Nonviolent Action around the World – 26 August 2009 (Part 1)

August 26, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
 

Iran to put more anti-Ahmadinejad protesters on trial
By: AFP, August 24, 2009
Iran will put on trial on Tuesday seven more protesters arrested in the aftermath of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed election victory, the ISNA news agency reported. The Fars news agency said those facing prosecution were political activists and rioters arrested during the violence which erupted after the hardline president’s re-election in June.
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Sacked Iranian minister appointed chief prosecutor
By: NY Times, August 24, 2009
Conservative rivals handed a new snub to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday, appointing the man he fired from the post of intelligence minister as the country’s state prosecutor.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad rivals rise within conservative camp
By: Katrina Kratovac and Sebastian Abbot, AP, August 23, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t have to look to the street protests or angry Web sites to get a sense of challenges ahead for his disputed second term. There’s enough potential heat coming from right inside the country’s leadership. And these days, that trouble has a name: the brothers Larijani.
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Cabinet nominees criticized in Iran
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, August 23, 2009
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to nominate three women as Iran’s first female cabinet members since the 1979 Islamic revolution faced stiff criticism Saturday from clerics and lawmakers, as well as from women’s rights activists. Several prominent clerics said the move was counter to Islamic beliefs and urged parliament to reject the nominations.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad aide proposes Evin Prison diet plan
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 23, 2009
What better way to spend a few weeks inside the solitary confinement ward of an Iranian prison than to shed some excess pounds? A close aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a reformist critic of the president, appeared so gaunt during his televised confession this month because he himself had decided to take off some weight.It wasn’t just that his words appeared to be copied verbatim from Iran’s hardline press. He had just spent weeks under interrogation and in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer.
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Iranian boy who defied Tehran hardliners tells of prison rape ordeal
By: Homa Homayoun, The Times, August 22, 2009
The 15-year-old boy sits weeping in a safehouse in central Iran, broken in body and spirit. Reza will not go outside – he is terrified of being left alone. He says he wants to end his life and it is not hard to understand why: for daring to wear the green wristband of Iran’s opposition he was locked up for 20 days, beaten, raped repeatedly and subjected to the Abu Ghraib-style sexual humiliations and abuse for which the Iranian regime denounced the United States.
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Tehran’s self-fulfilling paranoia
By: Halej Esfandiari, The Washington Post, August 21, 2009
Two years ago today, I was released from Evin Prison after 105 days in solitary confinement. I was arrested in early 2007 on the ludicrous charge of attempting to foment a “velvet revolution” to overthrow the Iranian government and held as a political prisoner by the Intelligence Ministry.
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Iran ‘minister’ on Interpol list
By: BBC, August 21, 2009
Iran’s defence minister-designate is on an Interpol “wanted” list over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina, the agency has confirmed. It says it has had a “red notice” for Ahmad Vahidi since 2007 over the Buenos Aires attack that killed 85 people.
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Iran: Assault and detention of protestors against banning of Etemad Melli paper
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, August 21, 2009
Although Mehdi Karobi has announced that a gathering in support of Etemad Melli will not be held in front of the paper’s building on Monday, August 17, Karimkhan Zand Street, where the building is located, was filled with security forces dressed in uniforms who arrogantly resorted to using verbal abuse and assault to discourage any gathering.
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Iran: Understanding political divisions & advocating human rights
By: Sasan Shoamanesh, MIT International Review, August 2009
In the aftermath of presidential elections in June 2009, the world has come to witness the most serious internal unrest Iran has confronted since the decisive events of the 1979 Revolution. What millions of Iranians consider to be wide scale election fraud perpetrated by the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters – at this stage, a ‘social fact’ – has triggered an unprecedented division within Tehran’s political establishment.
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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
OAS team in Honduras to push for ousted leader’s return
By: CNN, August 24, 2009
A delegation of foreign ministers led by the Organization of American States’ secretary-general arrived Monday in Honduras in an effort to restore ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya to office. The delegation represents seven countries, including Canada, Mexico and Argentina.
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Coup protestor gang-raped by Honduran police
By: Robert Naiman, Huffington Post, August 24, 2009
On Friday, Latin America scholars sent an urgent letter to Human Rights Watch, urging HRW to speak out on violations of human rights under the coup regime in Honduras and to conduct its own investigation. HRW hasn’t made any statement about Honduras since July 8. One of the things Human Rights Watch should be investigating is allegations by Honduran feminists and human rights groups that Honduran police are using rape and other sexual violence as weapons of intimidation against Hondurans nonviolently protesting the coup regime.  
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The learning curve of the teachers vs. the Honduras coup
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 23, 2009
The classrooms were empty but the assembly hall was full. Last Thursday afternoon, more than two hundred striking schoolteachers and other members of the civil resistance from the northeastern state of Colón gathered at the city high school to chart their next steps.
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Honduras court shuns Zelaya deal
By: BBC, August 23, 2009
Honduras’s supreme court has rejected a Costa Rica-brokered deal to restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya to power and ordered his arrest if he returns. The ruling also affirmed the legitimacy of the government of interim leader Roberto Micheletti.
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Open letter: Why has Human Rights Watch fallen silent on Honduras?
By: Counter Punch, August 21, 2009
“We are deeply concerned by the absence of statements and reports from your organization over the serious and systematic human rights abuses that have been committed under the Honduran coup regime over the past six weeks. It is disappointing to see that in the weeks since July 8, when Human Rights Watch issued its most recent press release on Honduras, that it has not raised the alarm over the extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, physical assaults, and attacks on the press – many of which have been thoroughly documented – that have occurred in Honduras, in most cases by the coup regime against the supporters of the democratic and constitutional government of Manuel Zelaya.”
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AFRICA
DRC: How mobile phones cost millions of lives
By: OBV, August 24, 2009
Fighting continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with much of the conflict centered around Coltan mines, essential for making mobiles and laptops work. We, the consumer, can play a very important role because goods we buy –  Playstations, laptops and mobile phones – rely for their batteries on minerals mined in the Congo.
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Guinea leader ‘may contest poll’
By: BBC, August 24, 2009
The army officer who seized power in a coup in Guinea has refused to rule out standing for president – despite an earlier promise he would not. Capt Moussa Dadis Camara told the AFP news agency that nobody could stop him from standing if he wanted to. It came after the opposition had urged people to resist any attempts by the coup leader to stay in power. He took power last December after the country’s president died and vowed to stand down after a transitional phase.
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Somaliland: ‘Deep concern’ at prospect of one-party race
By: Christian Day, August 24, 2009
Two of the three political parties in Somaliland have announced their intention to boycott the vote in recent weeks. Catholic aid agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London and Somaliland Focus UK said in a joint statement: “While we remain committed to the need for an election as soon as possible, under the current circumstances the only possible outcome of a one-party race would be seen by a significant proportion of Somalilanders as lacking legitimacy.”
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DRC: Mob justice becomes law of the land
By: Human Rights Tribune, August 24, 2009
Patrick Yav, a lawyer from the Centre for Human Rights, a DRC-based non-governmental organisation, reports a growing number of incidents throughout the country where members of the public mete out summary justice on criminals caught red-handed, rather than relying on the courts. Such vigilante justice is a reflection of the desperate state of the country’s increasingly cash-strapped judicial system.
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Mali protest against women’s law
By: BBC, August 23, 2009
Tens of thousands of people in Mali’s capital, Bamako, have been protesting against a new law which gives women equal rights in marriage. The law, passed earlier this month, also strengthens inheritance rights for women and children born out of wedlock.
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Nigeria: ‘How we convinced Bayelsa militants to accept amnesty’
By: Samuel Oyadongha, All Africa, August 23, 2009
The Chairman of Bayelsa State chapter of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Chief James Japthah, weekend shed light on how Bayelsa militants were wooed to embrace the Federal Government’s amnesty package. He dismissed as fabrication claims by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) that the state governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, paid militant leaders N250 million before the August 7 meeting with the president at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, describing those involved in the claims as mischief makers and enemy of the region.
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Somali opposition rally and opposition parties’ letter
By: Somaliland Times, August 22, 2009
Somaliland’s opposition parties, KULMIYE and UCID held huge rallies in several Somaliland cities. The organizers of the rallies insisted that these were not demonstrations but gatherings to explain to the people their opposition to the suspension of the voter-registration list and their rejection of an election without registered voters.
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Kenya: Scorecard shows 20 African states are above threshold of democracy
By: John Harbeson, All Africa, August 22, 2009
One of the most but least explored questions about democracy is what do citizens think about their democracies. Over the last 10 years, the AfroBarometer sample surveys have made an important contribution by asking that question in considerable depth and breadth in 20 African countries.
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Museveni critic returns to Uganda to push for democratic change
By: Daily Nation, August 21, 2009
The country’s ‘prodigal son’ Dr Olara Otunnu, in an interview with NTV on Thursday night, talks about his vision after 23 years in exile. “What kind of Uganda are you expecting as you return?” “I don’t actually know. From what I hear is that the hills of Kampala are punctuated with glittering mansions, very impressive houses, the streets are packed and jammed with traffic. I don’t know whether that is good or bad and for people in the countryside. I am told they are suffering from what needs ethical reforms. What one sees in the hills of Kampala has not reached them.”
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Zimbabwe: Mugabe using police to crush opposition
By: Scott Baldauf, Yahoo News, August 20, 2009
The party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is working with the country’s law enforcement agencies in a covert operation designed to harass, intimidate, and decimate its chief partner in Zimbabwe’s fragile, seven-month-old coalition government, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC officials have told the Monitor. The covert operation targets MDC supporters in rural areas – despite an agreement between the two parties to work together to rebuild the country and its shattered economy – the MDC says.
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AMERICAS
Clashes over education in Venezuela
By: Will Grant, BBC, August 23, 2009
Riot police in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, have fired tear gas and water cannons at a protest march against a controversial new education law. The government says the changes to the education law, including making the system officially secular, were long over due.
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Colombia: A jailed teacher and a prison library
By: Najda Drost, Global Post, August 23, 2009
Diaz finds himself incarcerated for “rebelion” – a charge referring to insurgent activity against the state – and accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It’s a claim he and his supporters say is a set-up rather than anything resembling the truth. “I’m a prisoner of conscience. My crime was to think and criticize,” said Diaz, sitting in the library of La Picota prison.
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Venezuela: Education law to be disregarded through networks and in the classroom
By: Gustavo Méndez, El Universal, August 21, 2009
Following the enactment of the education law, several sectors in Venezuela will set off to prevent its implementation. Disregard of the law, application for a referendum intended to abrogate the legal instrument and resistance in the classroom are some of the ideas brought forward as actions of contempt. Private education has taken the most active part. Through meetings and forums, they are informing parents and guardians of the scope of the education law and getting ready to confront it.
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Peru’s Amazon Indians warn of renewed protests
By: Andrew Whalen, AP, August 21, 2009
Peruvian Amazon Indian leaders are warning of renewed protests, alleging Friday that the government has not honored promises made in the aftermath of June violence that left at least 23 police and 10 Indians dead. Indian leader Salomon Awananch accused the government of blocking the formation of an independent truth commission to investigate the June violence.
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Daughter of ousted Chilean leader Allende asks Brazil to open archives
By: Bradley Brooks, AP, August 18, 2009
The daughter of overthrown Chilean President Salvador Allende requested via Twitter on Tuesday that Brazil open any secret archives that could shed light on any role it played in the 1973 coup that killed her father. The request by Isabel Allende, a deputy in Chile’s Congress, follows publication in the U.S. of a declassified document about a 1971 meeting between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Brazilian military regime-era President Emilio Medici.
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