Finger of suspicion points to Kremlin

THIEVES have broken into the studio of a film director to steal his documentary about the jailed Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky days before it was due to make its debut at the Berlin Film Festival.

Two laptops and two other computers were taken from the Berlin studio of Cyril Tuschi - raising fears that Russian agents could again be active in Western Europe. The incident also highlights the extraordinary sensitivity of the case of Khodorkovsky, 47, the former head of the Yukos company, who in December had his jail sentence extended to 2017. theaustralian

Assassination of Anna Politkovskaya

Politkovskaya's book, Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy, strongly criticized Putin's federal presidency, including his pursuit of the Second Chechen War. She accused Putin and the Russian secret service FSB of stifling all civil liberties in order to establish a Soviet-style dictatorship, but admitted that "it is we who are responsible for Putin's policies":

"Society has shown limitless apathy... As the Chekists have become entrenched in power, we have let them see our fear, and thereby have only intensified their urge to treat us like cattle. The KGB respects only the strong. The weak it devours. We of all people ought to know that." wikipedia

Iranian-Dutch Citizen Sentenced to Death

Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) - Zahra Bahrami, an Iranian-Dutch citizen who was arrested in the wake of the Ashura (December 27, 2009) massive popular protests has been sentenced to death.

Zhinous Sharif Razi, Zahra Bahrami’s lawyer confirmed the news and told CHRR, “My client’s case was being investigated in two parts. The first part concerns the 2009 Ashura events. No trial has been held regarding the [Ashura] charges, so naturally no sentence has been issued [either]. However, the death sentence concerns the second part of the case against Zahra Bahrami that involves the possession of narcotics. More than 30 grams of drugs were discovered in my client’s home after it was searched. According to the law, possession of more than 30 grams of [certain] drugs is punishable by death. The court has sentenced her to death on this charge.”

Sharif Razi also said there is no possibility to appeal the sentence. She stated that the only way to save Zahra Bahrami is [to receive] a positive response from the Clemency and Forgiveness Commission: “The drug possession cases are sent directly to the National Attorney General’s office after tried in the lower court, and then the cases are sent to the Execution of Sentences Circuit court. Our only hope is that the Clemency and Forgiveness Commission responds positively [to our request for clemency].”

Zahra Bahrami was charged with Moharebeh [enmity with God] by Judge Salavati of branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on August 16, 2010. Her charges included: “acting against national security, propaganda against the regime, Moharebeh, and membership in the proscribed Monarchist Association”. persian2english

“How is it possible that she was executed?!”

A shocked and emotional Banafsheh Nayebpour, daughter of Iranian-Dutch citizen, Zahra Bahrami, who, according to a Fars News Agency report, was executed in the early morning hours of Saturday, 29 January 2010, talked to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today. She said people have been calling her for the past hour to verify the news of her mother’s death. “How is such a thing possible? We had requested clemency, and we have not yet received a reply. They have not reviewed my mother’s other case, either. How is it possible that she was executed?” she said in disbelief.

Zahra Bahrami’s daughter was informed of her mother’s execution through phone calls from her friends and relatives on Saturday at around 4:00 p.m. “I called her lawyer. She had not been informed, either. I don’t know where to go now, of whom to seek information. Nobody is answering me now, because it’s past business hours. This means that my mother died this morning, when I was sleeping,” she said.

“Shouldn’t they have informed her family and lawyer before executing her? We should have gone to see her before her execution. Is it so easy–that my mother is no longer in this world? Did I not have any right to see her before her execution?” said a distraught Banafesheh Nayebpour. persian2english

David Kato

David Kato Kisule (1964 – January 26, 2011) was a Ugandan teacher and LGBT rights activist, considered a father of Uganda's gay rights movement. He served as advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Kato was murdered in 2011, shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his name and photograph identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed. wikipedia

Dozens of women murdered in Portugal *

April 7 ** - Seven Embassy employees left the office for the day to lend a helping hand and paint several rooms (and hallways!) of a shelter belonging to the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV). The three story house is currently a temporary home for approximately 30 women and children victimized by domestic violence and, with all the small children running around, it was in need of several coats of paint.

This volunteer initiative was undertaken within the framework of Embassy Lisbon’s Environmental & Humanitarian Outreach Program (LEHOP). Domestic violence is unfortunately a growing problem in Portugal. Last year alone, 43 women were murdered and thousands of victims and family members affected by domestic violence. usembassy * every year ** 2009

Note - in 2010 more than 40 women were again murdered in Portugal by husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, lovers and ex-lovers... Portuguese laws are very soft to the killers and Portuguese politicians (both men and women) seem do not worry much to tackle the problem.

Wins UK transfer after seven years in rat-infested jail

A former City worker who spent seven years in an Indian jail for alleged drug trafficking has won his battle to serve his sentence in a British prison.

Patrick Malluzzo, 33, was held in one of India's most notorious prisons where he shared a rat-infested cell with 70 other inmates.
Documents produced at Mr Malluzzo's trial confirm that no drugs were found in his holdall.

He claimed Indian police denied him access to a lawyer, deprived him of sleep, burned him with cigarettes, beat him with bamboo sticks and used pliers on his genitals to make him confess. standard