as strict control on internet cafés is an ongoing policy
 While civil society in  Tunisia,  know  for sure that Ben Ali's  election declaration  - in which he became president of Tunisia for a fifth term - -about improving the democratic situation  - are  statements for media consumption during the election period, but then another segment of the Tunisian people honestly wished , that even  a few of those promises would come true.

        As usual, the first gift from Ben Ali to the Tunisians at the beginning of his fifth term as stated by Arabnews , Yemen Portal (Aggregator of Yemen) , Agyal,  AlHewar and the  Progressive Democratic Party site in Tunisia citing  from AlJazeera .net and  ANHRI is to block . Al-Jazeera .Net .

Moroccan Journalists on Probation

Saeed Ben Jabali

The court of First Instance in Rabat sentenced one year imprisonment suspended sentence and a fine of ten thousand dirhams against the editor of” Al Jareeda AlOula” and three months imprisonment suspended sentence and a fine of five thousand dirhams against the journalist Bushra Daow.
Both journalists were pursued "spreading false news and bad faith allegations and the facts are incorrect and to participate in it," according to chapters 42 and 68 of the press law.
on 27/8/2009, ”Al Jareeda AlOula” published (on issue # 394), an article for Bushra about the illness of King Mohammed VI

The Tunisian Regime is an Example of Blatant Violation of rights and Freedoms

Alaa kamal
Preparing for presidential elections and having a long record of violations of rights and attacks on activists and antagonists, The Tunisian government launched its  campaign with some serious assaults against journalists and activists and jurists. The most featured victims of the campaign was the journalist and activist Zuhair Makhlouf , Tunisian Progressive Democratic party's candidate for elections year 2009.
As per “Al Fagr news” and ANHRI” ,the authorities arrested the Tunisian journalist and human rights activist, "Zuhair Makhlouf," correspondent of “Assabil  Online” on  20/10/2009 after he reported on the e-paper regarding environmental problems in the industrial city  "Nabeul".
The authorities him charged of "insulting others through the public telecommunications network". Arresting Makhlouf comes during the election campaign in a strong indication of the regime's desire to stop the Tunisian journalist who exposed the repeated violations of human rights and freedoms.
Makhlouf was assaulted several times as per the Tunisian Progressive Democratic Party and the blog zeroliberte. He was pursued by security as well as his family and colleagues. Between years 2007- 2009, security elements attacked his car, broke, the windscreen and ripped the tires. In 2008 , he received a life threat.

Steady Retreat in Press Freedoms


Alaa Kamal
No doubt that the development of journalism and freedom of press is a feature of freedom and development of society that endorses this development, and these freedoms are so important that they are listed among the fundamental rights of human rights that states sign  to respect and protect. Undoubtedly ,the Arab region is the worst region in the protection and protection of freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of information, and some Arab countries are known for their repressive  bloody record in dealing with the media and press freedom, led by Syria that is very hostile to freedom of the press. This is not an impression but is the opinion of a specialized organization.
According to Syria Al Waad blog and the International Network for the exchange of information ,IFEX,  that  Reporters Without Borders issued its annual report on press freedom in 2009 under the title of the continent in a steady retreat . The report ranked Syria  165 /175 in oppressing freedom of the press. Meaning that , Syria is one of the worst ten countries in the world in the area of press freedoms and the media. Syria has  declined in status from last year's (2008), where it ranked 159/173 countries covered by the sorting.