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December 29, 2008

Somalia: A precarious place for the press

In 2008, the life and livelihood of Somali journalists have once again been in danger. Attacks to kill, hurt, harass and silence journalists have been persistent throughout the year, according to the Annual Report of Press Freedom Violations in the Republic of Somalia, issued today by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

December 29, 2008

Opposition leader arrested, leading HR defender beaten in Ethiopia

While Judge Birtukan Mideksa, right, leader of Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) / Andinet, the strongest opposition party, was arrested, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, one of the most senior human rights activists in the country, was beaten by security forces today. Independent activists and human rights organisations alike have condemned the Ethiopian government’s acts, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mideksa, and all other prisoners of conscience in the country.

December 26, 2008

Kenya’s nomadic Maasai missing out on HIV treatment

Tiampati Ole Kirgoty, 45, looks tired and can hardly support his frail body. He and his two wives are HIV positive. They are supposed to pick up their monthly prescriptions of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) at the district hospital in Narok, capital of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, but this presents a dilemma for the Kirgotys who belong to a nomadic Maasai community.

December 25, 2008

-This is a return to Stalin’s times

The Russian human rights community expresses anxiety on the proposed amendments of the “spying” articles in the Russian Criminal Code. In their opinion, the sum of the amendments adds up to a return to Stalin’s times, when anybody who dared criticize the authorities could be labeled “a spy” and brought to prison, often never to be seen again.

December 23, 2008

Macedonian Prime Minister wins slander case

A newspaper columnist was found guilty of slander against Macedonian Premier Nikola Gruevski for comments made last year refering to Gruevski’s role in the controversial privatization of oil refinery OKTA in the late 1990s, a court said on Monday.

December 22, 2008

Killer’s memory still haunts Grbavica

‘Batko’ Vlaholic’s name was synonymous with terror in Grbavica in 1992, but years on, he apparently remains a free man. The name Veselin Vlahovic “Batko” continues to inspire fear among those who endured terror in the Sarajevo district of Grbavica during the war years. None of the arrest warrants issued so far have led to his actual arrest.

December 22, 2008

Iranian authorities shut down the Defenders of Human Rights Center

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of ACAT, FIDH, OMCT, Global Witness and Frontline, strongly condemn the closing by Iranian authorities of the offices of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, led by Iran’s Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi yesterday.

December 20, 2008

Security Council supports military action against Ugandan rebels

“The Security Council today voiced support for the joint military operation launched by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Uganda and Southern Republic of the Sudan to flush out the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from a remote national park in north-eastern DRC, a Senior United Nations envoy said.

December 20, 2008

Somali radio station forced off the air

The only radio station in an Islamist-controlled town in southern Republic of Somalia was shuttered by militants in a raid last week, according to the station’s director.