Friday, October 31, 2008

CAMEROON: DISSIDENT SINGER (Lapiro de Mbanga) SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN JAIL


CAMEROON: DISSIDENT SINGER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN JAIL

This April, Cameroon adopted an amendment to its constitution thateliminated term limits for the President, as well as granted him immunityfor any acts committed while in office. No one was smiling more prettilythan President Paul Biya, who at 75 has been in office for 26 years and isseeking re-election in 2011. But one of the country's best-known singers, Lapiro de Mbanga, wasn't happyabout it, so he voiced his disillusion in song. "Constipated Constitution"goes like this: "The head of State is caught in the trap of networks thatoblige him to stay in power even though he is tired… Free Big Katika" (BigKatika is Biya's nickname). Not only is the song banned on some television and radio channels, butMbanga was sentenced to three years in prison last month and doled out aUS$640,000 fine for what International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee(WiPC) says is punishment for his critical lyrics. But the authorities have a different take. They say Mbanga had to pay theprice for taking part in deadly riots in February over the high cost ofliving and the constitutional reform (more than 40 people were killed). Asa local traditional leader and an influential member of the oppositionSocial Democratic Front, his presence galvanised the writers, and for that,he was convicted of complicity in looting, obstructing streets, and formingillegal gatherings. What's more, says WiPC, he was considered an accomplice for filming theevents - a strange accusation, considering that none of the journalistswhose footage was widely televised have been brought to trial. "The charges against Mbanga are widely held to have been made inretaliation for his criticism of the government," says WiPC. "The verdictwas met with stunned silence." Mbanga's wife has denied that he took part in the riots. In comments to AFPnews agency, she said he had actually "calmed people down so that theywouldn't set fire to the city hall" in his hometown. Mbanga's sentence, which came nearly six months after his arrest anddetention, is twice that received by the actual authors of the riots, whowere handed 18-month prison terms the month after the riots andsubsequently received a presidential pardon, says WiPC. Following his conviction, Mbanga was taken, in chains, to Nkongsambaprincipal prison to serve his term. His health has reportedly deterioratedas a result of the six months he has been in detention. Allegedly he hasbeen denied medical attention and the food and sanitary conditions inprison are poor. WiPC and Freemuse, a free expression organisation for musicians andcomposers, are appealing to President Biya to release Mbanga now. You canwrite to the authorities too. Details are on the WiPC website:http://tinyurl.com/4fvpzo
source: International PEN
http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/cameroon-songwriter-sentenced-to-three-years-imprisonment


Please send appeals
Protesting the three-year prison sentence and US$640,000 fine imposed on the singer-songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga (real name Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo) for allegedly taking part in anti-government riots;
Expressing the belief that that Mbanga's detention since April and subsequent conviction stem from his lyrics critical of the government, particularly a song he wrote criticising controversial constitutional amendments, in violation of his right to freedom of expression (guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Cameroon is party);
Calling on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally;
Expressing concern that Mbanga's health has deteriorated due to poor prison conditions, and requesting that he be treated humanely while in detention including being provided with adequate medical care.
Send your appeals to:
President President Paul BiyaFax: +237 22 22 08 70cellcom@prc.cmMessages may also be sent via the Presidency's website: http://www.prc.cm/index_fr.php?link=messenger/write_pr
Minister of JusticeMr. Amadou AliDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Fax: +237 22 23 00 05
And/ or via Cameroonian diplomatic representatives in your country.
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 20 November 2008.***
For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: tamsin.mitchell@internationalpen.org.uk

ITALY: Author threatened with death


Roberto Saviano
ITALY: Author threatened with death

23 October 2008
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN is concerned by reports that members of the mafia in Italy denounced in Roberto Saviano's novel Gomorra, have reportedly announced he will be assassinated by Christmas. Saviano has told the press that he is leaving Italy as a consequence. For the last two years, he has been living under permanent police protection.
The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN, the world association of writers, is appalled by the threats to the life of Italian author Roberto Saviano arising following the publication of his novel, Gomorra, that draws upon his research into the Neapolitan mafia. Threats to his life have apparently increased since the recent launch of a feature film based on the book.
International PEN calls on its membership of writers based in 104 countries world wide to adding their signatures to the petitions protesting the threat to his life.
Saviano is one of many writers world-wide who, in speaking out and describing the world around them, are placed into enormous danger. This year alone, 31 writers and journalists have been murdered in the course of their profession. International PEN urges all governments to take measures to protect them, to bring those who use threat and murder as a means of censorship to justice.

Salman Rushdie: Gomorrah author in greater danger than I was under fatwah
The book

the still photo of a film based on Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah

The map of ITALY



http://www.mafia-news.com/category/book/

Salman Rushdie has said that an Italian journalist who is under an alleged death threat from the country’s feared Neapolitan mafia is in even greater danger than he was under Iran’s fatwah.
The British author said the Naples-based Camorra Mafia has a much further reach than the mullahs of Tehran who called for his assassination.
Roberto Saviano has spent the last two years surrounded by a 24-hour armed protection squad and living in an undisclosed location after writing the best selling Gomorrah.
The book incensed Camorra Mafia bosses by lifting the lid on the crime empire they control around Naples and in the Campania region of southern Italy and this week it was reported that mobsters want Mr Saviano dead by Christmas.
Genre films won the Palme D’Or at Cannes, Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra, based on Roberto Saviano’s book about the Naples Mafia.

The narrative film has five stories.
Young Toto delivers groceries for pocket money, but aspires to join his companionSimone as a lookout for the drug dealers who ply their trade in the housing estate where they both live.
Sober, elderly Don Ciro is a “money carrier”, an accountant ,he distributes funds every week to the relatives of imprisoned gang members.
Pasquale is a highly skilled tailor who landed in danger when he goes behind the back of his mob-connected boss and teaches his secrets to a Chinese competitor.
Roberto is a university graduate who has found work with a toxic waste company, an industry sector that has been highly penetrated by organised crime in Italy.
And Marco and Ciro are young thugs whose only discernible talent is performing the dialogue of Brian De Palma’s Scarface.
Bullets fly and the corpses mount in Gomorra, but the film has a focus on intimate character detail, and a highly vivid, social-realistic sense of place. It is devoid of glamour. These lives – in Scampia, a suburb north of Naples – are hard-scrabble. Youngsters are recruited before they are able to make properly informed decisions about their life, and then can never escape. “Are you with us or against us?” they demand of 13-year-old Toto, when they want him to help them gain access to their next victim.
Gomorra is filmed by director Garrone. Toto, Simone, Don Ciro and many others are caught in the crossfire. Police are barely glimpsed. The film is both subtle, and powerful. In the scenes involving hotheads Marco and Ciro – who get way out of their depth when they steal a cache of weapons – its also funny. But you know that tragedy is always lurking around the corner.
Gomorra screened in Cannes .

The book’s title is a play on Camorra, a criminal syndicate which is less well known than the Sicilian Mafia but equally ruthless and powerful in its home territory around Naples.
It was made into an award-winning film, released last week in the UK, further angering the godfathers of the Camorra.
“The Mafia poses a much more serious problem than the one I had to face,” said Mr Rushdie, who was condemned to death by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 for writing The Satanic Verses, which was condemned by Iran’s theocratic regime as insulting to Islam.
“Saviano is in terrible danger, worse than me.”
Mr Rushdie met Mr Saviano in New York in April.
The Mafia’s deep-rooted transatlantic connections meant the Italian writer was in danger in the US too, he said.
Mr Saviano, 29, said this week that he felt like a prisoner in his own country because of having to live in a safe house constantly surrounded by armed police officers.
Italians have rallied round him in solidarity, with the government urging him to stay as a symbol of the fight against the Mafia.

Gomorra is filmed by director Garrone

He said he was thinking of leaving Italy - a decision supported by Mr Rushdie.
“Without doubt, he’ll have to leave Italy but he must choose his future destination very prudently,” the author of Midnight’s Children said.
Since Mr Saviano announced that he might flee his homeland, Italians have rallied round him in solidarity, with the government urging him to stay as a symbol of the fight against the Mafia.
“Right now I don’t see why I should keep living like this, as a prisoner of myself, my book, my success. I want a life, that’s all,” he told La Repubblica.
“I want to take a walk, get some sun, walk in the rain, meet my mother without scaring her and being afraid.”
Mr Saviano grew up in the town of Casal di Principe, the stronghold of the Camorra’s feared Casalesi clan, and saw his first murder victim at the age of 13.
His gritty portrayal of the Camorra’s brutal and often squalid activities was based on his experiences working as a labourer in Naples’ huge container port and in a textile and building firm controlled by the mob.
Source: International PEN,
http://www.repubblica.it/speciale/2008/appelli/saviano/index.html ,
http://www.myfilmsblog.co.uk/blog/2008/05/gomorrah.html#more ,
Photo from Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images





Monday, October 20, 2008

Please be aware that my email address is been taken by theft

Please be aware that my email address is been taken by theft

I am sorry to announce that
Today, 21oct 2008, in the morning around 5AM I found my mail account ‘rawfoundation@ymail.com’ is not working, I fear its hacker’s work. So, hereby I inform you that please, stop using this mail. If you get any mail from this account stop responding. It would be appreciated to nab the culprit by any means.

I am a social worker apart from my profession as a painter and poet, I used this mail to communicate on behalf of my organization ‘Rainbow Artists and Writers Foundation’ in short RAW FOUNDATION; a social non profit registered organization for artist and writers.

I used this mail for blogging also, all my blogs defends ‘Human Rights and Freedom of Expression’

I am not from a well to do family, a freelance artist, if I work I get money and when I work for my organization my family suffer, so I have no means to own a website and secure my mail. I use public email system and internet space.

The loss of mail account ‘rawfoundation@ymail.com’ has caused me grief and frustration.
I have used the mail last 19oct 2008.

Now I am with tense fear about other mails and blogs through which I disseminate the news of ‘Human Rights and Freedom of Expression’ .

I would request to every body please make sure after sending me any mail through my phone number and address given here.
My address: Albert Ashok,
(Postal address)165 R N Guha Road, Kolkata,India
Phone : +9133 2560 0070, 2529 9371, Mobile: 093308 58536

dont send at rawfoundation at ymail.com any more

I have created a new mail address rawfkolkata@live.com
, in place of the old ‘rawfoundation@ymail.com’
Please use the present mail address, and cc to albertashok@yahoo.com to make sure

Release Eynulla Fatullayev

Eynulla Fatullayev
Location: Azerbaijan




Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of Gundeli ke Azerbaijan and the Russian language Realny Azerbaijan, widely known for his criticism of the Government, was sentenced in April 2007 to thirty months in prison on charges of 'criminal libel' and 'insult' under Article 147.2 of the Criminal Code and was immediately imprisoned.
Fatullayev was convicted for an article posted on the internet accusing the Azeri army of culpability in the deaths of Azeri citizens during an Armenian army siege of a city in Nagorno Karabakh in 1992. This article was attributed to him, but Fatullayev denied posting it, claiming that it had been manufactured as a way of silencing him. The same day as Fatullayev's conviction, his Realni Azerbaijan colleague Uzeyir Jafarov was attacked by unknown assailants, sustaining serious injuries.

According to Human Rights Watch, Fatullayev was fined 10,000 Azeri mantas (about US$12,000) for the same offense two weeks prior to his conviction. Tatiana Chaladze, the head of the Azeri Center for Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons, brought a civil claim against him, as well as instigating the more recent criminal libel and insult charges. Fatullayev had previously been handed down a two-year suspended sentence in a September 2006 libel case, for defamation and insult against the interior minister, Ramil Usubov, whom he accused of having links with Haji Mamedov, a former oficial on trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Elmar Huseynov.

On 22 May 2007, further charges of 'terrorism' and inciting ethnic hatred were levied against him under Article 214 of the Criminal Code, and on 30 October 2007 he was sentenced to eight and half years imprisonment. These charges are believed to be related to a commentary in Realni Azerbaijan published in early 2007 that focussed on Azeri foreign policy with Iran. The article was written by another reporter. The court also ruled that everything in Fatullayev's two newspaper's offices would be confiscated and a fine of 250,000 manat (US$58,000) be imposed.

Fatullayev has staged protests within prison against political imprisonment and poor prison conditions. In April 2008, he staged a hunger strike in which he was joined by other prisoners, and supporters outside. He ended the strike after twelve days, following a visit from the Azeri representative of the OSCE, and the OSCE Representative for Freedom of Mass Media, Miklos Haratzi. Despite this, two days later he was reportedly put in solitary confinement, where he was held for ten days. The authorities gave no reason for this punishment, although his lawyer believes it was because he continued to stage protests.

PEN is furthermore gravely concerned by the threats made against Fatullayev and his family, and we urge that these acts be condemned by the authorities and that measures be taken to safeguard them against attack.

On 24 April 2008, Fatullayev was awarded the Human Rights Watch's Hellman/Hammett award for persevering with his work despite being subject to political persecution. This year, there were 34 award recipients from 19 countries, including fellow Azerbaijani editor Genimet Zakhidov and his brother, journalist Sakit Zakhidov. According to Human Rights Watch, recognition of the Azerbaijani journalists came amid the deteriorating media situation in the country, where for the past 18 months, the government has cracked down on independent and opposition media using serious criminal indictments, and moving away from more traditional defamation charges.

English PEN believes Fatullayev has been imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and considers his continued detention a clear breach of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. English PEN calls on the Azeri authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally

Please send appeals:

• Calling for the release of Eynullah Fatullayev and protesting the additional charges levied against him;
• Referring to the fact that the conviction and charges are in clear breach of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights;
• Calling for the provision of protection to Fatullayev and his family against attack;
• Expressing concern about the growing repression of the Azeri media in recent months. Addresses:

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Azerbaijan
Fax: 994 12 492 0625
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil UsubovMinistry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005
Baku, Azerbaijan
Fax: 994 12 492 45 90
It may be more effective to send the above appeals via the Azeri representative in London:

HE Mr Rafael IbrahimovEmbassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
4 Kensington Court
London W8 5DL
Fax: (020) 7937 1783


source : http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/04/26/azerba15790.htm
http://www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/azerbaijanjournalisteynullafatullayevsentencedto2yearsinprisonandfacesfurthercharges/

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

'censorship by fear' over The Jewel of Medina

A Book, about Love, Romance and the Prophet of Islam has been put aside from publication.
Random House decided to not publish a novel about one of Mohammed's wives, "The Jewel of Medina," by Sherry Jones. The publisher was afraid of inciting violence.
The novel was scheduled to be published on August 12, 2008. The Book of the Month Club had agreed to feature the novel in its August 2008 issue, and Quality Paperback Book Club was due to follow suit in January 2009. The novel's original marketing blurb read, "Married at nine to the much-older Muhammad, Aisha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first-wife status even as Muhammad marries again and again, taking 12 wives and concubines in all."


Random House bought the novel last year in a two-book deal worth a reported $100,000 (£53,000). However, Random House deleted it from its list. The deputy publisher, Thomas Perry, said the company had received “cautionary advice” that the book “could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment”.
"We stand firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some. However, a publisher must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears," the group said in a statement.
"In this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."

The spotlight soon fell not on a radical Muslim cleric but on an American academic, Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas. Ms Spellberg had been sent an advance copy of The Jewel of Medina for review. She strongly objected to the fictionalised account of A'isha's life. She reportedly described the book as incredibly offensive, poorly researched and strewn with "soft-core" pornographic scenes.
The author denies claims that her 400-page novel is a racy bodice-ripper.
Any reader in the first hand would comment on the news that ‘ we want peace, let it not publish’. But shall we have the peace really? How many times it will be recurring. It is not the matter of one or two issues.
If we keep quiet in anticipation of fear our every attempt for free expression will be thwarted and we do two fold mistakes. One is we encourage "a small, radical segment" of Islam that's casting the shadow of killing over this whole world. Another is we are proving we are weak against this demoniac force, it would belittle our own faith, strength and courage. It cannot be accepted.

Peace does not mean prostrating before a diabolical force. It approves also an action against opposition and elimination of root of evil for future harmonious living .I must not offend you. But I have a right to exercise my self defence, I should not also listen your grudging every time I act. Because I follow the rules the whole world follows. You must honour the principles the whole world holds.

I did not see anything involving Buddhism, Hinduism or other faiths as it happened in respectively to the following cases. Thirty years ago, Syrian film maker Moustapha Akkad made a movie about the life of the Prophet Muhammad entitled The Message. Even though, acceding the Muslim sensibilities, Muhammad never actually appears in the film, a rumor that Charlton Heston would star as the Prophet caused riots in Pakistan.
The British teacher who was demonized for having a teddy bear in class named Mohammed? Or the Danish editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb? And More recently, the publication of The Satanic Verses, a novel by Salman Rushdie, resulted in a bounty placed on the life of the author by the Ayatollah Khomeini in the form of a religious fatwa. The fatwa resulted in at least one attempt on the life of Rushdie by the Hezbollah and huge sales for The Satanic Verses.

What's so offensive, so heinous about Ms. Jones' novel?
It's about A'isha, Mohammed's child bride who remained with him until his death. Ms. Jones called it "a great love story" focusing on the woman Mohammed called his favorite wife, and in whose arms he died. "I have deliberately and consciously written respectfully about Islam and Mohammed ... I envisioned that my book would be a bridge-builder," Ms. Jones told the Reuters news agency.


In a Wall Street Journal commentary, Muslim writer Asra Q. Nomani said, "All this saddens me. Literature moves civilizations forward, and Islam is no exception."
Shahed Amanulah, editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com, a Web site that helps promote critical analysis and discussion of issues about the Muslim world, wrote: "Anyone should have the right to publish whatever they want about Islam or Muslims — even if their views are offensive — without fear of censorship or retribution. Muslims, however, shouldn't be expected to be passive consumers of these views. An offended Muslim has the right — indeed, the responsibility — to vigorously critique anything written about them or their religion, provided they do not cross the line into intimidation and coercion. In an ideal world, both parties would open their minds enough to understand the other point of view."

When it comes to depictions of religious figures, and the freedom of expression in telling stories that revolve around them, there is a vast gulf between Islam and the rest of the world. And this is not expected, for better solidarity and harmony among nations.

Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" proved offensive to the Catholic church, even drew the church's condemnation for both books and subsequent movies. Yet both novels were published, both have been bestsellers, and most people have sense enough to realize while they may be intriguing tales, they're fiction. Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" created controversy, even offended Jews for its depiction of them. Yet the movie was released and people were able to make their own decisions on whether or not to see it. As one blogger put it, novelist Anne Rice, best known for her vampire books, can now write about Jesus, but Ms. Jones can't write about Mohammed or one of his wives.

It's hard enough for people in the West to understand Islam when the predominant image they have is that of enraged radicals in the streets calling for the blood of writers or artists or filmmakers who have offended them. Mention Islam or Muslims, and the first thing to come to mind is the radical minority, whom some argue have hijacked the entire religion. One of the ways people can understand another culture is through the arts, through the recounting of stories in a popular format such as novels or movies, especially when attention is paid to factual information and details in the telling of the stories. More people are likely to read a novel featuring Islam than read the Qur'an, with the former possibly igniting an interest to know more about the latter.

To me, I think the guardians of Islam should be thoughtful and accept the freedom of expression for a better understanding and harmony among nations. If they do so, they will be more benefited in positive way in winning the heart of the globe than their death edict and killing fields.

Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, criticized Random House for the decision, saying, “I am very disappointed to hear that my publishers, Random House, have cancelled another author's novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals,” Rushdie said , "This is censorship by fear and it sets a very bad precedent indeed."
The withdrawal of Jones's book has renewed the debate over self-censorship in the treatment of Islam.
Andrew Franklin, who worked for Penguin Books when they published The Satanic Verses and is now the publisher of Profile Books, described the decision as "absolutely shocking" and called the Random House editors "such cowards". Geoffrey Robertson, who received terrorist threats for representing Rushdie, said that Random House should pay Jones "substantial compensation" and recommended that the book be placed on a website "so everyone can read it".

On September 5, 2008, it was announced that American publisher Beaufort Books (previously best known as the publishers of If I Did It by O. J. Simpson) would publish The Jewel of Medina in America. According to Jones' agent, Natasha Kern, "about a dozen" other publishers had expressed interest in the novel. Beaufort's president, Eric Kampmann, said in a press release, “We are building a great team to bring The Jewel of Medina to the audience it deserves to have. Everyone at Beaufort is proud to be associated with this ground breaking novel.”

The cover of the Serbian edition, the only official edition of the book so far.

So far, the book has officially been published only in Serbia, in August 2008. After strong reactions from the Serbian Muslim community, Serbian publisher Beobook has withdrawn it from stores, but after a few weeks, the publisher decided to return it to the stores because of a large number of pirate copies of the book.
Publishers in Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Republic of Macedonia, Denmark, Finland and Poland have purchased rights to the book, while negotiations are ongoing with publishers in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Excerpts
The Jewel of Medina is a first-person narrative of the life of A'isha, often described as Muhammad's favourite wife, from her engagement to the Prophet at the age of 6 until his death, when she was 18. and was promised to him when she was just six years old. They married when she was nine and he was 52.
Jones says Aisha's story is an exciting tale of love, war, spiritual awakening and redemption. The author avoids graphic sex scenes between the two. But A'isha says: “This was the beginning of something new, something terrible. Soon I would be lying on my bed beneath him, squashed like a scarab beetle, flailing and sobbing while he slammed himself against me. He would not want to hurt me, but how could he help it? It's always painful the first time.” The Wall Street Journal published this excerpt about the wedding night of Muhammad and his young bride, Aisha: "the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life."
“They did have a great love story,” the author said of Muhammad and A'isha. “He died with his head on her breast.”
In a press release, Gibson Square publisher Martin Rynja added, "I was bowled over by the novel and the moving love story and interesting but unknown history it portrays. I was struck by the research of Sherry Jones, who is a journalist with almost 30 years of experience, her literary imagination and passion for the novel’s characters”

Jones provided the manuscript of The Jewel of Medina to Islamic website IslamOnline.net, where the novel was reviewed by writer and poet Marwa Elnaggar.
Elnaggar argues that despite the novel's "inaccuracies, its faults, and its biases," its publication should not be stopped.
Indian Muslim writer Farzana Versey criticized Jones' prose and perspective, based on the published excerpts "It would be unfair to tar the whole book based on the Prologue, but it gives a credible peek into the language and lack of nuance the author employs. ...
Jones and her novel, “The Jewel of Medina,” are subjects of debate from Egypt to Italy to Serbia, where 1,000 Serbian-language copies were printed before the local publisher backed out, too.

Who sherry jones:
Sherry Jones (46) was a a journalist with almost 30 years of experience, she was also Montana newspaper reporter who dreamed she could contribute to world peace with a novel about the prophet Muhammad and his feminist leanings. Then she wrote it. Today? She’s the target of a Serbian mufti and a Middle Eastern studies professor with a lawyer.




UN discussions on defamation of religion

16 September 2008 United Nations Human Rights Council ARTICLE 19, CIHRS and EIPR Host HRC Parallel Event on “defamation of religion and Freedom of expression in context”

ARTICLE 19, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS) and the Egyptian
Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) will host a parallel event to the 9th session
of the Human Rights Council on “Defamation of Religion and Freedom of
Expression in Context” at the United Nations in Geneva on Wednesday 17
September from 11.00 to 13.00.
Speakers at this event will include Dr Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE
19, Mr Hossam Bahgat, Director of EIPR, and Mr Moataz El Fegiery, Executive
Director of CIHRS. Each speaker will offer perspectives and approaches to current UN discussions on the subject of defamation of religion and the human right to freedom of expression.
In her presentation Dr Parmar will consider defamation of religion from the
perspective of international human rights law on the right to freedom of expression and on the protection against hate speech. In doing so, she will reflect the concerns raised by ARTICLE 19, CIHRS and EIPR in their Joint Statement submitted to the 9th session of the Human Rights Council on 11 September. The Joint Statement indicates that recent UN resolutions on “combating defamation of religion”: (1) seek to impose restrictions on freedom of expression which go beyond what is permitted under international law, in particular by seeking to protect religions, as such, from criticism rather than focusing on protecting individuals against defamation or hate speech; (2) are not tailored to addressing the very serious problems of discrimination
and intolerance, but focus instead on limiting criticism of religion; (3) are drafted in vague terms which leaves them open to being abused, to justify overly broad blasphemy laws for example.
ARTICLE 19, CIHRS and EIPR urge all States to vote against the adoption by UN bodies of future proposed resolutions on defamation of religion.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
· For more information: please contact Oliver Charles, oliver@article19.org +44 20 7278 9292
· The flyer to the parallel event is available at:
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/unhrc-parallel-event.pdf
ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UQ
Tel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660
Web: http://www.article19.org/ / Email: info@article19.org
· The Joint Statement of ARTICLE 19, CIHRS and EIPR submitted to the 9th session of the Human Rights Council is available at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/unresolutions-on-combating-defamation-of-religions.pdf