Israeli, Palestinian NGOs seek EU help on hunger strikers

Updated 02 June 2014

Israeli, Palestinian NGOs seek EU help on hunger strikers

JERUSALEM: Palestinian and Israeli rights groups on Sunday wrote to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton demanding her “urgent intervention” on behalf of 125 prisoners on long-term hunger strike.
The letter was sent as the overall number of Palestinian prisoners refusing food climbed to 290, including 70 being treated in hospital, an Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman told AFP.
Of that number, 125 have been on hunger strike for more than five weeks, beginning their mass protest on or shortly after April 24, Palestinian rights groups say.
Most of the prisoners are administrative detainees who are refusing to eat in protest over their being held without trial in a procedure which can be extended indefinitely.
“We ... wish to bring to your attention the ongoing mass hunger strike involving approximately 125 Palestinian detainees and prisoners, and request your urgent intervention on their behalf,” said the letter, signed by 17 rights groups and the Palestinian prisoners’ affairs ministry.
“As of June 1, the majority of the hunger strikers have gone without food for 38 days.
“We have reached a critical stage and unless there is immediate intervention there will be dire consequences for the health of all those on strike,” it said.
Many had stopped taking vitamins and were only drinking water, it said, accusing Israel of withholding salt from them for the first fortnight of their strike.
The IPS denied the allegation, with spokeswoman Sivan Weizman telling AFP the detainees had been given “everything as required by law.”
About 5,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention orders, which allow suspects to be jailed without trial for up to six months.
Such orders can be renewed indefinitely by a military court.


US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

Updated 22 November 2019

US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access
  • Mnuchin: Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury slapped punitive sanctions on Iran’s communications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Friday after the Tehran regime blocked Internet communications amid violent protests triggered by a petrol price hike.
“We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
“Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests,” Mnuchin said.
The protests erupted across the country on November 15, after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200 percent.
Officials have confirmed five deaths, while Amnesty International said that more than 100 demonstrators were believed to have been killed after authorities reportedly used live ammunition to quell the protests, which brought attacks on police stations and petrol stations and some looting of shops.
The Treasury said Azari Jahomi is a former official of the Ministry of Intelligence who has advanced Internet censorship since becoming minister two years ago.
He has “also been involved in surveillance against opposition activists,” the Treasury said.
Internet service remained mostly blocked on Friday for a sixth day, with officials and news agencies saying the blackout was gradually being rolled back.
The sanctions would freeze financial assets and property Azari Jahomi has in US jurisdictions and forbid Americans or US businesses, especially banks, from dealing with him.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump accused Iran of blocking the Internet to cover up “death and tragedy” resulting from the protests.
“Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country,” Trump tweeted.
“They want ZERO transparency, thinking the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing!” he wrote.