Nonviolent action around the world – 15 September 2009 (Part 1)

Reformist details evidence of abuse in Iran’s prisons
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, September 14, 2009
A leading opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, issued a statement on Monday giving new details of prison abuse allegations in Iran, just days after a judicial panel rejected such claims and the country’s supreme leader warned of a “harsh response” to those making them. Another top opposition figure, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, urged fellow clerics in a new statement posted on his Web site on Monday to throw their support behind the opposition and to speak against “the violations that are happening under the name of religion.”
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Leading Iranian cleric and dissident Ayatollah Montazeri calls on clerics countrywide to come out openly against the regime
By: MEMRI, September 14, 2009
On the eve of Iran’s annual Qods (Jerusalem) Day, September 18, 2009, which traditionally features mass demonstrations held by the regime, senior Iranian dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Hossein Montazeri called on all senior clerics in Iran’s major cities, to come out openly against the regime and to use their influence to restore the power to the people. In a letter sent to all clerics in Iran, Montazeri underlined that in order to exist, the regime required the legitimacy granted to it by the country’s senior clerics.
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Iran mass trial resumes as reformist clerics speak out
By: AFP, September 14, 2009
Iran on Monday resumed the mass trial of anti-vote demonstrators amid protests by prominent reformist clerics who opposed the June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi and Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri — once tipped to succeed Islamic republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini — both spoke out as six protesters went on trial. The official IRNA news agency said those in the dock included student leader Abdollah Momeni, but later reported that the judge ordered media not to name the defendants.
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Iran tries six more activists
By: AP, September 14, 2009
Iranian state television says six opposition activists are being tried in the latest session of the mass trial for those accused of plotting a “velvet revolution” to topple the regime. The court session Monday is the latest hearing since Aug. 1, and comes as officials seek to silence the outrage following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in a race critics maintain was defined by massive fraud.
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Young Iranian says he was raped in prison, pressured to stay silent
By: RFERL, September 14, 2009
A well-known Iranian filmmaker, Reza Allamezadeh, has posted on his website a video of a young Iranian man, Ebrahim Sharifi, who says he was raped in prison in Iran after being arrested in the postelection crackdown. Sharifi says he was harassed and threatened by officials for talking about his experience and informing reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi about what he went through in detention. Karrubi, who has said that postelection detainees have been “savagely” raped in prison, said earlier this month that one of his rape witnesses had disappeared.
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Martyrs of Iranian protests remembered online
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, September 13, 2009
On, a new multimedia website, photos and short biographies of more than 70 people killed have been published. Iranian citizens have continued to use the internet to immortalize other Iranian martyrs of the protest movement (a.k.a. “Green Movement”). The opposition claims the number of murdered demonstrators is more than 70 people. Some were killed under torture after arrest, while others were shot down in the streets. In spite of government secrecy, names and pictures of some of the fallen have emerged.
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Iran’s Khamenei warns opposition on defiance
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, September 12, 2009
Iran’s supreme leader warned opposition groups Friday that they face a “harsh response” if they maintain what he described as their confrontational course against the government. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said patience with enemies is an important virtue, Iranian state television reported. But when patience runs out, he told the crowd, confrontation is the only option. Khamenei, the Islamic republic’s highest-ranking leader, said that those who disagree with the state would be tolerated but that people who challenge the political system, “brandishing their swords,” would be opposed with force.
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Ally of Iran’s Mousavi detained
By: Reuters, September 11, 2009
An ally of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi has been detained, a reformist website said on Friday, the third pro-reform opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be held within the past week. The Etemad-e Melli website said Mohammad Ozlati-Moghaddam, a member of Mousavi’s campaign headquarters staff ahead of the disputed June election, was detained in his home earlier this week after it was searched.
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Banana workers unions apply lessons of 1954 general strike to coup resistance
By: Belén Fernández, Narco News, September 14, 2009
In mid-August of this year, a contingent of Honduran policemen gathered near the headquarters of the Coalition of Honduran Banana and Agroindustrial Unions – COSIBAH – in the town of La Lima in northwestern Honduras. Founded in 1994, COSIBAH is a federation of seven unions, three of which are heavily involved in the resistance to the June 28 coup that overthrew Honduran President Mel Zelaya. According to the leaders of the organization, the police had intended to arrest them but had changed their minds after noting the large number of people present at the headquarters for a meeting…
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Honduras: Resistance plans election boycott
By: WW4 Report, September 15, 2009
Two Honduran presidential candidates announced in a communiqué on Sept. 9 that they will not participate in the Nov. 29 general elections unless four conditions are met: the return of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who was removed from office by a military coup on June 28; an end to human rights violations; the demilitarization of Honduran society; and an end to a slander campaign against the leftist Democratic Unification (UD) party, which currently holds four of the 128 seats in the Congress. The two candidates are former union leader Carlos H. Reyes and legislative deputy César Ham, who heads the UD.
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Honduras mediator to meet with presidential hopefuls, warn them election won’t be recognized
By: Marianela Jimenez, Breaking News 24/7, September 14, 2009
The international community’s chief mediator in the Honduran political crisis said Monday he will meet with the country’s presidential candidates to emphasize that upcoming elections will not be recognized if held under the government installed by a coup. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said he will meet Wednesday with at least four of the six candidates, including the top two contenders, in an effort to gain their support for restoring ousted President Manuel Zelaya before the Nov. 29 ballot.
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From Maasai warrior to peace builder
By: UNPO, September 15, 2009
Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah drew the international spotlight to his Maasai village in 2002, when tribal elders presented a herd of 14 cows to the people of the United States as a symbolic gesture of compassion and healing after hearing his firsthand account of the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The village’s heartfelt act was reported worldwide and eventually prompted Naiyomah to collaborate with author Carmen Agra Deedy on a children’s book, “14 Cows for America,” released in the United States in August. The entire experience also inspired him to refocus his professional plans. Instead of going to medical school, Naiyomah will embark on a career as a peacemaker when he begins postgraduate work at the Rotary Center for International Studies at the University of Queensland.
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Gabon: Underneath palatial skin, corruption rules
By: Adam Nossiter, NY Times, September 14, 2009
In the airport duty-free store, the wine is upward of $400. The service at the fancy French restaurants in the chic Louis district is immaculate, and at the luxury hotel on the sea the call girls dress like fashion models. It is almost as if you could be in a prosperous city in Texas. But you are in Gabon, and behind the late ruler’s palaces, which line the wide empty boulevard, are shacks and shanties stretching to the horizon, dirt roads and street vendors eking out a living selling cigarettes and imported vegetables. Most live on less than $2 a day in this little Central African country, rich in both oil and poor people.
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Ordinary Africans play key role in holding governments accountable
By: CIVICUS, Septemeber, 2009
This summer brought a flurry of calls on African governments to end corruption, enforce the rule of law, and deliver results for their people. According to U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and even U2 star Bono, the key to improving governance, promoting development, and securing sustainable flows of foreign aid to Africa is for Africans to take responsibility for their own efforts to improve transparency and accountability.
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Ethiopia: Democracy and the history of NGO’s
By: CIVICUS, September, 2009
The history of Non Governmental Organisations dates back for not more than four decades in Ethiopia. They were mainly engaged and their primary area of focus was in relief works and service delivery. It is only in the last 10 years or so that Organisations started to actively work on rights issues. Despite the number of limitations and some witnessed malpractices, NGO’s have been doing a commendable work in Ethiopia over the years.
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Uganda: Media clampdown underway
By: Yasiin Mugerwa, All Africa, September 13, 2009
The Radio One talk show host, Mr Kalundi Sserumaga, who was on Friday night grabbed by unidentified people, became the first journalist to fall victim as government continues to clamp down on the media amidst chaotic scenes in parts of the country. The government yesterday also suspended two other media practitioners on allegations of inciting violence and demeaning the President. Uganda Broadcasting Council yesterday confirmed the suspension of Mr Sserumaga, who is still in police custody, on charges of media-related offences, WBS-TV talk show host, Mr Peter Kibazo, Radio Simba’s local dramatist, who hosts Binsangawano morning show, Mr Charles James Senkubuge Siasa.
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Uganda: Blogs, Twitter keep world informed as Kampala riots continue
By: Rebekah Heacock, Global Voices, September 13, 2009
As riots shook Kampala, the capital of Uganda, for the second day, bloggers and other netizens rallied to keep the world informed. Within 24 hours of the first riots, concerned Kampalans launched Uganda Witness, a crisis reporting site where Ugandans can share news of deaths, looting, presence of government forces and other related information. As of Friday afternoon the site had received multiple reports of rioting in downtown Kampala and several of the city’s suburbs.
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Ghana:  Human rights groups kick against planned eviction of residents
By: All Africa, September 11, 2009
Amnesty International (AI-Ghana) and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) have kicked against plans by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to forcibly evict more than 40,000 people leaving in a slum of Accra, popularly called ‘Sodom and Gomorrah.” The slum is a melting pot of various ethnic groups, with majority of them coming from the three northern regions. It has also gained notoriety for violence and crime. A recent bloody clash between supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP) left four people dead.
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Madagascar security forces tear gas protesters
By: Alain Iloniaina, The Guardian, September 11, 2009
Backers of ousted President Marc Ravalomanana massed in a park near a central square, but security forces moved in saying the demonstration had not been authorized. Raharinaivo Andrianantoandro, spokesperson for Ravalomanana’s party, said they had wanted to demonstrate peacefully to condemn Rajoelina’s appointment of a new government this week and to convince the ruling authorities to resume crisis talks. “But the security forces stopped us,” he told Reuters, adding that he was not aware of any arrests or injuries.
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Zimbabwe: Opposition leader faces trial
By: Cuthbert Nzou, ZimOnline, September 11, 2009
A losing presidential candidate in Zimbabwe ‘s 2008 presidential elections and now a leading opposition figure Simba Makoni will next Tuesday stand trial on allegations of addressing an illegal meeting during his campaigns. Makoni, a close associate of President Robert Mugabe until he broke away from ZANU PF in February last year to challenge the octogenarian dictator, is being charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
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US: Obama aide briefs Dalai Lama about U.S. view on Tibet
By: Jay Shankar, Bloomberg, September 14, 2009
An adviser to President Barack Obama and another U.S. official met with the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in Dharamshala, India, to brief the spiritual leader about the administration’s approach to Tibet. The Dalai Lama detailed to Jarrett the issues he wants Obama to take up with the Chinese government when the president visits China in November, according to the statement.
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US: Rights group assailed for analyst’s Nazi collection
By: John Schwartz, NY Times, September 14, 2009
A leading human rights group has suspended its senior military analyst following revelations that he is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia. On Monday night, the group shifted course and suspended him with pay, “pending an investigation,” said Carroll Bogert, the group’s associate director. The suspension comes at a time of heightened tension between, on one side, the new Israeli government and its allies on the right, and the other side, human rights organizations that have been critical of Israel.
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Opposition mayor shot dead in western Venezuela
By: Miami Herald, September 12, 2009
Venezuela’s federal police are investigating the shooting death of a mayor who was a member of the opposition to President Hugo Chavez. Police Chief Wilmer Flores Trossel says Mayor Lluvane Alvarez was shot by unidentified assailants as he entered his home Saturday. The opposition party Copei posted a message on its blog calling on authorities to clarify the circumstances around Alvarez’s killing.
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US: Thousands of protesters blast Obama
By: Nafeesa Syeed, AP, September 12, 2009
Tens of thousands of protesters fed up with government spending marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, showing their disdain for the president’s health care plan with slogans such as “Obamacare makes me sick” and “I’m not your ATM.” The line of protesters clogged several blocks near the Capitol, according to the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Demonstrators chanted “enough, enough” and “We the People.” Others yelled “You lie, you lie!” and “Pelosi has to go,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
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US: “Get the government out of my social security!” – Inside the 9.12 Teabagger Rally
By: Max Blumenthal, Huffington Post, September 12, 2009
While Fox News cameras covering the so-called 9.12 Project on the National Mall lurched away from signs morphing President Barack Obama’s face into Adolph Hitler’s, I zoomed in. Histrionics and manufactured paranoia were hard to avoid at the massive September 12 anti-Obama rally orchestrated by Fox News host Glenn Beck and former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s corporate lobbying front group, Freedom Works.
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Cuba: Blogger contest reflects ‘vibrant’ blogosphere   
By: Juan Tamayo, Cuba Study Group, September 11, 2009
Cuban bloggers sent Twitter messages to announce the winners of their first-ever contest — two milestones in a country where a report Thursday said a “vibrant” blogosphere is emerging despite “vast legal and technical obstacles.” Both the tweets and contest prizes were landmarks for Cuban bloggers, described in a report by the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) as “mainly young adults . . . [who] have opened a new space for free expression in Cuba, while offering a fresh glimmer of hope for the rebirth of independent ideas in Cuba’s closed system.”
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Cuban dissident must serve 2-year jail sentence for talking about hunger on island
By: Sylvia Longmire, The Examiner, September 11, 2009
Telling the truth-especially after imbibing one too many-is a sure way to end up in a Cuban jail. That’s exactly what happened to Juan Carlos Gonzalez Marcos, known by the nickname Panfilo, after he drunkenly burst into a documentary filming and began ranting about Cubans going hungry. Today, a Cuban appeals court upheld the two-year prison sentence Gonzalez Marcos received for “public dangerousness,” rejecting his plea for leniency.
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Colombia: Neutrality impossible for indigenous groups
By: Javier Darío Restrepo, IPS, September 10, 2009
The latest killings of Awá Indians in southern Colombia – 12 members of a family, including four children and three teenagers -, the forced displacement of hundreds of native villagers, and death threats against indigenous leaders and teachers are signs indicating that their demand to be considered neutral in the armed conflict is still being ignored. So far this year, 10 different waves of forced displacement have brought hundreds of people to the Pacific port town of Tumaco, in Nariño, near the Ecuadorean border.
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