Category Archives: Legal

Jailed academic rejects offer to spy for Iran

London, An academic currently imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage has reportedly refused an offer to become a spy for Tehran in return for her freedom.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a UK-Australian dual national, made the revelation in a series of letters handed to The Times that were smuggled out of Evin prison, located in the north of the capital, where she is serving 10 years, The Associated Press reported.

In the letters, addressed separately to a Mr. Vasiri, believed to be a deputy prosecutor in the Iranian judiciary, and a Mr. Ghaderi and Mr. Hosseini, who are thought to be officers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Moore-Gilbert stated in basic Farsi that she had never been a spy, and I have no intention to work for a spying organization in any country.

She added: Please accept this letter as an official and definitive rejection of your offer to me to work with the intelligence branch of the IRGC.

According to the AP, Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne in Australia, was arrested in 2018 after attending a conference in Tehran.

She was tried and convicted in secret, and her letters implied that she had been kept in solitary confinement in a wing of Evin prison under the IRGC’s control.

It is reportedly the same wing being used to detain UK-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, also incarcerated for espionage, and away from the all-female cellblock that Moore-Gilbert was meant to have been housed in.

The letters catalog a series of other mistreatments and inhumane conditions, suggesting she had been permitted no contact with her family, and that, having been denied access to vital medication, her health was deteriorating.

She also suggested that she had been subjected to sleep deprivation methods, with lights in her cell kept on 24 hours per day, and that she was often blindfolded when transported.

It is clear that IRGC Intelligence is playing an awful game with me. I am an innocent victim, she wrote.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in India last week, where the case was discussed.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry later issued a statement claiming that the country would not submit to political games and propaganda over the issue.

This comes at a time when international pressure has ratcheted up on the regime in Tehran following the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane over the capital on Jan. 8.

Mass demonstrations nationwide followed the news that the plane had been shot down by Iranian forces.

Olympian defects to Germany

Meanwhile, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, announced that she would not return to the country, citing her refusal to continue to be used as a propaganda tool.

She wrote of her decision on Instagram: I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated. None of us matter for them, we are just tools.

It was revealed on Jan. 20 that the taekwondo martial artist, who had been living and training in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, had elected to move to Hamburg in Germany, for whom she will now compete.

Alizadeh’s defection is just one in a series of high-profile acts of defiance by Iranians outraged by the actions of the regime.

At least two journalists working for Iranian state-owned TV channels are known to have resigned their positions in protest.

One, news anchor Gelare Jabbari, posted on Instagram: It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed. Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

UAE lends a helping hand to Australia.

Humanitarian organizations are joining forces to raise funds and help those impacted by the unprecedented bush fires raging across Australia.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, stated: A grassroots movement is growing in the UAE community to support Australia at this time. Burj Khalifa, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and many others are showing that ‘#mateshelpmates.” Her Excellency held talks with the Australian Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton, and heads of other entities in Australia, to coordinate with them in this regard and determine the type of support needed.

Dr Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Emirates Red Crescent Secretary-General, said today that discussions had been held with the Australian Red Cross on how best to help those who had lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods as a result of the fires burning across Australia.

The two organizations had decided to launch an appeal across the Emirates to raise funds for bush fire victims, Al Falahi said.

Our Leadership is always keen to help those in need during difficult times. I thank the community living in the UAE in advance for any contribution they can make for our friends in Australia,” Al Falahi said.

The joint appeal comes just a day after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, discussed the fires in a telephone call to Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, and told him the UAE was ready to support the Australian people under the guidance of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed – the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region.

The Acting Ambassador in the Australian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Julie Shams, said she was humbled by the support that Australia has received in the UAE. I’m very grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and all UAE entities for their kind offers of support, and I know all Australians will be touched by this generosity from our friends on the other side of the world.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Saudi Judiciary rulings on murder of Khashoggi emphasis Kingdom’s commitment to enforce law in fair manner: UAE.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that the ruling issued by the Saudi Judiciary on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “emphasizes the Kingdom’s commitment and desire to enforce the law in a transparent and fair manner, holding those involved in this case accountable within procedures that are clear and credible and in a way that guarantees all legal rights to all parties.”

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the Kingdom’s handling of the trial of those involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “affirms the independence, integrity and efficiency of the Saudi Judiciary.”

He added, “The progress of the trial procedures was distinguished by the speed of the litigation process. It achieved justice through fair and transparent judicial measures.”

Dr. Gargash emphasized the UAE’s “full support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its efforts to achieve stability and security in the region and in its leadership of the axis of Arab moderation, which is deemed the main guarantor of the region’s security.”

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs concluded, “We reject any attempts to exploit Jamal Khashoggi’s case or interfere in the Kingdom’s internal affairs.”

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

23 dead as protests grow against India citizenship law

New Delhi, Violent protests against India’s citizenship law that excludes Muslim immigrants swept the country over the weekend despite the government’s ban on public assembly and suspension of internet services in many parts, raising the nationwide death toll to 23, police said.

Nine people died in clashes with police in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, said state police spokesman Pravin Kumar. He said most of the victims were young people but denied police were responsible, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Some of them died of bullet injuries, but these injuries are not because of police fire. The police have used only tear gas to scare away the agitating mob, he said.

Around a dozen vehicles were set on fire as protesters rampaged through the northern cities of Rampur, Sambhal, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnore and Kanpur, where a police station was also torched, Singh said.

The backlash against the law marks the strongest show of dissent against the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he was first elected in 2014.

The law allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims.

Critics have slammed the legislation as a violation of India’s secular constitution and have called it the latest effort by the Modi government to marginalize the country’s 200 million Muslims. Modi has defended the law as a humanitarian gesture.

Uttar Pradesh state is controlled by Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

An anti-terror squad was deployed and internet services were suspended for another 48 hours in the state.

Six people were killed during clashes in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, and police said Saturday that over 600 had been taken into custody since then as part of preventive action. In addition, five people have been arrested and 13 cases filed for posting objectionable material on social media.

Police have imposed a British colonial-era law banning the assembly of more than four people statewide. The law was also imposed elsewhere in India to thwart an expanding protest movement demanding the revocation of the citizenship law.

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory Friday night asking broadcasters across the country to refrain from using content that could inflame further violence. The ministry asked for strict compliance.

In the northeastern border state of Assam, where internet services were restored after a 10-day blockade, hundreds of women staged a sit-in against the law in Gauhati, the state capital.

Our peaceful protests will continue till this illegal and unconstitutional citizenship law amendment is scrapped, said Samujjal Bhattacharya, the leader of the All Assam Students Union, which organized the rally.

He rejected an offer for dialogue by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, saying talks could take place when the government was hoping to strike some compromise.

In New Delhi, police charged more than a dozen people with rioting in connection with violence during a protest Friday night in the capital’s Daryaganj area.

Two US Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, denounced the new law on Twitter, and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized it at a news conference following the conclusion of an Islamic summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir said that India is a secular state and people’s religion should not prevent them from obtaining citizenship.

To exclude Muslims from becoming citizens, even by due process, I think is unfair, he said.

India’s foreign ministry summoned the Malaysian charge d’affaires to lodge a complaint against Mahathir’s remarks. Government ministers have said Muslims of foreign origin will not be prohibited from pursuing citizenship, but will have to go through the normal process like other foreigners.

Protests against the law come amid an ongoing crackdown in Muslim-majority Kashmir, the restive Himalayan region stripped of its semi-autonomous status and demoted from a state into a federal territory in August.

The demonstrations also follow a contentious process in Assam meant to weed out foreigners living in the country illegally. Nearly 2 million people were excluded from an official list of citizens, about half Hindu and half Muslim, and have been asked to prove their citizenship or else be considered foreign.

India is building a detention center for some of the tens of thousands of people who the courts are expected to ultimately determine have entered illegally. Modi’s interior minister, Amit Shah, has pledged to roll out the process nationwide.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

GCC strong, cohesive bloc praised

Riyadh: Gulf Cooperation Council leaders meeting at a summit in Riyadh underlined the “strength, cohesion and robustness” of the unified bloc, saying they “stand together” in the face of threats to the region.

Among the matters discussed was the Palestinian issue, regarded “fundamental” to both Arabs and Muslims, read the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit final communique, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

The six member states outlined their “support for the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all the Palestinian territories, occupied since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, international references and decisions of the international legitimacy.”

Regarding relations with Iran, the document urged Tehran’s non-interference in the internal affairs of its Gulf neighbors and its compliance with the United Nations Charter and international law.

It welcomed the legitimate Yemeni government formation, and the commencement of its role from the provisional capital of Aden, in implementation of the Riyadh agreement in service of the people of Yemen.

The GCC highlighted the importance of preserving the territorial integrity, sovereignty, Arab identity, social fabric and national unity of Iraq.

It also reiterated its support of the United Nations Security Council resolution, which referred the issue of Kuwaiti POWs, missing persons, property and the national archive to a UN Mission, tasked with monitoring the affair.

It welcomed the formation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria and the commencement of its role, expressing hope this would enhance efforts made to reach a political solution to the crisis that would eventually fulfil the legitimate people’s aspirations.

It also reiterated backing of the UN envoy to Syria’s role in regards to the matter.

On Lebanon, it stressed the GCC is keen on Lebanon’s security, stability, territorial integrity and unity between all of its components for the greater interest of the country.

Meanwhile, the GCC supports UN efforts to reach a political solution in Libya, based on the Skhirat Agreement, signed between Libyan parties in

December 2015.

On the other hand, it expressed its condemnation of the “brutal attacks and systematic displacement” of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

Member countries congratulated Kuwaiti Nayef Al-Hajraf on becoming the new GCC Secretary-General, wishing him luck and success in his role as of April 2020.

They also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s assumption of the G20 chairmanship in December 2019 and its scheduled hosting of the 15th G20 Summit session in November 2020.

It also praised the United Arab Emirates’ plans to host Expo 2020 and Qatar’s successful hosting of the football Arabian Gulf Cup.

Consultations on the ministerial level would continue to transition from the stage of “cooperation to the stage of union,” it added.

GCC committees will also carry out the necessary review of steps related to the formation of a customs union, unified tariffs, value added and selective tax, a joint stock market and combatting harmful practices in international trade.

Means to adopt proposals on the role of women in development, social media networks, areas of strategic cooperation between the GCC and Africa were also discussed.

Other matters which are under review, include human capital and economic sustainability promotion, China’s Belt and Road project and unifying efforts to raise GCC competitiveness in global indicators.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

UAE has adopted advanced, proactive human rights approach: Ahmed Al Jarman.

Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Jarman, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Human Rights Affairs, said that the UAE has adopted an advanced and proactive human rights approach, as reflected by its efforts to draft and implement relevant legislation, plans, and programmes.

During a workshop attended by members of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights during their visit to the UAE, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Al Jarman highlighted the efforts of the UAE to issue relevant legislation and plans, especially in countering human trafficking, as well as other laws related to women’s rights, protecting foreign labour, people of determination, children and senior citizens.

He also pointed out that the UAE is committed to continuing to lead change in the region and being an active member of the international community by reinforcing its human rights efforts and strengthening the work of its national institutions.

Al Jarman underscored the UAE’s keenness to enhance its cooperation with relevant United Nations institutions while praising the key role of the OHCHR.

Mohammed Al Nassour, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Department of OHCHR, welcomed the UAE’s invitation to visit the country, adding that it is an opportunity to improve cooperation between the Office and the UAE.

During the workshop, Al Nassour presented on OHCHR’s role in promoting and protecting human rights, as well as the role of other UN human rights entities, most notably the Human Rights Council and relevant treaty committees.

The OHCHR’s four-day visit includes several workshops, lectures, and meetings, which will explore the efforts of national authorities to promote and protect human rights.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HRH Premier: Human rights respect essential for development in Bahrain

Manama, His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has made respect for human rights and their preservation as an essential pillar of its development process.

This is done through an integrated vision and a modern system of legislation and laws that promote the rights of the individuals and provide them with the requirements of decent life, he said.

In a message to the world marking the International Human Rights Day, to be celebrated this year under the theme Youth Standing Up for Human Rights, HRH the Prime Minister said that supporting the efforts of nations in the sustainable development area and raising the standard of living for their citizens is the focus of noble values of human rights.

The right to wellbeing and decent living conditions constitutes a human goal guaranteed by religious laws and international covenants, foremost of which is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HRH Premier said.

HRH the Prime Minister stressed that the world conscience is the essence of protecting human rights, and that everyone has a responsibility to listen to their conscience to achieve a peaceful and war-free world in which lofty values -incited by divine religions -prevail.

The Premier affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain, led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, is rich with pioneering development and human rights accomplishments in ensuring human rights and public freedoms, supported by sustainable growth in human development indicators, making it a model that is highly appreciated by international institutions.

HRH the Premier underscored the necessity of the international community’s cooperation to build a world that enjoys security and stability. He said the first step to achieve this goal would be through solid belief in collective responsibility as an instrument to defend the present and future of mankind in light of overwhelming conflicts, disputes and wars that have exhausted the capabilities of states and peoples that have caused their setbacks.

HRH Premier praised this year’s theme, being focused on the importance of promoting youth participation and employing their potential as a catalyst towards building a better world.

His Royal Highness the Prime Minister pointed out that the youth enjoys a lot of interest in all development plans adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain, confirming his belief that youth are the real investment in the future.

HRH Premier praised the perseverance and strength of the youth of Bahrain in achieving the highest levels of creativity and excellence in various fields and making outstanding contribution to serving the homeland, through continuous keenness to obtain knowledge so as to be more effective in raising the name of Bahrain high at various gatherings.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the steps taken by Bahrain regarding the protection of human rights have received continuous international appreciation, citing its nomination to obtain the membership of the Human Rights Council three times, most recently for the period from 2019 to 2021, which reflects the extent of its successes in fulfilling international standards in this field.

HRH Premier affirmed that Bahrain has been a pioneer in developing its legislative and legal platforms in a manner that is consistent with international conventions and standards. He said it has been keen to join many agreements that preserve the rights of individuals and equality between them without regard to gender, color or creed. HRH expressed his pride in what characterizes the Bahraini society as a model of coexistence and tolerance.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with its high values and noble goals, constituted and is still an important development in the history of humanity and affirms the urgent desire of nations of the world to reach the best conditions that help them rise and prosper.

HRH Premier called on the international community to reinforce joint efforts to translate the principles and values that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes into initiatives for development and construction that preserve human dignity and security in light of the current tension and disputes in the world.

The Prime Minister stressed the need for the view to human rights to be broader and not confined to a narrow political angle, especially since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights addresses these rights in their civil, political, economic, social and cultural frameworks.

His Royal Highness the Prime Minister praised the efforts made by the United Nations in building international partnerships that enhance security and stability in the world. He reiterated the Kingdom of Bahrain’s support for all international initiatives aimed at promoting human rights and ensuring a decent life for humanity.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

International court of justice holds proceedings on objections to ICAO jurisdiction.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague opened today, proceedings on objections to the jurisdiction of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) council on their resolution issued on June 28, 2018 � which aimed to resolve the political dispute between the Arab Quartet (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates) against Qatar. The Quartet countries have taken some sovereign measures against Qatar to protect their national security from Doha policies supporting terrorism, extremism and terrorist financing. In turn, Qatar has turned to ICAO in an attempt to relieve pressure and break its isolation as a result of its harmful policies to its neighbors.

Representing the UAE in the proceedings as an agent before the court , HE Dr. Hissa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, affirmed that the imposition of airspace restrictions on Qatari-owned and registered aircrafts by the Quartet countries came in response to Qatar’s breaches of the Riyadh Agreements and other obligations in the field of counterterrorism. She added that in line with commitments made under the Riyadh Agreements, the UAE continues to insist that the Qatari government cease its financing of internationally sanctioned terror groups, halt its harboring of terrorists, and end its use of media organizations to promote discord in the region.

The proceedings also made it clear that, as a specialized aviation agency, ICAO does not maintain jurisdiction over this case, which does not concern civil aviation, but rather Qatar’s support for terrorism.

Speaking after the first day’s proceedings, Ambassador Al Otaiba noted that the International Court of Justice will consider arguments from both parties from 2 to 6 December and will review numerous evidence and legal briefs. The UAE is confident that the judges of the International Court of Justice will consider with interest the nature of this dispute and the objectivity of the arguments submitted and will make appropriate decisions in their judgment.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs