The acquittal of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa is a positive step for the rule of law in Zimbabwe and sets an important precedent for judicial independence in the country. Freedom House applauds the verdict and encourages the Zimbabwean government to end the legal harassment of civil society organizations and human rights defenders.
The six countries of the Eastern Partnership program lag far behind their closest neighbors in the EU. But this is a testament to the bloc’s past successes, and a sign that it must help these states build up their democratic institutions.
Freedom House is deeply troubled by Kyrgyzstan’s proposal to drastically expand the definitions of “treason” and “espionage,” and criminalize “activity directed against the security of the Kyrgyz Republic.” If the draft legislation becomes law, it could be used against anyone producing, storing, or transmitting information that the government believes is harmful. Freedom House calls upon members of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) to reject the proposed amendments.
During their scheduled meeting on November 22, President Barack Obama should press Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to live up to his promises of reform by guaranteeing all Moroccans and inhabitants of the Western Sahara the rights of freedom of expression, assembly and the press.