MIDDLE EAST: Weekly wrap of human rights violations in the region

In Iraq , the Ministry of Interior fired 3,000 policemen in mid-October for human rights abuses as well as incompetence in preventing terrorism. Reports emerged that some also had regular contact with insurgents.

“We are looking for recruits who will stand against anything that could harm our democracy and human rights,” Brig. Gen. Abdel Kareem Khalaf, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, told IRIN from Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Canadian human rights group Veteran Organ Donors International (VODI) sent a letter to the United Nations calling for an inquiry on war crimes committed by US-led coalition forces in Iraq. The UN responded by holding a meeting on 19 October with Iraq’s parliament to propose the formation of a commission to record human rights abuses countrywide.

The proposed commission, which was well received by all the meeting’s attendees, is expected to be operational at the beginning of next year, according to Gianni Magazzeni, representative of the Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).


In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood experienced another week of arrests and extra-judicial detentions. The group reported that senior member Dr Hassan el-Hayawan was arrested in his clinic, in the Sharqiya governate north of Cairo, on 17 October.

The arrest comes less than a month after el-Hayawan’s release following a three-month detention on charges of arms possession, on which he was acquitted.

“Dr Hassan is a well-reputed university professor and has a social position. We will table a written question around this incident, and we will exercise all legal procedures to stop such farces,” Dr Farid Ismail, a Brotherhood MP for the Sharqiya area, said.

The Brotherhood also said in a statement on 22 October that five members had been arrested as they were attempting to obtain credentials to stand in labour union elections scheduled for November. Brotherhood parliamentary bloc member Saber Aboul Fattouh said the Muslim Brotherhood “will continue to stand in the elections, despite such violations of the law”.

The Brotherhood, which holds 88 seats in the Egyptian parliament, is officially banned. Group members are frequently arrested seemingly to frustrate their political activities. Ministry of Interior officials, however, deny that provisions of Egypt’s Emergency Law, which can be used to detain individuals without charge for indefinite periods, are invoked for political reasons.


Authorities in Syria on Sunday refused to release prominent Syrian writer and pro-democracy activist Michel Kilo a few days after he was supposed to be released on bail, a human rights group said. Kilo has spent more than four months in detention.

Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organisation for Human Rights (NOHR), said that the government had filed new charges against Kilo, including “subjecting Syria to the danger of hostile actions, weakening the national feeling, disgracing the state, inciting sectarian and religious friction and defamation”.

NOHR said the authorities decided to keep Kilo in jail despite an order from another judge to release him on bail to be prosecuted at large.

Kilo denies the charges.

There was no word on Kilo from the government, which rarely comments on political detentions or releases.

Kilo and three other activists, Mahmoud Issa, Khalil Husein and Suleiman Shommar, were all ordered to stay jail on Sunday, Qurabi said. They were arrested in May, days after signing a petition entitled ’Beirut-Damascus Declaration’, which called on the government to forge diplomatic relations with Lebanon.

Menawhile, on Sunday, a Syrian judge ordered a halt to the trial of activists Mahmoud Marai, Ghaleb Amer, Nidal Darwish and Safwan Tayfour – who were arrested on the same charges as Kilo and released on bail on 16 July.


Civil society organisations staged a sit-in before the presidential office in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, on 21 October in protest of the arrest of human rights activist Ali Hussein al-Dailami and demanded his immediate release.

The protesters expressed concern over the fate of al-Dailami, his whereabouts and the reasons for his arrest.

Protestors have called on President Ali Abdallah Saleh to quickly resolve the case. Al-Dailami was arrested on 9 October at Sana’a airport by the political security authorities.

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