Freedom of Expression in a Week Newsletter 580

11 February, 2016

Freedom of Expression in a Week

Newsletter 580

3 February 2016- 10 February 2016


Jordanian Journalist Tayseer Al Najjar Detained, A Fan Put in Jail For A Tweet

The Jordanian journalist Tayseer Al-Najjar’s family announced they no longer could contact their relative, since his detention by Abu Dhabi Airport’s security men on the 13th of December, 2015, as he was leaving UAE heading to Jordan to spend his annual leave, ten days after an earlier travel ban imposed on him, under the pretext of interrogating him.

However, unconfirmed press news reported that he had been detained at Al Wathba Prison in Abu Dhabi, against the backdrop of his contribution to launch a cultural media website named “Aljasra Culture Magazine”, which is affiliated to the Qatari Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, two years ago, besides his correspondence to the magazine from Abu Dhabi.

On the other hand, Abu Dhabi’s General Prosecution ordered, on February 4, 2016, the imprisonment of a sport fan, after being charged with insulting one of the sporting clubs through social networking sites on the Internet.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


JPA Calls for Revealing the Fate of Journalist Tayseer Al Najjar, An Activist Seeks Asylum in Sweden After Criticizing Government

Members of the Jordan Press Association (JPA) demanded to follow up the case of journalist Tayseer Al Najjar, who has disappeared since the 13th of December 2015 by the Emirati authorities. During their participation in a sit-in staged on February3, 2016 in front of the Syndicate’s headquarters in the capital Amman, journalists proclaimed a set of escalatory steps they intend to take, in protest against the “government negligence” towards Al Najjar’s case, in light of not revealing his detention’s place in the country.

In a related topic, activist Abu Sweilem Almhakbh sought political asylum in Sweden, after being given four in-absentia sentences by State Security Courts “military” on an affront charge, owing to his participation in protests and sit-ins that call for political and economic reform in the country.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Harsh Conditions for Using Social Media and Communications, CPVPV Bans a Ceremony for a “Girl Puppet”

Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) blocks, once again, What’s App voice call service, after being available for a few hours in the morning of February6, 2016. Experts asserted that this service will not be available in the Kingdom expect in the case that What’s App approves to provide especial services to be downloaded in the Kingdom; so that the competent authorities could have access to the users’ data if needed.

Furthermore, in Wadi Al Dawasir province, the CITC started to provide a new fingerprint service for those who wishes to obtain new cell phone’s line-cards, in order to link them with the subscriber’s finger-print and verify the identity of the mobile’s owner.

In another context, ANHRI condemns the suspension of an opening ceremony of Khalidiya’s trade projects by the religious police, officially known as “the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” (CPVPV), on the 5th of February, 2016. The ban was against the backdrop of a young man wearing a cartoon puppet looks like a girl, which is regarded by CPVPV as a kind of “resemblance and materialization that is contrary to the Islamic Sharia”.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


ISIS Execute Journalist Wathiq Abdul-Wahab

The Iraqi journalist Wathiq Abdul-wahab was shot dead by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) -or (Daash)- in Mosul city of the northwestern Nineveh province, on February 8, one day after his detention.

Brigadier General Mohammed al-Jubouri said that the terrorist organization executed Abdul-wahab, reporter of the local Hadbaa newspaper, following his detention earlier on Monday February 7, in Sukkar neighborhood of Mosul. He added that the reporter was publicly shot dead in a football yard in the Zuhur square, and that his body was delivered to the Forensic Medicine.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Tweep Hamid Buyabs Acquitted from an Affront Charge to KSA

Kuwaiti Criminal Court ordered, on February 7, the acquittal of tweep “Hamid Turki Buyabs” from the “state security” charge. Additionally, the court fined him 10 thousand dinars (33 thousand and four hundred dollars) over the case of “misusing the phone”.

On the 23rd of November, 2013, noteworthy, the Kuwaiti Criminal Court sentenced Buyabs to four years in prison with labor in the case of insulting KSA.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Journalist Ali Anouzla Faces Trial in Morocco

Human Rights Watch calls on the Moroccan authorities to drop the case filed against journalist Ali Anouzla, the Arabic version of “”editor-in-chief, who is charged with “harming territorial integrity”. HRW also demands from the Parliament to amend the draft law of Press and Publication that was passed before it.

Anouzla’s trial was based on an interview with the German daily newspaper “Bild”, which quoted him on describing the Western Sahara as “occupied”. The journalist was handed down a 5-year in prison sentence in addition to a fine upon Article 41 of the current Press Law.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


ANHRI Calls for the Release of Journalist “Bahman Daroshafaei”

ANHRI denounced the Iranian authorities’ apprehension of the British journalist of Iranian origin “Bahman Daroshafaei” from his house, on February 3, without directing any charges to him.

6 Iranian secret policemen have raided the house of Bahman Daroshafaei, a journalist, arrested him, and confiscated his own laptop, CDs, and cell phone.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


A Book on Culture and Adherence Banned

The Scientific Council of the Institute Preparatory Literary Studies and Humanities in Tunisia censored a recently-published book, which mainly tackles the outcome of an international symposium, entitled “Culture and Adherence” that was organized by the Institute during April 2013. Mr. Khamis Arfaoui, a professor of contemporary history, prepared, coordinated, and followed-up the seminar.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Their Freedom is Their Right” Campaign Declares “Razan Zaitouneh” the Month’s Prisoner of February

The campaign #Their Freedom Is Their Right to defend Arab prisoners of opinion, which is launched by “Maharat” Foundation and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and joined by the Arab Group members of IFEX International Network, has settled on Razan Zaitouneh, a human rights activist, to be the campaign’s prisoner of February 2016.

Noticeably, in the morning of 9 December, 2013, a group of the “Army of Islam” that is headed by Zahran Alloush raided the office of the VDC, and kidnapped Razan Zaitouneh alongside her colleagues, activists Wa’el Hamadeh, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hammadi, who were, afterwards, taken to unknown place.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Activist Hassan Alepesham Sentenced to Prison

On February 8, Court of First Instance Al Khaburah (Sohar) sentenced Hassan Mubarak Al Balushi (Hassan Alepesham), a former diplomat and activist in the protest 2011 Movement, to three years in prison. The diplomat is charged with: “publicly insulting the Sultan by discrediting his rights and authority”, “blasphemy against the Glory of God”, and “using the information network to publish what might be prejudicial to religious values and public order”; against the backdrop of his critical views on social media.

Alepesham was detained on the 17th of September, 2015. He was referred to the Public Prosecution of Sohar on the 18th of October, 2015, following a long period of investigation and detention under illegal conditions. His first trial hearing, then, started on November 30, 2015.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Academic Abdel Sattar Qassem Released On Bail

On February 7, Court of First Instance in Nablus ordered to release Abdel Sattar Qassem, an academician, on bail. His release came two days after the decision to renew his detention pending probe had been issued, on account of some statements that are regarded, by the government, as an affront to the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas “Abu Mazen”.

Qassem criticized, on Al-Quds TV, the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli Occupation. He also addressed the Palestine Liberation Organization’s “revolutionary” law, which stipulates for the execution of whoever carries a weapon or negotiates with the Occupation, the matter that was interpreted by some in Al-Fatah Movement as an incitement against Abbas and a threat to the national unity.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


Human Rights Lawyer Gamal Eid Banned from Travelling, Italian Researcher Giulio Regeni Found Dead in Cairo, A New Report of the Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee

At dawn of February 4, 2016, security bodies at Cairo International Airport banned Gamal Eid, a human rights activist and the executive director of ANHRI, from travelling to Greece, over a claimed judicial decision. However, no details have been reported regarding the ban, nor had the lawyer been interrogated, or informed from any judicial body with his travel ban on account of being accused over any case.

The incident has a repercussion in the media and human rights communities. ANHRI said, “the police system in Egypt disregards the law; the army forces are deployed in the streets, prisons became open to all, pro-regime media professionals are ready to launch smear campaigns against any dissidents”.

Moreover, the catastrophic news of killing the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, 28, came to make the situation in Egypt even worse. Giulio is a young researcher, who arrived to Cairo from Cambridge University and was a visitor to the American University in Cairo, to make his PhD in the street vendors’ independent syndicate of Egypt as a model of the independent unions in Egypt. Nevertheless, since January 25, 2016, he has been disappeared in downtown, at a time the security forces heavily were presenting in all regions of Cairo, until on the 3rd of February, 2016, Regeni’s dead body that bore signs of torture was found in October 6 City.

On the other hand, the Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee released, on February 7, its report, entitled “Journalists Under confinement and Assault”, on the violations committed against journalists and journalism in 2015.

Source: the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

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