Iran
Iran

Iran: resistance grows as death toll tops 500

The independent Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) released statistics finding that 522 protestors, including 70 children and youths, have been killed in Iran since the start of the national uprising in September. Authorities have arrested 19,400, including 168 children and youths. Of those detained, 110 are “under impending threat” of a death sentence. Four protestors have already been executed. Thousands of Iranians from across Europe meanwhile gathered at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to demand that the body officially designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. A statement in support of the measure was issued by an underground alliance of protest groups, United Youth of Iran. The new underground network released a manifesto last month, calling for a unified front of protesters, labor unions and opposition forces to bring about a secular, democratic government in Iran. (Photo via Twitter)

North Africa
kabylie

Algeria: mass death sentence targets Kabylia activists

Amnesty International condemned the death sentences of 54 individuals linked by Algerian prosecutors to the lynching of activist Djamel Ben Ismail amid wildfires in the Kabylie region in August 2021. Amnesty alleged that numerous fair-trial violations occurred during the mass proceedings in November 2022, noting claims of torture, and prosecution of individuals due to their political affiliations. Amnesty found that at least six of the accused were targeted due to their involvement with the Kabylia Self-Determination Movement (MAK). The MAK, a civil movement seeking independence for the Kabylie region, was labelled a “terrorist” organization by Algerian authorities in June 2021. A mob lynched Ben Ismail, who had been in the region as a volunteer fire-fighter, over false accusations that he had started the fires, which came amid an extreme heat wave. (Map: Kabyle.com)

Iran
Iran Protests

Iran: oppose death penalty for detained protesters

Sixteen UN-appointed human rights experts called on Iranian authorities not to indict people on charges punishable by death for participating in peaceful demonstrations. “We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression,” the experts said in a statement. Since then at least five people have been sentenced to death on the charge of moharebeh (“enmity against God”) in connection with the anti-government protests that have been raging for two months. A popular Kurdish rap artist, Saman Yasin, is among those facing execution. Days before the UN statement, 227 members of Iran’s 290-member parliament approved a resolution demanding that the judiciary “deal decisively” with “rioters”—taken to mean imposing the death penalty. (Photo: Ottawa protest in support of Iranian uprising, via Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia
Insein

Burma: prison protests after execution of activists

Inmates at Burma’s Insein Prison launched a protest in response to the announcement by the ruling junta that four political prisoners who had been held in the Yangon facility were executed. Several people who took part in the uprising were physically assaulted by prison authorities, and some 15 were removed to isolation cells separate from the general population, according to a source within the facility. Among the executed were two of Burma’s leading dissidents—Ko Jimmy, 52, a veteran of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, and Phyo Zayar Thaw, 41, a hip-hop star and former MP with the National League for Democracy (NLD). The two longtime activists were sentenced to death in January for allegedly plotting to carry out attacks on regime targets. Amnesty International said it believes the charges against them were politically motivated. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

Iran
executions

UN officials concerned by Iran executions

At the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif expressed concern over the increase in human rights violations occurring in Islamic Republic of Iran. Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, Al-Nashif especially noted the continued execution of individuals for minor offenses, such as drug-related charges. While 260 individuals were executed in 2020, at least 310 were executed in 2021, including at least 14 women. At least 105 people have been executed this year, many belonging to minority groups. Additionally, at least two children were executed over past year, with over 81 child offenders still on death row. (Photo: ICHRI)

Southeast Asia
burma

War crimes, displacement in Burma’s east

Amnesty International released a report documenting potential war crimes committed by Burma’s armed forces in eastern Kayin and Kayah states, where an insurgency has mounted against the military regime that came to power in the February 2021 coup. The report saysthe military has subjected civilians to “collective punishment,” including “arbitrary detentions that often result in torture or extrajudicial executions, and the systematic looting and burning of villages.” Amnesty finds that military attacks have killed hundreds of civilians, and displaced more than 150,000. The rights group calls for urgent action from the international community, and referral of situation to the International Criminal Court. (Map: PCL)

Iran
Iran

Iran: ‘Death Committee’ veteran becomes president

Iranians voted in a controlled election, virtually guaranteed to deliver an ultra-conservative president after all other serious contenders were barred from the race. The pre-ordained winner is Ebrahim Raisi, the chief justice, who has been under US sanctions since he oversaw repression in putting down the 2019 protest wave. Amnesty International reacted to Raisi’s election by calling for him to be investigated for “the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture.” Especially at issue is Raisi’s role as a member of the “Death Committee,” a panel of four special jurists that that oversaw the secretive execution of some 3,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
belarus cops

Fascist pseudo-anti-fascism in Belarus

Under long-ruling dictator Alexander Lukashenko, a fascistic order has long obtained in Belarus—and amid the wave of state terror following last year’s stolen elections, it may now be going over the edge into outright fascism. Which is why it’s particularly sickening that Lukashenko and his propaganda machine are playing to anti-fascism in the international flare-up over his latest outrage. Activist and blogger Roman Protasevich, arrested when a passenger plane was forced down by a Belarusian fighter jet, may face the death penalty for “terrorism” charges. But it all appears to rest on Protasevich’s supposed involvement in Ukraine’s Nazi-nostalgist Azov Battalion—and this seems entirely a matter of conjecture. (Photo: Libcom.org)

Iran
Iran-Missiles

Can Iran nuclear deal be salvaged?

President Joe Biden’s pledge to rebuild the Iran nuclear deal is already deteriorating into a deadlock—a testament to the effectiveness of the Trump-era intrigues that sabotaged the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Biden and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei have each traded “You Go First” statements—the White House demanding Tehran return to compliance with the JCPOA and Khamenei insisting the US lift the sanctions that were re-imposed by Trump. There is indeed a case that the US, having abrogated the pact first, should now be the party to “blink” in the stand-off, and lift the sanctions as a good-faith measure. (Image via Wikipedia)

Iraq
iraq

Iraq issues arrest warrant for Trump

The Iraqi judiciary issued an arrest warrant for US President Donald Trump, for the killing of paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last January. Trump is charged under Article 406 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which carries the death sentence in all cases of premeditated murder. Al-Muhandis died in the drone strike Trump ordered to kill Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Al-Muhandis was a top leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a state-sanctioned umbrella organization that oversees an array of militias formed to fight the Islamic State. (Image: Pixabay)

East Asia
Teng Biao

Trump co-opts Chinese dissidents —stirring dissent

Chinese-diaspora opponents of the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship who have swallowed the Trumpian enemy-of-my-enemy kool-aid bait a principled dissident who opposes Trump and the CCP alike as an agent of the latter because he will not toe their reactionary line. The dissident in question is legal scholar and exiled democracy activist Teng Biao, who has faced protests at his New Jersey home. The protesters are followers of exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui who now runs conservative GTV Media in a partnership with far-right operative Steve Bannon. Further evidence that there is no more honorable place in this world than to be a dissident among dissidents. (Photo: Princeton Planet)

Iran
narges

Iran: demand release of imprisoned rights defenders

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for Iran to releaseimprisoned human rights defenders, lawyers and political prisoners, citing COVID-19 concerns. Iran is the country worst-affected by the pandemic in the region, and the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in its prisons create a breeding ground for the virus. Bachelet said, “People detained solely for their political views or other forms of activism in support of human rights should not be imprisoned at all.” After Bachelet’s statement, authorities released activist Narges Mohammadi, a campaigner against the death penalty and former vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center. She was sentenced to prison in 2016 on charges of “forming an illegal group.” The UN called for her release in July after she began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. (Photo of Narges Mohammadi via Twitter)