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Government Censors Indie Band Instead of Protecting Free Speech

(Beirut) – The Byblos International Festival Committee has cancelled the indie band Mashrou Leila’s August 9, 2019 concert, Human Rights Watch said today. The committee cited security considerations and said it wanted to avoid “bloodshed,”…
A group of Lebanese activists chant slogans as they hold Arabic placards that read: "Freedom of expression," right, and "With Mashrou' Leila against the suppression of freedoms.
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Death Row, then Arbitrary Detention, Now Exile

(Beirut) – Mauritania’s authorities freed a blogger on July 29, 2019, who had been held in a blasphemy case for five and-a-half years, Human Rights Watch said today. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was freed three days before the…
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed.
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Ordered Released 19 Months Ago but Remains in Solitary Confinement

(Tunis) – Mauritania’s president should, in his final days in office, ensure the immediate release of Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, who remains in detention since a court ordered his release in November 2017, Human Rights Watch…
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Both Wrote About Alleged Corruption Scheme

(Tunis) – Mauritanian authorities should free two bloggers arrested on March 22, 2019, and drop all charges related to their peaceful expression, Human Rights Watch said today. The bloggers, Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou,…
Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou.
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Urgent Need for Legislative Reform

(Geneva) –Mauritanian authorities used a litany of harsh and overbroad laws on terrorism, cybercrime, apostasy, and criminal defamation to prosecute and jail human rights defenders, activists, bloggers, and political dissidents during…
People wait to cast their vote on September 1, 2018 outside a polling station in Nouakchott for the country's legislative, regional and local elections. © 2018 Ahmed Ould Mohamed Ould Elhadj/AFP/Getty Images
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Appeals Court to Rule in Apostasy Case

(Tunis) – Mauritanian authorities should quash the death sentence for a Mauritanian blogger, Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, and drop all charges against him that violate freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today. The Court of…
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed.
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Lebanon is presented with the most serious challenges it has faced in the past decade. The economy is struggling, the internal security situation deteriorating and the country’s neighbors pose real threats. Yet amidst everything, there are opportunities…
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Two Inmates Die During Security Forces Raid

Lebanon's government should order an independent investigation into the deaths of two inmates and injuries to about 45 others on April 6, 2011, in Lebanon's main prison, Human Rights Watch said today. The two died during a raid at Roumieh prison by the…
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Stand up for Persecuted Human Rights Activists; Shut Guantanamo

(New York) - The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama should encourage him to apply his stated principles to both foreign and domestic human rights policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nobel committee awarded the prize…
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Last week's decision by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to release Jamil al-Sayyed and three other high-ranking Lebanese security officials was a victory for the basic principle that no one should be detained for a lengthy period without charge. The…
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Nawar `Abboud Disappeared Following Detention by Military Intelligence

(Beirut) - Lebanese authorities should disclose all available information on the whereabouts of Nawar `Abboud, who disappeared three months ago after Lebanese Military Intelligence detained him in Tripoli, Human Rights Watch and the Lebanese Center for…
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Amend Laws to Reform Sectarian System and End Discrimination

(Beirut) - The decision by Lebanon's Minister of Interior to give citizens the right to remove their religious affiliation from identification papers is an improvement, but further steps are needed for Lebanon to meet its international human rights…
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(Geneva) — With a membership that includes governments responsible for crimes against humanity, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva next week must take dramatic steps to restore its sinking credibility, Human Rights Watch said today.…