Aden receives first flight after ‘blockade’

A Yemenia Airways Airbus A320 aircraft is pictured at the Sanaa Airport, in this file photo taken on March 28, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 November 2017
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Aden receives first flight after ‘blockade’

ADEN: Yemen’s national airline said on Tuesday a commercial flight had landed at Aden international airport after acquiring security permits.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi militia said last week it had closed all air, land and sea ports in Yemen to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. The move came after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired toward Riyadh, which it blamed on Tehran.
A Yemenia airlines official said a flight took off from Cairo and landed in Aden on Tuesday before returning to the Egyptian capital. He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days.
In another development, Daesh claimed responsibility for a car bombing that security sources said killed 10 people, including civilians, at a security post in the government bastion of Aden on Tuesday.
The terrorist group claimed the attack in the southern port city via the encrypted messaging app Telegram, adding that a Yemeni suicide bomber had detonated the vehicle.
Aden’s security chief told AFP: “Eight members of the security forces and two civilians were killed in a car bombing in the central district of Abdul Aziz.”
“There are a large number of wounded, some of them in serious condition,” Brig. Shalal Shaya said, attributing the blast to a car bomb.


Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

Since protests began in December, Iranians have had their internet access disrupted and have lost access to the messaging app Telegram. (Reuters)
Updated 39 min 4 sec ago
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Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

  • The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government

GENEVA, LONDON: In early January, labor activist Esmail Bakhshi posted a letter on Instagram saying he had been tortured in jail, attracting support from tens of thousands of Iranians online.
Bakhshi, who said he was still in pain, also challenged the intelligence minister to a public debate about the religious justification for torture. Late last month, Bakhshi was rearrested.
Sepideh Qoliyan, a journalist covering labor issues in the Ahvaz region, was also rearrested on the same day after saying on social media that she had been abused in jail.
Bakhshi’s allegations of torture and the social media furor that followed led Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to call for an investigation, and the intelligence minister subsequently met with a parliamentary committee to discuss the case, a rare example of top officials being prompted to act by a public backlash online.
“Each sentence and description of torture from the mouths of #Sepideh_Qoliyan and #Esmail_Bakhshi should be remembered and not forgotten because they are now alone with the torturers and under pressure and defenseless. Let us not forget,” a user named Atish posted on Twitter in Farsi on Feb. 11.
“When thousands of people share it on social media, the pressure for accountability goes up,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director at the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. “Sham investigations won’t put it to rest. Social media is definitely becoming a major, major public square in Iran.”
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said last month, without naming Bakhshi, that allegations of torture online constitute a crime.
His comments follow growing pressure from officials to close Instagram, which has about 24 million users in Iran. Iran last year shut down the Telegram messaging app, which had about 40 million users in the country, citing security concerns.
“Today you see in cyberspace that with the posting of a film or lie or rumor the situation in the country can fall apart,” Dolatabadi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. “You saw in recent days that they spread a rumor and announced the rape of an individual or claimed suicide and recently you even saw claims of torture and all the powers in the country get drawn in. Today cyberspace has been transformed into a very broad platform for committing crimes.”
The arrests of Bakhshi and Qoliyan are part of a crackdown in Ahvaz, center of Iran’s Arab population. Hundreds of activists there pushing for workers’ and minority rights, two of the most contentious issues in Iran, have been detained in recent weeks.
The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government.