Nonviolent action around the world – 15 January 2010 (Part 1)


Iran bans weekly for spreading “lies”
By: Reuters, January 14, 2010
An Iranian court has banned a weekly for slander and spreading lies, media reported, and one opposition website said it was for insulting former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The official IRNA news agency, in a report on the court’s move late on Wednesday, did not mention Rafsanjani, who backed opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi in last year’s disputed presidential election.
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Sister of Iran Nobel laureate freed
By: Al Jazeera, January 14, 2010
Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel peace laureate, has told Al Jazeera that her sister was released from prison in Iran. Noushin Ebadi was released on Thursday after being arrested during opposition protests at the end of last year, her sister said on Al Jazeera’s Frost Over the World programme.
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Iran: Zahra and millions like her call for change
By: Abbas Djavadi, RFE, January 14, 2010
Zahra and millions like her won’t stop supporting freedom and calling for an open, moderate country with an accountable government. “…we want to live in a moderate and free society with better perspectives for our kids,” she says. “The election proved that our votes don’t count and everyday there are new restrictions and hostilities…It’s as though we were constantly at war with ourselves and the world.”
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Iran: The greening of Islam
By: Abbas Milani, New Republic, January 13, 2010
The Green Movement is a revolt against theocracy. Most of its adherents are young Iranians with little or no religious motivation. Yet, an iconic figure of the revolt was the nation’s highest-ranking cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri; and, last month, Ashura, a holy day celebrating martyrdom, occasioned some of the movement’s most massive protests.
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Iran arrests reformist cleric
By: Washington TV, January 13, 2010
Iranian security forces have arrested reformist cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji at his home in the city of Qom, a Washington-based think-tank said on Wednesday. Khalaji’s son, Mehdi Khalaji, who is an Iran expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, condemned the arrest.
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Baidu hacked by ‘Iranian cyber army’
By: BBC News, January 12, 2010
China’s most popular search engine, Baidu, has been targeted by the same hackers that took Twitter offline in December, according to reports. A group claiming to be the Iranian Cyber Army redirected Baidu users to a site displaying a political message.
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Iran: Assassination in Tehran
By: Gary Sick (Gary’s Choice blog), January 12, 2010
About the assassination of the Iranian physicist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, an Iranian government news channel concluded that the US and Israel were responsible. Stop and think for a moment about what that news report really means. It suggests that US and Israeli agents are able to penetrate residential areas in the capital city. It indicates that they are able to target individuals almost at will, conduct a dramatic assassination, and then escape completely undetected. What does that say about the Iranian security services?
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Relatives of arrested mothers dispersed by Iranian police
By: RFE, January 11, 2010
A human rights group says police in Iran made two arrests and violently disrupted a demonstration in Tehran by relatives of a group of arrested mothers whose children are missing.
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Citizen journalism in Iran
By: Haideh Daragahi, Sign and Sight, January 11, 2010
Thirty years of superficial reporting of the Iranian situation by the Western press neglected the build-up to the current unrest. Even now, presenting the alleged election fraud as the cause of the revolt rather than an ignition key which released three decades of accumulated frustration, leaves people outside Iran quite perplexed.
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Azerbaijan: Rights defenders appeal for western support
By: Shahin Abbasov, Eurasianet, January 13, 2010
Human rights activists in Azerbaijan characterize the criminal prosecution of opposition editor Eynulla Fatullayev, as well as the recent convictions of youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, as politically motivated efforts to repress dissenting voices. Activists add that more Western pressure on Baku is needed to arrest the government’s efforts to stifle freedom of speech.
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Kazakhstan: Four journalists in jail and counting
By: RFE, January 13, 2010
Rozlana Taukina, head of the Kazakh nongovernmental organization, Journalists in Trouble, is preparing for her trial. She could be fined or jailed for holding a flash rally in support of jailed journalists in Almaty on January 6. Radio Azattyq, RFE/RL’s Kazakhstan service, spoke to her about the rally, media freedom in her country and Kazakhstan’s commitments as chairman of the international human rights watchdog, the OSCE.
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Kyrgyz opposition criticizes U.S. reaction to rights violations
By: RFE, January 13, 2010
Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Almazbek Atambaev told RFE/RL today that the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan used to express its concern about the human rights situation in the country, but that American officials find maintaining the air base in Bishkek — known as the NATO Transit Center at Manas Airport — more important than criticizing the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan.
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Kyrgyzstan relegated to the back of the freedom class
By: Bruce Pannier, RFE, January 12, 2010
That the rights situation in Kyrgyzstan is growing worse is no secret. There have been plenty of examples just in the last few weeks that demonstrate the deterioration of the rights situation in the country, once held up by Western democracies as a model for neighboring states to follow. On January 11, Ismail Isakov, who served as defense minister under President Kurmanbek Bakiev from 2005 until 2008, and then as secretary of Kyrgyzstan’s Security Council until October that year, was found guilty of abuse of office and sentenced to eight years in jail.
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Burma: Three activists sentenced to three years each
By: Myint Maung, Mizzima, January 13, 2010
A township court in Burma’s former capital city of Rangoon on Wednesday sentenced three opposition party members to three years imprisonment each. The defendants, members of the humanitarian committee of Burma’s main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), were charged with unlawful association and handed three year sentences with hard labor by the Insein Township court, according to their lawyer, Kyaw Hoe, who was present at the court session on Wednesday.
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Burma freedom is ‘worst of the worst’
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, January 13, 2010
A Washington-based NGO has labeled Burma one of the worst countries in the world for ‘freedom’ in an annual report, released yesterday. Burma ranks alongside nine other countries in the “worst of the worst” category in Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World 2010’ report, which includes Libya, Tibet, China, Eritrea, North Korea and Equatorial Guinea.
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Vietnam: Mine critic questioned
By: RFA, January 13, 2010
Vietnamese authorities renew pressure on critics of China-backed mines. Vietnamese police have searched the Hanoi home of an academic who spoke out on his Web site against Chinese-run bauxite mines in Vietnam and questioned him as well, a co-owner of the site said Wednesday.
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Burma silencing critics with internet law
By: Marwaan Macan-Markar, IPS, January 11, 2010
A court ruling in military-ruled Burma has brought into sharp focus a law the junta widely uses to go after civilians it wants to silence. On Jan. 7 a court found Win Naing Kyaw, a former military officer, guilty of violating the Electronics Act, a law controlling Internet usage, and condemned him to a 20-year sentence.
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Tensions between Google and China complicate U.S. diplomacy
By: Ariana Eunjung Cha and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, January 15, 2010
Google’s threat to pull out of China after revelations by the search-engine giant that hackers in China stole valuable corporate secrets from its computer systems comes as the United States is making a concerted push for closer ties with the Asian giant. A pullout could complicate a delicate diplomatic dance: The Obama administration would like China to make progress on human rights but also needs it to help press Iran and North Korea on nuclear issues and to restructure its economy so its people buy more and export less.
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Police say China lawyer ‘went missing’
By: AP, January 14, 2010
The brother of an activist Chinese lawyer who security forces are believed to have taken into custody almost a year ago said Thursday that police told him his brother “went missing” in September. It’s the first word on the whereabouts of Gao Zhisheng, one of China’s most daring lawyers, who disappeared in February 2009.
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China’s Google dilemma: Soften on censorship or anger millions of internet users
By: Steven Mufson, Washington Post, January 14, 2010
Google’s threat to shut down its Chinese Web site and offices over cyberattacks and censorship puts the government here in the awkward position of having to choose between relaxing restrictions and raising the ire of the roughly 80 million Chinese people who use the search engine.
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Google China cyberattack part of vast espionage campaign
By: Ariana Eunjung Cha and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, January 14, 2010
Computer attacks on Google that the search giant said originated in China were part of a concerted political and corporate espionage effort that exploited security flaws in e-mail attachments to sneak into the networks of major financial, defense and technology companies and research institutions in the United States, security experts said.
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Google’s China move gets Yahoo’s support
By: Huffington Post, January 13, 2010
Yahoo Inc. supports rival Google’s threatened departure from China because of computer attacks that pried into the e-mail accounts of human rights activists. In a statement Wednesday, Yahoo said its “aligned” with Google’s reaction to the hacking that originated within China.
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China: Google’s possible exile leads to cyber protests
By: Bob Chen, Global Voices, January 13, 2010
Do no evil, Google says. But the irony is that it did help the Chinese government block sensitive information from the Chinese internet users, which is necessary for it to operate in China. However, this time it seems to be really provoked and made its simmering feud with the authority public. Google is likely to quit China.
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Chinese citizens mourn Google in candlelit vigil
By: Huffington Post, January 13, 2010
After yesterday’s news that Google will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country entirely, Chinese mourners gathered outside of Google headquarters in Beijing to hold a candlelit vigil.
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Google changing course in China: A teachable moment
By: Digital Democracy, January 13, 2010
In August 2008, Digital Democracy conducted research with Burmese community groups operating in southern China, near the Burma/Myanmar border. While researching the use of communications technologies, one young Kachin man explained the difference between the Internet in China and Burma, stating, “To me the web in China is totally free.” Censored though the Chinese web may be, his statement helps us keep in mind the complex realities – and differing degrees – of modern communication tools.
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Google’s threat echoed everywhere, except China
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, January 13, 2010
Google’s declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in China ricocheted around the world on Wednesday. But in China itself, the news was heavily censored.
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China: Blocking U.N. sanctions is more than just a business decision
By: Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2010
China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Yesui declared last week that it is “too early” for new sanctions on Iran. As China takes over the rotating presidency of the Security Council, the Obama Administration should consider why, exactly, Beijing is so reluctant to punish Tehran’s refusal to make a deal over its nuclear program.
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Fiji regime threatens pension cuts to silence dissenters
By: Radio New Zealand International, January 14, 2010
The Information Ministry in Fiji has contradicted the interim prime minister and says the regime has not yet cut the pensions of its critics despite implementing a new decree. The interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama told Radio Fiji his regime passed a decree last week and already stopped the pensions of its critics from this week.
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