The undersigned organisations strongly condemn the persecution of employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Egyptian civil society by the Egyptian government. We urge the global community and their respective governments to do the same and join us in calling for the release of detained human rights defenders and a stop to the demonisation of civil society organisations and human rights defenders by government-owned or pro-government media.

Since November 15, Egyptian authorities have escalated their crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society organizations. On November 19, Gasser Abdel-Razek, Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)—one of the few remaining human rights organisations in Egypt—was arrested at his home in Cairo by security forces. One day prior, EIPR’s Criminal Justice Unit Director, Karim Ennarah, was arrested while on vacation in Dahab. The organization’s Administrative Manager, Mohamed Basheer, was also taken in the early morning hours from his home in Cairo 15 November. 

All three appeared in front of the Supreme State Security Prosecution where they were charged with joining a terrorist group, spreading false news, and misusing social media, and were remanded into custody and given 15 days of pre-trial detention.

The interrogations of the security services and then the prosecution of the leaders of the EIPR focused on the organisation’s activities, the reports issued by it, and its efforts of advocating human rights, especially a meeting held in early November by EIPR and attended by a number of ambassadors and diplomats accredited to Egypt from some European countries, Canada, and the representative of the European Union.

The detention of EIPR staff means one thing: Egyptian authorities are continuing to commit human rights violations with full impunity. This crackdown comes amidst a number of other cases in which the prosecution and investigation judges have used pre-trial detention as a method of punishment. Egypt’s counterterrorism law was amended in 2015 under President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi so that pre-trial detention can be extended for two years and, in terrorism cases, indefinitely. A number of other human rights defenders—including Mahienour el-Masry, Mohamed el-Baqer, Solafa Magdy, Alaa Abd El Fattah, Sanaa Seif, and Esraa Abdelfattah — are currently held in prolonged pre-trial detention. EIPR researcher Patrick George Zaki remains detained pending investigations by the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) over unfounded “terrorism”-related charges since his arrest in February 2020. Amnesty International has extensively documented how Egypt’s SSSP uses extended pre-trial detention to imprison opponents, critics, and human rights defenders over unfounded charges related to terrorism for months or even years without trial. 

In addition to these violations, Gasser Abdel-Razek told his lawyer that he received inhumane and degrading treatment in his cell that puts his health and safety in danger. He further elaborated that he was never allowed out of the cell, had only a metal bed to sleep on with neither mattress nor covers, save for a light blanket, was deprived of all his possessions and money, was given only two light pieces of summer garments, and was denied the right to use his own money to purchase food and essentials from the prison’s canteen. His head was shaved completely. 

The manner in which Egypt treats its members of civil society cannot continue, and we, an international coalition of human rights and civil society actors, denounce in the strongest of terms the arbitrary use of pre-trial detention as a form of punishment. The detention of EIPR staff is the latest example of how Egyptian authorities crackdown on civil society with full impunity. It’s time to hold the Egyptian government accountable for its human rights abuses and crimes. Join us in calling for the immediate release of EIPR staff, and an end to the persecution of Egyptian civil society.

Signed,

Access Now
Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC)
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
ARTICLE 19 
Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM)
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Center for Democracy & Technology
Committee for Justice (CFJ)
Digital Africa Research Lab
Digital Rights Foundation
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Elektronisk Forpost Norge (EFN)
epicenter.works – for digital rights
Fight for the Future
Free Media Movement (FMM)
Fundación Andina para la Observación y el Estudio de Medios (Fundamedios)
The Freedom Initiative
Fundación Ciudadanía Inteligente
Globe International Center
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
Homo Digitalis 
Human Rights Watch
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
Index on Censorship
Independent Journalism Center Moldova (IJC-Moldova)
International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos-Nigeria
International Press Institute (IPI)
Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey (IFoX)
International Free Expression Project
Masaar – Technology and Law Community
Mediacentar Sarajevo
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zimbabwe
MENA Rights Group
Mnemonic
Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO)
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
PEN Canada
PEN Norway
Privacy International (PI)
Public Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech (Adil Soz)
R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales 
Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF)
Scholars at Risk (SAR)
Skyline International Foundation
Social Media Exchange (SMEX)
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
Statewatch (UK)
Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State

(original post)

Facebook and YouTube are complicit in “censorship and repression on an industrial scale” in Vietnam, according to a report by Amnesty International that accuses the platforms of openly signalling that they are willing to bow to the wishes of authoritarian regimes, The Guardian has reported.

By giving more power to giants like Facebook and Google (owner of YouTube) we just put ourselves in danger of oppression. These giants don’t care about our rights; what they do care about is benefit.

If they obey a government like Vietnam, they surely obey governments like United States when needed, and that can lead to violating free speech and people’s rights.

If a com[any that gains its power from people acts against people, it should be punished. Sadly, governments mostly don’t side with people. They thrive for power and side with giants like Facebook so they can remain in control of people.

Four French blue pigs have been suspended and are in custody after a video that shows them brutally beating a Black man was posted online Thursday, NPR has reported.

The incident has provoked an outcry across France and comes as President Emmanuel Macron’s government is trying to push through controversial legislation that would restrict the filming of blue pigs. Civic and journalist freedom groups oppose the bill, calling it a shield for brutality.

Forbidding people from filming blue pigs (and other official forces) only puts them in power for more violation of human rights and more criminal activities.

Also, the incident proves no matter how much liberty and democracy you have in your country, there always will be some people who violate people’s rights, so the fight for freedom and individual liberty should not stop, for any reason or matter.

The Guardian has reported that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iranian nuclear scientist, was ambushed with explosives and machine gun fire in the town of Absard, 70km east of Tehran. Efforts to resuscitate him in hospital failed. His bodyguard and family members were also wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Israel was probably to blame, and an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, vowed retaliation. “We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action,” tweeted Hossein Dehghan.

There is no evidence of a role for Israel in this attack, but it is highly unlikely that anyone other than Israel ordered or planned this terrorist attack.

This is an obvious violation of international laws. A state-sponsored terrorism encourages other countries to get involved in such actions and with that, world will be in absolute chaos.

It is not the first attack on Iranian scientists. Not even first that one balming Israel. This terror attack is only the last on long list of attacks blamed on Israel.

Ardeshir Hosseinpour, Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Fereydoon Abbasi, Darioush Rezaeinejad, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan are other Iranian nuclear scientists that are assassinated, all believed in Israeli-sponsored terrorist attacks.

SWI has reported that Swiss public television, SRF, has found a second company besides Crypto AG was involved in manufacturing manipulated devices allegedly used for spying by foreign intelligence.

According to SRF sources, the Swiss company Omnisec AG had ties to US intelligence services. This follows revelations in February by SRF, German television ZDF and The Washington Post that Zug-based firm Crypto AG was at the heart of a huge international spying operation led by the CIA, and to a lesser extent by the German BND spy agency. Omnisec was one of the largest competitors of Crypto AG.

Swiss cryptologist and professor Ueli Maurer was a consultant for Omnisec for years and told SRF that in 1989 US intelligence services (National Security Agency) contacted Omnisec through him.

Of concern are the OC-500 series devices. Devices were sold to several Swiss federal agencies. However, Swiss authorities only noticed the devices weren’t secure in the mid-2000s.

This is the world we live in. Everything, everything can be dangerous to our privacy.

After Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a peace deal, thousands of people, who were displaced because of the war, are now returning to their homes, in fear; DW has reported.

“Our main task here is to restore normal life in Artsakh, provide social guarantees for the families of killed servicemen and citizens, find out the fate of the missing as soon as possible, provision of social guarantees for their families, disabled soldiers and citizens, as well as the implementation of social-psychological work in general,” the Armenian president said.

However, many Armenians fear for future conflicts in the region. Azerbaijan has never recognized the Armenian Genocide and there are still many conflicts between people. For example, in 2019, Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t play in UEFA Europa League final in Azerbaijan over safety concerns.

Now that Azerbaijan took lands in the region, and Azerbaijanis are probably going to these places, there’s fear for hate crimes and more massacres. I’m not saying that Azerbaijanis will definitely do this but I say there’s a huge possibility that many people, both Armenian and Azerbaijani, didn’t forget everything and have a little hate in themselves.

Both governments and people should pay attention to this. And I also believe no other government should be involved as it’s the interest of people of this region, not any other one.

Following reports of the imminent execution of Ahmad Reza Jalali, an Iranian-Swedish physician and researcher, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that she had contacted Mohammad Javad Zarif and called for an end to the execution.

The Swedish Foreign Minister tweeted that he had conveyed his country’s official protest to the Iranian Foreign Minister. “Sweden condemns the death penalty and tries to stop execution of the sentence against Jalali,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the information provided by the Swedish authorities about the situation of Mr. Jalali, who is in prison for security crimes, is incomplete and incorrect,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He added: “As Mohammad Javad Zarif explained to Ms. Linde,” the judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran is independent and any interference in the issuance or execution of judicial rulings is rejected and unacceptable. “

Vida Mehrannia, the wife of Ahmad Reza Jalali, said that her husband told her by telephone on Tuesday that he was to be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj to serve his death sentence.

Execution is an inhumane sentence and should be stopped. I don’t know how accurate the accusations against Mr. Jalali are and I don’t know if the officials are telling the truth but there should be other punishments than execution, of course if the crime really did happen.

Mr. Jalali has denied the allegations and says he is innocent.

Business Insider has reported In a letter to pro-privacy nonprofits, including Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apple accused Facebook of collecting “as much data as possible” while showing a “disregard for user privacy.”

Facebook shot back saying Apple is abusing its dominance to “self-preference their own data collection.”

Apple’s letter was defending the delayed rollout of a privacy feature that will require users to opt in to being followed by ad-trackers on apps. Facebook previously complained this feature would gut its advertising revenue.

This is good. A fight between two of the biggest violators of people’s privacy can be really good as more people now can understand how these companies are abusing their ability to collect people’s data and misusing this power.

Apple is a privacy hero in the mind of a lot of people while it’s just another one of the biggest privacy-violating companies in the world.

Facebook also accused Apple of sending the letter as a “distraction” from privacy concerns that emerged last week after a series of Mac computers had difficulties opening apps. Security researcher Jeffrey Paul claimed in a blog this was because macOS has started harvesting data from users.

“The truth is Apple has expanded its business into advertising and through its upcoming iOS 14 changes is trying to move the free internet into paid apps and services where they profit,” Facebook said.

“As a result, they are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data. They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” the statement read.

“This is all part of a transformation of Apple’s business away from innovative hardware products to data-driven software and media.”

Digital payment systems like PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc. have central computer infrastructure. Whoever controls this infrastructure has total control over individual transactions and can deny any withdrawal, payment, or donation.

A potentially corrupted state can easily abused this as a tool of power for repressing political opposition. That’s why centralized digital payment systems are not ethical and frankly a threat to democracies.

For example, The Guardian has recently reported that Belarus tells banks to seize money raised to help out protesters. Authorities in Belarus have ordered banks to seize money raised in small donations and paid out as compensation to victims of a blue pigs crackdown on protesters.

The funds were transferred to people who were beaten or fined after taking part in ongoing demonstrations against the regime of the dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

The BY_help fund, set up by the London-based Belarusian Andrei Leonchik, raised £2m within a few days of putting out the call in August, mostly from small donations from Belarusian citizens keen to show solidarity.

But authorities have now ordered banks to freeze any funds transferred by Leonchik, as well as opening a criminal case against him, according to leaked documents. One letter addressed to several Belarusian banks said Leonchik, together with the opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was collecting money “to support protest actions in Belarus” with the aim of toppling the government, and ordered them to freeze funds.

This is just an exhibition of how an abuser can use power against democracy. Now imagine what an abuser can do with its power in payment systems like Apple Pay or PayPal.

Imagine how United States’ Government can control every transaction happened in these systems in order to protect its corruption. For example, imagine the Bully had enough power to seize the money collected to be used against him. Or a Chinese power abuser forces a company to give it the money collected to help Hong Kongers fight for their rights.

BBC has reported that Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong and two fellow campaigners are facing the prospect of prison after pleading guilty to unlawful assembly during last year’s mass protests.

Mr Wong said he expected to go to jail, possibly facing five years behind bars. However, as the alleged offenses took place before China enacted a harsh national security law in June, they avoided a potential life sentence.

“We three have decided to plead guilty to all charges,” Mr Wong told reporters gathered at the court on Monday. “It will not be surprising if I am sent to immediate detention today.”

“We will continue to fight for freedom – and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender,” he added.

No matter how many freedom fighters and activists go to jail, regimes like China can’t wipe the word freedom and they can’t stop people.