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(London) - UAE authorities should drop charges against five activists arrested after they called for democratic reforms, four international human rights organizations said Sunday, July 17, 2011. The call comes as the activists' trial for "publicly insulting" the UAE president and other top officials re-opens on July 18, in Abu Dhabi's Federal Supreme Court, against the backdrop of a wider clampdown on dissent in the UAE. The four rights groups - Amnesty International, the Arabic Network For Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, and Human Rights Watch - jointly called on the UAE authorities to abandon the trial and release the men immediately.
The Kuwaiti government should immediately release two Kuwaiti men detained over internet postings criticizing the rulers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Human Rights Watch said July 13, 2011. State security authorities detained and investigated Nasser Abul on June 7, 2011, for threatening state security based on Twitter messages, and Lawrence al-Rashidi later in June based on a YouTube video criticizing Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the country's emir. Both are being held without bail. Kuwaiti authorities should immediately investigate allegations that Abul has been mistreated in detention, Human Rights Watch said.
Reporters Without Borders accuses the authorities of continuing to crack down on journalists and media freedom in violation of the spirit for the national dialogue that King Hamad Ben Issa Al-Khalifa wants to begin tomorrow with the aim of relaunching political reforms after the unrest that began last March and the ensuing repression. Journalists and media are still being prosecuted before military courts, although the state of emergency was lifted on 1 June. The authorities are also maintaining strict control over the circulation of news and information and are pumping out propaganda aimed at both Bahraini and foreign media.
Human rights and disability rights advocates around the globe can now access a newly launched tool for finding the knowledge and toolkits they need: the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) at http://gdrl.org. A prototype "test" version of this library is being made available both on-line and off-line so that users can share feedback with the GDRL team on improving the library.