Imprisoned “freedom lawyer” Mohammed Abbou begins hunger strike

first_img TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa July 26, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Imprisoned “freedom lawyer” Mohammed Abbou begins hunger strike December 26, 2019 Find out more Reporters Without Borders called for the immediate release of Tunisian lawyer Mohammed Abbou today after Abbou, who has been in prison since 1 March for daring to express his views online, yesterday announced that he had just begun another hunger strike.”It is absolutely unacceptable that going on hunger strike has become the only option left to Abbou,” the press freedom said in a message to Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, adding that it was “outraged” that the president chose to pardon common criminals instead of Abbou for the national holiday.Abbou said he began the hunger strike with the intention of pursuing it for several days “in order to inform national and international public opinion (…) and draw attention to what is happing in my country as regards the repression against all those who voice their dissent.”He said he also wanted to draw attention to “the hatred and complete intolerance towards all those who dare, even if only implicitly, to expose and criticise the ‘mafia families’ who are destroying the Tunisian economy and endangering the safety of all Tunisians.” His wife also began a hunger strike yesterday in solidarity.Abbou is serving a total of three and a half years in prison terms that were imposed at a trial on 29 April which Reporters Without Borders denounced at the time as a sham. The sentences were upheld on appeal on 10 June.He was given two years for a supposed physical attack on a woman lawyer at a conference in 2002, although no evidence was presented for the attack apart from an unsigned medical certificate. And he was given a year and a half for an article posted on the Tunisnews website in August last year that compared the torture of political prisoners in Tunisia to that perpetrated by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But many observers believed he was in fact being punished for another article posted a few days before his arrest which criticised an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to attend the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in November, and which commented ironically about corruption within President Ben Ali’s family. Follow the news on Tunisia Reporters Without Borders called for the immediate release of Tunisian lawyer Mohammed Abbou today after Abbou, who has been in prison since 1 March for daring to express his views online, yesterday announced that he had just begun another hunger strike. News TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts Organisation Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalists RSF_en November 11, 2020 Find out more News News Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” November 12, 2019 Find out more News to go furtherlast_img read more

Madhya Pradesh Ordinance On Religious Conversion Challenged Before High Court

first_imgTop StoriesMadhya Pradesh Ordinance On Religious Conversion Challenged Before High Court Akshita Saxena13 Jan 2021 11:59 PMShare This – xA public interest litigation has been filed before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, challenging the vires of the recently promulgated MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, prohibiting religious conversion by misrepresentation, undue influence, etc. The plea has been filed by a final year law student, Amratansh Nema, alleging that the provisions contained in the ordinance are…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginA public interest litigation has been filed before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, challenging the vires of the recently promulgated MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, prohibiting religious conversion by misrepresentation, undue influence, etc. The plea has been filed by a final year law student, Amratansh Nema, alleging that the provisions contained in the ordinance are motivated by religious intolerance, are a grave violation of constitutional provisions and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals of the state. Ordinance promulgated in utmost haste & autocratic manner At the outset, the Petitioner has submitted that the Ordinance is promulgated without following a proper consultative process, which is the violation of ‘Due Process of law’ and is the reflection of abuse of legislative powers. It is alleged that no formal consultation and deliberations were observed by state government before passing the impugned ordinance Infringes Right to Personal Liberty and Autonomy The Petitioner has submitted that Section 10 of the Ordinance, that stipulates a mandatory 60-days’ notice period, is a blatant encroachment & infringement of person’s Right to Personal liberty & Autonomy “Exercising a fundamental right can never be subjected to any approval by or intimation to any authority. The said provision visibly contravenes the fundamental right of personal liberty, privacy & choice and encourages the wrongful intervention of state,” the plea states. He has also pointed out that there is no proviso attached to the said provision to do complete justice in a situation whereby an individual or institution is restrained by a “sufficient cause” in complying with the statutory requirements. “There is no provision with regard to the prescribed time limit within which the District Magistrate has to tender the acknowledgement of receipt of declaration or notice under Section 10 (1) & (2) whatever the case may be. This may result in holding back of acknowledgement and unnecessary harassment of individual,” states the plea. Right to Privacy The Act is also said to impinge upon the Right to Privacy inasmuch as it requires prior approval from the district administration for religious conversion. “Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone. Privacy safeguards individual autonomy and recognises the ability of the individual to control vital aspects of 12 his or her life,” the Petitioner quoted the Supreme Court in KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017 10 SCC 1). Right to Freedom of Choice of Adults Similarly, it is stated, Section 4 of the ordinance that enables family members to file complaint against alleged forceful conversion, gives immense unfettered opportunity to allow the filing of false complaints. “The stated provision gives an unrestricted opportunity to the family members of a person converted to harass him by filing frivolous complaints alleging the contravention of Section 3 in order to secure their illusionary social reputation at the cost of personal liberty of an individual exercising his right of practicing & professing the religion of his own choice,” the Petitioner submitted. Right against Discrimination Inter alia, Section 12 of the impugned ordinance shifts the burden of proof on the person who has exercised his/her right of conversion. Opposing this, the Petitioner has submitted that “Presumption of Innocence” is one of the fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence which axiomatically enunciates that an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. He submitted, “Burden of Proof can only be reversed in the cases where the charges are based on some foundational facts proved by prosecution. The impugned ordinance clearly violates the settled principles of criminal law jurisprudence and should not be allowed to sustain.” Reliance is placed on Shakti Vahini v. Union of India & Ors., (2018) 7 SCC 192. It is submitted that the right to convert oneself to another religion is manifested in Article 25 of the Constitution and the Ordinance impinge upon this right by imposing unreasonable and discriminatory restrictions and hence are unconstitutional. Background The Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Anandiben Patel promulgated the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 on 9th January, 2021. It has repealed the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968. Every offence committed under the Ordinance has been made cognizable, non-bailable and triable by Court of Sessions. Key Provisions of the same may be read here. Recently, the UP Government also promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. A batch of PILs challenging the same are listed for hearing before the Allahabad High Court on January 15. The UP Ordinance, along with the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 have also been challenged before the Supreme Court and the matter is likely to be heard next month.Next Storylast_img read more