Iran: acid victim spares attacker from retribution

ameneh bahramiAn Iranian woman blinded with acid by her suitor for turning down his marriage proposal spared him at the last minute from being blinded too as punishment for his crime, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Ameneh Bahrami lost her sight in 2004 when Majid Mohavedi poured acid onto her face after she spurned his offers of marriage.

In 2008, a court sentenced Mohavedi to be blinded in both eyes for taking away Bahrami’s sight, using the principle of retribution permitted under Iran’s Islamic law.

“I have been trying for seven years to get the qisas (retribution) sentence, but today I decided to pardon him,” Ameneh was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

Ameneh said the international interest in the case was one reason for deciding to drop her demand for the sentence of retribution to be carried out.

“It seemed like the entire world was waiting to see what we did,” she said.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Iran not to inflict the punishment.

via Iran acid victim spares attacker from retribution | Reuters.

She has undergone 17 surgeries in Spain, but is badly disfigured and totally blind.

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Saudi Arabia: law to set minimum marriage age about to be introduced

Small child brides

Small child brides. Image via Wikipedia

With the rejection of “some scholars”:

Saudi Arabia intends to set a minimum age for girls allowed to marry under a new law intended to curb child marriages following a surge in such a phenomenon in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.

The ministry of justice is working on a regulation banning the marriage of female minors, most of which are forced by their fathers to marry much older men for dowry or other personal purposes, newspapers said.

Ministry sources, quoted by Almadina and other local newspapers, said the law would be issued soon despite what they described as stiff opposition by some scholars who believe such a ruling violates Islamic law.

More here.

Saudi Arabia: new anti-terror law crushes protests

Amnesty International

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Days ago, Amnesty International published a leaked draft of the new Saudi Anti-Terror law, which the organization described, in a statement, as a “law that would allow the authorities to prosecute peaceful dissents with harsh penalties as terrorist crime” adding that this law would punish questioning the integrity of the King or the Crown Prince with a minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Amnesty International (@amnesty) brought the news through Twitter, where many people have reacted with the hash tag #SaudiTerrorLaw:

@amnesty: Secret docs reveal new #SaudiArabia “Anti-Terror” law would crush peaceful dissent http://owl.li/5KS9Y

More on GVO.

Iran: capital punishment use, on the rise

Stop executions in Iran
Image by helen.2006 via Flickr

According to Amnesty International, Iran has admitted executing 190 people between January and the end of June this year; an additional 130 reported executions have gone unacknowledged. These figures put Iran on course for a record year for capital punishment. In 2010, 252 people were executed, according to official figures, with 300 more also believed to have been killed.

Iran Human Rights, an independent monitoring organisation, claims the true picture is much worse. It says 25 people were hanged in one day – 3 July – in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. The hangings, supposedly all drug-related, were not reported by official media. The same report said another seven people were hanged the same day in Evin prison in Tehran. It alluded to further uncorroborated mass executions in prisons in Khorasan province in 2010.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, another independent pressure group, reported last month that 26 inmates of Vakilabad prison in Mashhad were hanged on 15 June. It quoted the Mashhad prosecutor, Mahmoud Zoghi, as admitting “high numbers of executions” over the past two-and-a-half years. Zoghi said the rise was due to a high volume of drug trafficking cases. “The execution statistics are proportionate and foreign media unjustifiably exaggerate in this subject,” he said.

The number of public hangings is also on the increase. Since the start of 2011, up to 13 men have been executed in public, eight of them since 16 April, an Amnesty report this year stated. Iran meanwhile reportedly defied international law by executing two juveniles offenders, in Bandar Abbas on 20 April. Overall, Iran’s execution “average” is running at almost two people per day in 2011, making the regime the world’s number two executioner after China.

via Iran\’s judicial killing spree | Simon Tisdall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

Spain: Judge Garzon Charged With Abuse of Power

This image is taken from the Presidency of Arg...

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The Spanish judge who went after Augusto Pinochet and Osama bin Laden was indicted Wednesday for alleged abuse of power in a probe of Spanish civil war atrocities.

Luciano Varela, an investigating magistrate at the Spanish Supreme Court, charged Baltasar Garzon with knowingly acting without jurisdiction by launching a probe in 2008 of tens of thousands of wartime executions and disappearances of civilians.

If convicted, Garzon could be removed from the bench for 10 to 20 years, although he does not face jail time. A conviction would effectively end Garzon’s career as a judge, his attorney has said.

…Garzon is a hero to leftists and international human rights groups like Amnesty International, but a headline-loving egotist with a grudge against the right in the eyes of Spanish conservatives.

via Spain’s Judge Garzon Charged With Abuse of Power – NYTimes.com.

The NYT conveniently forgets why Spanish conservatives don’t support Garzón. He left his position as a Judge, already an important one, in 1993 to be socialist candidate no. 2 only after ex-President Felipe González for Madrid (just in case, someone doesn’t know, Spain’s capital, an important candidate, then). The general idea is that he thought Mr. González was going to name him Minister of Justice (and possibly of Interior, as both were held then by another Socialist, Mr. Belloch, now Zaragoza’s Major). But he was only named “Secretary of State of the National Plan against Drugs”. Unhappy with the perspective, he left his position in the Parliament and in politics and went back to his National Court’s office, where he “opened a drawer” where he had the indictment for the GAL cases and went on to process an important number of Socialist high-rank officials, including former Minister of Interior Barrionuevo. He charged them because of the “dirty war” against ETA terrorists, killed, tortured or maimed by GAL members, a terrorist group supported by, at least, some members of the socialist Government.

What does this tell about him? Only that he didn’t prosecute this people when he knew about those cases, but after he was denied the position he thought his merits allowed him to have.

Also, despite being a judge -a position which requires impartiality-, he made very clear his position against Aznar and Iraqi war, taking part in demostrations where he even gave speeches.

In the present case, he was only interested in people killed by the dictatorship, but not by the II Republic’s supporters. Also he didn’t consider the existence of the Amnesty Law, which is actually in force, for all crimes committed throughout all those years, both by “nationals” (Franco supporters) or “republicans” (Republic supporters).

Lastly, NYT also conveniently forgets another thing: Luciano Varelo is a liberal Judge and one of the founders of the leftist-progessive Judges’ Associatino “Jueces para la Democracia” (Judges for Democracy). So Garzón can have a lot of “political enemies” but ideologically, this isn’t the case, as both of them are leftists/liberals.

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East Timor: Amnesty International denounces the impunity of war crimes’ responsibles

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | ‘Still no justice’ in East Timor

East Timorese victims of the violence of 1999 and of Indonesia’s occupation have yet to receive any justice, says a report by Amnesty International.

Many perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity between 1975 and 1999 have still not been brought to trial, the human rights group says.

Amnesty says East Timor is haunted by a “culture of impunity” – a decade after voting for independence from Indonesia.

The group has called on the UN to set up an international criminal tribunal.

Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director, said the victims of the atrocities need a “clear commitment” from both the Indonesian and Timorese governments as well as the UN to investigate all allegations and bring those responsible to trial.

One of the responsibles of the atrocities committed in East Timor, former General Wiranto, teamed up in last Indonesian elections as second runner with Jusuf Kalla, who was defeated by Yudhoyono, the actual winner.

Related:
Indonesian Rights Commission Probes Suharto-era Crimes.
UN verdict on East Timor.

Malaysia: canning of woman who drank beer, delayed*

An update on this story:

Malaysia abruptly granted a Ramadan reprieve to the first Muslim Malay woman to be sentenced to caning for drinking beer, but insisted Monday the thrashing would still take place after the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, had been en route to a women’s prison for the caning when Islamic officials who took her into custody drove her back home and released her.

via Malaysia delays caning of woman who drank beer – Yahoo! News.

But there is no cancelation of the sentence, as it was first claimed, just a delay till Ramadan ends.

Human rights group Amnesty International had condemned the sentence, and Malaysian pressure group Sisters in Islam told Al Jazeera that the caning was “still unjust” despite the decision to postpone the sentence until after Ramadan.

“We are hopeful that the whipping sentence will be withdrawn,” said Hamidah Merican, executive director of Sisters In Islam.

The problem is that this punishment exists for such an action, even if this time it’s not executed.

*Undhimmi agrees about this not being the end of canning in Malaysia:

We think the reprieve has nothing to do with a sudden outbreak of mercy. Internal pressure from Malaysians themselves, NGOs and the Blogosphere (the mainstream media caught onto this story late); plus the threat of legal action from Kartika herself – has given this story the kind of profile that has threatened the image of this so-called ‘modern Islamic state’ (an oxymoron if ever we’ve heard one), which markets itself around the world as an up-market tourist destination and high-tech business location.

while this is great news for Kartika, it is certainly not the end of flogging in Malaysia. Parties involved in any lower profile recurrences should not expect similar concessions.

Chalk this up to ‘reputation management’ and the avoidance of inconvenient litigation.