Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Egypt deports critical tv-presenter the day she ends contract with new rightist owner of the station

Popular Lebanese TV host Liliane Daoud was arrested from her home in Cairo on Monday night, taken to an undisclosed location and then put aboard an EgyptAir flight to Beirut, said Daoud’s lawyer Zyad Elelaimy. Eight members of the security forces stormed her home earlier that evening. It was the same day she ended her contract with ONtv.
The security forces refused to allow Daoud to make a phone call or to take her phone with her when they apprehended her, Elelaimy said. Her Egyptian ex-husband, Khaled El-Berry, was coincidentally present at her home during the arrest while picking up their ten-year-old daughter for dinner. "They gave [Daoud] exactly five minutes. They refused to allow her to take anything with her except her wallet. They also refused to let her call a lawyer or the [Lebanese] embassy," El-Berry wrote on his Facebook account.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Egyptian court nullifies deal with Saudis about two islands near the Gulf of Aqaba

After the verdict lawyer Khaled Ali reads out the names of the people who are in prison because they demonstrated against the sale of the islands. (Photo Ahdaf Soueif/via Twitter)

Egypt's Administrative Court ruled on Tuesday that the 8 April agreement which placed the two Egyptian Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir in Saudi waters is void. The two islands should remain under Egyptian sovereignty. 
State Council Vice President Yehia El-Dakroury, reasoned that "the islands should remain part of Egyptian territory and within Egyptian borders; Egyptian sovereignty over the islands holds, and it forbidden to change their status for the benefit of any other state." The Egyptian state is going to appeal the conclusion of the court.
The agreement, which was signed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia during a five-day visit by Saudi King Salman to Cairo, stipulated that the two islands at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba fall within Saudi waters thus paving the way for a transfer of sovereignty to Riyadh.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Iraq retakes most of Falluja

Iraqi government vehicles in the centre of Falluja. (AP). 

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Friday that Iraqi forces have retaken most of Fallujah from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS, Daesh). However operations are still under way to flush out the armed group's remaining fighters in the city.
The government lost control of Fallujah in 2014, months before Daesh took Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and other large parts of the country. "We promised you the liberation of Fallujah and we retook it. Our security forces control the city except for small pockets that need to be cleared within the coming hours," Abadi said in a brief address on state TV. "Fallujah has returned to the nation and Mosul is the next battle," Abadi also said on Twitter. "Daesh will be defeated," he added.
Earlier on Friday, Iraqi forces said they had entered the centre of Fallujah, nearly four weeks after the start of a US-backed offensive to retake the city 50km west of the capital, Baghdad. They took the government compound and the Iraqi flag is now raised on top of the building, symbolising government control

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Libyan government forces retake port and airport of Sirte

Government forces on the outskirts of Sirte. (Reuters)

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally backed government say they have recaptured both the port and airport of Sirte from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), forcing the armed group to retreat. The Libyan forces also retook residential areas in the east of Sirte, which for the past year has been the main ISIL base in the North African country, a spokesman for the forces, Rida Issa, told the AFP news agency on Saturday.
ISIL fighters are now surrounded in a densely populated area of around five square kilometres inside the city, where they are laying booby traps, he said. Most of the city's residents have fled but about 30,000 remain, Issa added.
The fall of Sirte, the hometown of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, would be a major setback for ISIL, who have also lost territory in Syria and Iraq, where they have declared a "caliphate".

At least 12 dead in double bomb attack at Shi'a site in Damascus


A double bomb attack outside a Shia shrine near Syria's capital Damascus has killed at least 12 people, according to Syrian state media.The official SANA news agency said on Saturday that a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, which is revered by Shias around the world.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks via an online post. It said two of its suicide bombers had blown themselves up and operatives had detonated an explosives-laden car, according to the IS-affiliated Amaq news agency.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a British-based monitoring group, reported a higher toll of at least 20 people killed and 30 wounded.
Syrian state television showed debris, mangled cars and wrecked shops in a main commercial thoroughfare near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, in an area where at least three bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State have killed and wounded scores of people this year.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Eight years for human rights defender in S-Arabia

In a hearing which took place on 29 May 2016, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh sentenced the Saudi  human rights defender Abdulaziz Al-Shubaili to eight years in prison followed by another eight years of a travel ban to start after he serves his sentence. The court also decided that he is not allowed to write any more.
Abdulaziz Shubaili
l-Shubaili is a principal member of the Association for Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia ACPRA, who participated in the defence team on behalf of many of his fellow members of ACPRA. He also used social media networks to call for reform and defend people’s rights.
Al Shubaili was accused of many charges including publishing a statement calling for demonstrations; accusing judges of dishonesty and human rights violations; and preparing, storing and sending data affecting public order. On top of that  he was sentenced for participating in ACPRA, which is an unauthorised association in Saudi Arabia, and his contribution to the drafting of its statements, as well as failing to comply with the judicial decision to dissolve ACPRA.