Human Rights

Retrial date set for Greste's compatriots

A retrial has been scheduled for this week for the Al Jazeera journalists charged with aiding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

An Egyptian court has set February 12 as the retrial date for the journalists who were jailed with Australian Peter Greste.

Greste, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, all journalists with the Qatari-owned channel, were originally sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for allegedly aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

But an appeals court overturned that verdict in January and ordered a retrial, which the judicial official said is to begin on Thursday.

Bali nine: lawyers challenge Widodo's clemency refusal

Bali nine lawyers have launched a rare appeal against the Indonesian Prime Minister’s refusal to grant their client pardons.

Heroin trafficker ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are due to face a firing squad by the end of February after Prime Minister Widodo denied clemency.

But their lawyers have challenged the decision in the Jakarta Administrative Court, arguing the Prime Minister had failed to adequately consider each case on its merit. They say this is their final chance to save their clients.

Mr Widodo has declared a state of drug emergency throughout Indonesia and vows never to grant clemency to any drug offender.

Peter Greste released; uncertainty for remaining journalists

Al Jazeera and Australian journalist, Peter Greste, has returned home after spending a year imprisoned in Egypt. His colleague Mohammed Fahmy, may also be released soon if he should forfeit his Egyptian citizenship.

Mr Greste alongside Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were all Al Jazeera journalists arrested during a diplomatic row between Cairo and Qatar, sparking international outcry.

Since his return, Mr Greste has campaigned to ensure the release of his two colleagues. Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy is expected to be released if he is willing to renounce Egyptian citizenship. Canada’s foreign minister John Baird said his release was imminent.

Mohammed Fahmy’s anticipated release leaves Baher Mohammed, an Egyptian citizen, remaining in prison with an unclear future.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for ceasefire in Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a ceasefire in the Ukraine after Pro-Russian separatists vowed to mobilise up to 100,000 fighters.

Merkel announced that Germany would not be supplying weapons to Ukraine, suggesting negotiations and a diplomatic solution are the best option .

“It is my firm belief that this conflict cannot be solved militarily.” she says.

Fighting in Ukraine has claimed over 5,000 lives and displaced around 900,000 people since April.

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Recent Boko Haram attacks threaten Nigeria's general election

In Nigeria Boko Haram has continued its slaughter of civilians resulting in an exodus of people fleeing towards the mountains. The attack comes weeks before the general election, citing concern for voters security and the country’s ability to democratically elect a new leader.

The recent attacks were made in the north-eastern state of Adamawa where a significant bumber of bodies are reported to be lying in village streets. The recent attack brings a new height to the blood shed, the motives of the latest killings remain unclear.

Concern over voter security has prompted the EU to send polling observers across the country, however no officials will be sent into the country’s tumultuous north-east.

Australia involved in West Papuan persecution

Australia is facing allegations that they have trained a counter-terrorism unit to Indonesia which is currently operating in West Papua as a “death squad”.

West Papua is a province of Indonesia experiencing political turmoil as the Indonesian government squashes appeals for independence and humane treatment of indigenous West Papuans.

300 Auschwitz suvivors mark 70th anniversary

World leaders have joined almost 300 Auschwitz survivors at the site of the former Nazi death camp to mark 70 years since its liberation by Soviet troops.

The gathering in southern Poland may perhaps the last anniversary that survivors could gather in such numbers, given the youngest were now in their 70s.

The anniversary is being held in the shadow of war in Ukraine and a rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and abroad. Survivors have urged people and leaders to remember what is possible when prejudice and hatred is allowed to flourish adding that action is also needed to curb the tensions developing around the world.

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No reprieve for Bali Nine drug traffickers

After extensive appeals for clemency, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo has once again indicated no chance of reprieve for the two remaining Bali Nine drug traffickers.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have been convicted after attempting to smuggle heroin out of the country and face execution.

The men have exhausted all legal avenues but are still appealing for clemency. The call for clemency has also come from Australia, with Prime Minister Abbott making a public appeal on Friday, with the latest gesture coming from renowned artist Ben Quilty’s planned 'Music for Mercy' event, a candle lit vigil and music performance this Thursday in Sydney.

Partner visa applicants unfair target for goverment money raising

Very late last year the Abbott government announced legislative changes would be made to the permanent residency process and a key part of this was a fifty percent price increase for those applying for partner visas.

The government's reasoning according the Department of Immigration and Border Protection: "That those who want to become Australian citizens have a connection to the country rather than an Australian. Citizenship is a privilege and not a right."

Another justification was the accusations of fraud which plagued the system last year.

Islamic State targets educated Iraqi women

In its latest version of brutality, the Islamic State (IS) is waging a war against educated Iraqi women.

The United Nation’s (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) warned last week that professional women are a particular target of IS militants, especially women who have run for office.

Ravina Shamdasani, OHCHR spokesperson, says they have received word of several women being executed in areas of IS stronghold in Iraq, including three female lawyers in just the first few weeks of 2015.

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