activist Aziza al-Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh. She is among
those who were detained. Photograph: Hasan Jamali/AP
Women Drivers Signed Up For Formula E's Saudi Test
Actively and Widely Took Part in Protests across Iran
Women Arrested or Imprisoned For Their Faith in Iran
Afghan Girls Get Education In Pakistan
Prisoner Atena Daemi Refuses To Appear Before Prosecutor
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Arabia Tortured Female Right-To-Drive Activists, Says Amnesty
activists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since May, including women who campaigned
for the right to drive, have been beaten and tortured during interrogation,
Amnesty International has said.
Arabia has detained at least 10 women and seven men on vague national security
allegations related to their human rights work, the organisation said on
Tuesday. Those detained include Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan and Aziza
al-Yousef, who had campaigned for the right to drive before the decades-long
ban was lifted in June.
said that according to three testimonies it obtained, some of the activists
were repeatedly given electric shocks and flogged, leaving some unable to walk
or stand properly. In one instance, an activist was hung from the ceiling.
Another testimony said one of the detained women was subjected to sexual
harassment by interrogators wearing face masks.
kingdom is at the centre of an international firestorm after the killing of
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had written critically about Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on dissent, including the arrests of the women
activists. Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered by Saudi agents in the
kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
Maalouf, Amnesty’s Middle East research director, said: “Only a few weeks after
the ruthless killing of Jamal Khashoggi, these shocking reports of torture,
sexual harassment and other forms of ill-treatment, if verified, expose further
outrageous human rights violations by the Saudi authorities.”
of the imprisoned activists had uncontrolled shaking of the hands and marks on
their bodies. One of the activists reportedly attempted repeatedly to take her
own life inside the prison, Amnesty said.
an activist in her late 20s, was held in solitary confinement for about three
months after her arrest in May, a person close to her told the Associated
was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia this year from the United Arab Emirates,
where she was pursuing a master’s in Abu Dhabi. Her husband was pressured into
divorcing her after he too was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia from Jordan,
where he was working, according to the individual, who spoke on condition of
anonymity for fear of repercussions.
of the men detained in that sweep include Mohammad al-Rabea, a writer and
activist, and Ibrahim al-Modeimigh, a human rights lawyer who defended
al-Hathloul in court when she was arrested in 2014 and held for more than 70
days for attempting to drive from the UAE to Saudi Arabia.
imprisoned is Samar Badawi, whose brother Raif Badawi is serving 10 years in
prison and was publicly flogged in 2015 on charges related to blog posts
criticising the kingdom’s clerics. Others detained include Nassima al-Sada, a
rights activist from the Eastern Province, and Hatoon al-Fassi, a professor of
Gulf history who was recently announced as the recipient of the Academic
Freedom Award by the Arizona-based Middle East Studies Association.
few of those initially detained were in their 70s and have since been released.
Dana Ahmed, a researcher at Amnesty, said Saudi authorities had yet to charge
any of those detained.
At least seven female racing drivers will take part in a Formula E test in
Saudi Arabia after the country hosts the season-opening race next month, the
all-electric series said on Tuesday.
test, involving all the teams, will be a day after the Dec. 15 race on the
streets of Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh.
Arabia lifted a ban on women drivers last June and organisers said the local
promoter had wanted female participation at the test.
race, starting season five, will be the first involving Formula E's 'next
generation' cars and marks the series' debut in the Middle East.
women racers confirmed for the test include Amna al Qubaisi of the United Arab
Emirates, who started karting at 13 and has competed internationally in Formula
father Khaled was the first Emirati to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
very proud to be representing women in general and Arabian women in particular.
This test drive is another stepping-stone towards my dream of a professional
career in motorsports," she said in a statement.
Tatiana Calderon, an official test driver for the Sauber Formula One team, will
turn out for the DS Techeetah team.
driver Beitske Visser will be with the BMWi Andretti Motorsport outfit, with
Britons Katherine Legge and Jamie Chadwick testing for the Mahindra and NIO
Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro tests for Venturi and Spaniard Carmen Jorda for
the Nissan e.dams team.
a former Lotus and Renault F1 development driver, caused some controversy in
March when she said women might be better-suited to Formula E than Formula One
because the all-electric cars were physically less challenging.
idea was challenged by other women racers, notably Britain's Pippa Mann who has
competed in the Indianapolis 500 and had success in America in cars without
One has not had a woman driver compete in a grand prix since 1976, but De
Silvestro raced in Formula E two years ago.
actively and widely participated in the protests by various social sectors in
actively participated in protest against Caspian On Tuesday, November 20, 2018,
the defrauded clients of the IRGC-backed Caspian Credit Institute gathered in
front of its Soroush Branch in Mashhad and Sarparasti Branch in Rasht. Women
actively participated in these protests, particularly in Rasht where most
participants were women.
Monday, November 19, 2018, a large group of men and women plundered by the
Caspian Credit Institutes gathered outside the Judiciary building in Tehran.
200 workers of the Hospital of Karaj held yet another protest on the main
street across from the hospital on Monday, November 19, 2018, demanding their
overdue salaries of a whole year and determination of the status of the
hospital. Women actively took part in this protest.
another act of protest on Monday, young women and men in the city of Khoy, in
West Azerbaijan Province, protested the presence of Hassan Rouhani in their
city and hurled stones at his car.
Baha’i women were recently arrested or imprisoned for their faith in the cities
of Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz.
women, Monica Alizadeh (Aghdassi) in Tabriz, and Nasrin Khajeh and Mojgan
Khoshhal in Isfahan were arrested by intelligence forces.
May Kholousi and her daughter, Saghi Fadaii, were also taken to jail to serve
their prison sentences.
Alizadeh was arrested in Tabriz on Sunday, November 18, 2018, and taken to an
a wave of persecution of Baha'is in Iran, the regime's troops raided the house
of Ms. Mojgan Khoshhal in Isfahan on Thursday, November 15, 2018, arresting 18
Baha'i citizens including two Baha'i women, Nasrin Khajeh and Mojgan Khoshhal.
two Baha'i women residing in Mashhad, Mrs. May Kholousi and her daughter, Saghi
Fadaii, had been taken to the Prison of Mashhad on October 31, 2018, to serve
two Baha'i women had been ordered in March to spend one year in prison by the 3rd
Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad for disseminating propaganda
against the state. The Revision Court upheld this verdict on August 26, 2018,
and the two Baha'i women were finally transferred to the Prison of Mashhad.
Baha'i women - Bahareh Zaini (Sobhanian), Sepideh Rouhani, and Foujan Rashidi -
were also among some 40 Baha'i citizens who were arrested and jailed in Shiraz
women are subject to intimidation, harassment, and dismissal from work and
school. Azita Rafizadeh, a Baha'i woman, is serving her years in Evin Prison
just for teaching in a college whose Baha'i students have been deprived of
education in other universities. Her husband, Payman Kushkbaghi, is also
imprisoned on the same charge in Gohardasht Prison. The couple have a
women and citizens are systematically deprived of their human rights while
according to article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
“everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of
his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in
public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance,
practice and teaching.”
though Pakistanis view their educated neighbours more favourably, a low
inclusion of concepts regarding global citizenship in national curricula and
ambivalent attitudes towards their inclusion corresponds with lower education
rates amongst Afghan refugees.
issue is exacerbated amongst Afghan refugee girls and the disabled, with the
former enjoying lower education rate than in their home country and prompting
concerns were expressed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO) as it released its latest Global Education Monitoring
(GEM) Report 2019 on migration, displacement and education: “Building bridges
report draws attention to the plight of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, many of
whom have been residents in the country for four decades.
compares the progress for Afghan refugees in the country with their compatriots
in neighbouring Iran — where one in four refugee children and undocumented
Afghan children are out of school, compared to three out of four among those in
Pakistan, thus, the overall primary enrollment rate of Afghan refugees was 29
per cent — a far cry from the national average of 71 per cent.
situation for Afghan refugee girls and women is particularly stark. In
Pakistan, only 18 per cent of Afghan refugee girls are enrolled in school,
which is half the enrolment rate of boys (39 per cent) and less than half the
rate for girls in Afghanistan.
in Iran, 64 per cent of female Afghan refugees over the age of 15 are literate,
among returnees surveyed from Nangarhar province in Pakistan, only seven per
cent were literate.
the report notes that one issue is the availability of female teachers to teach
girls — seen as a requirement in light of cultural sensitivities. But with
Pakistan amongst the countries where educational institutions have been
targeted in violent activities, female teachers displaced by violence were
hesitant to return to work, fearing for their security. This gives rise to a vicious
circle where sociocultural traditions demand that adolescent girls can be
taught only by women, but few female teachers are available. Hence contributing
to lower enrolment rates.
many Afghan refugees fleeing violence and one of the highest mined regions in
the world, a number of Afghan refugee children are differently abled. However,
the type of their different-ability also affected their school attendance.
report noted that those with difficulty seeing were most likely to attend
school (52 per cent attendance), while those with self-care difficulties were
the least likely (7.5 per cent attendance).
between were those with difficulty speaking (31 per cent) or walking (27 per
cent), trauma‑originating depression or confusion (23
per cent) and cognitive difficulties (21
global report shows that eight out of the 10 top refugee-hosting countries
include them in their national education systems.
countries like Iran strived for greater inclusion of refugees — documented or
not —there were some countries which practice exclusionary policies, such as
Bangladesh and Thailand.
Pakistan, refugee schools used the Afghan curriculum in preparation for their
return and reintegration into the Afghan education system, despite the fact
that the majority of Afghan refugees have never been to Afghanistan.
attend schools outside the public sector – private schools; madrassas, which
are free and provide food and boarding facilities; community-based schools; and
non-formal schools. The report noted that Pakistan’s overall attitude towards
Afghan refugees was ambivalent, Balochistan included them in its education plan
at the provincial level.
glimmer of hope appeared in September when Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared
to commit to a radical change in policy which would award citizenship to all
Afghan refugees, but this disappeared, along with the policy, a few days
later,” noted the report’s director Manos Antoninis.
is true that geography, history, resource availability and system capacity all
affect the evolving nature of inclusion. But our report shows the benefits to
refugees but also to host countries when they include refugees in national
education systems.” Antoninis pointed out that given how some countries had
successfully included refugees in the education systems, Pakistan could do
place to start would be to sign the Convention and Protocol Relating to the
Status of Refugees, like Iran.
to an oral short notice by prison authorities, political prisoner Atena Daemi
refused to appear before the 5th Branch of the Prosecutor's Office of Evin.
Daemi who is detained at the women's ward of Evin Prison was verbally notified
on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, by the prison authorities that she had been
summoned to the Branch 5 of Evin Prosecutor's Office on November 14, 2018.
prisoner Atena Daemi did not appear at the Prosecutor’s Office due to the short
notice for the next day, and also because she had not received any writ of
similar cases, such summons has ended up turning into false allegations filed
against political prisoners by prison authorities or intelligence agencies. It
is unclear why political prisoner Atena Daemi since she has been in jail for
four years serving her 15-year sentence.
prisoner Atena Daemi along with two of her cellmates, Golrokh Iraee and Maryam
Akbari Monfared, were deprived of family visits for three weeks upon an oral
notice by the head of the women’s ward. Prison agents argued that the reason
for this illegal measure was the prisoners’ verbal conflict, shouting slogans
in the meeting hall. The three women political prisoners requested to see the
writ of the verdict and the charges stated therein, but the head of the women's
ward said the order had been verbally communicated by Chaharmahali, the prison
warden and the prosecutor's office, and no written document was available.
prisoner Atena Daemi has repeatedly proclaimed her positions against the death
penalty and the regime’s suppressive measures on various occasions. In a letter
dated May 25, 2018, addressing the regime’s officials she wrote, "Yes
gentlemen, know that however much you resort to violence and oppression, there
are many who prefer to die rather than submit to oppression."
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