Alexandra Sandels

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Latest by Alexandra Sandels


Tense calm keeps Lebanon under siege

BEIRUT: It’s been four days since the Lebanese opposition took over West Beirut. An uneasy calm has settled over the city. The masked gunmen and rocket launchers have disappeared from the streets, giving way to the more familiar sight of grocery shoppers and joggers. But in the otherwise bustling Hamra district of West Beirut you …

Alexandra Sandels

Abu Omar says he knows nothing about stalled Swiss investigation

ALEXANDRIA: Swiss authorities halted a few days ago an investigation into American secret service agents suspected of illegally transferring the kidnapped Egyptian preacher Abu Omar through Swiss airspace to a German airbase in 2003. The Egyptian cleric himself, however, claims he had no knowledge of the existence of such a probe in the first place. …

Alexandra Sandels

Cairo court postpones verdict in two Bahai cases

CAIRO: A Cairo Administrative Court adjourned on Tuesday once again its decision in two highly publicized legal suits. The court will reportedly deliver the verdicts next Tuesday, Jan. 29. The first case, commonly referred to as the Bahai trial, concerns Egyptian Bahais who are demanding the right to obtain official documents, such as national identity …

Alexandra Sandels

Security forces allegdly vandalize Sinai blogger's car

CAIRO: Security forces in Ismailia allegedly vandalized and confiscated on Tuesday the car belonging to detained Sinai activist and blogger Musaad Abu Fagr without legal permission. According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), a Cairo-based NGO, a number of police officers allegedly smashed the car windows and drove away in the vehicle, …

Alexandra Sandels

WHO study cites whopping Iraqi death toll since 2003

GENEVA/BAGHDAD: A joint new study conducted by the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in their country between March 2003 and June 2006. This makes violence the leading cause of death for adult Iraqi men. The findings are part of a larger survey conducted on general …

Alexandra Sandels

Three police officers convicted in new torture case

ALEXANDRIA: An Alexandria court sentenced three police officers to prison terms for torturing and humiliating a crime suspect in spring 2006. The victim, Ibrahim Abbas, was reportedly arrested on suspicion of theft in April 2006 and subsequently forced by the policemen to walk around Alexandria wearing women’s clothing. He was then subjected to physical abuse …

Alexandra Sandels

244 pct more journalist deaths over five years, claims report

CAIRO: Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released on Thursday its annual summary on press freedom around the world, citing an astounding 244 percent increase in journalist deaths over the past five years. According to the organization, 86 journalists were killed in the line of duty in 2007 – more than half of …

Alexandra Sandels

Blogger named CNN Middle East Person of the

CAIRO: Blogger and anti-torture activist Wael Abbas has been voted Middle East Person of the Year by readers of CNN’s Inside the Middle East blog. Abbas is the moderator of the popular blog Misr Digital and a key player in Egypt’s anti-torture movement. Through video clips and photos on his site, Abbas has publicized numerous …

Alexandra Sandels

Judge's demand to shut down 51 websites rejected

CAIRO: The Cairo Administrative Judicial Court rejected on Saturday a controversial case brought against 51 websites belonging to Egyptian human rights organizations and bloggers by an Alexandria head judge. In April, Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad of the Alexandria Court of Appeals filed a lawsuit demanding the shutdown of 51 Internet sites on the basis that …

Alexandra Sandels

Freedom of expression on the line: a look back at 2007

The year 2007 was a bumpy ride for Egyptian media professionals, marking a significant upsurge in clampdowns on freedom of expression, with editors, bloggers, and activists paying a high price for voicing their views on sensitive political and religious issues. Ironically, the broader margin of freedom given to the independent press had led to hostile …

Alexandra Sandels

Torture, police brutality addressed in landmark legal cases but practice remains a endemic

While the past year has witnessed several rare convictions in cases of torture and police abuse, leading analysts and international media argue a potential heightened government intolerance of police brutality. Rights groups urge the authorities to take “more systematic steps to rid the country of its alleged torture practices.Once considered a taboo issue, hardly tapped …

Alexandra Sandels

Bahai trial postponed for fifth time

CAIRO: The Cairo Court of Administrative Justice postponed Tuesday its verdict in the two Bahai trials to Jan. 22, citing “continuing case deliberations. Postponed for the fifth time in a row, the verdict would determine whether Bahais could obtain official documents without affiliating themselves to a religion different than their own. Many members from the …

Alexandra Sandels

Woman forced to strip in new controversial video clip

CAIRO: Award-winning blogger and anti-torture activist Wael Abbas created a new stir over the Eid holiday when he posted an image and audio recording depicting what he alleges could be a police officer forcing a woman to strip naked. The image featured on Abbas’s blog misrdigital.blogspirit.com is part of a longer video clip that was …

Alexandra Sandels

Online campaign supports detained blogger

CAIRO: Bloggers belonging to an online forum called Arab Bloggers Union have launched a campaign to draw attention to the case of detained Brotherhood-affiliated blogger and activist Ahmed Mohsen. Mohsen was arrested in Fayoum three weeks ago during a crackdown on members of the banned organization. The initiative, titled “1000 Bloggers, calls on bloggers in …

Alexandra Sandels

Former publisher unable to attend media conference

CAIRO: Former publisher of Al-Masry Al-Youm and human rights activist Hisham Kassem was allegedly prevented from traveling to attend a Beirut conference on press freedom in the Arab world, according to a statement issued by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN). Several delegates were reportedly confronted with similar travel restrictions including participants from Libya, …

Alexandra Sandels

Conference emphasizes need for press reforms in the region

BEIRUT: Only a few newspapers around the Arab world have been able to combine editorial independence and commercial success, concluded the participants of the second Arab Free Press Forum. Members of the independent press from across the Arab world and several European countries gathered over the weekend in the Lebanese capital to discuss challenges facing …

Alexandra Sandels

Rights group accuses government of fabricating terrorism case

CAIRO: New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) released yesterday a new report accusing the Egyptian authorities of fabricating a high-profile terrorism case in 2006 by using torture and coerced confessions. The 74-page report entitled “Anatomy of a State Security Case: The ‘Victorious Sect’ Arrests said that the authorities had “little or no evidence for …

Alexandra Sandels

Judge speaks on human rights in Egypt, US post 9/11

CAIRO: The status of human rights in Egypt has taken a hard hit throughout the war on terror mainly because of the vague definition of terrorism charges in the country’s legal system, one judge argues. Last week, Judge Alaa El Shimy from the Justice Minister’s Bureau for Human Rights Affairs talked to legal scholars at …

Alexandra Sandels

Google restores YouTube account of activist blogger

CAIRO: Google has restored the YouTube account belonging to Award-winning Egyptian rights activist and blogger Wael Abbas. The leading video-sharing website pulled the plug on Abbas page a few days ago following user complaints over the brutal content of his videos.When asked about Abbas case, YouTube owner Google previously told Daily News Egypt that, We …

Alexandra Sandels

YouTube terminates account of blogger

CAIRO: YouTube, the number one video-sharing website, suspended the account of international award winning blogger and activist Wael Abbas due to complaints over the brutal content of his videos.According to Abbas, the account was comprised of more than 100 video clips depicting sensitive issues such as torture, police brutality, anti-government demonstrations, and workers’ strikes in …

Alexandra Sandels

Investigation pending into alleged torture of jailed blogger

CAIRO: The lawyers of imprisoned cyber dissident and now alleged torture victim Kareem Amer posed strong criticism to the general prosecutor on Sunday for not launching an immediate investigation into the abuse of the jailed blogger. Amer s lawyers from the Cairo-based rights group the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) filed a complaint …

Alexandra Sandels

National Human Rights council holds workshop on torture

CAIRO: State-run watchdog the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) organized a workshop on Monday to combat torture practices in Egypt. Entitled “Toward a strategy to combat torture, the conference was reportedly inaugurated by NCHR Chairman Boutros Ghali and discussed a variety of themes related to the issue. The forum was attended by representatives from …

Alexandra Sandels

Al-Jazeera's Yosri Fouda speaks on Al-Qaeda at AUC

CAIRO: “The War on Terror is not directed in the right way. We need to know what is really happening instead of what we think are good tactics . spin doctoring does more harm than anything else, said Al-Jazeera correspondent Yosri Fouda on Sunday. Al-Jazeera’s London bureau chief and senior investigative correspondent Fouda was at …

Alexandra Sandels

Bahai trial postponed; defendant claims judge mocked faith

CAIRO: The Cairo Court of Administrative Justice postponed Tuesday its decision in two high-profile legal cases involving the right of Bahais to obtain official documents. The court is expected to make its final decision on Dec. 25. The first case involves 14-year-old twins Emad and Nancy Raouf Hindi who have been unable to obtain birth …

Alexandra Sandels

Blogger alleges being tortured in prison

CAIRO: In yet another case of alleged torture and police brutality, imprisoned blogger Kareem Amer claims in a letter he wrote to his lawyers to have been severely beaten and tortured by an inmate and a guard in Borg Al-Arab prison outside Alexandria. His lawyers from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) argue …

Alexandra Sandels

Three police officers indicted in Qalubiya torture case

CAIRO: A man in Qalubyia is accusing three police officers of torturing and sodomizing him in June of last year. This comes only a week after two police officers were sentenced to three-year prison terms for torturing and sodomizing microbus driver Emad Al-Kabir. Police officers Mohammed Ashour, Sherif Abdel Salam and Ahmed Sayed from the …

Alexandra Sandels

Activists stage worldwide rallies for jailed blogger

CAIRO: Human rights activists staged protests in more than 10 cities around the world on Friday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the detainment of Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer. Armed with press releases and signs featuring slogans such as “One year Too Damn Long and “Support Freedom of Expression, activists protested Amer s imprisonment outside …

Alexandra Sandels