Monday, December 31, 2012

Iraqi Deputy PM almost lynched

Iraqi Deputy PM Salih al-Mutlag gets chased away by angry protesters with stones and shoes at an anti-government demonstration in Ramadi this morning. The video is crazy. It clearly shows the crowd getting riled up with some people shouting, "Kick out the traitor," "Slaughter the bastard," "Kill him," and the obligatory "Allahu Akbar" and then shots are heard, probably from Mutlag's bodyguard. At this point, Mutlag and his entourage quickly withdrew from the protest site with the crowd in hot pursuit. They ran and dragged themselves for a good distance with bodyguards shooting in the air until they got to their vehicles. The cameraman runs beside them the whole time. What's funny is that these people are supposed to be Mutlag's constituents. More here.

Another video showing the moment Mutlag was chased away from the protest.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peshmerga fire on Iraqi Army helicopter

So Iraqi helicopters can't fly over disputed areas?
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Troops from Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan opened fire on an Iraqi army helicopter on Tuesday, underscoring tensions between Baghdad's Arab-led central government and the Kurdish region, officials said.

Iraq's government and self-ruled Kurdistan last month both sent troops from their respective armies to reinforce positions around towns in disputed areas where they both claim control as part of a broader feud over oil and territory.

Kurdistan Peshmerga officials said on Tuesday they fired on an Iraqi military helicopter near Sikanyan town just north of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, to keep the aircraft from taking surveillance pictures of their military positions.

"We opened fire at an Iraqi military helicopter flying over our forces," said Anwar Othman, deputy minister for Kurdish military affairs. "This is a clear message that next time our response will be tougher."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Egyptian Copt blogger sentenced for blasphemy

A court in Egypt had sentenced a blogger to three years in prison for blasphemy and contempt of religion. 
Alber Saber was arrested in September after neighbours accused him of posting links to a film mocking Islam that led to protests across the Muslim world.

There has been a proliferation of prosecutions for blasphemy in Egypt in the nearly two years since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. Many of those targeted are Copts, who make up about 10% of the population.

Although blasphemy has long been a criminal offence, Article 44 of the draft constitution contains a specific article prohibiting insulting prophets.

Human rights activists have warned that it is inherently contradictory to Articles 43 and 45, which guarantee freedom of belief and freedom of thought and opinion. "Expect to see many more blasphemy prosecutions in the future now that it's embedded as a crime in the constitution," Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times.
More info and links on this Facebook page and #FreeAlber on Twitter.