U.S. Rights Report Names and Shames Mideast States

[AFP] The U.S. State Department's human rights report for 2008, released Wednesday, singled out Egypt, Iran, Libya and Syria in the Middle East for jailing rights activists because of their beliefs. "Along with greater access to information through the Internet and satellite television came greater restrictions on media, including Internet bloggers," the report said, naming Egypt and Iran. The report said Iran also intensified its crackdown on dissent "through arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, and secret trials that occasionally end in executions." In addition, "Iranian women's rights activists were harassed, abused, arrested, and accused of 'endangering national security' for participating in peaceful protests and demanding equal treatment under Iranian law." Nations continued to restrict religious freedoms, the report said, citing members of the Bahai faith detained in Iran and Saudi Arabia barring public worship other than Sunni Islam. Furthermore, Syria in 2008 "continued to violate citizens' privacy rights and to impose significant restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association, in an atmosphere of government impunity and corruption."

2009-02-27 06:00:00

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