South Asia
gujarat

India: high court dismisses ‘conspiracy’ in Gujarat pogrom

The Supreme Court of India dismissed an appeal alleging a “larger conspiracy” by then-chief minister of Gujarat state (now prime minister) Narendra Modi and 62 other senior state officials in connection with anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The case was brought by Zakia Jafri, widow of Ehsan Jafri, a Congress Party MP who was killed in the riots. One day after the ruling, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who was a co-litigant in the case, on allegations of fabricating evidence, forgery and criminal conspiracy. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, expressed “deep concern” over Setalvad’s detention, and called for her release. (Map: Google)

The Caribbean
Otero Alcántara

Cuba: dissident artists get prison terms

The Popular Municipal Court of Central Havana sentenced artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántaraand Maykel Castillo Pérez to five and nine years in prison, respectively. Activist artist Otero Alcántara was sentenced for contempt, public disorder, and “insulting symbols of the homeland”—a reference to his public performances involving the Cuban flag. Rapper Maykel Castillo was found guilty of contempt, public disorder, and “defamation of institutions, heroes and martyrs.” The latter charge relates to a meme Castillo posted on social media last year criticizing Communist Party leaders. Amnesty International accused the Cuban government of “using the judicial system to criminalize critical voices.” (Photo: Hyperallergic)

Central America
roe

El Salvador: warning for post-Roe US

The US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade comes six weeks after a court in El Salvador sentenced a woman to 30 years in prison after she suffered an obstetric emergency that resulted in termination of her pregnancy, according to a local advocacy group that was assisting in her defense. The Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion (ACDATEE) denounced the sentence and said it would appeal the conviction. The woman, identified only as “Esme,” was held in pre-trial detention for two years following her arrest when she sought medical care at a hospital. She already had a seven-year-old daughter. (Photo: Debra Sweet/WikiMedia via Jurist)

Greater Middle East
MLSA

Turkey arrests 16 Kurdish journalists

Turkish officials formally arrested and jailed 16 Kurdish journalists after detaining 21 journalists for eight days without charges. Five of the original 21 were released. According to Turkey’s Media & Law Studies Association (MLSA), the 21 journalists were originally detained on suspicion of “terrorism.” The MLSA’s Mehmet Ali Birand dismissed the validity of the charges, saying: “Most of these colleagues were working in media organs such as DİHA [news agency] and Özgür Gündem [newspaper]… None of these journalists participated in terrorist activities. None of these journalists carried a gun, pulled a trigger, or killed anyone.” Turkish officials claimed the arrests were part of an investigation into the “press committee” of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). (Image: MLSA)

The Andes
paro

Oil spike sparks national uprising in Ecuador

Ecuador’s national indigenous alliance CONAIE announced an “indefinite” paro (general strike), in response to a sudden jump in petrol prices. Things escalated when CONAIE leader Leonidas Iza was arrested in Cotopaxi province, where he was apparently participating in a blockade of the Panamerican highway. He was held at a military base, but released the next day following angry protests over his detention and a CONAIE call for “radicalization” of the campaign. Roadblocks are reported in at least 14 of the country’s 24 provinces, including Pichincha, where the capital Quito is located. CONAIE has presented the government of President Guillermo Lasso with a list of 10 demands. These include, in addition to a drop in fuel prices, a  moratorium on new oil and mineral leases, and reparations to communities impacted by extractive projects. (Photo: Kawsachun News)

The Andes
Francia-Petro

Colombia: pending presidency ‘between two populisms’

Following a first round of presidential elections, “between two populisms” is the catchphrase being used by Colombia’s media for an unprecedented moment. A pair of political “outsiders” are to face each other in the run-off: Gustavo Petro, a former guerilla leader and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. Hernández, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Bucaramanga, rose precipitously in an ostensibly anti-establishment campaign driven by social media, winning him the epithet “King of TikTok.” But Colombia’s political establishment is now lining up behind him to defeat Petro. The former mayor of Bogotá and a veteran of the demobilized M-19 guerillas, Petro is the candidate of a new progressive coalition, Colombia Humana, emphasizing multiculturalism and ecology as well as more traditional social justice demands. (Photo via Twitter)

Central America
salvador

‘Massive’ human rights violations in El Salvador

Amnesty International reported that authorities in El Salvador have committed “massive” human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, due process violations and torture, under cover of an ongoing state of emergency. Amnesty found that 35,000 individuals have been illegally detained without due process since President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency in response to gang violence in March, suspending constitutional guarantees. At least 1,190 minors are among the detained, and more than 18 detainees have died in custody. The National Assembly has twice extended the so-called “regime of exception” by 30-day intervals. The day after Amnesty issued the report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urged El Salvador’s government to comply with international human rights obligations in implementing security measures. (Photo: Presidencia de El Salvador)

East Asia
Tiananmen

Tiananmen Square: ‘6-4’ and ‘Xi Jinping Thought’

In Episode 126 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989—”6-4,” as it is known in China, to keep ahead of online censors. With the massacre commemoration first exiled from Beijing to Hong Kong, it has now been exiled from Hong Kong to New York City as police-state measures are extended from the mainland. But China’s official denialism about the massacre extends even to the US, where both the sectarian left and “paleoconservatives” echo Beijing’s revisionist line. Both regime proponents and detractors share the consensus that the massacre and subsequent wave of repression across China was a “red terror,” carried out as it was by a “Communist Party.” A case can be made, however, that it was actually a “white terror,” enforcing China’s capitalist conversion. The recent crackdown on dissident workers and Marxist student activists in China—complete with extrajudicial “disappearances“—reveals “Xi Jinping Thought” to be (like Putinism and Trumpism) an updated variant of fascism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: The Village Sun)

Europe
Budapest

Hungary dictatorship consolidates; Putin pleased

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Órban declared a state of emergency, citing threats originating from the war in Ukraine. The declaration, allowing him to rule by decree, came days after his Fidesz party used its supermajority to pass a constitutional amendment allowing the government to impose a state of emergency in the event of war in a neighboring country. Órban declared a similar emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and those assumed special powers, having been extended by the National Assembly multiple times, were set to expire just days before the new declaration. The declaration also came days after Tucker Carlson and friends from the American far right attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest. It also comes as Hungarian officials are blocking a European Union plan for an embargo of Russian oil, and calling for removal of the question from the agenda of an imminent EU summit. (Photo: Pixabay)

Central Asia
xinjiang

Leaked documents reveal abuse of Uyghurs

China’s President Xi Jinping held a video call with UN human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet during her visit to Xinjiang. But Bachelet’s fact-finding tour co-incided with new evidence of crimes against the Uyghur people of the province. A hacker broke into a computer network in Xinjiang’s so-called “Vocational Skills Education & Training Centers,” releasing a cache of files that document significant abuses. The Xinjiang Police Files, published by the Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, include images from inside the camps, as well as thousands of detainee records. The records indicate that 12% of the 2018 adult Uyghur population of some counties was in camps or prisons. The files also include a 2017 internal speech by Chen Quanguo, then Communist Party secretary for Xinjiang, in which he apparently ordered guards to shoot to kill anyone who tried to escape the camps, and called for officials to “exercise firm control over religious believers.” (Image: Xinjiang Police Files)

The Caribbean
cuba

Cuba approves harsh new penal code

The National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuba’s parliament, approved a new penal code as part of judicial reforms initiated after the enactment of a new constitution in April 2019. The new code reinforces sanctions for corruption, but also tightly controls unauthorized contacts with foreign organizations and individuals, and explicitly bans foreign financing of civic activities. Under the new code, those who give information to international organizations or individuals who have not been authorized by the government, face severe penalties. These include up to 30 years imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty. Human rights groups criticized the new legislation, warning it could have “catastrophic effects.” Ana Cristina Núñez, senior researcher for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, “In a country where private media is illegal and journalists have no possibility of obtaining local funding, prohibiting foreign funding is a death sentence to independent journalism.” (Photo: Pixabay via Jurist)

Africa
Camp-Levieux

Protests over fuel price hikes shake Mauritius

The African island nation of Mauritius exploded into angry protests, with residents of poor Kreol communities erecting roadblocks and fighting the police. The island had seen days of peaceful demonstrations over a sudden and drastic increase of petrol and gas prices, centered on the town of Camp-Levieux. Things turned violent after the arrest of “Darren,” a young protest leader, on charges of “participation in illegal demonstrations.” The police headquarters where he was being held was besieged, and protests spread quickly to other towns across the island. Police deployed anti-riot units and armored vehicles against youth hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. Things calmed when Darren was released on bail. But it remains to be seen if the increasingly debt-burdened government can strike a deal with the newly mobilized popular movement. (Photo: Zinfos Moris)