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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Maldives

A friend of mine works in India with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. A friend of hers based in the Maldives has been arrested and sentenced to ten years in jail for "terrorism". Her crime? Being a peace protestor and activist.

Amnesty provides all the useful information:

"Amnesty International considers her imprisonment to be politically motivated, and believes Jennifer Latheef is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for exercising her right to peaceful protest."

3 Comments:

Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 8:34:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Not a day goes by without news from some part of the world about human rights defenders suffering persecution, violence, arrest, or death. Throughout our region, too, such violence is directed against unionists and pro-democracy protestors. It is telling that the international mainstrem largely ignores these incidents unless they occur in areas already in the spotlight.

It is equally telling that in this instance the act is justified as part of the war on terror - like others in China, Central and South America, throughout Central Asia, the Caucasus, Africa and increasingly in SE Asia.

And let's acknowledge that some of the worst perpetrators are the official friends (and clients) of those western powers whose suppsoed commitment to human rights takes a back seat when economics are involved or when no one is shouting about it. When the state wields overwhelming political and military power - and has foreign friends to back it up - it can attack and repress the people with impunity.

This, too, should be considered terrorism - state terrorism - and should be treated as such. What do the outspoken opponents of terror intend to do about this? Arguably, there is more likelihood of successfully achieving justice here than in the pursuit of Al Qaeda. How about it? Who will speak up - and act - in the name of the victims of state terror?

Who acted to seek justice for the family and community of Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi? Who is taking action to free Gerard Jean-Juste? Who will comfort the widow and family of Diosdado Fortuna?

Those who parade before us in their fancy dress of morality, speaking empty words about their love of individual freedom, are condemned for their inaction with regard to cases like these, and are revealed as the hypocrites that they are.

We must be grateful that the likes of AI - whatever their political opponents hurl at them - continue to advocate on these issues, and we should endeavour to support their efforts in any way we can.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 8:37:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

DBO,
Thanks for your eloquent and truthful words. Many are in this struggle and ignore the slander.
See you at the barricades.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:04:00 pm  

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