Human Rights Watch reports that last month, a Russian court found a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights activist guilty of violating the country’s “gay propaganda” law:
Alekseenko was the director of Maximum, a Murmansk LGBT rights group that provided legal and psychosocial support. The Leninsky District Court in Murmansk, in northwestern Russia, found certain items posted on the Maximum’s website violated the law banning the dissemination of positive information about LGBT relationships to children and, as the director, Alekseenko was found responsible and fined 100,000 rubles (about US$1,300) for the alleged “propaganda.”
HRW is calling on Russian prosecutors to support an appeal, which the activist, Sergei Alekseenko, plans to file in the coming days.
You can read more here.
As reported by the Egypt Independent:
A Cairo misdemeanor court sentenced columnist Fatema Naout to three years in jail and a LE20,000 fine over charges of blasphemy.
The writer was found guilty of insulting Islam in a 2014 Facebook post in which she labelled the Islamic ritual of slaughtering sheep and distributing their meat as charity for the poor during the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha as a “massacre.”
She denied that her post was meant to commit blasphemy, but stressed that the ritual of slaughtering sheep is a harmful act against animals in disguise.
Thanks for the good judges of Egypt, thanks for two great revolutions that placed Egypt on the road to enlightenment,” Naout wrote on Facebook, commenting on the verdict. “Three years in jail and a fine for a Facebook post! Thanks to everybody.”
You can find the article here. We will continue to track this case and provide updates as needed.
Gen. Mansour al-Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said that Badawi was not arrested, contrary to the claims of multiple human rights activists. Rather, “she was subject to a questioning session by the district police upon the request of the bureau of investigation and public prosecution,” according to al-Turki.
Ali Adubisi, director of the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, said Badawi returned home.
“According to what I know up to this moment, there are no subsequent steps relating to an investigation or a trial,” he said.
Badawi’s case appeared to be connected to her role in lobbying for the release of her brother, Raif, and her former spouse, Waleed Abu al-Khair. Their imprisonments have drawn the ire of human rights and free speech advocates.
We will continue to track this case and provide updates when possible.
A year after the international outcry over his public flogging, Raif Badawi, as well as dozens of other human rights activists including Waleed Abu al-Khair, remain imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
In an effort to multiply voices calling for the release of Badawi and other activists, and for respect for basic human rights in Saudi Arabia, our friends over at Amnesty International have put together a short list of six ways you can get involved in demanding action.
Keep reading here.
This past weekend Saudia Arabia executed leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. The execution has sparked protests at the Saudi Embassy in Iran’s capital, Tehran. In response, Saudi Arabia has severed ties with its longtime regional rival.
Just several weeks ago, the Center for Inquiry joined 16 organizations in writing a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to press Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to halt the execution of al-Nimr, as well as several other demonstrators from the country’s marginalized Eastern Province.
You can learn more about al-Nimr here.