(WEST BANK) FLD REPORT: University of Toronto & Citizen Lab: Devices of Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.08: FLD shared the data they collected with the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab for separate independent peer review of their initial findings. FLD’s analysisindicated that six devices belonging to six Palestinian human rights defenders were hacked with Pegasus, a spyware developed by the cyber-surveillance company NSO Group. Both the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab independently confirmed these findings.

#AceDailyNews says in October 2021, the human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) Front Line Defenders (FLD) began collecting data on the suspected hacking of the devices of several Palestinians working for civil society organizations based in the West Bank:

This document is a joint technical report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab reviewing Front Line Defenders’ technical research.

Of the six individuals, three consented to be named. Of these three, two individuals are dual nationals: one French, the other American. Further, all three work at NGOs designated “terrorist organizations” by the Israeli government in October 2021. These designations have been widely condemned internationally, including by prominent international NGOs (including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch), governmental offices and representatives (such as Sweden’s Minister of International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security PolicyIreland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and U.S. Congressional representatives), and UN experts (such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Association). The hacking described in this report took place prior to this designation.

Methodology

To establish whether or not the devices had been hacked, the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab each performed forensic analysis on the logs from each device. The results of our analysis are listed in Table 1.

Our analysis involved reviewing results shared with us by FLD, as well as analyzing logs extracted from the phones; these logs record names and other details about processes, apps, or code that have run on the phone. We were able to connect specific process names back to NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware on the basis of observing temporal correlations on other devices between the process names and communication with NSO Group servers.

NSO Group has implicitly acknowledged that this methodology establishes signs of bona fide Pegasus compromise. On the basis of the Citizen Lab’s technical analysis of the devices of Al Jazeera journalists, which is described here, NSO Group reportedly terminated its contract with Saudi Arabia. Additionally, NSO Group reportedly terminated its contract with the Emirate of Dubai because the customer abused the spyware to hack the Emir’s ex-wife, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, and her lawyers. In May 2021, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that the phones had been hacked with Pegasus on the basis of this technical methodology.

Targets

The table below summarizes information regarding the targets’ identity and when the targeting occurred. Note that some dates of hacking may not be particularly significant, as zero-click hacking can sometimes be driven by availability of exploits rather than specific time frames of interest. Of interest is the fact that four hacked phones exclusively used SIMs issued by Israeli telecoms companies with Israeli (+972) phone numbers. NSO Group has said that exported versions of Pegasus cannot be used to hack Israeli phone numbers.TargetPositionApproximate Dates Phone Hacked with PegasusSIM(s)Ghassan HalaikaField researcher and human rights defender working for Alhaq(1) 2020-07-14 – 2020-07-18(1) MCC 425, MNC 07 (HOT Mobile – IL)Ubai AboudiExecutive Director at Bisan Center for Research and Development(1) 2021-02-12 – 2021-02-17(1) MCC 425, MNC 05 (Jawwal – PS)Salah HammouriLawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem(1) 2021-04-12 – 2021-04-30(1) MCC 425, MNC 02 (Cellcom ltd. – IL)T4Human rights defender(1) 2021-04-12(1) MCC 425, MNC 02 (Cellcom ltd. – IL)T5Human rights defender(1) 2021-02-10(2) 2021-04-03(3) 2021-04-12(1) MCC 425, MNC 01 (Orange/Partner – IL)T6Human rights defender(1) 2020-11-04(1) MCC 425, MNC 05 (Jawwal – PS)Table 1: Results of forensic analysis conducted on the phones of Palestinians targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

The phone logs of Ghassan Halaika record that a binary was stored at /private/var/db/com.apple.xpc.roleaccountd.staging/smmsgingd, and that a process with the name smmsgingd ran on the phone starting on 2020-07-14. There is no legitimate iOS process with the name smmsgingd, and both the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab have linked this process name to Pegasus.

The phone logs of Ubai Aboudi record that three processes ran on the phone, MobileSMSdCommsCenterRootH…, and otpgrefd. There are no legitimate iOS processes with these names. The process name otpgrefdwas also seen on one of the phones of a journalist at Al Jazeera, whose phone was communicating with Pegasus spyware servers, as well as the phone of Ala’a Al-Siddiq, whose phone was communicating with Pegasus spyware servers. Amnesty International’s Security Lab linked MobileSMSd and CommsCenterRootH… to Pegasus.

The phone logs of Salah Hammouri record that two processes ran on the phone, ctrlfs and xpccfd. There are no legitimate iOS processes with these names. Both the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab have linked these process names to Pegasus.

The phone logs of T4 record that one process ran on the phone, bundpwrd. There is no legitimate iOS process with this name. Both the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab have linked this process name to NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

The phone logs of T5 record that eight processes ran on the phone, gssdplaunchafdcom.apple.MappitcfprefssdlibtouchregdABSCarryLogcontextstoremgrd, and launchrexd. There are no legitimate iOS processes with these names. The Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab have linked these process names to Pegasus. The process names launchafdlibtouchregd, and launchrexd were also seen on the phone of journalist Khadija Ismayilova, whose phone communicated with Pegasus spyware servers.

The phone logs of T6 record that two binaries were stored at /private/var/db/com.apple.xpc.roleaccountd.staging/accountpfd and /private/var/db/com.apple.xpc.roleaccountd.staging/logseld, and that a process named accountpfd ran on the phone starting on 2020-11-04. There are no legitimate iOS processes with these names. The Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab have linked both accountpdfand logseld to Pegasus.

Conclusion

This report confirms that the devices of six Palestinian human rights defenders were hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in 2020 and 2021, as published by Front Line Defenders. The hacking took place prior to the Israeli government’s decision to designate a number of organizations working in the West Bank as terrorist organizations, a decision that governments and civil society organizations worldwide have strongly condemned.

The use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware against Palestinian human rights defenders illustrates yet another failure of the company’s Human Rights Policy, which professes an “unequivocal respect for human rights,” as well as the company’s claim that the Israeli regulatory system imposes sufficient human rights controls on the sale of NSO Group’s technology. NSO Group’s headquarters in Herzliya, Israel, are less than a hundred kilometres from where the hacked Palestinian organizations work: not only has this technology been exported to countries where it has facilitated human rights abuse like Saudi Arabia and Mexico, but it is also being deployed locally and in some cases against Israeli numbers—something which NSO Group previously claimed was not possible.

In the face of such contradictions, it perhaps should come as no surprise that the company was recently added to the United States Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)’s Entity List, with the United States Commerce Department expressly noting that NSO Group was added because the company’s technology was used to “maliciously target” activists.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Nov.08: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #fld, #ngo, #palestine, #toronto, #west-bank

(NEW YORK) Amnesty International Report: Will close its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year, the organisation announced on Monday #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.26: This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong’s national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government,” said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty’s International Board.

#AceDailyNews says according to Amnesty International Report: On closure Hong Kong offices: The local ‘section’ office will cease operations on 31 October while the regional office – which is part of Amnesty’s global International Secretariat – is due to close by the end of 2021. Regional operations will be moved to the organization’s other offices in the Asia-Pacific.

© Amnesty International
© Amnesty International

“Hong Kong has long been an ideal regional base for international civil society organizations, but the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signals an intensification of the authorities’ campaign to rid the city of all dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment.”

There are two Amnesty International offices based in Hong Kong: a local membership section focused on human rights education in the city; and a regional office which carries out research, advocacy and campaigning work on East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. All of the regional office’s work will continue from new locations.

“We are deeply indebted to Amnesty members and staff who over the last 40 years have worked tirelessly to protect human rights in and from Hong Kong. From successfully pushing for the full abolition of the death penalty in Hong Kong in 1993, to exposing evidence of excessive use of force by police during the 2019 mass protests, Amnesty in Hong Kong has shone a light on human rights violations in the darkest of days,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“In the wider region, our research and campaigning has tackled subjects including freedom of expression in North Korea, conscientious objection to military service in South Korea, the right to housing in Mongolia, Japan’s wartime atrocities against “comfort women”, and the crackdown on human rights lawyers in China.

“Moreover, Amnesty International Hong Kong’s education programmes – from classroom talks to a documentary film festival – have enhanced awareness of human rights not only in the city’s schools but among the general public as well. No one and no power can demolish that legacy.”

The national security law, imposed by the Chinese central government, was enacted on 30 June 2020. It targets alleged acts of “secession”, “subversion of state power”, “terrorist activities” and “collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security”. 

Its sweeping and vaguely worded definition of “national security”, which follows that of the Beijing authorities, has been used arbitrarily as a pretext to restrict the human rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as to repress dissent and political opposition.

Amnesty documented the rapid deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong one year after the enactment of the national security law in a June 2021 briefing.

“The environment of repression and perpetual uncertainty created by the national security law makes it impossible to know what activities might lead to criminal sanctions. The law has repeatedly been used to target people who have upset the authorities for any number of reasons – from singing political songs to discussing human rights issues in the classroom,” said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais.

“The pattern of raids, arrests and prosecutions against perceived opponents has highlighted how the vagueness of the law can be manipulated to build a case against whomsoever the authorities choose.”

A government crackdown targeting activists, opposition politicians and independent media has recently expanded to include civil society organizations. At least 35 groups have disbanded since the law was enacted, including some of the city’s largest unions and activist groups.

“There are difficult days ahead for human rights in Hong Kong, but Amnesty International will continue to stand with the people of Hong Kong.  We will fight for their rights to be respected and we will be vigilant in our scrutiny of those who abuse them,” said Agnes Callamard.

“While leaving the city that we have called home for decades is devastating, we do so proud of our achievements over that time, and confident that the strength of Amnesty’s 10 million-plus supporters worldwide will enable us to continue our work together to end human rights abuses everywhere.”

Background

Amnesty International is a global human rights movement of 10 million people, with operations in more than 70 countries. The organization holds governments around the world accountable to equal standards under international law.

Amnesty’s local Hong Kong section works principally on building awareness of human rights issues in the city and is funded primarily by individual donations from the Hong Kong public.

The Hong Kong regional office – which has a sister location in Bangkok – conducts research, campaigning and advocacy work across the region including on mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

The overwhelming majority of Amnesty’s income comes from individuals the world over. These personal and unaffiliated donations allow the organization to maintain full independence from any and all governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions. Amnesty neither seeks nor accepts any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Oct.26: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #asia-pacific, #hong-kong, #new-york

(CAIRO) Court of Cessation’s Rabaa Massacre Report: Twelve dissidents face execution while security forces enjoy impunity according to a Amnesty International #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.19: In June 2021, Egypt’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, upheld death sentences against the 12 men, who include senior figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, convicted in a mass sham trial involving 739 people in 2018, known as the “Rabaa dispersal case”. Their executions can be carried out at any moment without warning, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified their final death sentences.

#AceDailyNews reports that the Egyptian authorities have failed to hold to account a single member of security forces for killing at least 900 people during their violent dispersal of sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares, Amnesty International said today on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the massacre. Twelve men are facing imminent execution and hundreds of others are serving lengthy prison terms over their involvement in the protests, demonstrating the warped priorities of their so-called justice system.

13 August 2021, 13:09 UTC

“Over the past eight years, it has become increasingly clear that the Egyptian authorities are intent on shielding security forces from any accountability for their role in the Rabaa massacre. Authorities have instead chosen to exact revenge on survivors, families of victims, and anyone who dares to criticize the dire human rights situation in today’s Egypt,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“The 12 men facing execution are being held in cruel and inhuman conditions as they await their deaths, following a grossly unfair and politically-motivated mass trial. We are urging the Egyptian authorities to quash these unjust death sentences and convictions. They must also take long overdue steps to bring perpetrators of the Rabaa massacre to justice. 

“If this impunity continues, Egypt will forever be haunted by the terrible events of that day. Given the prevailing climate of impunity, the international community must also support efforts to establish a monitoring mechanism on the human rights situation in Egypt at the UN Human Rights Council.”

If this impunity continues, Egypt will forever be haunted by the terrible events of that day.Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International

Since their arrests between 2013 and 2015, the men have been held in appalling conditions which violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and have been deliberately denied access to adequate health care. Some have been barred from any family visits for over five years. 

Among those facing execution is Mohamed el-Beltagy, a former parliamentarian and senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, who has been held in solitary confinement at Cairo’s notorious Scorpion prison since his arrest in August 2013. His family have been barred from visiting him since 2016. Prison authorities have cruelly denied his relatives’ attempts to give him a picture of his daughter Asmaa, who was 17 years old when she was killed in the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya square.

Brothers Mohamed and Mostafa Abdelhai Hussein al-Faramawy share a dark and poorly ventilated small cell, which does not have a toilet, in Wadi al-Natroun prison. They were arrested on 15 July 2013, a month before protesters were even dispersed in Rabaa al-Adawiya square, and yet sentenced to death over their alleged involvement.

Egyptian authorities do not announce scheduled executions ahead of time and fail to inform families or grant them final visits, in contravention to Egyptian law, raising fears that the executions may be carried out imminently. There has recently been an alarming spike in recorded executions in Egypt – in 2020, executions tripled compared to previous years. The execution spree continued in 2021 with at least 81 executions recorded so far.

“The Egyptian authorities must immediately put an end to their ruthless use of the death penalty against political opponents as a tool to instil fear and consolidate their iron grip on power. Members of the international community must step up their public pressure to call on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to commute these death sentences and save these men’s lives,” said Lynn Maalouf.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life; it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Background 

The 12 men were convicted of participation in unauthorized protests, the murder of seven members of the security forces and 10 others, attempted murder and other charges in relation to their involvement in the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square sit-in and other protests and clashes between supporters and opponents of former president Mohamed Morsi, which occurred between 21 June and 14 August 2013.

All defendants were convicted of all charges, without individual criminal responsibility being established. The proceedings were marred by violations of fair trial rights, including the right to adequate defence; the right not to self-incriminate; the right to be tried by a competent, impartial and independent tribunal; the right to call and examine witnesses and the right to a genuine review. Courts also failed to order investigations into some of the defendants’ claims of being forcibly disappeared and tortured following arrest.

Since the removal of Mohamed Morsi from power in 2013, the Egyptian authorities have engaged in an unrelenting crackdown on all forms of dissent. Authorities have rounded up tens of thousands of actual or perceived critics and opponents. Thousands continue to be detained arbitrarily solely for exercising rights guaranteed under international law, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, or on the basis of grossly unfair trials, including mass and military trials.  Dozens have been executed following grossly unfair trials.

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Aug.19: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #cairo, #egypt, #execution

(KABUL) JUST IN: Taliban Invasion Report: The Taliban declared an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country.

#AceNewsReport – Aug.17: Following a blitz across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to the insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a brutal rule in the late 1990s. But many Afghans remain skeptical.

#AceDailyNews says that the Taliban announces ‘amnesty,’ urges Afghan women to join government on Tuesday as TOLONews interviewing Taliban on TV over their control and running the country

Taliban fighter
Taliban Invasion Amnesty Report

Taliban Discussing Future Govt in Doha according to TOLONews reporting

The Taliban said discussions are underway in Doha about a future government, including its structure and name, and they are expected to report on the process in the very near future.

A high-ranking official of the Taliban told TOLOnews that their leadership is busy in discussions in Doha and is in contact with the international community and political parties within Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s political deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said that the current moment is a test for the Taliban.

“At this time we face a test because now we are responsible for the security of the people,” Baradar said.

On Monday the Taliban entered the TOLOnews compound in Kabul, checked the weapons of the security staff, collected government-issued weapons and agreed to keep the compound safe.

There was no improper treatment of staff members.

“There should be a government in which all people have a share and there should be stability,” said Ahmad Farid, a Kabul resident.

“Countrywide security should be ensured as the people are tired of the war,” said Fazl Rabi, a Kabul resident.

Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is part of a self-proclaimed council to move the talks forward, said that Ashraf Ghani’s failures led to the current situation in the country.

“The corrupt government did not show any preparation to quit violence and to end Afghanistan’s crisis peacefully,” Hekmatyar said in a pre-recorded message on Sunday evening.

Sayed Ishaq Gailani, an Afghan politician who is head of the National Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, said that Afghanistan should have a system in which the achievements of the last two decades are preserved.

“Ashraf Ghani committed treason and he left the country. Now they should be quick in forming their government; otherwise, people will remain concerned,” said Gailani.

Older generations remember the Taliban’s ultraconservative Islamic views, which included severe restrictions on women as well as stonings, amputations and public executions before they were ousted by the U.S-led invasion that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

While there were no major reports of abuses or fighting in the capital of Kabul as the Taliban now patrol its streets, many residents have stayed home and remain fearful after the insurgents’ takeover saw prisons emptied and armories looted. Many women have expressed dread that the two-decade Western experiment to expand their rights and remake Afghanistan would not survive the resurgent Taliban.

The promises of amnesty from Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, were the first comments on how the Taliban might govern on a national level. His remarks remained vague, however, as the Taliban are still negotiating with political leaders of the country’s fallen government and no formal handover deal has been announced.

“The Islamic Emirate doesn’t want women to be victims,” Samangani said, using the militants’ name for Afghanistan. “They should be in the government structure according to Shariah law.”

That would be a marked departure from the last time the Taliban were in power, when women were largely confined to their homes.

Samangani didn’t describe exactly what he meant by Shariah, or Islamic, law, implying people already knew the rules the Taliban expected them to follow. He added that “all sides should join” a government.

It was also not clear what he meant by an amnesty, although other Taliban leaders have said they won’t seek revenge on those who worked with the Afghan government or foreign countries. But some in Kabul allege Taliban fighters have lists of people who cooperated with the government and are seeking them out.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, noted both the Taliban’s vows and the fear of those now under their rule.

“Such promises will need to be honored, and for the time being – again understandably, given past history – these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism,” he said in a statement. “There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended.”

Notably, a female television anchor on the private broadcaster Tolo interviewed a Taliban official on camera Tuesday in a studio. Meanwhile, women in hijabs demonstrated briefly in Kabul, holding signs demanding the Taliban not “eliminate women” from public life.

On Tuesday, Kabul’s international airport, the only way out for many, reopened to military evacuation flights under the watch of American troops.

All flights were suspended on Monday when thousands of people rushed the airport, desperate to leave the country. In shocking scenes captured on video, some clung to a plane as it took off and then fell to their deaths. At least seven people died in the chaos, U.S. officials said.

Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO’s senior civilian representative to Afghanistan, posted video online showing the runway empty with U.S. troops on the tarmac. What appeared to be a military cargo transport plane could be seen in the distance from behind a chain-link fence in the footage.

“I see airplanes landing and taking off,” he wrote on Twitter.

Overnight, flight-tracking data showed a U.S. military plane taking off for Qatar, home to the U.S. military Central Command’s forward headquarters. A British military cargo plane also was flying to Kabul after taking off from Dubai. Other military aircraft remained in the air in the region.

Still, there were indications that the situation was still tenuous. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, now operating from the airport, urged Americans to register online for evacuations but not come to the airport before being contacted.

The German Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said a first German military transport plane has landed in Kabul, but it could only take seven people on board before it had to depart again due to continued chaos at the airport.

A special military flight with some 120 Indian officials separately landed in the western state of Gujarat after taking off from Kabul’s main airport on Tuesday, the Press Trust of India and state TV reported. Another flight made it off the ground Monday as well.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the staff from the Swedish Embassy in Kabul had returned to Sweden. Japanese diplomats evacuated, and Spain sent military planes to pull people out as well.

Across Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross said thousands had been wounded in fighting as the Taliban swept across the country in recent days. However, in many places, security forces and politicians handed over their provinces and bases without a fight, likely fearing what would happen when the last American troops withdrew as planned at the end of the month.

A resolute U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw American forces and acknowledged the “gut-wrenching” images unfolding in Kabul. Biden said he faced a choice between honoring a previously negotiated withdrawal agreement or sending thousands more troops back to begin a third decade of war.

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said in a televised address from the White House.

Talks continued Tuesday between the Taliban and several Afghan government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who once headed the country’s negotiating council. Discussions focused on how a Taliban-dominated government would operate given the changes in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, rather than just dividing up who controlled what ministries, officials with knowledge of the negotiations said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential details of the talks.

President Ashraf Ghani earlier fled the country amid the Taliban advance and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Akhgar reported from Istanbul, Gannon from Guelph, Canada, and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Istanbul, Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Jan Olson in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Aya Batrawy in Dubai contributed to this report.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Aug.17: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#afghanistan, #amnesty, #kabul, #taliban

(HAVANA) Amnesty International Report: At least one man has died in Cuba and more than 140 have been arrested or reported as missing during rare demonstrations against its Communist government #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.14: Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, died in a suburb of Havana on Monday during a clash between protesters and police.

#AceDailyNews says Cuba Protests: At least one dead after a group allegedly attacked a government facility on Monday as scores missing after rare demonstrations against communist government officials..

A police officer guards the areas surrounding the Capitol in Havana after anti-government unrest
Police were out in force on Tuesday after the unrest across Cuba

Cuba’s interior ministry did not say what the cause of death was but alleged he was part of a group that attacked a government facility: However, witnesses said security forces had attacked the protesters……

‘The Communists have lost control’

State media said Mr Tejeda had been involved in “disturbances” in the La Guinera neighbourhood of Havana on Monday, where a group allegedly attacked a government facility. 

It reported that several others had been injured, including members of the security forces.

In a statement on Tuesday, the interior ministry accused demonstrators of vandalism, setting fires and attacking police and civilians. 

But witnesses have said the security forces attacked peaceful protesters who joined a spontaneous demonstration in the neighbourhood.

Waldo Herrera, who lives in the area, told Reuters news agency officers had drawn their guns and started shooting at the demonstrators. 

“I think the Communists have lost control, they won’t have a solution to this situation,” he said.

‘They took my daughter’ Data journalism site Inventario recorded more than 40 protests on Sunday….

Such unauthorised public gatherings are illegal in Cuba and the security forces took swift action. On Tuesday, the police were out in force on the streets.

Amnesty International: CUBA: Massive protests are a desperate cry to a government that doesn’t listen……

12 July 2021, 14:33 UTC

In response to the state repression of social protests in several areas of Cuba yesterday, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“In a historic day for Cuba, thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate peacefully in several parts of the country, exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It’s unacceptable that the Cuban government has denied these rights for decades and continues to do so today.”

“During yesterday’s spontaneous demonstrations, which spread across different areas of the country, Amnesty International received with alarm reports of internet blackouts, arbitrary arrests, excessive use of force – including police firing on demonstrators – and reports that there is a long list of missing persons.”

In a historic day for Cuba, thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate peacefully in several parts of the country, exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It’s unacceptable that the Cuban government has denied these rights for decades and continues to do so today.Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“Instead of repressing the population, the Cuban authorities have an obligation to protect their right to demonstrate peacefully. President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s inflammatory rhetoric of ‘war’ and confrontation creates atmosphere of violence against those who demand accountability and the free enjoyment of their human rights.”

“The Díaz-Canel government must address the social demands of its citizens, given the economic crisis, the shortages of food and medicine, the collapse of the health system – which is not responding to the current COVID-19 crisis – and the accumulation of historical demands for respect of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

What’s behind the protests?The rare anti-government demonstrations began on Sunday, when thousands took to the streets in protest over food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government’s handling of Covid-19.The unrest began with a demonstration in the city of San Antonio de los Baños, south-west of Havana, but soon spread throughout the country.Thousands took to the streets in protest over the government’s handling of coronavirus and the economyPosts on social media showed people overturning police cars and looting state-owned shops that price their goods in foreign currencies. For many Cubans, these shops are the only way they can buy basic necessities but prices are high.’Economic suffocation’President Miguel Díaz-Canel has called the demonstrators “counter-revolutionaries”. His government blamed the United States, and its economic sanctions, for both the protests and Cuba’s wider problems. US sanctions have restricted trade with Cuba since 1962. They were tightened under former US President Donald Trump, who also imposed sanctions on Venezuela, which is Cuba’s main supplier of oil. Cuba’s foreign minister called it a “policy of economic suffocation to provoke social unrest in the country”.But the White House said that Cubans had suffered “decades of repression”. Speaking on Monday, President Joe Biden said the US “stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights”.

Addtional Reporting: BBC Latin News

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: July.14: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #communist, #cuba, #havana

(TEHRAN) JUST IN: Presidential Election Report: Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi wins the election as Iran’s next president after the opposition was removed by Ayatollah Khamenei #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.19: He beat three other candidates in a poll in which most would-be candidates were barred from standing: Iran’s president is the second-highest ranking official in the country, after the supreme leader:

IRAN ELECTION: Hardliner Raisi becomes president: Mr Raisi is Iran’s top judge and holds ultra-conservative views and he is also under US sanctions and has been linked to past executions of political prisoners and Amnesty also says that as head of the judiciary Mr Raisi oversaw impunity for officials and security forces accused of killing protesters during unrest in 2019.

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi gestures with arms up and palms outward after voting during the election on June 18.
Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi was widely expected to win the race after the hardline election body barred many heavyweight candidates from standing.(Reuters: Majid Asgaripour/WANA)

Iranian state TV declares hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi winner of presidential election However, Mr Raisi dominated the election only after a panel under the watch of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei disqualified his strongest competition.

Iran’s hardline judiciary chief has won the country’s presidential election in a landslide victory, propelling the Supreme Leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position in a vote that appeared to see the lowest turnout in the Islamic republic’s history.

Key points:

  • Ebrahim Raisi will be the first Iranian president subject to US sanctions for alleged human rights abuses before taking power
  • Polls suggest voter turnout was 44 per cent, lower than at past Iranian elections
  • The quick concessions suggest the win was a landslide for Mr Raisi even amid voter apathy

Initial results showed Ebrahim Raisi won 17.8 million votes in the contest, dwarfing those of the race’s sole moderate candidate.

Mr Raisi will have significant influence over domestic policy and foreign affairs. But in Iran’s political system it is the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top religious cleric, who has the final say on all state matters.

The country is run according to conservative religious values, and there have been curbs on political freedoms since its Islamic Revolution in 1979. Many Iranians saw this latest election as having been engineered for Mr Raisi to win, and shunned the poll.

Who is Ebrahim Raisi?

The 60-year-old cleric has served as a prosecutor for most of his career. He was appointed head of the judiciary in 2019, two years after he lost by a landslide to Hassan Rouhani in the last presidential election.

Mr Raisi has presented himself as the best person to fight corruption and solve Iran’s economic problems. “Our people’s grievances over shortcomings are real,” he said as he cast his vote in Tehran. 

He is fiercely loyal to Iran’s ruling clerics, and has even been seen as a possible successor to Ayatollah Khamenei as the country’s supreme leader.

Turnout was reportedly significantly down on the previous election in 2017

Many Iranians and rights groups have pointed to Mr Raisi’s role in the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s. He was one of four judges who oversaw death sentences for about 5,000 prisoners, according to Amnesty International.

“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” said Amnesty chief Agnès Callamard.

Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions and Mr Raisi has never addressed the allegations about his role in them.

What does his win mean for Iran and the world?

Mr Raisi has promised to ease unemployment and work to remove US sanctions that have contributed to economic hardship for ordinary Iranians and caused widespread discontent.

BBC Persian correspondent Kasra Naji adds that under Mr Raisi Iran’s hardliners will seek to reinforce a puritanical system of Islamic government, possibly meaning more controls on social activities, fewer freedoms and jobs for women, and tighter control of social media and the press.

The hardliners are suspicious of the West, but both Mr Raisi and Supreme Leader Khamenei favour a return to an international deal on Iran’s nuclear activity. 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015, gave Iran relief from Western sanctions in return for limiting its nuclear activities.

The US pulled out of the deal in 2018, and President Trump’s administration re-imposed crippling limits on Iran’s ability to trade. Mr Raisi was among the officials sanctioned.

Iran has responded by re-starting nuclear operations that were banned under the deal.

Talks aimed at resurrecting the deal are ongoing in Vienna, with President Joe Biden also keen to revive it. But both sides say the other must make the first move.

Iran will be a more closed society according to an Analysis by Kasra Naji, BBC Persian: The election was engineered to pave the way for Mr Raisi to win. This has alienated a good number of Iranians already deeply discontented with their living conditions in an economy that is crippled by US sanctions but also mismanagement.

The result of the election will not help with their concerns and may even lead to more instability at home. In the past few years Iran has witnessed at least two rounds of serious nationwide protests – with hundreds, some say thousands, killed. With Mr Raisi taking the presidency the hardliners will have taken all the centres of power: the executive branch as well as the legislative and the judiciary. Iran will be a more closed society.

Freedoms will likely be curtailed even more than before.The regime will look to China to help the economy out of deep crisis. There will be more tension with the West. Indirect talks between Iran and the US in Vienna over reviving the nuclear deal may face more uncertainty. There are already reports that the talks will now break up for a few weeks, allowing all sides to take stock of the new reality in Iran.Was the election free?

With counting continuing, state TV said Mr Raisi had so far received 62% of the vote – nearly 18 million of more than 28 million votes cast. Some 59 million Iranians were eligible to vote.Almost 600 hopefuls, including 40 women, registered for the election.But in the end only seven men were approved last month by the 12 jurists and theologians on the Guardian Council, an unelected body that has the ultimate decision with regard to candidates’ qualifications.

Three of those candidates subsequently pulled out before polling day.In response to this, some dissidents and reformists vowed to boycott the election. Turnout this time appears to have been just under 50% – significantly lower than the 73% of voters who turned out for the 2017 presidential poll.Before he withdrew, reformist candidate Mohsen Mehralizadeh hinted that the vote would be a foregone conclusion, saying during a candidates’ TV debate that the ruling clerics had aligned “sun, moon and the heavens to make one particular person the president,” according to The Economist.

Meanwhile former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one of those barred from running, said in a video message that he would not vote, declaring: “I do not want to have a part in this sin.”Iran elections: To vote or not to vote?

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.19: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #iran, #president, #tehran

‘ LEAKED EMAILS PROVIDE TASTE OF OBAMA’S AMNESTY PLAN ON IMMIGRATION ‘

#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – Nov.20 – Amnesty supporters and detractors alike have long expected Barack Obama to announce unilateral action regarding immigration shortly after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

According to a Reuters report Wednesday, that announcement will come Friday during a stop in Las Vegas.

Early reports are based on a Las Vegas Review-Journal report confirming Obama has scheduled a stop in the city this week and a subsequent CNBC claim that he will share details of an executive order during the trip.

While there are few confirmed details regarding the contents of his anticipated immigration plan, Reuters cited a source who advised the action will defer deportation of the illegal parents of legal American citizens.

Activist Dawn Le of the Alliance for Citizenship sent an email out to her contacts this week calling for the formation of “watch parties” Thursday evening and Friday in anticipation of a “celebratory” announcement regarding amnesty. BuzzFeed reported that labour union representative Jeff Hauser passed the correspondence along to several news organizations – apparently by accident.

The email, which was obviously sent to rally pro-amnesty activists, arrived in the inboxes of reporters from major outlets, including the New York Times and USA Today, before Hauser followed up with a second email asking the recipients to “please ignore” his previous message.

Obama will also likely allow immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally to remain in this country and could announce new border security measures.

Reports suggest the only deportation efforts Obama is interested in pursuing involve illegals convicted of serious crimes.

Source:  

#ANS2014 

#amnesty, #border-security, #immigration

‘ Ukrainian Parliament Approve Laws Allowing Amnesty for Those Involved in Hostilities ‘

#‎AceBreakingNews‬ – September 16 – UKRAINE – The Ukrainian parliament has approved laws on special status for the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, as well as amnesty for those participating in the hostilities.

cropped-header-breaking-news.jpg

Developing story …………RT 

#‎ANS2014‬

#acebreakingnews, #ans2014, #amnesty, #donetsk, #lugansk, #ukraine

#AceBreakingNews KIEV April 13 Ukraine’s acting interim President…

#AceBreakingNews – KIEV – April 13 – Ukraine’s acting interim President Alexander Turchinov has promised an amnesty to the anti-Kiev protesters in eastern Ukraine if they turn in arms by 09:00 local time (10:00 Moscow time) on Monday, April 14. Reported on Press Service

#ANS2014

#amnesty, #kiev, #moscow, #ukraine

` Ukrainian Parliament Passes `Amnesty Bill by 232 out of 226 ‘ to Release 25,000 or one Fifth of Prisoners ‘

#AceWorldNews – KIEV – April 08 – The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday passed an Amnesty bill by 232 votes out of 226 that were required. About 25,000 people or every fifth Ukrainian prisoner will be let out of jail.

“The bill grants an amnesty to persons serving prison terms for petty offences, most of which are linked to political or business activities,” Serhiy Sobolev, the head of the Batkivshchyna faction in the Ukrainian parliament, told journalists on Tuesday.

Ukraine had 127,830 inmates in 182 prisons and penitentiaries at the start of 2014.

Russian and Ukrainian News

#ANS2014

#amnesty, #kiev, #petty-offences, #ukrainian

`Moscow court sentences eight people to trial over mass disorder during rally in Russian Capital’

#AceWorldNews says the Zamoskoretsky District court in Moscow on Monday started announcing the sentence to eight people in the trial over mass disorder during a rally in the Russian capital on May 6, 2012.

On February 21, they were found guilty of mass riots and attacks on police officers during street violence. Four people in the case were released late last year under amnesty, which could not be applied for the rest as they had been charged with attacking police officers.

#amnesty, #guilty, #moscow, #riots, #russian, #violence

#Ukraine : `Amnesty for Protesters has come into force today with over 200 Detainees to be set Free’

#AceWorldNews says the amnesty for Ukrainian protesters has come into force in Ukraine, with more than 200 detainees due to be set free over the next month.

The amnesty became possible after the protesters had agreed to meet the authorities half-way.

Maria Balyabina

#amnesty, #detainees, #protesters, #ukrainian

#Ukraine : `Amnesty Law In Force Today’

#AceNewsServices says `Ukrainian Amnesty Law Comes into Force Today’

law granting amnesty to the participants of the mass protests in Ukraine came into force SundayThe law granting amnesty to the participants of the mass protests in Ukraine came into force Sunday. The government and the opposition have agreed that the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovnaya Rada, would announce an amnesty if administration buildings and roads were unblocked by the rioters. The protesters have 15 days to meet the demands.

The amnesty does not affect those who committed major offences such as murder or kidnaping during the riots that have gripped the country for weeks.

 

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#acenewsservices, #amnesty, #amnesty-law, #coming-into-force, #european-union, #information-telegraph-agency-of-russia, #kiev, #protest, #sunday, #ukraine, #verkhovna-rada, #viktor-yanukovych