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127 Somalis evacuated from Yemen by International Organisation for Migration

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)

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Somali Refugees, VOA

Geneva, November 12, 2016: The International Organisation for Migration have evacuated 127 Somalis fleeing the conflict in Yemen, including women and children, the IOM said on Friday.

The Somalis arrived in Berbera, Somaliland, from Sanaa, Yemen on a boat organised by IOM with financial support from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), IOM stated.

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The successful operation was the first under $10 million KSrelief-funded project and paves the way for a further 2,500 Somali nationals stranded in Yemen to be evacuated over the next seven months, IOM said.

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

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Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led Arab coalition in March 2015 began bombing Shia Houthi rebels who overthrew president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and allied with parts of the Yemeni army have engaged in fighting with forces across the country that are nominally loyal to the exiled president.

International efforts to find a political solution to the war are at an impasse. (IANS)

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Crime Branch Officials catch hold of main accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple Terror Attack

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat's capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades.

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2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack
Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, November 4, 2017 : Crime Branch officials on November 4 arrested Ajmeri Abdul Rashid, one of the accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack case, from near the airport.

Rashid, one of the 28 absconding accused in the case, had returned from Saudi Arabia and was picked by the Crime Branch sleuths from near the airport.

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades. Three commandos, including one from NSG, and a constable of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were also killed during the operation.

Rashid’s brother Adam Ajmeri, along with two others, was awarded capital punishment but it was struck down by the Supreme Court and all three were acquitted in 2014. Three other convicts, one of them carrying a life sentence, were also let off by the apex court.

The other absconders are claimed to be in Pakistan and Gulf countries. (IANS)

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Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women drivers; 7 more bans yet to be addressed for Saudi women

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saudi women
A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia, Oct. 22, 2013. VOA

Oct 2, 2017: The Sharia-ruled monarchy of the Middle-East, Saudi Arabia decided to lift the ban on women drivers on September 26, much to the elation of Women’s Rights Activists throughout the world. King Salman issued a royal decree on Tuesday granting Saudi women the right to drive thereby ending the kingdom’s notorious reputation of being the only country that prohibits women from driving. The law will come into effect on June 24, 2018.

While the pronouncement signifies a “positive step” towards women-empowerment, the conclusion of whether such laws can be turned into practice in a patriarchal society like Saudi Arabia can be drawn only with the unfolding of time.

Apart from relaxing the ban on women drivers, the Gulf Kingdom also terminated a series of interdicts forced upon the women. A handful of loosened bans included that women will no longer require approval from their guardian to work.

Another significant statute blessed upon women the freedom to enter the sports stadiums albeit exclusively for the Saudi National Day besides the compulsory edict of being seated only in a family section far away from single men.

The Government has also passed laws allowing girls in public schools to play sports and have access to physical education.

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UN Women political cartoon. Wikimedia

While everyone is busy celebrating women drivers in Saudi Arabia, there is still a myriad of bans inflicted on women. These are:

1. Following the divorce, Saudi women are permitted to keep their children with them only till they reach the age limit of 7years (for girls) and 9years (for boys).

2. Saudi women cannot marry and divorce without the due consent of their male guardian. The male head dominates everything in a Saudi family.

3. The women of Saudi Arabia do not have the permission to get a passport without the prior assent of their male guardian.

Also Read: A step forward: Saudi Women take up active roles in an All female Emergency Call Centre 

4. The approval of the male guardian is also required during any medical emergency. Women cannot take a voluntary decision regarding issues that concern the question of their life and death!

5. Women do not possess the right to socialize with men except for immediate family members. Consequently, all the restaurants and places of public entertainment in Saudi Arabia maintain two sections, one for the men where women cannot enter and the other for families.

6. Under Sharia laws, daughters can inherit property but only half of what is received by their male counterparts.

7. Saudi women cannot even start a work unless two male members testify about her character in a law court before she can be granted a loan or a license.

Prepared by Mohima Haque of Newsgram. Twitter @mohimahaque26

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10 Facts You Should Know About Raif Badawi, Victim Of Religious Persecution

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Raif Badawi
Facts You Should Know About Raif Badawi – A Victim Of Religious Persecution Source: Wikimedia Common

Saudi Arabia, September 22, 2017: A Saudi writer, atheist, activist and the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website Raif Badawi, who has been a prey to brutal punishment of Saudi Arabia law, reveals his agony in a book “1000 Lashes, Because I Say What I Think”.

Badawi, through his book expressed one’s life in the autocratic Islamic state under ‘Sharia’, insights about freedom of expression, separation of religion and state, human and civil rights and tolerance.

Raif Badawi
People from Oslo protesting to Free Raif Badawi – A Victim Of Religious Persecution Source: Wikimedia Common

It was in 2012 when Badawi was taken into imprisonment in Saudi Arabia and was sentenced to 10 years torture with 1000 lashes. The reason stated for his imprisonment was his act of showing disrespect towards Islam and produced before the court charges including apostasy.

His punishment was partly enforced due to ‘parental disobedience’ when the debate over freedom of speech and Islam continued to rage. The punishment was in context to the disobedience shown towards one’s father, as follows in Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, Badawi’s father also renounced his son on television.

There are facts that left Raif Badawi to live a life of torture and trauma and you should know these.

  1. Raif Badawi had to face 50 lashes in his first session in front of the crowd gathering near the mosque in Jeddah on January 9, 2015.
  2. After his first session, the medical committee advised not to flog Raid Badawi as his wound had not healed sufficiently, because of high blood pressure. Whereas, another prison doctor objected to that and said that he is fine to take more lashes.
  3. Nevertheless, the flogs were not carried out due to some unknown reason.
  4. He was sentenced with seven years’ imprisonment and 600 lashes, but was extended to 10 years and 1000 lashes later.
  5. He was arrested against his rights to freedom of speech, expression, association and assembly. He was being suppressed with his rights to be democratic.
  6. The case was being dropped twice. The district court passed on the case to high court, saying “could not give a verdict in a case of apostasy.” Also, the higher court refused to hear the case and referred it to the lower court.
  7. His family said that they have learned of judicial attempts to have Badawi retried for apostasy and that it may end up beheading his head for renouncing his religion. Though the human rights are not sure of the claim.
  8. Raif’s wife, Ensaf Haidar was forced to leave Saudi Arabia and move to Canada along with her children after she received anonymous threats.
  9. Badawi expressed his sentiment towards living in a democratic society through his website Free Saudi Liberals until it was shut down by the Saudi authorities. He writes in one of his posts, “You have the right to express and think whatever you want as you have the right to declare what you think about it, it is your right to believe or think, have the right to love and to hate, from your right to be a liberal or Islamist.”
  10. There have been several international awards accorded to Badawi. He was a nominee for 2015 Nobel Peace Prize and for Human Rights and Democracy he was also awarded the Courage award in 2015 in Geneva Summit.

Many people around the world are showing their support to Raif Badawi through different campaigns and protest. The Canadian government also expressed him gratitude with their concern towards his wife and children.

ALSO READ: 2,384 Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Jailed for Minor and Major Offenses

It was not just Badawi, who was victimized for raising his voice. His lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, in July 2014 was also sentenced 15 years in prison for denouncing the human rights abuses of Saudi during his media interviews and in social media. Khair also had an organization that monitored the human rights in Saudi Arabia.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_Desire