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Entries in Amnesty International (38)


Bahrain Feature: The Clouds of Tear Gas and Death Gather Once More

Clouds of tear gas cover Dar Kulaib village last night

Yesterday began as just another day in Bahrain, from cool to mild. By night, however, things had gone cloudy across the country --- clouds which signalled tear gas rather than impending rain. On the latest occasion in two months, Bahrain's protesters found themselves beaten back and collectively punished, not just on the streets but also inside their homes. Despite the regime's proclamations of "reform" and "national dialogue", since December, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

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Saudi Arabia Feature: A Princess in London Calls for Reforms (Milmo)

Photo: Teri PengilleySat in a living room decorated with Saudi artefacts and in front of a table carrying a plate of Saudi dates ("the best in the world"), Princess Basma Bint Saud said: "The problems are because of the ruling ministers. We have ministers who are incapable of doing what has been ordered from above because there is no follow up, because there are no consequences. If you are poor man and you steal, your hand is cut off after three offences. But if you are a rich man, nobody will say anything to you."

She added: "We have 15,000 royals and around 13,000 don't enjoy the wealth of the 2,000. You have 2,000 who are multi-millionaires, who have all the power, all the wealth and no-one can even utter a word against it because they are afraid to lose what they have."

Asked if her decision to speak out means she risks losing what she has, she replied: "Oh, definitely. Definitely."

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: "Assad's Problems are Everywhere"

2033 GMT: Following the BICI report on human rights abuses in the wake of unrest in Bahrain, the Bahraini government is scheduled to shake up their law enforcement structure. And they've picked an American, with vast experience in handling difficult situations, to help out.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry says a former Miami police chief will lead training programs for the Gulf kingdom's forces as part of reforms after an independent report detailed abuses against pro-reform protesters.

The announcement Thursday says John Timoney will head a team of law enforcement advisers from the U.S. and Britain.

Good news, right? Clearly, the Bahraini police need training, leadership, and restraint, so Timoney will restore the honor of the police force. The St. Petersburg Times, back in 2003, reported on Timoney's stellar record:

Miami police Chief John Timoney must be mighty proud of the social order he maintained during the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit a couple of weeks ago in Miami - sort of the way Saddam Hussein was proud of quieting dissension in his country.

Timoney has a well-deserved reputation for using paramilitary tactics to turn any city where large protests are planned into a place where the Constitution has taken a holiday. During the FTAA meeting on Nov. 20, Timoney dispatched 2,500 police officers in full riot gear against a crowd estimated at 8,000 people, mostly union members and retirees.

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Iran Interview: Azerbaijani Activist Fakhteh Zamani Explains the Lake Urmia Protests

See also Iran Feature: Is Civil Disobedience Taking Off?

Fakhteh Zamani, director of the Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran, talks about the protests over the environmental damage to Iran's largest lake, Lake Urmia --- moving from activists in Azerbaijan to football stadiums --- the response by the Iranian authorities, and the possible developments, both for the lake and for Azerbaijani rights:


Syria, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Towards a Civil State?

Claimed footage of a mass funeral procession for Ezzat al-Baidee, the teenager whose death in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Monday was captured on video

See also When Israel & Turkey Co-operated: West Jerusalem Asks Ankara for Help with Hamas

2040 GMT: A series of videos from around Homs in Syria tonight --- the Waar district:



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Syria, Libya (and Beyond) Liveblog: Cracks in the Regime

2003 GMT: We have posted a separate video entry, Syria Video Special: A Protest Movement Renewed.

1927 GMT: There have been massive protests in Maree (Aleppo), Idlib City, Homs, Daraa, Douma (Damascus), Ugarit, and other locations across Syria. We will post a video special in short order, but once again large scale protests have covered many areas of the country today.

1921 GMT: A large protest at another funeral in Maree, 35 km north of Aleppo:

1914 GMT: We've received two videos from activists in Al Hoole, Homs. This first is fairly standard, a large armored anti-aircraft machine gun, a dangerous anti-personnel weapon, positioned in a residential neighborhood. The second video, however, appears to show snipers building defenses on rooftops in the same neighborhood.

1907 GMT: Amnesty International has released new accusations of human rights abuses leveled against followers of Muammar Qaddafi:

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War on Terror Special: How British Policy Endorsed Overseas Torture (Cobain)

Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty)A top-secret document revealing how MI6 and MI5 officers were allowed to extract information from prisoners being illegally tortured overseas has been seen by the Guardian.

The interrogation policy --- details of which are believed to be too sensitive to be publicly released at the government inquiry into the UK's role in torture and rendition --- instructed senior intelligence officers to weigh the importance of the information being sought against the amount of pain they expected a prisoner to suffer. It was operated by the British government for almost a decade.

A copy of the secret policy showed senior intelligence officers and ministers feared the British public could be at greater risk of a terrorist attack if Islamists became aware of its existence.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Zombie March

2010 GMT: A protest tonight in Harasta outside Damascus, with chants, "Syria is ours, not for Assad´s family" and "Leave, Bashar".

And in Tal Kalakh in southern Syria:

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Competition of Rallies

Claimed video of Syrian troops joining demonstrators in Al-Bukamal on Saturday (see 0440 GMT)

1929 GMT: Activists are reporting that security forces have used live gunfire against protesters in Daraa, Barza (southwest of Jisr al-Shughour), and in the LCCS is reporting that armed cars, driven by secret police (Shabiha) have opened fire in Homs:

"Cars belonging to armed shabiha roam the besieged neighborhoods and open arbitrary gunfire especially in Bayada & Khaldieh districts, gunfire from checkpoint present at Zenoubia School in Khaldieh"

1922 GMT: An activist has posted these graphic pictures, claiming to show casualties in Sana'a today.

1913 GMT: An in Sana'a, violence has broken out. There are reports of deaths, including a family of five. According to Reuters:

Fighting between government forces and opposition supporters erupted in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Monday, killing six people, opposition sources said. The fighting was the first to break out in Sanaa since President Ali Abdullah Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia for treatment after sustaining severe burn wounds when an attempt to assassinate him was made in June....

One clash began when demonstrators seeking to increase pressure on Saleh to quit marched outside a square where they have been camped for months, said the sources, who declined to be identified.

'Hundreds of youths marched out of the sit-in area, but were confronted by security forces and gunmen in civilian clothes who fired on them. They killed one protester and wounded eight others,' said one source.

In northern Sanaa, a family of five was killed by shelling during clashes between Republican Guard forces and pro-opposition tribesmen, opposition and tribal sources said.

1905 GMT: We've often spoken of the 3 fronts in Yemen, protesters v. Saleh, tribes v. Saleh, and the Yemeni government v. radical muslim insurgents, including members of Al Qaeda. As if the situation there could get any more complicated...

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Regime's Dilemma in Hama

Claimed footage of a protest last night in Hama, telling the President, "To Hell with You, Bashar"

2015 GMT: David Smith reports for The Guardian of London, "Tripoli: A Stronghold by Day, A Battleground at Night":

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are now regular night-time clashes in the Libyan capital.


The raids have turned parts of Tripoli, a city with no shortage of privately owned firearms, into a no-go area after dark. The man, who said he has stocked up on diesel in readiness for "zero hour", added: "Normally wedding parties go on until 2am, but now they finish at 8pm. No one goes out after sunset. They all stay at home."

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