Freedom House denounces today’s decision by the Egyptian Minster of Justice to issue a decree, effective June 14, giving military intelligence and officers the power to arrest civilians until a new constitution is in place.
The recent flood of arrests of human rights defenders in Oman, including 22 individuals who remain in custody after participating in a peaceful protest on June 11, is a worrying indication of the deteriorating conditions for freedom of expression in the Gulf nation. Freedom House urges authorities to immediately release and drop all charges against the protesters, and to implement meaningful reforms to secure free speech without fear of unjust prosecution.
A legislative amendment that dramatically increases fines for those who participate in “unsanctioned” public events and demonstrations, passed by both houses of the Russian parliament today, seriously threatens the right to the freedom of assembly in Russia and should be outright rejected by President Putin. Freedom House calls for all those who support a more democratic future in Russia to speak out strongly against the new measures.
Freedom House calls for the immediate release on medical leave of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, one of the first Iranian bloggers to criticize internet censorship in Iran. Ronaghi Maleki suffers from severe kidney disease and is in urgent need of extended medical leave and access to independent doctors unaffiliated with the government. Although he was moved to a hospital on June 4, 2012, the authorities continue to interfere with his medical treatment. His doctor has told his family that he could be dead within a week because his blood is becoming infected and his second and only remaining kidney requires immediate surgery.
Negative developments in Hungary and Ukraine are at the forefront of an antidemocratic trend in Central and Eastern Europe that raises serious questions about the durability of the European Union’s young democracies,
Freedom House strongly condemns the conviction of 34 defendants accused of instigating riots in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, in December 2011. Based on trial observation and media reports, the proceedings were marred by credible allegations of torture that authorities refused to adequately investigate.
Freedom House urges Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make human rights and democracy shortfalls in the Caucasus region the cornerstone topic in private meetings and in public statements during her upcoming visit to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.