Libya Frees Prominent Political Prisoner with Cancer

By BlogAdmin on 5:21 AM

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Oct 14, 2008
Tripoli, (Reuters): Libya freed a dissident who was jailed last year for trying to hold a demonstration in Tripoli after a Libyan charity intervened to secure his release, the charity said on Tuesday.

Idris Boufayed was arrested in February 2007, charged with trying to overthrow the government and sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

It said Boufayed had planned a protest in Tripoli to mark the first anniversary of a clash between demonstrators and police in Benghazi. While in jail he fell ill with lung cancer.

His health worsened in recent weeks, according to the Gaddafi International Foundation, a charity run by a prominent son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam.

"It asked the concerned authorities to release him for humanitarian reasons as his state of health deteriorated," Youssef Radwane, the charity's executive director, told Reuters. "The Foundation achieved its goal by seeing him freed."

He said the foundation helped ensure Boufayed was moved from prison to hospital and was ready to help him travel abroad for further medical treatment if he or his family requested it.

Newspaper Libya al-Youm cited human rights activists at home and abroad as saying the Libyan government freed Boufayed for fear he may die in jail after he was left uncared for.

HRW said it welcomed Boufayed's release and asked the authorities to ensure he gets the medical care he needs.

"Libya also needs to free the 10 other men who were arrested with him 20 months ago," HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised specific human rights concerns with Gaddafi during a visit to Libya last month, the first by a U.S. secretary of state in 55 years.

Libya, once shunned by the West, moved to end decades of international isolation in 2003 by accepting civil responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing and scrapping a programme of banned weapons.

Justice for Samina!

By BlogAdmin on 7:21 AM

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Being Muslim in India
By Samina Mishra
New Delhi, INDIA.
(This is a piece Samina wrote for India Today but the version that has appeared in the magazine is an edit that she did not agree to. It's not clear as to how that happened since she said she edited the longer article down to this final version and sent it in to the magazine. But now with the magazine out she is both angry and saddened at their "careless editing of ideas" that are particularly under siege at this point of time. So, here is her original story!)

Not far from L18, in the posh part of Jamia Nagar, is a house on a tree-lined avenue that will always be home to me. But my life, with all its easy privileges, could not be more different from Atif and Sajid's, the two young men shot as alleged terrorists at L18. I contain multitudes, Whitman so eloquently said. But we live in a time when even multitudes are forced to lay claim to a singular label. And so by writing this, perhaps, I will forever be labelled the voice of the liberal secular Muslim. A voice that is accused of not speaking up. Ironically, it is this very tyranny of labels that grants me this space in a mainstream national magazine.

As someone with a Muslim first name and a Hindu surname, I suppose I have always swung between labels - a poster girl for communal harmony or a confused, rootless individual, depending on who was doing the labelling. I went to a public school and have never worn a burkha. I might escape being thrown in the big cauldron with "Islamic Terrorists" but I will certainly be added to the one for "misguided intellectuals". While there is no mistaking that it is zealous nationalists who seek to light the fire under the first cauldron, the other is a bone of contention between those who seek to define for me how to be Indian and those who seek to define for me how to be Muslim. My condemnation of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Imrana's rape or the media circus around Gudiya will always be seen in the context of my privileged background, my gender, my religious identity. Perhaps, it can be no other way.

In this rhetoric of binaries of "us and them", it is difficult to find the space to create a new paradigm of discussion. And so, in conversations that throw up Islamic terrorists, rigid religious beliefs, Pakistan and madrasas, the response is inevitably another set of questions - why is the Bajrang Dal not labelled a terrorist outfit, why is the growing public display of Hindu festivals like Navratras and Karva Chauth not considered rigid religious beliefs, why should Muslims in India be answerable for what goes on in Pakistan, what spaces other than madrasas are available for thousands of believing Muslims who choose to get educated and still retain their Muslim-ness. As a Muslim in India today, not only are you fighting to shrug off the label of fundamentalist- if not terrorist - but you are also succumbing to a paradigm of dialogue which has been set for homogenous communities with clear markers of identities.

But how does one fight that when shared cultural spaces, other than those created by the market, shrink? How does one speak of the diversity of being Indian when Diwali is celebrated in schools and Eid just in Muslim homes? How does one avoid a singular label for experiences that are diverse and yet have a common thread running through them - the experience of a tailor in Ahmedabad whose Hindu patrons have stopped giving work to, the butcher in Batla House who couldn't get a bank loan, the software professional who will now have to watch every single byte that leaves his computer.

Being Muslim in India today means many things to many people. But how easy it is to forget that one fundamental reality. How easy it is to say, as someone said to me after the Delhi blasts - "These are all educated Muslims. Don't they know that their bombs can also kill their own?" As if everyone with a Muslim name is a terrorist's very "own".

Citizen has every right to move court for natural justice: Indian Supreme Court

By BlogAdmin on 5:22 AM

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New Delhi, Oct 9, PTI: The Supreme Court of India has ruled that an individual has a right to move apex court or high court for violation of the "principles of natural justice" even if there are alternative remedies available under the statute.

For instance, if the statute says that a person should approach a designated tribunal for relief, he or she can still approach the High Court or the Supreme Court for a remedy if the aggrieved person feels that principles of natural justice have been violated by the authorities concerned.

A two-judge bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Aftab Alam passed the ruling while upholding the appeal filed by Mariamma Roy challenging a judgement of the Kerala High Court which dismissed her appeal on the ground that she had an alternative remedy under the "Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act 1993."

Mariamma had a dispute with a public sector Indian bank over a debt related issue.

However, the High Court refused to entertain her plea on the ground that she could approach the appropriate forum under the "Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act."

Aggrieved, she filed the SLP in the apex court complaining that the High Court did not even bother to issue her a formal notice before dismissing her petition.

Upholding her plea, the apex court observed "It is well settled that even if an alternative remedy was available to an aggrieved party against a particular order, it was open to such a party to move a writ application and the court has the power to entertain the same if it finds that while passing the order there has been a violation of the principle of natural justice."

Accordingly, the apex court remitted the matter to the High Court to decide the case on merits.