Rohingya refugee girls carry metal pitchers with water at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 13, 2017
Thousands of Rohingya living in Bangladesh refugee camps have agreed to move to an island in the Bay of Bengal, officials said Sunday, despite fears the site is prone to flooding.
Dhaka has long wanted to move 100,000 refugees to the muddy silt islet, saying it would take pressure off the overcrowded border camps where almost a million Rohingya live.
Some 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 in the face of a military crackdown, joining 200,000 refugees already in makeshift tent settlements at Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner, Mahbub Alam, said officials overseeing the relocation would be posted to Bhashan Char island in the next few days.
“Approximately 6,000-7,000 refugees have already expressed their willingness to be relocated to Bhashan Char,” Alam told AFP from Cox’s Bazar, adding that “the number is rising”.
He did not say when the refugees would be moved, but a senior Navy officer involved in building facilities on the island said it could start by December, with some 500 refugees sent daily.
Bangladesh had been planning since last year to relocate Rohingya to the desolate flood-prone site, which is an hour by boat from the mainland.
Rights groups have warned the island, which emerged from the sea only about two decades ago, might not be able to withstand violent storms during the annual monsoon season.
In the past half a century, powerful cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the Meghna river estuary where the island is located.
Rohingya leaders would be taken to Bhashan Char to view the facilities and living conditions, Alam said.
Safety facilities built on the island include a nine-feet (three-meter) high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones, and a warehouse to store months-worth of rations, he added.
Rohingya father-of-four Nur Hossain, 50, said he and his family agreed to relocate to Bhashan Char after they were shown video footage of the shelters.
“I have agreed to go. The camp here (at Leda) is very overcrowded. There are food and housing problems,” the 50-year-old told AFP.
There was no immediate comment from the UN, although Bangladeshi officials said they expect a delegation would visit the island in the next few weeks.
Under previous regimes women were a red line which no president crossed, but under the military general turned ruler Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi 2,761 women have been tortured and degraded.
Who were the women killed?
Hind Hisham Kamal, 20
Injured after security forces stormed the field hospital at Rabaa Square, Hind was rushed to hospital to have two bullets removed; one from her kidney and the other from her spleen. Doctors said the bullets used had fragmented and lodged in her lung forcing them to put her on a ventilator. Shrapnel from the bullets had also struck her lower spine paralysing her. She later died in hospital.
2. Suaad Hassan Ramzi
3. Habiba Ahmed Abdelaziz Ramadan, 26
A reporter for the Dubai-based Xpress newspaper, Habiba was shot by a sniper at the protests. She had arrived in Egypt two weeks earlier to film the sit-in. At 7.33am Habiba sent a text message to her mum to say she was leaving the centre of the square to get to the front lines. It would be the last time her family heard from her.
4. Engy Mohamed Tag El-Din
5. Asmaa Hisham Sakr, 32
Killed after a bullet penetrated a wall and hit her in the head.
6. Warda Mostafa Mohamed Bayoumi
7. Rosan Mohammad Ali
8. Maryam Mohamed Ali Abdel Aal
9. Sanaa Hamdi Abdel Aziz
10. Mervat Sayed Ali
11. Asmaa Beltagi, 17
Shot by a sniper in the square. Beltagi has became a symbol of resistance and is celebrated for her role in rejecting repression and the deprivation of liberty.
12. Siham Abdullah Mohamed Metwally
13. Sawsan Saad Hassan Ali
14. Nadia Salem Ali Razek
15. Heba Mohamed Fekry
Video footage circulating after the massacre showed Heba’s 11-year-old son crying over her corpse at Rabaa calling for her to get up. “Wake up mum… mum.. Wake up please,” he is heard saying.
His mother, Heba Mohamed Fekry was murdered by #Egypt security forces while distributing water. #RememberRabaa
Egyptian Salafi politician, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
Egyptian Salafi politician, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, has gone into a coma in detention after allegedly being attacked by jailers, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party announced yesterday.
Quoting rights sources, the Islamist party said that Abu Ismail’s medical condition was resulting from being “attacked and assaulted by jailers” in Egypt’s notorious Scorpio prison located in the capital city of Cairo.
Abu Ismail’s incident, the political party pointed out, had come amid a campaign that has seen thousands of prisoners, including Abu Ismail, entering an open hunger strike to demand the disclosure of the circumstances of the recent death of the country’s former president Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi, the first democratically elected president, died last week after falling into a coma inside his soundproof glass cage during his trial on “espionage” charges.
Egypt’s Court of Cassation last month upheld a five-year imprisonment sentence against Abu Ismail and five others for “inciting and sieging Cairo’s Nasr City court on 19 December 2012.” The Court was reported to have rejected a number of appeals recently submitted by Abu Ismail’s lawyer.
The case dates back to when Abu Ismail’s supporters demonstrated in the vicinity of the Nasr City court in 2012, demanding the release of one of the supporters, who was convicted of “possessing unlicensed an automatic firearm.”
The defendants were referred to Cairo’s criminal court afterwards.
This is the third verdict against Abu Ismail, after the same court upheld two previous sentences of seven-year imprisonment for “forgery of his mother’s nationality” in April 2015, as well as another one-year in prison for “insulting the judiciary in December 2014.”
Abu Ismail was arrested after the Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013.
Former President Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in court after the conclusion of a trial session in the espionage lawsuit.
According to Egyptian State Television, Morsi suffered a heart attack following the court hearing and his body has been transferred to a hospital in preparation for burial arrangements.
Morsi, aged 67, died after a court session in his espionage trial ended.
The ousted Morsi asked to speak at the session, and the judge gave him permission.
He then reportedly fainted in court and was later pronounced dead.
Morsi was elected in democratic elections in 2012 after the 2011 revolution ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. He was overthrown in a coup by the Egyptian military, who installed current President Abdel Al-Sisi as the leader.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa warned that any attack on Idlib by the Assad regime and its allies would lead to catastrophic consequences as the province is home to more than two million civilians, most of whom were forcibly displaced from other parts of Syria. He stressed the need for the United Nations to prevent any such attack.
Speaking to Turkish media at the headquarters of the Syrian Coalition in Istanbul, Mustafa said that the Coalition “takes these threats seriously.” He noted that “there are two million Syrians in Idlib. They have no other place for to go.”
He pointed out that Turkey’s support for the Syrian revolution, the enormous aid it provides for the refugees and displaced persons, and the support it provided for the Free Syrian Army to defeat terrorist groups “make us optimistic that Idlib will not see such scenario.”
“The Assad regime and its allies sought to displace Syrian civilians to Idlib province. Turkey is seeking through political and diplomatic means to prevent an attack on Idlib as it is a guarantor of the ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. Turkey is also the only country that is still on side of the Syrian people,” Mustafa added.
“With Iranian support, the Assad regime continues to pursue the policy of mass forced displacement, including most recently in Dara’a province. This took place after the United States discharged its obligations as a guarantor in the south. Idlib is now in the crosshairs of Assad’s policy of mass forced displacement. We hope that the same threat will not recur.”
Mustafa underscored that the Coalition supports any political solution that is likely to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria and fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian people. “We have participated in various conferences but we want the solution to be under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva talks in which we have participated since 2014. The Assad regime and its allies have not engaged seriously in these talks.”
Mustafa pointed out that Assad regime’s recapture of more areas does not mean that it is winning. “When the revolution broke out, there was no territory under the control of Syrian rebels. The Syrian people continue to make immense sacrifices. The solution is political rather than military.”
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the continued crimes against civilians are due to the failure of the international community to honor its duties. “We have reached this situation because the international community has failed to punish the criminal.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 30.07.2018)
The Kurdish National Council called for the commemoration of the second anniversary of the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted the town of Qamishli on July 27, 2017. The Council called upon its supporters and residents of the town to gather at the site of the bombing on Friday evening.
In a statement, the Council called for the commemoration of the bloody attack, calling on residents of the town to gather in the western side of the town, at Amouda road.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdel Basset Hamo said that the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted Qamishli and its people were intended to instill fear and terrorism in the town. “The circumstances of the crime have not been disclosed yet, especially the way the truck carrying explosives reached the center of the town through checkpoints.” He hinted the responsibility of the Assad regime for the attack, along with ISIS.
The Qamishli bombings killed dozens of people, including women and children as a result of a truck bomb explosion which also led to massive destruction to residential buildings.
Hamo pointed out that he was surprised by the sudden emergence of ISIS militants in the center of the town after travelling long distances. He noted that the attack was accompanied by threats by the Assad regime against residents of the town, which he considered as a systematic policy to force the local population to surrender.
Three terrorist bombings rocked Swaida on Wednesday and were followed by a criminal attack on villages and towns near the city. The attacks killed about 300 people.
Hamo stressed that what happened in Swaida is similar to the one that took place in Qamishli two years ago. He strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, which he said were aimed at creating chaos and terrorizing the population.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Hawass Saadoun stressed the need to strengthen the spirit of solidarity amongst components of the Syrian people and to stand against all terrorist operations taking place in Syria.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in Qamishli, Swaida and all other cities and towns where such explosions took place,” Saadoun said. He expressed hope that the root cause of chaos and terrorism in Syria, namely the Assad regime, will be defeated.
Saadoun pointed out that all such bombings took place at particularly sensitive times and, adding that “it is clear that they have political and military objectives.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 27.07.2018)
Since Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of his supporters and sending thousands behind bars for inciting violence
Spanish newspaper El País has published a report on former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi. He is “being avenged by the current Egyptian regime, tortured in prison and used as an example to intimidate the opposition.”
In its report translated by Arab21, the newspaper said Morsi is living in harsh conditions in prison. He does not have a mattress in his cell, forced to sleep on the cold floor. Besides his isolation from the world, Morsi has been prevented from reading books and even newspapers. Under these conditions, the former president cannot meet his relatives or even other prisoners.
Besides these sanctions, Morsi is also prevented from receiving a doctor’s visit or the treatment for his chronic diseases. Many organisations have described Morsi’s situation as a “severe and harsh assault” and is a form of “torture”.
The newspaper quoted the former president’s younger son, Abdullah Morsi: “the family of the former president has only visited him twice since his imprisonment and the visits lasted only half an hour.” He added that “Morsi’s psychological condition was normal during the last visit (in 2017)… but, his physical condition was not well, and he has lost a lot of weight.”
The newspaper explained that Morsi is imprisoned in the branch of Scorpion Prison, within Tora Prison, which is known for its abuses against political prisoners. There are other Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in this prison.
According to Egyptian NGOs, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the former president’s health could be at risk if he does not receive treatment for chronic diabetes. At sixty-six, Morsi suffered from rheumatism in his spine after sleeping on the ground for four years.
According to the Director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Mohamed Zaree: “preventing a prisoner from receiving medical treatment is torture, as confirmed by international human rights agreements.”
Zaree went on: “The tough conditions in which Morsi and other political prisoners are living are in line with the wish of the Egyptian regime, which wants to intimidate to the opposition”
Morsi’s son, Abdullah, does not hesitate to describe the violations against his father as “revenge.” He stressed that “his father and family will never accept this regime.” According to them, “Morsi is still the country’s legitimate president, and El-Sisi has no legitimacy to rule Egypt,” and they consider him a “coup leader… the Egyptian regime punishes Morsi for upholding his position.”
Abdullah does not know if any negotiations between Morsi and the current regime. Yet, Abdullah said that there were negotiations between the two parties during the first months of Morsi’s imprisonment. He confirmed that “Morsi received an offer from the Egyptian army and an Arab king, who provided a plane to carry him along with his whole family to safe exile for giving up his position.”
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa sent a letter to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to draw attention to the increasing violations by the Hezbollah militia against civilians in Syria and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The letter also raised the issue of the issuance of unfair death sentences and life imprisonments against Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Mustafa called on the Lebanese prime minister to force the Hezbollah militia to withdraw from all Syrian territory and stop its blatant interference in the country.
Mustafa also called for the protection of Syrian refugees from the ongoing violations by the Hezbollah militia. He also called for the retrial of the detainees and ensuring that they are subjected to fair trial. He stressed the need to provide the detainees with legal and psychological support. He also called for the immediate release of all those who are detained under false accusations, adding that they were detained only because of their opposition to the Assad regime.
The intervention of Hezbollah militia in Syria on the side of the Assad regime as well as its involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people are the primary cause of the displacement of Syrians from their homes to Lebanon and other countries. Syrians fled their country in search of safety and to preserve their lives and the lives of their families, he added.
Attached to Mustafa’s letter were letters written by Syrian detainees in the Roumieh prison in Lebanon. The letters, which were obtained by the Coalition’s legal committee after contacts with the detainees, included appeals to human rights organizations for their release following the issuance of unfair sentences of death, life imprisonments and 12-15 years imprisonments. The sentences were based on trumped-up charges of belonging to terrorist groups.
Mustafa stressed that those trials were politically motivated, adding that none of the detainees were able to appoint a lawyer.
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 21.07.2018)