Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more



Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Spying on the Opposition

See also Egypt Feature: Activists' Statement on Detention of Alaa Abd-El Fattah
Syria Special: The Assad Regime's PR Campaign with British Journalists
Bahrain 1st-Hand: Saturday's Opposition Rally in Al Hajar for the "Arab Uprisings"
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Deaths Return to Hama

2220 GMT: Three Saudi filmmakers, detained earlier this month after posting a YouTube video showing poverty in the kingdom, were released today.

Firas Baqna, Khalid al-Rasheed, and Hussam al-Darwish were arrested on 19 October 19 after their documentary was shown by the London-based opposition TV channel Al-Islah.

The series is entitled "Malub Aleina (We Are Being Cheated".

2120 GMT: Yemen's international airport outside the capital Sana'a has been shut after the explosions that shook the nearby al-Daylami airbase tonight.

Flights have been diverted to Aden in the south of the country.

2110 GMT: The next hearing in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, and his Ministers and aides has been delayed to 28 December. The postponement occurred after lawyers for alleged victims of Mubarak petitioned the court demanding that Judge Ahmed Refaat be replaced.

2000 GMT: We are overrun with footage of Syrian protests tonight --- a demonstration in Ma'arat Numan in the northwest:

1950 GMT: Five people have reportedly been killed by regime forces today in Yemen.

Tribal sources said four people, including three children, were killed overnight when President Saleh's troops shelled a region north of the capital Sana'a, hitting a petrol station. Thirteen others were wounded in the attack in the Arhab area.

In Taiz, a doctor said one civilian was shot dead and two were wounded by government forces who fired at a car.

Tonight four explosions have been reported near a military base north of Sana'a.

1920 GMT: A large rally in Deir Ez Zor in northeastern Syria:

Harasta outside Damascus:

A demonstration in the Qosour section of Homs:

And in the Ghouta district:

1900 GMT: Back from a weekend break to find more on the detention of prominent Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd-El Fattah....

First, a clarification. Fellow activist Bahaa Saber, initially reported to receive the same 15-day detention order by the military court, was freed. Both he and Abd El-Fattah refused to answer questions on the grounds that the military prosecution had no legitimate right to interrogate civilians. Abd El-Fattah was held because he is also accused of stealing official weapons.

Blogger Jillian York, whom El-Fattah visited last week, offers a passionate profile and concludes:

At this point, I’d like to provide a reminder that the Egyptian military, which has tried more than 12,000 civilians since January, has received approximately $1.9 billion of US taxpayer money since 1979. This is, obviously, unacceptable.

I’ve wanted to be hopeful for Egypt. Alaa has been hopeful for Egypt, despite his intimate knowledge of the system. Right now, I feel helpless.

What I want–in solidarity with my Egyptian friends–is an end to emergency law and an end to military trials in Egypt. This is not justice, this is not democracy. This is not different from the Mubarak dictatorship. This is not okay.

Ahram Online also posts a biography of Abd-El Fattah.

1335 GMT: President Saleh's forces have reportedly fired on a march in Taiz in Yemen --- video shows those who are wounded. The march before the attack:

A demonstration in the capital Sana'a demands the release of the detained and kidnapped:

And a protest Dhale demands the removal of Saleh:

1325 GMT: Global Voices Online summarises the reactions to the detention of bloggers Alaa Abd-El Fattah and Bahaa Saber (see 1229 GMT), with this photograph of the two men outside the military court:

1229 GMT: Prominent Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd-El Fattah and Bahaa Saber have been detained for 15 days by an Egyptian court, during an investigation into accusations that they incited violence.

Jillian York provides background on the case, including Abd-El Fattah's speech to a human rights conference in San Francisco last Tuesday:

Let me take 30 seconds to speak out against extra-ordinary justice. I’m going to be facing it when I get back to Egypt, in front of our military government. Here you should be familiar with extraordinary justice, as it was practiced in Guantanamo. There are roughly 12,000 civilians in military prison right now, for participating in a revolution the military pretends to have sided with, and sometimes it is for events in which the military committed the crimes, not civilians. I urge you to find ways to stand with anyone facing this future.

1225 GMT: Syrian President Assad has told Russian TV's Channel One that he expects continued support from Moscow: "First and foremost, we are relying on Russia as a country with which we are bound by strong ties, in the historic perspective. Russia's role is extremely important."

1115 GMT: Brian Whitaker summarises the role of a member of the Bahraini royal family in a $6 million bribery case involving Bahrain's state-controlled aluminium company, Alba.

Sheikh Isa bin Ali al-Khalifa, an advisor to and cousin of Bahrain's Prime Minister, was chairman of Alba and the Minister of Oil when he allegedly received the payment from Jordanian-born Victor Dahdaleh, a wealthy London-based aluminium trader who has links with the British Labour Party and is also a governor of the London School of Economics.

The regime-linked Gulf Daily News says the recipient of the bribes "cannot be named for legal reasons".

1045 GMT: Human Rights Watch expresses concern about the situation in Libya:

Militias from the city of Misrata are terrorizing the displaced residents of the nearby town of Tawergha, accusing them of having committed atrocities with Gaddafi forces in Misrata, Human Rights Watch said today. The entire town of 30,000 people is abandoned – some of it ransacked and burned – and Misrata brigade commanders say the residents of Tawergha should never return.

Human Rights Watch interviewed dozens of Tawerghans across the country, including 26 people in detention in and around Misrata and 35 displaced people staying in Tripoli, Heisha, and Hun. They gave credible accounts of some Misrata militias shooting unarmed Tawerghans, and of arbitrary arrests and beatings of Tawerghan detainees, in a few cases leading to death.

0930 GMT: Contrasting images from Syria -- Syrian TV is showing live footage of a large pro-Assad demonstration in Suweida, while Al Jazeera Arabia is showing videos of the crackdown in Homs.

Journalist Blake Hounshell adds, "Syrian state TV having a harder time filtering out unenthusiastic faces, despite the big crowd.

0710 GMT: A video montage of the celebration in Al Nabeeh Saleh village with the arrival of the Freedom Torch, which is moving across Bahrain (see separate feature):

Protesters march in Ma'ameer, followed by security forces' attempts to disperse them:

0700 GMT: We note a 39-page Amnesty International report, published on Monday, claiming abuses in Government-run medical facilities. The summary opens:

The Syrian government has turned hospitals into instruments of repression in its efforts to crush opposition....The 39-page report Health Crisis: Syrian Government Targets the Wounded and Health Workers documents how wounded patients in at least four government-run hospitals have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including by medical workers.

Hospital workers suspected of treating protesters and others injured in unrest-related incidents have themselves faced arrest and torture.

0610 GMT: We open this morning with a development in the story of how the Syrian regime apparently obtained and used Internet surveillance and filtering software, initially supplied by the US company Blue Coat Systems to Iraq.

Telecomix, the group challenging that surveillance and filtering, notes, "Facebook and YouTube were unblocked in Syria on 8 February, at the same time thatBlueCoat proxies were installed" by the Syrian authorities. 

At the time, The Next Web reported:

In what appears to be an act of confidence, today marks the first day in 5 years that YouTube and Facebook will be publicly accessible to the Syrian people....

The decision comes in the wake of a recent social popular uprising throughout the Arab nation against repressive regimes which has been creating instability in repressive countries, which President Bashar Al-Assad  told the Wall Street Journal last week that Syria didn’t have to worry about.

“Syria is stable. Why?” Mr. Assad said. “Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people. This is the core issue. When there is divergence….you will have this vacuum that creates disturbances.”

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Egypt Feature: Activists' Statement on Detention of Alaa Abd-El Fattah | Main | The Latest from Iran (30 October): When Talking Tough Is Not Enough.... »

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>