Iran protester’s custody death ‘suspicious’ after ‘torture’: rights groups

Iran protester’s custody death ‘suspicious’ after ‘torture’: rights groups
Human rights groups on Friday called for an investigation into the death in prison of an Iranian man arrested over last year's protests, alleging he had been "horrifically tortured". (AP/File)
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Updated 01 September 2023
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Iran protester’s custody death ‘suspicious’ after ‘torture’: rights groups

Iran protester’s custody death ‘suspicious’ after ‘torture’: rights groups
  • Javad Rouhi, 31, was arrested in September 2022 in Nowshahr during the widespread protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini
  • Human Rights Watch said he was “horrifically tortured” following his arrest and then died “under suspicious circumstances” on August 31, 2023

PARIS: Human rights groups on Friday called for an investigation into the death in prison of an Iranian man arrested over last year’s protests, alleging he had been “horrifically tortured.”
Javad Rouhi, 31, was arrested in September 2022 in Nowshahr in the northern Mazandaran province during the widespread protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rules for women.
He was convicted two months later and sentenced to death, although the sentence was later struck down and a retrial ordered.
Human Rights Watch said he was “horrifically tortured” following his arrest and then died “under suspicious circumstances” on August 31, 2023.
Norway-based Iran Human Rights echoed that he died “under suspicious circumstances.”
The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported he died early Thursday “after suffering a seizure while in prison” in Nowshahr.
“The Iranian prison authorities’ egregious record of torture and mistreatment makes Javad Rouhi’s death in custody more than a little suspicious,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at HRW.
“An international inquiry is needed since there’s no reason to believe Iranian authorities will carry out a transparent investigation.”
According to HRW, which cited an informed source, he had in custody suffered torture including being exposed to freezing temperatures and having ice cubes placed on his testicles and other parts of his body for 48-hour periods.
“The attackers also beat him severely with batons and whipped his body, including the soles of his feet, while he was tied to a pole,” it added.
IHR’s director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said Rouhi’s death must be investigated “as an extrajudicial killing in prison” by the UN fact-finding mission set up to investigate human right abuse committed during Iran’s crackdown on the protests.
“The United Nations fact-finding mission should investigate all torture and deaths in custody related to the protests in Iran,” Sepehri Far said. “Sadly, the case of Javad Rouhi is just the latest one.”
The protests have now largely subsided, despite some sporadic outbursts, after a crackdown which saw thousands detained, according to the UN, and hundreds shot dead by security forces, according to activists.
Rouhi was sentenced to death on the charge of “corruption on Earth” for “leading a group of rioters,” “inciting people to create insecurity,” and “apostasy by desecration of the Qur'an by burning it,” Mizan said in January.


Israeli strikes target Lebanon’s Baalbek for first time since Gaza war

Israeli strikes target Lebanon’s Baalbek for first time since Gaza war
Updated 26 February 2024
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Israeli strikes target Lebanon’s Baalbek for first time since Gaza war

Israeli strikes target Lebanon’s Baalbek for first time since Gaza war
  • The strikes are among the deepest into Lebanon since the Israel-Hamas war began more than four months ago
  • Israel’s air force carried out three airstrikes on the outskirts of the village of Buday, near Baalbek, targeting a convoy of trucks

BEIRUT: The Israeli military said Monday its air force was striking targets of the militant Hebollah group “deep inside Lebanon,” where residents reported explosions near the northeastern city of Baalbek.
The strikes are among the deepest into Lebanon since the Israel-Hamas war began more than four months ago. They come a day after Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to step up attacks on Lebanon’s Hezbollah even if a cease-fire is reached with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Lebanese security officials said Israel’s air force carried out three airstrikes on the outskirts of the village of Buday, near Baalbek, targeting a convoy of trucks. Buday is a Hezbollah stronghold. There was no immediate word on casualties.
A Hezbollah official confirmed that three strikes hit near Baalbek. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
The Israeli army said further details will follow.
The airstrikes near Baalbek came hours after Hezbollah said its fighters on Monday shot down an Israeli drone over its stronghold in a province in southern Lebanon. Anotehr missile fired by Hezbollah toward the drone was intercepted by Israel, and landed near a synagogue in a town close to Nazareth in northern Israel. There were no injuries or damage.
Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with Israeli troops along the border since the Israel-Hamas broke on Oct. 7.
The strike on Baalbek, because of its location deep inside Lebanon, is the most significant one since the early January airstrike on Beirut that killed top Hamas official Saleh Arouri.
Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel throughout the war in Gaza, has said it will halt its nearly daily attacks on Israel if a cease-fire is reached in Gaza.


Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
Updated 26 February 2024
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Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
  • Move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up Palestinian Authority
  • Shtayyeh says he is resigning to allow broader consensus among Palestinians following Israel’s war on Gaza

RAMALLAH: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday he was resigning to allow for the formation of a broad consensus among Palestinians about political arrangements following Israel’s war against the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
The move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Palestinian Authority as international efforts have intensified to stop the fighting in Gaza and begin work on a political structure to govern the enclave after the war.
His resignation must still be accepted by Abbas, who may ask him to stay on as caretaker until a permanent replacement is appointed.
In a statement to cabinet, Shtayyeh, an academic economist who took office in 2019, said the next stage would need to take account of the emerging reality in Gaza, which has been laid waste by nearly five months of heavy fighting.
He said the next stage would “require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus.”
In addition, it would require “the extension of the Authority’s authority over the entire land, Palestine.”
The Palestinian Authority, formed 30 years ago under the interim Oslo peace accords, exercises limited governance over parts of the occupied West Bank but lost power in Gaza following a struggle with Hamas in 2007.
Fatah, the faction that controls the PA, and Hamas have made efforts to reach an agreement over a unity government and are due to meet in Moscow on Wednesday. A senior Hamas official said the move had to be followed by a broader agreement on governance for the Palestinians.
“The resignation of Shtayyeh’s government only makes sense if it comes within the context of national consensus on arrangements for the next phase,” senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.


UAE floating hospital begins operations at Al-Arish to treat Palestinian patients

UAE floating hospital begins operations at Al-Arish to treat Palestinian patients
Updated 26 February 2024
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UAE floating hospital begins operations at Al-Arish to treat Palestinian patients

UAE floating hospital begins operations at Al-Arish to treat Palestinian patients

AL-ARISH: A floating hospital provided by the UAE, anchored in Egypt’s Port city of Al-Arish, commenced operations on Sunday to provide treatment for injured Palestinians.

The initiative is a part of the UAE’s “Gallant Knight 3” humanitarian operation.

The 100-bed hospital has operating rooms, an intensive care unit, radiology section, laboratory and pharmacy, state news agency WAM reported.

A 20-year-old Palestinian man was the first to undergo surgery at the hospital. He was treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder and injuries caused by shrapnel.

Doctors repositioned his shoulder, and he will require a follow-up operation to repair nerve damage.

The floating hospital was established in cooperation with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and AD Ports Group. It is being staffed by 100 medical workers who are skilled in anesthesia, general surgery, orthopedics, and emergency medicine.

Dr. Falah Al-Mahmoud, director of the hospital, said the facility would help alleviate the suffering of Palestinians.

Dr. Falah Al-Mahmoud, director of the hospital, said the facility would help alleviate the suffering of Palestinians. (WAM)

 


Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
Updated 26 February 2024
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Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
  • Palestinian PM says ‘new political measures’ needed amid Gaza war
  • The move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Palestinian Authority

RAMALLAH: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday he was resigning to allow for the formation of a broad consensus among Palestinians about political arrangements following Israel’s war against the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
The move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Palestinian Authority as international efforts have intensified to stop the fighting in Gaza and begin work on a political structure to govern the enclave after the war.
His resignation must still be accepted by Abbas, who may ask him to stay on as caretaker until a permanent replacement is appointed.
In a statement to cabinet, Shtayyeh, an academic economist who took office in 2019, said the next stage would need to take account of the emerging reality in Gaza, which has been laid waste by nearly five months of heavy fighting.
He said the next stage would “require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus.”
In addition, it would require “the extension of the Authority’s authority over the entire land, Palestine.”
The Palestinian Authority, formed 30 years ago under the interim Oslo peace accords, exercises limited governance over parts of the occupied West Bank but lost power in Gaza following a struggle with Hamas in 2007.
Fatah, the faction that controls the PA, and Hamas have made efforts to reach an agreement over a unity government and are due to meet in Moscow on Wednesday. A senior Hamas official said the move had to be followed by a broader agreement on governance for the Palestinians.
“The resignation of Shtayyeh’s government only makes sense if it comes within the context of national consensus on arrangements for the next phase,” senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.


Yemen’s Houthis announce first civilian death in US-UK strikes

Yemen’s Houthis announce first civilian death in US-UK strikes
Updated 26 February 2024
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Yemen’s Houthis announce first civilian death in US-UK strikes

Yemen’s Houthis announce first civilian death in US-UK strikes
  • One person was killed and eight wounded a day after US and British forces said they fired on 18 targets
SANAA: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia have reported the first civilian death in US and British air strikes after the latest round of joint raids over the weekend.
One person was killed and eight wounded, the Houthis’ official news agency said late on Sunday, a day after US and British forces said they fired on 18 targets across the country.
The US-British strikes were in response to dozens of Houthi drone and missile attacks on Red Sea shipping since November, which the rebels say are in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.
“The American-British aggression on the district of Maqbana in the governorate of Taiz has left one civilian dead and eight wounded,” the Houthis’ Saba agency said, citing a statement from the rebel-run health ministry.
The Houthis, who control war-torn Yemen’s most populated areas, have previously reported the death of 17 of their fighters in the Western strikes targeting military facilities.
The Houthi attacks have had a significant effect on traffic through the busy Red Sea route, forcing some companies into a two-week detour around southern Africa. Last week, Egypt said Suez Canal revenues were down by up to 50 percent this year.
Washington, Israel’s vital ally, gathered an international coalition in December to protect Red Sea traffic. It has launched several rounds of strikes as well as four joint raids with Britain, which began last month.
The Houthis initially said they were targeting Israel-linked shipping in the Red Sea and adjoining Gulf of Aden, but then declared that US and British interests were also “legitimate” targets.