Iran releases prominent opposition figure on bail
By: Nasser Karimi, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009
One of Iran's most prominent pro-reform figures has been released on bail after more than three months in jail on charges of inciting the country's postelection unrest, state media and his lawyer said Thursday. Saeed Hajjarian is considered a top architect and ideologue of the movement pushing for more social and political freedoms in Iran.,0,775155.story

Iranian ëdissidentí talks to schoolkids about imprisonment for poetry
By: Jessica Scarpati, Taunton Daily Gazette, September 30, 2009
Ala Khaki had been taking a biology exam when his name was called over the loudspeaker: Report to the principalís office. Two well-dressed men met him in the hallway. They handcuffed him in front of his principal, yanked a dark hood over his head and threw him into the back seat of a car. Khaki was 16 but looked 12. He had come from an affluent family who never had trouble with the law. The Shahís secret police walked him into a small room and lifted the hood. They screamed at him. Slapped him. Kept him all day with no food or bathroom use, demanding a confession and names of his co-conspirators. The crime? Writing poetry.

Iran: Four workers detained
By: IHRV, September 30, 2009
Workers in Avangan firm in the city of Arak held a gathering in front of the firmís main gates. The reason for the gathering was said to be a multi-month delay in the payment of wages and benefits.  The irate workers also held another gathering in front of the provincial Labor Ministryís office and complained against delay in payments of six monthsí wages and retirement benefits by the firm.  At the present time, four members of labor council in the firm have been detained.  Additionally, the electricity to the factory has been cut due to a delay in payments of the bills, and natural gas service is about to be interrupted if bills amounting $200,000 USD are not paid.

Iran: Forty-five students censured from continuing education in Isfehan Industrial University
By: IHRV, September 29, 2009
In the past week, sixteen students from Isfehan Industrial University have been summoned to appear before the Disciplinary Committee in the Ministry of Education. The students stood before the Committee and, in their own defense, presented supporting documents.  The Committee has not issued any ruling on the studentsí cases and has postponed its decision to next week. Readers are reminded that, in the meantime, these students have not been allowed to register for courses during the current school year, and are not even allowed to enter the universityís campus.

Iranian students stage second big protest since returning to university campuses
By: Nazali Fathi, NY Times, September 29, 2009
Students at one of Iranís largest universities staged an antigovernment protest on Tuesday, the second big demonstration at a major university in two days and a further indication that government efforts to intimidate student leaders have not been entirely successful. Over 1,000 students demonstrated at Sharif University in Tehran on Tuesday morning to protest a visit by the minister of science and higher education, Kamran Daneshjoo, a student Web site, Advarnews, reported. Protesters carried green balloons and ribbons, a symbol of the protest movement since the disputed June 12 presidential election, and banners that read ìThe university is still alive,î according to the Web site.

Iranian ëdissidentí talks to schoolkids about imprisonment for poetry
By: Jessica Scarpati, Taunton Daily Gazette, September 30, 2009
Ala Khaki had been taking a biology exam when his name was called over the loudspeaker: Report to the principalís office. Two well-dressed men met him in the hallway. They handcuffed him in front of his principal, yanked a dark hood over his head and threw him into the back seat of a car. Khaki was 16 but looked 12. He had come from an affluent family who never had trouble with the law. The Shahís secret police walked him into a small room and lifted the hood. They screamed at him. Slapped him. Kept him all day with no food or bathroom use, demanding a confession and names of his co-conspirators. The crime? Writing poetry.


Zelaya's supporters protest martial law, reject dialogue under current situation
By: Zhang Xiang, China View, October 2, 2009
At least 500 supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Thursday protested the martial law imposed by the post-coup government in this Honduran capital. The demonstration, gathering members of the union and peasants' groups, was staged outside the U.S. embassy, also calling for Zelaya's reinstatement. Participants told local media that the protest would continue until the martial law and curfew was lifted.

Honduras supreme electoral tribunal comes out against coup decree
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 30, 2009
The layers keep peeling away from "president" Roberto Micheletti's coup d'etat, which began with a consensus of most of upper class Honduras and its political institutions but in recent days has seen Congressional and business leaders begin looking for the EXIT sign. It was Micheletti's authoritarian decree, announced on Sunday, that blasted away the glue that had previously held them all together, with its prohibitions on Constitutional rights of speech, press, assembly, transit and due process. Today, the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal joined the growing mob of former unconditional backers of the coup for whom Micheletti's decree went a step too far.

Honduras: Dozens of Zelaya supporters held
By: BBC News, September 30, 2009
Soldiers and riot police surrounded the building in Tegucigalpa where the protesters had camped out for weeks. The dawn raid took place under the interim government's controversial decree suspending civil liberties. The arrests were made at the National Agrarian Institute, police said. "We're going to take them to the prosecutor's office to assess if they have committed crimes," police spokesman Ernin Cerrato told the AFP news agency. He said the action formed part of the decree announced at the weekend that suspended civil liberties.

Second coup fails, as lonely oligarch plots third Honduran coup of 2009
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 29, 2009
Adolfo Facusse ñ the Honduran business magnate who earlier this month was hauled off an arriving airplane in Miami by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents then deported straight back to Honduras ñ is one of those fast-and-loose players who, even while deserting the Titanic, will look for some advantage in securing the best lifeboat exclusively for him, or at least stuff whatever silverware he can grab into his pockets on the way out. And so it was today when Facusse announced his grand plan to solve the problem of a coup that he had supported but that has now demonstrably failed.

Honduras shuts down media outlets, then relents
By: Elisabeth Malkin and Ginger Thompson, NY Times, September 28, 2009
The de facto government backed off Monday from its attempt to shut down protests and limit free speech after congressional leaders warned that they would not support the measure. Roberto Micheletti, the de facto president of Honduras, asked for forgiveness on Monday for the crackdown he imposed. The revolt by Congress, the first public fracture in the coalition that ousted President Manuel Zelaya three months ago, showed that the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, faces limits on his power to crack down on dissent. In an extraordinary televised news conference Monday evening, Mr. Micheletti asked for ìforgiveness from the Honduran peopleî and said he would ask the Supreme Court to lift the decree ìas quickly as possible.î


Guinea to hold election despite bloody protest
By: Alhassan Sillah, AP, October 2, 2009
Guinea's leader, who seized power in a coup nine months ago, said Friday that elections will continue as planned even as his military junta prepared to bury 57 people who died when troops fired live ammunition into a pro-democracy rally. Wearing a crisp military uniform, Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara laid a wreath in memory of the victims of Monday's massacre. Camara previously said he had no control over the troops ó including his own presidential guard force ó who committed the massacre in which 157 people were reportedly killed.

Guinea's military leader bans demonstrations
By: Alhassan Sillahap, AP, October 1, 2009
Guinea's military leader banned all gatherings and demonstrations Wednesday, as the United Nations pressed for an independent investigation into why troops opened fire on 50,000 pro-democracy protesters. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the soldiers' use of live ammunition against the unarmed people who gathered Monday in a stadium in Conakry, the capital, to protest against Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara, the country's military leader. Guinea's government said it will investigate why troops opened fire at the pro-democracy rally.

Zimbabwe:ëHidden crimesí of state security agents to be exposed
By: Tichaona Sibanda, SWRA, October 1, 2009
The hidden crimes of systematic detention, torture and murder committed against MDC activists and pro-democracy campaigners by state security agents will soon be exposed, in a $500 million lawsuit against the government. Prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight MDC activists are suing the government for a record $500 million, after terror charges against them were dropped on Monday by the Supreme Court. The Court granted them all a permanent stay of prosecution because of their illegal detention and torture. They were facing charges of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe and recruiting people to train as bandits in Botswana.

Zimbabwe: South African group urges Nestle boycott over Mugabe
By: Brian Latham, Bloomberg, September 30, 2009
AfriForum, a South African civil rights organization, called for a worldwide boycott of Nestle SA products after the Swiss company said it buys milk from a farm belonging to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabeís family. Nestle, the worldís biggest food company, said on Sept. 28 that it purchases milk from the Mugabe familyís Gushungo Holdings Ltd. that account for as much as 15 percent of the companyís intake in the southern African country. Gushungo owns a property formerly known as Foyle Farm that was seized by the government as part of a program to transfer land from white commercial farmers to black citizens of the country.

Gabon opposition to boycott presidential vote recount
By: The Guardian, September 30, 2009
The Constitutional Court's recount, scheduled to occur on Tuesday, was postponed to Wednesday after talks with the opposition caused a delay. Opposition candidates had argued that each should be able to send both a court bailiff and another representative to witness the recount, while the court said only bailiffs would be allowed. "This recount has no value for us, nor for the truth that we are looking for," said ex-interior minister Andre Mba Obame, who finished second in the vote. He said court officials told the candidates a recount according to their conditions could be done at another time, adding "we have confidence in the court".

Guinea's depressingly familiar strongman
By: Corinne Dufka, The Guardian, September 30, 2009
Guineans were relieved when there was a bloodless coup last December after the death of the longtime president, Lansana ContÈ. Not only had the feared battle for succession among army factions been averted, but the coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, vowed to root out corruption and hold elections within 60 days. Better yet, he promised not to run. "I have never had the ambition of power," he said at the time. When Dadis recently reversed his promise not to run in the presidential election, now set for January, people began to take to the streets.

Guinea bans mass gatherings after stadium bloodbath
By: The Guardian, September 30, 2009
Guinea on Wednesday banned "subversive" gatherings as it announced two days of national mourning after troops killed at least 157 people in a brutal crackdown on an opposition rally, rights activists said. The country's military ruler said he was sorry for the violence, but a human rights group alleged junta soldiers killed three more people outside the capital Conakry on Tuesday, a day after the crackdown, and kidnapped victims of the crackdown from hospitals. "I declare a national mourning on Wednesday and Thursday," junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said on television. "Any mass gatherings which are of a subversive nature are banned," he added.

Condemnation mounts after deadly Guinea political protest
By: CNN, September 29, 2009
Reports put the death toll at 157, with more than 1,200 people injured, U.S. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. Earlier, the United Nations, citing media reports, said at least 58 people died Monday when security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration at a stadium in the capital, Conakry. "The United States condemns the Guinean military's brazen and inappropriate use of force against civilians," Kelly said. "The military also stands accused of carrying out brutal rapes and sexual assaults on women demonstrators and bystanders during its rampage."

Guinea crackdown draws international scorn
By: Jeffrey Allen, OneWorld US, September 29, 2009
"This situation in Guinea is appalling. While debate and divisions between political parties are welcome, we are now receiving word of abductions, torture, and rape in the capitol area," said Gerald LeMelle, executive director of the Washington, DC-based advocacy group Africa Action, in a statement today. LeMelle was responding to events yesterday in the Guinean capital Conakry, where security forces responded to a largely peaceful political rally by shooting into the crowd and beating and sexually assaulting women. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has "deplored" the use of force and called on the country's rulers "to exercise maximum restraint and to uphold the rule of law."

Pressure mounts on Tanzanian government following Maasai evictions
By: BBC News, September 29, 2009
Pressure is mounting on the Tanzanian government following the recent violent evictions of Maasai from their land in Loliondo, Northern Tanzania, to make way for the hunting company, Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC). Local human rights organizations are filing criminal and civil cases against the Tanzanian government on behalf of the affected Maasai people at the High Court in Arusha. More than 100 witnesses are reportedly willing to testify. Further pressure comes from diplomats based in Tanzaniaís capital, Dar es Salaam. A group from Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and the UK recently visited Loliondo to investigate the evictions and reports of human rights abuses. They were denied entry to the villages in question by local government authorities.

Parties boycott Sudan conference
By: Al Jazeera, September 29, 2009
Several Sudanese parties have boycotted a conference where political parties are trying to reach a "national consensus" on issues such as the 2011 referendum on the future of south Sudan. The conference in Juba, the capital of the country's semi-autonomous south, was organized by the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) which heads the regional government. Six south parties announced their withdrawal from the three-day conference on Monday.

Liberia: When women said the war must stop
By: This Way Up, September 24, 2009
Pray The Devil Back To Hell tells the inspiring story of a group of Liberian women- armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions- who demanded peace for their country, lacerated by a decades-long civil war.  In 2003, Liberia was a country devastated by decades of political dislocation, humanitarian crisis, and street-to-street urban warfare.Charles Taylor, then President of Liberia, had emptied the country's pockets as effectively as any dictator in memory. His ascent to power led to the deaths of thousands of people and a nation in complete ruin.


Ecuador Indigenous Groups Threaten More Radical Protests
By: Mercedes Alvaro,, October 1, 2009
Indigenous leaders in Ecuador's Amazon region threatened Thursday to carry out more radical protests, after the death of a member of the Shuar native group on Wednesday in a clash between police and protesters. Since Monday, indigenous people have blocked various roads, especially in the Amazon provinces of Morona Santiago and Pastaza, protesting against a proposed law regulating water. They are also protesting against mining and oil activity on their lands.

29 police, 9 Indians wounded in Ecuador protest
By: Jeanneth Valiveisoap, October 1, 2009
Police clashed with Amazon Indians protesting proposed water, oil and mining laws Wednesday, leaving at least 29 police officers and nine Indians wounded, Ecuadorean officials said. Indians said two civilians were killed. Government Minister Gustavo Jalkh said late Wednesday that Indians wounded the police with pellets often used by jungle hunters. He said police used "progressive force" to clear a highway blockade in Ecuador's southeast Amazon, but denied they fired guns. Ecuador's Amazon Indian federation, CONFENAIE, said in a communiquÈ that two Shuar Indians were killed and nine wounded by gunshots in the clash.

Ecuador Indians clash with police
By: Al Jazeera, October 1, 2009
At least one person is thought to have been killed after police in Ecuador battled Amazon Indians protesting against laws they believe will threaten their lands. At least 29 policemen were wounded in the clash on Wednesday, which took place in Ecuador's southeastern Morona Santiago jungle province, where Indian groups have been blocking roads as part of their protest. "We can confirm that there are 29 policemen injured and one civilian is presumed dead," said Gustavo Jalkh, a government minister.

Chile extends indigenous rights
By: UNPO, October 1, 2009
Chile has given its indigenous population more government representation, creating two bodies dedicated to indigenous rights. The decision was made after members of Chile's largest indigenous group, the Mapuche tribe, clashed with police several times last month over land issues in the country's southern Araucania region. The row has left at least one indigenous protester dead. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet submitted on Tuesday two laws looking to strengthen indigenous rights in a bid to ease tensions over the issue.

Cuba: US diplomat met with Cuban dissidents in Havana
By: Paul Haven, AP, September 30, 2009
A senior U.S. diplomat who traveled to Havana for the highest-level talks with Cuban officials in decades also met with opposition activists to discuss their political views, three dissidents and a State Department official said Wednesday. Bisa Williams, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, met with 15 prominent dissidents during a Sept. 21 lunch at the U.S. Interests Section, America's diplomatic mission in Cuba, three of them told The Associated Press. Elizardo Sanchez, Martha Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca all have spent time in jail for their political views. Williams asked the dissidents about U.S.-Cuba relations, and pressed for details of their lives in a country with one political party and a history of intolerance toward dissent, they said.

Cuba: State security agents beat dissident
By: Miami Herald, September 30, 2009
Ernesto Rafael Mena, an ex-political prisoner and president of opposition Democratic Youth organization, says several State Security agents spotted him on the street last week and got out of their patrol car and beat him up. Mena said the agents beat him in the face, back and ribs and left him in public view. Passersby took him to the Julio Trigo Hospital. Mena was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003.

US: Advocates fight mountaintop removal
By: Matthew Cardinale, IPS, September 30, 2009
Environmental groups across the southeast United States, from Georgia to the Appalachia region, are stepping up their opposition to a controversial but widespread practice by coal companies of removing the tops of mountains with explosives. Atlanta-based activist Darci Rodenhi recently organized an ad hoc group called Mountain Justice GA, which lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Atlanta regional office to reject 79 new permits for mountaintop removal.  The EPA denied the permits earlier this month, saying the applications were in violation of the Clean Water Act. Advocates see the move as a victory because it was the first set of permits to come before the EPA since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

US: Activists fling shoes at Burmese FM in New York
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, September 29, 2009
Burmese activists in New York on Monday threw shoes at visiting Foreign Minister Nyan Win, an act of opposition against his representation of the Southeast Asian nation at the 64th United Nations General Assembly.  Moe Thee Zun, a former student leader and activist, said he, along with nearly 20 friends, laid in wait of the Burmese Foreign Minister near his guest house and flung shoes and other objects toward the car conveying Nyan Win to United Nations headquarters. ìI took off my shoes and flung them at Nyan Win, the sight of him makes me angry,î said Moe Thee Zun, who as a student leader in 1988 took to the streets in Rangoon, leading mass protests demanding democracy.

US:  14 people arraigned after protest at site of SugarHouse Casino
By: Peter Mucha and Robert Moran,, September 29, 2009
The organized act of civil disobedience by Casino-Free Philadelphia came as the casino company announced it planned to have a formal groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 8 for its slots parlor. Although the gates were already open, a group of chanting volunteers sat down and linked arms in front of the entrance. Police arrested the protesters one by one, securing their arms behind them with plastic ties before loading the protesters into three waiting police vans. Fritz Dietel, 49, a sculptor from Pennsport who served as a marshal for the demonstrators this morning. No one was injured, Dietel said. "This is a nonviolent action. Everybody is trained to behave and follow directions."

US: More than 10,000 protest Armenia-Turkey protocols
By:, September 28, 2009
The Southern California Armenian community came together Sunday evening at Pelanconi Park to express its unified and unequivocal opposition to the Turkey-Armenia protocols and, with more than 10,000 people, sent a message to Yerevan that conceding to Turkish pressure was unacceptable. Chanting ìNo Concessions to Turkeyî and ìNo to Protocols,î the crowd overwhelmingly cheered calls to put an end to the process, which sets unacceptable preconditions on Armenia and, if enacted, would endanger Armeniaís national security and halt the aspirations of future generations of Armenians.

Brazil: Socio-digital inclusion through the Lan House Revolution
By: Paula Goes, Global Voice Online, September 28, 2009
Across the country, the majority of Brazilians accessing the Internet today do so through Local Area Networks (LAN) spanning all cities and communities. Has the digital inclusion promoted by the lan houses across the country affected human development in Brazil? Jeimy Remir, who has interviewed lan house owners and users, says that they improve lives ñ both of owners and users ñ and have changed the face of the country, especially in peripheral areas of big cities.

Cuba: Concert for Peace
By: Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Global Voice Online, September 26, 2009
The mere mention of the word ìCubaî awakens the most passionate debates, especially among Latin Americans and people from the Caribbean. The Colombian singer Juanes proposed a truce, a moment for solidarity, for peace, for transcending political, geographical, and emotional frontiers. This vision motivated Juanes to organize the concert ìPaz sin Fronterasî celebrated on Sunday September 20, 2009, at iconic Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Fifteen artists from Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Spain, and Italy performed. According to the organizers, 1,150,000 people filled Revolution Square to listen to music during six hours under the hot Caribbean sun.

US: G-20 marchers protest from a distance
By: KMTX, September 25, 2009
A few thousand demonstrators stopped their march Friday on one of Pittsburgh's bridges and shouted toward the Group of 20 meeting site from afar. The protesters stopped on the Andy Warhol Bridge and turned toward the David L. Convention Center, which is a few hundred yards upriver.  They were shouting toward the building and addressing their opposition to what's happening inside. One woman on a bullhorn yelled, "Power to the people, not the G-20." Seven Coast Guard  and city police boats were underneath the bridge, keeping an eye on protesters. The march has a city permit and organizers have pledged to keep it nonviolent.

Argentina: Julio Lopez - Impunity yesterday and today  
By: Marie Trigona, Up Side Down World, September 23, 2009
Lopezís testimony during a historic human rights trial in 2006 led to Etchecolatzís conviction. The police chief was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide during the dictatorship. Three years after the key witnessís disappearance, thousands marched in Buenos Aires, La Plata and other cities to demand an end to impunity and that Julio Lopez reappear alive. Protestors marched in cold rain and under gray skies, which further clouded remaining hope that Lopez will be found alive.


Nepal: Police arrest dozens of Tibetan protestors
By: Nepal News, October 1, 2009
Police have detained dozens of Tibetan protestors from different parts of the capital on Thursday. The protestors were arrested on the day China is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the rule of the Communist Party of China on Thursday. According to reports, Tibetan dissenters were arrested from Gaushala, Sorjakhutte, Bouddha, Kamalpokhari and more than 10 other locations, report quoted police as saying. The Tibetans were arrested while chanting anti-China slogans calling for independence of Tibet.

Tibet: Silence on China's 60th anniversary
By: UNPO, October 1, 2009
Thousands are expected at a government-led rally in Lhasa as Chinese soldiers with tear gas patrol the streets in a bid to prevent a riot similar to the one in March 2009. Tibetans would like to have a day of silence on Chinaís 60th Anniversary, go to temple and pray for peace. Tibetans are hoping the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China will pass uneventfully, and Chinese police and military in Tibet are on heightened alert to make sure that there will not be a repeat of last year's deadly riots. While Thursday's celebrations will center on Beijing, with the country's largest-ever military parade, thousands are also expected to gather 2,500 miles away in Lhasa for a government-led rally in front of the Potala Palace, the exiled Dalai Lama's former home.

More hard words on Chinaís ìwar for public opinionî
By: Sophie Beach, China Digital Times, September 30, 2009
Noting a softer pitch to Hu Jintaoís newest media policy buzzword ó ìpublic opinion channeling,î or yulun yindaoó some have supposed that a relaxation of media restrictions in China is in the offing. That misguided notion has perhaps been re-enforced by another aspect of Huís policy re-orientation, namely more active reporting of breaking news stories by central CCP media like Peopleís Daily Online and Xinhua News Agency. Huís policy is motivated not by an impulse to loosen the partyís grip on the media, but rather by an interest in more effective control. How do we know this?

Vietnam: Monks driven from monastery
By: RFA, September 29, 2009
A mob directed by police and local officials has chased 150 monks from a monastery in Vietnam's Central Highlands after a lengthy standoff, witnesses said. All are devotees of Thich Nhat Hanh, a France-based Zen monk, peace activist, and confidant of slain U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Problems for Hanh's followers at Bat Nha began about a year ago when the abbot there, Thich Duc Nghi, who is linked to the official Vietnam Buddhist Church, told them they were no longer welcome there.

Talking with Burma
By: NY Times, September 29, 2009
President Obama has decided to open talks with Myanmarís repressive government. Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, met in New York on Tuesday with Myanmarís United Nations envoy and a member of the government cabinet ó the highest-level meeting between the two governments in many years. We have no affection for the ruthless military junta that has denied its citizens the most basic freedoms and has kept Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years. On Monday at the United Nations, Myanmarís Prime Minister, Gen. Thein Sein, again brushed aside calls for Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyiís release.

North Korea revealed by those who know it
By: John M. Glionna LA Times, September 25, 2009
Editor Jiro Ishimaru dimmed the lights and started the shaky video clip before a roomful of North Korea experts.  The footage, taken surreptitiously from a speeding motorcycle, was jarring and they will soon be featured in an issue of Rimjingang, a magazine published in Japan that offers a highly intimate look inside North Korea. What makes it all the more remarkable is that the quarterly publication consists of articles written not by outsiders, but by a few North Koreans, farmers and factory workers who risk their lives to provide poignant vignettes and hard-news accounts of life in their reclusive homeland.  The stakes are high. The reporters use pseudonyms because they know that if they are caught by North Korean authorities, they could be sent to prison or executed as spies.,0,5923659.story

Philippines: Media restrictions trigger boycott of Arroyo visit by Iloilo media
By: GMA News, September 25, 2009
Several Iloilo-based media outlets boycotted President Arroyoís visit to the province Thursday, over what they claimed was an unfair arrangement imposed by the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).  Radio dzBBís Iloilo affiliate reported Friday that local journalists were slighted when only one reporter from one media outlet was allowed to interview Mrs. Arroyo at her ìpress conference" in the province on Thursday afternoon. The report said the journalists were furious at the OPS imposition, prompting them to not cover the President's arrival at the Iloilo Airport. Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias reportedly called up local media outlets to ask them to lift the boycott.


Azerbaijan: Defense witnesses testify youth activists were victims of unprovoked attack
By: Eurasia, September 29, 2009
Defense witnesses flatly contradicted the prosecutionís contention that the youth activists were the instigators of a fight. Instead, the court heard testimony that portrayed the duo as the victims of an unprovoked attack. The September 29 court session began with testimony from four prosecution witnesses: the restaurantís cook and three police officers who arrived on the scene the night of the incident. Like many of the prior witnesses, those testifying for the prosecution on September 29 gave vague responses under cross-examination. "I donít know," was a common refrain heard from all of the prosecution witnesses.

Turkmenistan pressed to open doors for human rights
By: Human Rights House, September 29, 2009
On September 24 2007, Turkmenistanís president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, gave a speech at Columbia University in New York City. During a round of questions after his speech, he was asked why foreign NGOs are not allowed access to the country. President Berdymuhamedovís response spurred careful optimism that promised reforms in the sphere of human rights might be real: ìPlease, this is not an issueî, he said. ìThere are no restrictionsî. At the time of this writing, Berdymukhamedov has been in power for two and a half years, ample time to conclude that the promises made that day at Columbia have not been fulfilled.


Belarus: Journalists arrested during pickets in Minsk
By: Chapter 97, October 1, 2009
Journalist Henadz Kesner and Zmitser Yanenka were detained by militia. We remind that the leader of the Communist Party of Belarus Syarhei Kalyakin was detained while handing out ìTovarishchî newspaper near the entrance of Minsk Tractor Plant. The press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists learnt this from Hendaz Kesner, who was present at the picket as a ìNovy Chasî newspaper correspondent. Some minutes later Kesner phoned again and said he had been detained by people in mufti for inspection of documents. The journalist didnít answer the phone for some time. He was available on phone at about 4:10 p.m. and said he was in the Partyzanski district militia department, where he had just been set from after being detained with fellow journalist Syarhei Kalyakin.

Belarus: Opposition activist beaten up brutally in Vitsebsk
By: Chapter 97, October 1, 2009
An activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Ales Halavan was attacked by five men in the center of Vitsebsk in the evening of September 30. Syarhei Kavalenya, an activist of the BPF Conservative Christian Party, managed to detain one of them. As reports, the detained said beating of Ales Halavan had been ordered by Vitsebsk militia as revenge for a complaint, which Ales Halavach had sent to the head of the Chyhunachny district militia department of Vitsebsk against actions of his staff.

Chechnya president sues human rights activist over murder claim
By: Miriam Elder, The Guardian, September 26, 2009
Kadyrov is seeking 10m roubles (£207,800) in damages from Oleg Orlov, the chairman of Russiaís leading human rightís group the Memorial, in the wake of the row over the kidnapping and murder of a human rights activist, Natalia Estemirova, in Grozny in July. Orlov had accused Kadyrov of being guilty of the murder, explaining in his defense today that he meant "political guilt". "I didn't speak of his involvement, I spoke of his guilt. These are two different things," Orlov told the court. Kadyrov did not attend the hearing. His lawyer, Andrei Krasnenkov, called no witnesses and did not question defense witnesses. "Human rights activists are miserable people," he said outside the court.


Egypt: Bargaining bloggers to stop opposing the government
By: Ramy Raoof, Global Voices, September 29, 2009  
ìYou will be behind the sunî was the expression used by the Dean Abdul Hadi, General Inspector of State Security at Fayoum (Egyptian Province), while he was interrogating the Egyptian blogger AbdelRahman Fares last Friday, who blogs at Lesany Hoa elKalm (My Pen Is My Tongue). Hours before this, major Tamer Adel also questioned Fares about his relation with the strike that will take place on October 2009 -which fares did not know even about-, the Muslim Brotherhood and El-Ghad political party. During this interrogation, major Tamer offered Fares a political position in the National Democratic Party (ruling party) and promised him to be promoted inside the party, in exchange for quitting any other work within the civil society. An offer that Fares refused.

Egypt: Another journalist to be deported
By: Eman AbdElRahman, Global Voices, September 29, 2009
To continue the series of harassing or deporting journalists in Egypt, like Travis Randall, Philip Rizk and Wael Abbas; Per Bjorklund, a Swedish journalist and blogger has been detained in Cairo airport upon his arrival. Heís been stopped by security and is to be deported back to Prague without an explanation; he was only told ìyour name [was] on the computer.î Per is regarded as one of the most active foreign journalists covering the Egyptian labor strike wave and human rights abuses for a number of Swedish publications as well as activist websites like Electronic Intifada. He also writes in his blog Egypt and BeyoundÖ

Egypt: Blogger warned by state security if he goes on writing on the internet
By: Noha Atef, Global Voices, September 29, 2009
The Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares was summoned to State Security headquarters, where he was blamed for his online writings. Fares was warned that he would be arrested if he goes on blogging, and asked to give up both his online and offline activities. Fares is blogging at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen). On Friday, 25 September, 2009, he received a phone call from States Security, and was asked several questions related to his blogging, then summoned to State Security office north of Cairo where Fares is living. The young blogger (25 years) spent around four hours at the State Security headquarter, where he was interrogated about a strike to take place in October and about his political views.

Egypt: Resigned judge blasts ruling regime
By: LA Times, September 25, 2009
A prominent judge who recently quit his post as deputy chief of Egypt's appeal court, said that judges in the country have officially become "hated figures" to the ruling regime since they exposed the forgery that occurred during the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2005. Mahmoud Khodeiri stepped down from his position last week, citing corruption and lack of objectivity within the judicial system during the last few years of President Hosni Mubarak's reign. "It is clear that the regime is not fond of honest judges," Khodeiri, who spent 46 years in the courts, told Al Masry Al Youm.


Tonga: Political science students discuss democracy
By: Radio Australia, September 25, 2009
A group of university staff and students from New Zealand have visited Tonga to distribute a booklet outlining basic democratic concepts. The 100 page booklet, in Tongan and English, has been prepared by Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, a Tongan political scientist at Canterbury University. Around three thousand of the booklets are being distributed all around Tonga at public meetings which feature discussions about the new, more democratic system in the Kingdom. Elections under a new system which will see the majority of MPs elected by the people are scheduled for the end of next year.
Listen to the interview:


Let a thousand cell phones bloom
By: Juan Mercado, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 1, 2009
As Typhoon ìOndoyî hit, the scrawny, fund-short disaster management systems of a VAT-rich government crumbled. Laborer Muelmar Magallanes drowned after rescuing his 31st victim, a six-month-old infant. This is a country where each congressmen burns P1 million for travel but canít buy rubber boats. Onli in da Pilipins? Flood, fire and looters ignore legal city limits. Yet, petty turf-guarding by local mayors gut crafting needed metro-wide program. This is true whether in Manila or Cebu. Private Citizens, meanwhile, mustered cell phones and Facebook to patch Ondoy rescue and relief projects.

Balancing on wheels of hope
By: Alice Welbourn, Open Democracy, September 30, 2009
I have just been  for a wonderful relaxing 3-hour bike ride, 26 miles and back along our local estuary. "So what", you may ask - "nothing different to many 50-something women" but when I add that I have also been HIV-positive now for over 20 years, people begin to realize that this virus isn't what most of the public assume thanks to the wonderful drugs that I have now taken for the past 9 years. Why is it then that still in the UK, although there are around 25,000 women living with HIV, you aren't aware of the ones living in your neighborhood? That is because the stigma and discrimination still faced here in the West by so many of us - men as well as women - affect our mental health so deeply we are driven underground, deeply fearful that if our health condition is known we will lose our jobs, be ostracized from our neighborhoods, have our children bullied and rejected at school, have our cars daubed with indelible paint and worse.

Digital technology for public services and communities could make bottom up more effective than top down
By: Charles Arthur, The Guardian, September 29, 2009
You're walking home when you notice a big, dangerous hole in the pavement. It looks pretty old, but has no tell-tale lines of spray paint that would indicate that the council knows it needs fixing. What do you do? Ring the council? But do you know precisely where you are? Just pull out an iPhone and use the "FixMyStreet" application. Take a photo, and its GPS location will be added, ready to report to the authorities. Phones with both cameras and GPS will be commonplace in five years' time. Councils could still send out road crews ñ but why not get ordinary citizens to report problems first? The rise of the internet, with broadband in more than 60% of UK homes, has meant the rise of a different model for interaction.


Líescalade sÈcuritaire et les pesanteurs bureaucratiques au cúur du calvaire de la presse mexicaine
By: Reporters Sans Frontiers, September 28, 2009
Reporters sans frontiËres rend public, ce 28 septembre, le rapport tirÈ de sa derniËre mission effectuÈe au Mexique du 4 au 12 juillet 2009. La publication de ce document coÔncide avec la tenue díune confÈrence de presse de líorganisation ‡ Washington, au cours de laquelle interviendra notamment Emilio GutiÈrrez Soto, journaliste mexicain exilÈ aux …tats-Unis et en attente de statut de rÈfugiÈ (voir la vidÈo : ).


US: Immigrant students in National Day of Action
By: Hoa Quach, Global Voices, September 23, 2009
The DREAM Act is a piece of proposed legislation that has been in limbo for years in the United States. It would create an avenue through which undocumented immigrant students who came to the United States as children could obtain conditional legal residence. While American lawmakers continue to debate whether the act should be passed, thousands upon thousands of students continue to struggle to obtain higher education without knowing whether they will ever be permitted to work in their home country legally. The National Dream Act Day of Action was initiated by the United We DREAM Coalition and was supported by dozens of organizations across the nation's campuses last week.

Cambodian opposition leader Mu Sochua speaks of government repression at home
By: Cathy Cockrell, NewsCenter, September 16, 2009
ìWe cannot accept democracy fed to us by the teaspoon; we want full democracy," a Cambodian parliamentary opposition leader, Mu Sochua, told an audience at Berkeley in a brief but impassioned talk Sept. 14. Her campus appearance came just four days after she testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, telling members of Congress that "democracy in Cambodia is experiencing an alarming free fall." According to the human-rights advocate, that act of defiance has been ill received by the ruling regime back home, and daily radio attacks against her by a government spokesman have taken a serious turn. "This morning Ö he used the word 'traitor,'" she said, noting that treason carries a prison sentence of 20 years to life in Cambodian law. "I am going home facing jail," Ms. Mu said with emotion.


Nominate a peacemaker in action today!
By: Tanenbaum Center, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, October 1, 2009
Tanenbaum is now accepting applications for its 2009 Peacemakers in Action and Womenís Peace Initiative Awards. Each year, Tanenbaum recognizes religiously motivated men and women throughout the world who are putting peace into action by working to resolve conflicts involving religion. These individuals are fueled by faith to stop human suffering and foster reconciliation. Help us identify the next Peacemakers in Action and Middle East-North Africa Womenís Peace Initiative Awardees by visiting Peacemakers in