Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets over the last two weeks to protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police. (AP)
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Updated 05 October 2022

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
  • The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people

TEHRAN: Iran’s judiciary has opened an investigation into the death of a teenage girl, who was reportedly killed during protests over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since Amini died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people — mostly protesters but also members of the security forces.
“A case has been filed in the criminal court to investigate the cause of Nika Shakrami’s death,” Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency late Tuesday.
“An order to investigate the case has been issued and necessary measures are being taken in this regard,” he added.
Earlier, the prosecutor said 400 protesters were released from prison “on condition of not repeating their actions.”
He stressed, however, that those “who acted against national security” will be dealt with “decisively, seriously and without leniency.”


Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 
Updated 14 sec ago

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 
  • Naomi Campbell, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Pattinson among celebrities attending Egypt event

CAIRO: French fashion house Dior held its first show at Egypt’s ancient Giza pyramids, presenting its 2023 fall men’s collection in the shadow of the millennia-old tombs.

Naomi Campbell, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Pattinson and K-pop star Cha Eun Woo were among the 800 guests at the show, which took place after sunset with the pyramids lit up in the background.

The event celebrated Egypt’s rich history and culture and put it on the fashion scene. It was well-received by the public, with people celebrating Egypt hosting such a spectacular, global event which received international praise.

Giza marked the fourth location for Dior’s tour after Tokyo, Miami and London.

“My interest in ancient Egypt is about the stars and the sky … It links to Christian Dior in that sense and by way of his fascination with symbols and superstitions that recur throughout his life and work,” men’s artistic director Kim Jones wrote in the show notes.

Egyptian celebrities such as Aladdin actor Mena Massoud, singer Hamaki, Okhtein founders Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf as well as rapper Marwan Moussa were also seen watching the show.

The show was a beautiful juxtaposition, with the models walking on the desert’s sand dressed in neutral futuristic outfits, which Jones has become known for.

Before the show, Dior took to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is yet to be open for the general public, to show a collection guest designed by Tremaine Emor.

The collection was dominated by denim, plaid and varsity jackets.

Egypt hosting such a significant fashion event redefines the country from a solely tourist site to a location where creatives can meet and draw inspiration. 

Before the show, a number of Dior officials went sightseeing.

They visited Saqqara accompanied by Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. 

Wazir gave them an introductory tour of the area and the excavations taking place, and presented the Christian Dior Couture Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari with a souvenir on behalf of the council. 

The CEO expressed his happiness at holding the show in Egypt, the ministry statement added.

Beccari urged his friends and Dior customers to visit Egypt and spend more time there to enjoy its unique archaeological and tourist areas.


Iran activists, US brush off claim morality police abolished

Iran activists, US brush off claim morality police abolished
Updated 7 min 11 sec ago

Iran activists, US brush off claim morality police abolished

Iran activists, US brush off claim morality police abolished

PARIS: Iranian activists and Western nations have dismissed a claim that the protest-hit regime is disbanding its notorious morality police, insisting there was no change to women’s rights.

There were also calls on social media for a three-day strike in Iran, culminating Wednesday on the annual Student Day, nearly three months into a nationwide wave of unrest sparked by the death in custody of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.

Morality police officers had arrested Amini, 22, in Tehran for allegedly flouting Iran’s strict dress code demanding women wear modest clothing and the hijab headscarf.

“Nothing we have seen suggests Iran’s leadership is improving its treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence it inflicts on peaceful protesters,” the US State Department said.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Iranian protesters “want to live freely and in self-determination,” and disbanding the morality police, “if it is implemented, won’t change that.”

Amini’s death on Sept. 16 triggered women-led protests that have spiraled into the biggest challenge to the regime since the 1979 revolution.

Hundreds of Iranians, including some members of the security forces, have been killed.

In a surprise move over the weekend, Iran’s Prosecutor General Mohammed Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying that the morality police units — known formally as Gasht-e Ershad (“Guidance Patrol”) — had been closed down.

But campaigners were skeptical about his comments, which appeared to be an impromptu response to a question at a conference rather than a clearly signposted announcement by the Interior Ministry.

“Unless they remove all legal restrictions on women’s dress and the laws controlling citizens’ private lives, this is just a PR move,” said Roya Boroumand, co-founder of the US-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Center rights group.

Abolishing the force, activists argued, would mark no change to Iran’s headscarf policy — a key ideological pillar for its clerical leadership — but rather a switch in tactics on enforcing it. And scrapping the units would be “probably too little too late” for the protesters who now demand outright regime change, Boroumand said.

“Nothing prevents other law enforcement” bodies from policing “the discriminatory laws,” she noted.

The morality police have been a familiar sight since 2006 when they were introduced during the presidency of the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But the rules, including the headscarf, had been strictly enforced well before then by the clerical leadership that had taken the helm after the fall of the shah in 1979.


Houthi officials accused of abusing and isolating ‘critically sick’ journalists

Houthi officials accused of abusing and isolating ‘critically sick’ journalists
Updated 21 min 30 sec ago

Houthi officials accused of abusing and isolating ‘critically sick’ journalists

Houthi officials accused of abusing and isolating ‘critically sick’ journalists
  • Yemeni minister calls on international community, UN envoy to condemn militia’s criminal practices, pressure them to free captives

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: The family of a Yemeni journalist taken captive by the Iran-backed Houthis has accused Houthi officials of torturing their son by beating him and placing him in solitary confinement, making another urgent plea to rights organizations and international mediators to persuade the militia to release him.

Abdullah Al-Mansouri, the brother of Tawfiq Al-Mansouri, who was abducted by the Houthis in 2015, told Arab News that Abdulkader Al-Murtada, head of the Houthi prisoner exchange committee, his brother Shehab Al-Murtada, who is the head of Central Security Prison, and his deputy Murad Qassem personally abused his brother by hitting him on the head, leaving him bleeding for a long time before transporting him to a medical facility.

“Instead of administering care for the chronic conditions he got while incarcerated, he was subjected to torture,” Abdullah said, adding that a former inmate informed him that after torturing his brother and the other three journalists — Akram Al-Walidy, Abdul-Khaleq Omran and Harith Hamid — the Houthis placed them in solitary confinement.

In 2015, the Houthis seized four individuals, who were part of a group of journalists, from a Sanaa hotel and convicted them of spying.

The families of the abducted journalists were unable to explain why the Houthis increased the severity of their torture repeatedly.

Citing the instance of detained model Entesar Al-Hammadi, lawyers and activists who have previously spoken to Arab News think that the Houthis become enraged whenever public attention is paid to the plight of detainees. 

“I also wonder why the Houthis continue to periodically abuse Tawfiq and the other journalists. Even if we do not communicate with the media, they will be tortured. This demonstrates the Houthis’ level of savagery,” Abdullah said.

The Yemeni government has formally written to UN Yemen Envoy Hans Grunberg, informing him of the four journalists’ deterioration and urging him to intervene by pressuring the Houthis to release them.

The head of the Yemeni government delegation in charge of prisoner swap negotiations, Hadi Al-Haej, urged the envoy to assist in the release of the journalists, put an end to the Houthis’ continued mistreatment of prisoners, form a committee to investigate prisoner abuses and permit relatives of detainees to visit them in Houthi prisons. 

Yemen’s Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani said that the three Houthi leaders mistreated the four journalists, shattered Tawfiq’s skull, and placed them in an isolated cell for 45 days.

He referred to these actions as “war crimes.”

The Yemeni minister said on Twitter: “We call on the international community, the UN, the UN envoy, and human rights groups to condemn these criminal practices, to exert real pressure on the Houthi militia to unconditionally release the forcibly disappeared journalists from their detention centers and to label their leaders as terrorists.”

In Sanaa, Houthi leader Al-Murtada denied mistreating detainees, alleged widespread and hidden torture in the jails of the militia’s opponents, and demanded the formation of an international commission to examine human rights violations in Yemen.

“What the mercenaries are propagating, namely that some of our captives have been attacked and mistreated, is pure slander intended to conceal the atrocities perpetrated against the prisoners inside their facilities,” Al-Murtada said on Twitter.

Local rights groups and media reports said that a former inmate in a Houthi jail who was freed in 2020 as part of a major prisoner exchange died from the complications of ailments he developed while incarcerated.

Sadeq Abdul Jalel Al-Batera, who was tortured for years in a Houthi jail in the province of Taiz, succumbed to illness on Friday.


Egypt, Sudan conduct joint military exercise

Egypt, Sudan conduct joint military exercise
Updated 35 min 51 sec ago

Egypt, Sudan conduct joint military exercise

Egypt, Sudan conduct joint military exercise

CAIRO: An Egyptian-Sudanese military training exercise has got underway at the border guard training fields complex in Egypt.

The Guardian of the South-2 joint drill — which will continue for several days — is one of a number of exercises that have been conducted by the two nations’ armed forces.

Egyptian military spokesman Gharib Abdel-Hafez said that elements of Egypt’s border guard and Sudan’s infantry would be taking part in the training focused on border security tasks.

In a speech welcoming the Sudanese contingent, Egypt’s border guard commander said the exercise would help to strengthen the capabilities of forces from both countries.

The first phase of the training included an exhibition of the latest weapons and equipment used in border security work, and combating smuggling and infiltration, along with an update on efforts to promote integration between forces.

Lectures and practical exercises were also held to boost the combat experiences of both sides, improve military cooperation, and develop joint operations.

Egypt and Sudan’s first joint military exercise, Guardian of the South-1, was staged in October 2021 at Egypt’s Mohammed Naguib Military Base, the largest in the Middle East, located in the Al-Hamam area west of Alexandria.


Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
Updated 35 min ago

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
  • ‘Apartheid’ fears grow after authorities ramp up settler road construction

RAMALLAH: A 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire during a military raid in the occupied West Bank on Monday morning.

Omar Manna “Faraja” was killed in Bethlehem Dheisheh refugee camp after being hit by four bullets in the chest.

Another six people were injured, and four were arrested during the Israeli operation.

Troops stormed the refugee camp, sparking violent clashes with youths, official Palestinian sources said.

A comprehensive strike occurred in Bethlehem to mourn the murder of the Palestinian.

The killing took place as Israeli authorities started constructing settler-only roads in the West Bank.

Israel’s scheme aims to secure separate travel paths on shared roadways, reducing friction and violent clashes between Palestinians and settlers, Israeli armed forces and Palestinian sources told Arab News.

The Israeli plan includes the construction of streets near Nablus, Qalqilyia and between Bethlehem and Hebron, added the sources.

The process involves the seizure of thousands of acres of Palestinian land.

Israel had confiscated large swathes of Palestinian land for the construction of bypass roads since the signing of the Oslo agreement in late 1993, with the aim of dispersing Israeli settlers outside the Palestinian cities and towns across the West Bank.

Friction between Palestinian youths and Israeli defense forces over the protection of settler vehicles passing through shared roads across the West Bank has increased in recent months, leading to the deaths of several Palestinians by Israeli gunfire.

The significant increase in clashes includes stone-throwing as well as violent physical attacks by settlers on Palestinians.

Hiwara shared road is one of the most critical streets that the Israeli plan aims to replace with a bypass outside the town, Palestinian sources told Arab News.

Moein Al-Dumaidi, mayor of Hiwara, told Arab News that the street that Israeli authorities began paving in Hiwara is 6 km long.

Almost 1,100 dunums of village land was being seized for the work following a Israeli military decision.

“This is a method of confiscating the lands of Hiwara and appropriating it to serve the settlers,” Al-Dumaidi told Arab News.

However, the mayor hoped that the road would reduce tensions in the town.

Hiwara suffers from daily attacks by settlers and Israeli forces, leading to more than seven citizens being killed over the last three months, said the mayor.

The latest incident came on Dec. 3 when an Israeli soldier shot a child, Ammar Mufleh, leaving him to bleed to death over 20 minutes without providing treatment.

Al-Dumaidi said that killings had increased significantly since the election of Israel’s right-wing government.

Hiwara, with a population of 8,000, has 9,900 dunums, of which 7,500 are classified as Area C — under complete Israeli security and administrative control. Construction is prohibited within the Area C category, although 2,400 dunums classified as Area B can be used for building.

Mahmoud Barham, mayor of Beita, adjacent to Hawara, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had confiscated 400 dunums of Beita land containing olive trees to build a bypass road, which will be used exclusively by Israeli settlers.

“We demanded that the project to build this bypass road be stopped because it affects the entrance to our town,” Barham told Arab News.

Legal activist Amer Hamdan, who travels daily through the shared Hiwara street, told Arab News that separate lanes might reduce clashes between Palestinians, settlers and Israeli forces.

However, it could be classified as apartheid according to international law, Hamdan added.

Israel seeks to connect Israeli settlements from Hebron in the south of the West Bank to the Nablus area in the north through a network of streets for Israeli settlers.

“After settlers stop passing through streets shared with the Palestinians, no one will care about paving or maintaining existing roads,” Hamdan told Arab News.

“Even if a traffic accident occurs, the Palestinian police will not be able to reach the scene of the accident ... and the Israeli police will not be present, which will create a problem for the Palestinians who use these streets,” he added.

In 2019, Israel constructed a highway in eastern Jerusalem separated by a high concrete wall, dividing the road into two lanes — one for Palestinians and another for Israelis.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities demolished homes in the village of Al-Araqib on Monday.

Local residents, predominantly Arab Bedouins, were threatened with displacement in the Negev region for the 210th time since the village’s first demolition in 2010.

Locals persist in rebuilding their tents — made from wood and a nylon cover — each time after demolition in order to be shielded from the intense summer heat and bitter cold of the winter.

Israeli authorities refuse to recognize the ownership of the land by the people of Al-Araqib, and have repeatedly demolished the village and razed crops.

Demolition orders continue in East Jerusalem after Israeli authorities destroyed a residential building in the Wad Qaddum neighbourhood in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The 17-year-old building included 10 apartments housing about 100 people.