Pakistan News | Blasphemy Laws

Shopkeeper arrested for selling shoes with sacred Hindu symbol
  • The shoes contained the “Om” symbol, a spiritual icon in Hinduism, prompting protests and leading to the man’s arrest in the town of Tando Adam in Sindh province, home to most of Pakistan’s Hindu minority.
  • Though strictest for crimes insulting Islam, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws allow for the arrest of those accused of offense to any religion, including Hinduism.
  • Police indicated no offense had been intended and a shift in focus to the shoes’ suppliers, but if convicted, the shopkeeper faces up to 10 years in prison.

Read more:
Pakistani man charged with blasphemy over shoes with Hindu symbol” (Reuters)
Hindus in Pakistan protest sale of Om-inscribed shoes” (The Hindustan Times)
Man selling ‘Om’ inscribed shoes in Pakistan arrested for blasphemy” (The New Indian Express)

What are Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?” (BBC, November 2014)

(Image Credit: via The Hindustan Times)

Bahrain News | Shiite Dissidents

Bahrain strips Shiite leader of citizenship as anti-dissident campaign continues
  • The Interior Ministry stripped Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, a prominent Shiite cleric, of Bahraini citizenship, stirring protest among the Gulf country’s Shiite majority.
  • The denaturalization took place soon after a court ordered the suspension of Bahrain’s main opposition group, Al-Wefaq, which has led pro-democracy protests in the country since 2011.
  • The Sunni-led government has accused Shiite leaders of promoting foreign interests (namely Iran’s) and fomenting sectarian division and extremism in the country, leading to their denaturalization and expulsion.

Read more:
Bahrain strips Sheikh Isa Qassim of nationality” (Al Jazeera)
Bahrain’s Sunni Rulers Revoke Citizenship of Top Shiite Cleric” (The New York Times)
Bahrain strips top Shi’ite Muslim cleric of citizenship” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: AP via Al Jazeera)

Turkey News | Press Advocates

Three press rights advocates arrested in Turkey
  • Erol Onderoglu (Reporters Without Borders), Sebnem Korur Fincanci (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey), and Ahmet Nesin (author) were charged with spreading terrorist propaganda.
  • Now held in pre-trial detention, the three guest-edited an edition of Ozgur Kundem, a pro-Kurdish rights newspaper subjected to multiple investigations and lawsuits as part of the government’s crackdown on Kurdish separatist groups and their supporters.
  • President Tayyip Erdogan has come under international fire for his campaign against critical journalism in Turkey, which has seen journalists imprisoned, television stations taken off the air, and publications seized and shuttered.

Read more:
Turkey arrests raise further concerns over press freedom” (AP via The Guardian)
Reporters Without Borders representative, two others jailed in Turkey” (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Turkey arrests three prominent press-freedom campaigners” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)