August 12, 2014
Another Success: Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi Under US Sanctions
SRW is grateful to all Shia rights activists who helped this organization and others in pressuring governments and agencies to recognize Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti cleric, as a Shia rights violator who passports and funds terrorist groups. The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on him and two other key terrorist financiers under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 as of August 6th/2014. Treasury.gov stated “Al-Ajmi operates regular social media campaigns seeking donations for Syrian fighters and is one of the most active Kuwaiti fundraisers for ANF. In July 2014, he publicly admitted that he collected money under the auspices of charity and delivered the funds in person to ANF. Al-Ajmi also acknowledged purchasing and smuggling arms on behalf of ANF”. Al-Ajmi is responsible for slaughter of many Shia families in Syria by founding and encouraging Anti-Shiism. Defenddemocracy.org also reported” The latter al-Ajmi has implied that he supports slaughtering captured Shi’ite fighters, women, and children in Syria and had his preacher’s license suspended in August for radical invective on Syria and Egypt”.
SRW appreciates The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s action to pressure and punish human rights violation enablers. As this organization repeatedly reported al-Ajmi has encouraged hatred toward Shia Muslims in Middle East and such preachers must be recognized and stopped in order to see peace in that region.
Furthermore SRW hopes to see International Human Rights Court hold al-Ajmi and others responsible for their Shia killings.
Closure of Shia Satellite Channel Offices in Iran
SRW condemns the closure of the Shia satellite channel offices in Iran and arbitrary arrest of their employees.
As Iranian secret services has increased arrests, attacks, prosecutions, intimidations and government-backed raids against media professional and media organizations under the supervision of a popular Shia scholar, Ayatollah Sadiq Shirazi, status of Hamid Taqi-Poor is still unknown.
Masood Behnam and Hamid Taqi-Poor who had been arrested on August 3rd because of their Shia news coverage for a number of Shia media outlets.
Masood Behnam who was arrested from the hospital while he was receiving medical treatment for respiratory illness and diabetes, was released after 10 day of unknown status on August 12th. However Hamid Taqi-Poor who was arrested from a Shrine in Mashhad, Iran, is still in prison with no charges. His family is concerned about him since they are not allowed to see him or get any update from his situation and location.
SRW invites Iranian authorities to respect freedom of expression and religion and release Shia prisoners who are arrested because of their religious activities such as Taqi-Poor. Also, this NGO hopes Iranian authority reopens the closed offices as they are not involved in any political matter and their mission is solely religious teachings that are free of violence and discrimination.
According to International Bill of Human Article 9: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”; Article 10: “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him”; And Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
All mentioned articles are also supported under Islamic Law that Iran is running based on.
SRW Renewed its Calls for the United States to Add Pakistan to its List of “Countries of Particular Concern”
Shia Rights Watch has renewed its calls for the United States to add Pakistan to its list of “Countries of Particular Concern” after the murder of two Shia Muslims in a barbershop in Karachi on August 5, 2014. These two men were shot by gunmen on a motorcycle who are believed to be members of the Taliban-affiliated group Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ).
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote in their annual report “The previous and current Pakistani government failed to intervene effectively against a spike in violence targeting the Shia minority community”. This has been manifested in this latest attack and violates religious freedoms outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Shia Rights Watch condemns the actions taken by these assailants, as well as the inaction of the Pakistani government. Shia Rights Watch calls on the Pakistani government to put a stop to the murder of Shia civilians.
Bahraini Shia Show Solidarity with Jailed Shia Scholar
On Sunday August 10, 2014, a large number of Bahraini Shia took to the streets on the island of
Sitra to show solidarity with Sheikh Nimr al Nimr who has been in Saudi Prison for two years. Sheikh Nimr was attacked and arrested while en route to his home in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qatif region on July 8, 2012. The Sheikh was charged with disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-government speeches, and defending political prisoners.
These charges have earned the sheik a death sentence which has sparked outrage among the international community.
Amnesty International censured Saudi Arabia repeatedly over a host of human rights violations, including the oppression of the Shia minority. Shia Rights Watch has been a vocal critic of the Saudi government, citing article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which prohibits the arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, to condemn the arrest and sentencing of two Shia protestors earlier this year.
Update: The finer sentence that was supposed to be handed down on August 12, 2014 has been postponed.