#AceNewsServices – DETROIT- Nov.26 – The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has filed a motion to be admitted as amicus curiae in the case of Rasmea Odeh, to support the request by Rasmea Odeh’s attorneys that the Court reconsider its decision to deny her bond pending sentencing on March 12, 2015.
On November 10, 2014 the prominent 67-year-old Palestinian Chicago community leader was found guilty of an immigration violation for failing to disclose having been convicted of bombing charges by the Israeli military in occupied Palestine more than 40 years ago – her confession of which had been coerced through 45 days of brutal torture and rape during incarceration.
The Court had gutted Odeh’s defence – represented by a team of NLG attorneys – when it prohibited testimony about her torture, rape, and subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder from trial. Deeming Odeh a “flight risk,” the Court has denied her bond.
The NLG urges the Court to reconsider this decision so that Odeh may continue her award-winning community work in Chicago until sentencing.
Long time NLG attorney Barbara Harvey, who filed the November 20 motion on behalf of the Guild, stated: “The amicus brief brings together Palestinians and Jews, Christians and Arabs, lawyers and non-lawyers, from six major human rights groups in this country to express their sorrow and ask the Court to show compassion for a 67-year-old Palestinian American woman who has helped hundreds of Arab women immigrants assimilate into US life and culture; 261 of these women also ask the Court to release Rasmea Odeh from prison pending sentencing.”
The NLG, Jewish Voice for Peace, Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, National Students for Justice in Palestine, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee attached a joint letter to Judge Drain to the amicus papers, supporting Ms. Odeh’s request for reconsideration of bond. NLG President Azadeh Shahshahani said, “Rasmea Odeh belongs with her friends and community, especially the Arab-American women she has been supporting and serving for the past decade.
Based on her deep bonds to Chicago and her exemplary character, she should be set free immediately.”
Odeh faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and immediate deportation upon release, which could not only threaten her safety, but also deprive the Chicago community of her outstanding leadership and support.
As Harvey asks, “Is our legal system dedicated to justice or is it so vengeful that we cannot show mercy to a person such as Rasmea Odeh, who has been a law-abiding resident of this country for 20 years and peacefully transformed her personal suffering into the energy to serve others?”
#AceWorldNews – BOSNIA – Nov.18 – Bosnian police on Monday arrested 12 Bosnian Serbs suspected of crimes against humanity over an attack in the 1992-95 war, in which 150 Muslim Bosniaks were killed with their bodies being dumped in mass graves, Reuters said.
The arrests were carried out near the town of Prijedor.
The charges include murder, torture, rape, as well as looting and destroying the property of Bosniaks in the village of Zecovi, the prosecutor’s office said.
An estimated 100,000 people are believed to have been killed in the war, the large majority of them Bosniaks.
#AceNewsServices – EL SALVADOR – November 06 – In a country terrorized by gangsters, it is left to the dead to break the silence on sexual violence AP reported.
Rather, to the bodies of women and girls pulled from clandestine graves, raped, battered and sometimes cut to pieces.
They attest to the abuse committed by members of street gangs who take girlfriends, discard them when they know too much, then deliver them to group rape and murder.
Al-Jazeera reported about the violence against women, in 2013 as endemic levels of sexual abuse and gender based violence have made El Salvador one of the most dangerous countries in the world for girls and women, amid entrenched “machismo” attitudes and a criminal justice system that too often fails victims.
More than seven sexual attacks were reported every day in the first three months of 2013 – a 17 percent rise in 12 months, according to official police figures.
Two thirds of the reported 636 rapes and sexual offences were committed against children under the age of 18. El Salvador has a population of 6.2 million.
While much of the country’s escalating violence over the past decade can be blamed on street gangs and drug traffickers, the most risky place for girls and women is still at home.
In January alone this year, police received 243 complaints of domestic violence – a 23 percent year-on-year rise.
Information gathered by the feminist organisation Ormusa (the Organisation of Salvadoran Women for Peace) reveals that most sexual assaults involve girls aged between 12 and 17 and take place at home.
Sexual crimes are usually committed by a close relative or family acquaintance while the mother is out working.
One in three pregnancies in El Salvador involves a teenaged girl, often the result of abuse, according to NGO Plan International.
Too many girls end up in relationships with much older men in order to escape poverty or violence at home, Roxana Ramos, a primary care nurse working with pregnant teens in Chalatenango, told Al Jazeera.
‘Tip of the iceberg’
Women and girls also bear the brunt of kidnappings – another violent crime which blights the country and causes huge anxiety among the population. In the first four months of 2013, almost 500 kidnappings were reported – 60 percent involved girls and women, according to the National Civilian Police (PNC).
It is widely believed that PNC figures represent only the “tip of the iceberg” of actual crimes committed, as fear, mistrust of authorities, social stigma and a lack of awareness among many women about their rights keeps many from speaking out. Conviction rate figures are not publicly available.
A prevailing machismo attitude among the police, prosecutors and judiciary in particular continues to be a huge obstacle to justice for women.
Sources: AP – AL-Jazeera – PNC
Two police officers suspected of gang-raping and killing teenage sisters before hanging their bodies from a mango tree have been arrested in India. A third man was also held, according to reports, after the discovery of two bodies renewed public outrage over sexual violence in the country. Villagers in Katra found the bodies hours after the girls, aged 14 and 15, disappeared from fields they used because their homes had no toilet. Hundreds of people spent Wednesday in silent protest over alleged police inaction in the case. Indian TV channels filmed villagers sitting under the girls’ hanging bodies, preventing authorities from removing them until the suspects were arrested. Police responded by making three arrests – and four more suspects are being sought.
Autopsies confirmed the girls were gang-raped and strangled before being hanged, police Superintendent Atul Saxena reportedly told AP.
A police station chief has been suspended, according to the news agency, after allegedly ignoring a complaint the girls were missing. India tightened its rape laws last year – introducing the death penalty for gang rape – following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi. The case sparked nationwide protests. A rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people – and activists say many more cases go unreported because of a culture of tolerance.
#AceWorldNews – SYRIA – May 15 – (MNN) – Syrian women are paying the price of war. Baptist Global Response says some refugee widows are becoming prostitutes in order to feed their families.
They’re also helping physically with food distributions.
*Jala, a refugee, sits in a crowded room in Lebanon with other Syrian refugee women who gathered for Bible study. She makes a bold announcement.
Jala describes some of the horrific things she has seen and heard: women being raped in their homes or while fleeing the country, and some being taken as brides of the militia.
“They steal, they kill, and they rape in the name of God,” Jala says.
In the two years since the war began, the death toll in Syria has climbed above 90,000 people.
The plight of women, though, is seldom discussed.
Read More: MNN
Listen to Report: Women Paying the Price of War in Syria 4-5min-15-05-2014.mp3
#AceUKNews – PRESTON – April 10 – (BBC) – Former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans has been cleared of a string of sex abuse charges, including one of rape.
The rape claim was one of several allegations made by seven men during a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.
The former Conservative MP was said to have used his political influence to take advantage of his alleged victims.
But the defence pointed out inconsistencies in various witness accounts.
There was profound shock on all sides when the allegations of sexual offences against the then deputy
speaker first surfaced – and no shortage of MPs and peers willing to speak up for him.
The jury unanimously found Mr Evans not guilty of one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults.
Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26974975
#AceWorldNews – NEW DELHI – April 10 – (TOI) -Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday opposed the new anti-rape law and said that his party would change the law that entails death for rape.
Addressing a rally in Moradabad, Mulayam said, “rape accused should not be hanged. Men make mistakes.”
Questioning the death sentence to three men who were convicted of two gang-rapes in Mumbai last week, Mulayam said, “Should rape cases be punished with hanging? They are boys, they make mistakes.”
The SP chief further said he will support provision for legal action against those who misuse the rape act.
Mulayam’s comments evoked strong reactions with other parties slamming him for his insensitive comments.
The Samajwadi Party believes in creating a socialist society, which works on the principle of equality and the party has a secular and democratic outlook. The Samajwadi Party believes in continuously working towards the upliftment of weaker sections of society and it stands against communal forces.
#AceWorldNews – MUMBAI – April 04 – Three men were sentenced to death on Friday for two gang rapes last year in Mumbai, Reuters reported.
They included an attack on a photojournalist that sparked protests in the city.
A Mumbai court sentenced Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Mohammed Salim Ansari to death, the first time capital punishment has been given for rape not involving the death of the victim.
Some of the kits date back “as far back as we could tell, all the way to 2005,” said Hollywood Police Chief Frank Fernandez. “It’s an alarming amount of time. It’s an alarming amount of rape kits.”
Collected during a forensic medical exam after a sexual assault is reported, rape kits often contain physical evidence such as samples of bodily fluids, fibers, hair, and blood; documentation papers; photos; and clothing. Processing the kits for DNA evidence can sometimes quickly match assailants to victims.
Ninety-four such kits were found in a refrigerator in Hollywood, where according to FBI data compiled by neighbourhoodscout.com, 38 rapes were reported last year. WSVN reports that so far, 24 of the lost kits have been identified as top priorities and transported to a lab at the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and some arrests have already been made.
Unfortunately, reports of lost or backlogged rape kits is nothing new. In Robbins, Illinois, a sheriff’s aide discovered 176 rape kits dating back to 1986 in a jumbled pile of evidence in a basement. More than 1,000 forgotten rape kits were found in Detroit Police storage last year, just several years after approximately 11,303 untested rape kits were uncovered in the same city during an inventory.
In Texas, Carol Bart’s rape kit sat untested for nearly two decades before it was finally processed, identifying her attacker through DNA analysis. But the statute of limitations on her case was up.
“Women go to the hospital and their bodies are a crime scene and treated as such,” Bart told the Associated Press last year. “For these kits then to just to sit in a laboratory or in police vaults or wherever they sit, denies victims of sexual assault any opportunity for justice. I just wonder how many more there are?” The Huffington Post
- Legislator Pushes For Stricter Rape Kit Testing Procedures(wreg.com)
- More than 5K untested Ohio rape kits submitted(wcpo.com)
- Memphis Sued for Ignoring 15K Rape Kits(newser.com)
- Rape Victims Sue Police Over Decade-Long Rape Kit Backlog(mintpressnews.com)
By Melanie Nathan, January 04, 2014.
Touted in an article as the most comprehensive report on the issue, “Crisis in South Africa: The shocking practice of ‘corrective rape’ – aimed at ‘curing’ lesbians,” is the work of Clare Carter, who left her home in New York City in 2011 to photograph South Africa’s corrective rape victims.
Horrified at the magnitude of the problem, she apparently spent two years in South Africa, “finding those affected and gaining their trust.” In total, Carter photographed 45 survivors, hearing their stories and piecing together the mosaic forces fueling the crime by interviewing priests and NGO workers, gay rights activists and family members. She also met with rapists.
“Even in the two years I was there the stories I was hearing were getting worse,” she says. “Corrective rape is getting more violent.”
In the article, which appeared in The Independent, Patrick Strudwick notes:
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#AceWorldNews says “Amnesty International” calls for Saudi Arabia to End Persecution of “Lawyer in Notorious Rape Case” #unfairlaw
The leading human rights organization Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to end the persecution of lawyer Abd al-Rahman al-Lahem who was stripped of his license and put under investigation after telling the world of another abusive sentence of a rape victim by the medieval Sharia courts of Saudi Arabia. In the case, a court sentenced a 19-year-old rape victim to 90 lashes. When her attorney went public with the abusive sentence, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes plus six months in jail and her lawyer was stripped of his license. The victim was found guilty of violating the Sharia rule requiring strict segregation of the sexes.
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