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September 17 2014
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Iranian Interior Ministry objects to patrols enforcing hijab

- Extremist groups such as Ansar-e Hezbollah and Basij forces have become more vocal and active about enforcing hijab in public. This appears to be a backlash against the more progressive policies of the Rohani administration and President Rohani's call for moderation. - 9/17/14

New report on Iran's failed promises on human rights

- Titled "Unfulfilled Promises", and launched on Monday at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, the report discusses 34 specific pledges made by Iran in February 2010 at the UN Human Rights Council that in some way could address human rights violations faced by members of Iran's Baha'i community. - 9/17/14

Iran FM criticizes Norway's expulsion of Iranian students

- "The expulsion of Iranian students has had adverse consequences on our public opinion and academic circles and this is detrimental to Norway," Zarif said in a Monday meeting with new Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Aud Lise Norheim. - 9/16/14

Iran: Plainclothes forces to patrol for hijab violations

- The head of Ansar-e Hezbollah, the paramilitary group usually referred to as "plainclothes" forces by the Iranian public, has announced that it will put 4,000 of its forces on the street next week to confront violations of hijab, the Islamic public dress code. - 9/16/14

Iranian MP renews call for release of opposition figures

- Conservative Iranian MP Ali Motahari has once again urged the Islamic Republic government to release MirHosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard, the opposition leaders who have been under house arrest since February 2011 for challenging the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory in the 2009 election. - 9/14/14

More Than Two Months in Solitary Confinement for Protesting Exclusion of Women in Stadium

- A young woman's detention in solitary confinement continues after her June 30, 2014 arrest, following her earlier arrest and release outside a Tehran sports stadium when she tried to attend a volleyball game. Ghoncheh Ghavami's lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he is unaware of his client's charges despite the fact that Ghavami has been in solitary confinement at Evin Prison for more than two months and her "temporary detention" orders have been extended twice. - 9/13/14

"Happy" Youths Go on Trial in Tehran

- The Iranian youths who produced the dance video "Happy in Tehran" set to the Pharrell Williams hit song "Happy" were put on trial in Tehran on September 9, 2014, where they were charged with "participation in producing a vulgar video clip" and conducting "illicit relations" with one another, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 9/12/14

British-Iranian woman Ghonche Ghavami imprisoned for two months for trying to watch men's volleyball game in Tehran

- Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, was arrested along with more than a dozen women as they tried to enter a stadium where the Iranian national men's team was playing Italy on 20 June. -Independent - 9/11/14

Banned Iranian author Hossein Abkenar takes up at Black Mountain Institute

- Most of us take our freedoms for granted because that's how freedom works: You use it; you don't think about it. The City of Asylum program at the Black Mountain Institute at UNLV supports writers whose freedoms have been stripped by censorship and whose lives may be in danger. -Las Vegas Weekly - 9/11/14

Jailed Iranian dervishes set terms for ending hunger strike

- The nine jailed Gonabadi dervishes who have begun a hunger strike have issued a statement to announce their demands. The imprisoned dervishes write that they have already written their wills and are prepared to die for their cause. - 9/11/14

69 Percent Of Young Iranians Use Software To Get Around Internet Filtering: Survey

- Some 67.4 percent of Iranian young people (between the ages of 15-29) use the internet, according to a survey conducted by the Iranian Center for Research and Strategic Studies. 69.3% of Iranian young people reported using anti-internet filter software to be able to surf through blocked websites. - 9/9/14

Meet the Iranian woman who risked everything to save her brother from a death sentence

- If a woman in Iran can have it all, Maryam Malekpour came close. At 27, the striking, dark-haired mechanical engineer had a university degree, a reliable job at a Tehran oil and gas company, a husband, a devoted family and a lively circle of friends. Days were a mellow round of work, swimming, tennis and hanging out in the city. -Olivia Ward, Toronto Star - 9/9/14

Dozens arrested at "immoral party" in Khezershahr, Iran

- Forty-three young men and women were arrested at a party in the coastal city of Khezershahr in Mazandaran. The Shahrvand daily reported on Sunday September 7 that the 27 women and 16 men had "met through Facebook" and arrived at Khezershahr from various Iranian cities to celebrate a birthday in one of the villas. - 9/8/14

Gender Segregation Gains Momentum in Iran: Women Prohibited from More Jobs

- Shargh Daily reported on September 2, 2014, that women are now banned from appearing on stage at musical performances in 13 provinces across the country. Only bands without any female members will be granted the required performance license, according to the report. - 9/7/14

Gender Segregation Violates the Rights of Women in Iran

- The recent sharp exchange during a press conference between Morteza Talai, Deputy Chairperson of the Tehran City Council, and a female journalist from Sharq newspapers over Talai's support of a recent gender-segregation initiative in the Municipality of Tehran, reflects the intensifying struggle between hardliners intent on controlling the domestic sphere and more moderate elements of Iranian society who resist relinquishing their basic rights. -Leila Mouri - 9/5/14

Khawaja Arrest Exposes Bahrain's Rights Abuses, US Hypocrisy

- If actions speak louder than words, then Bahrain's decision to arrest the prominent human rights activist, Maryam al-Khawaja, on Aug. 29 demonstrates that, despite promises to the contrary, the island kingdom has no real intention of cleaning up its poor human rights record. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 9/5/14

Iranian reformist journalist, activist blogger released after 5 years

- Mehdi Mahmoudian, a reformist journalist, was released from Karaj's Rejaishahr Prison at the end of his sentence. Also, ossein Ronaghi Maleki, the Iranian blogger who was arrested following the 2009 election protests and jailed ever since, has been released. - 9/4/14

Iran's President Tells Clerics Internet Vital

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Iran "cannot close the gates of the world for the younger generation." Iranian President Hassan Rohani has urged the country's clerics to be more tolerant of the Internet and new technologies. - 9/2/14

An American Jailes in Iran: Hekmati Family Hopes for His Release, Three Years after Arrest

- Three years after his arrest in Tehran, US-born Amir Mirzaei Hekmati remains in prison. His family continues to hope that he will be released in time to see his father, who suffers from a terminal illness in the US. Hekmati's earlier charges of espionage have been changed to "cooperating with a hostile government," and his death sentence has been overturned, according to his lawyer, Seyed Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee. - 9/2/14

Iranian Women's Monthly Under Pressure From Hard-Liners

- A newly launched women's monthly run by a prominent female editor has irked Iranian hard-liners, who have accused her of promoting "obsolete" feminist views and ideas that are un-Islamic. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported last week that Shahla Sherkat , editor of "Zanan-e Emruz," will be put on trial by Iran's Press Court on September 7. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 9/1/14

Iran Police Chief Stirs Controversy Over Women Working In Coffee Shops

- Islamic Republic Police Chief Khalil Helali told reporters on Sunday that women are prohibited from working in coffee shops and traditional cafes. Helali's statements are being challenged by legal experts, who maintain that there is no legislation banning women from employment in coffee shops. - 9/1/14

Iranian activist lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wins right to resume her law practice

- Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh says an order issued by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal gives her permission to resume practicing law. Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to a 20-year ban from practicing law. - 9/1/14

Iranian Director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Criticizes West's Sanctions On Iran At Venice Film Festival

- Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad criticized the U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran during a press conference for her latest film "Tales" at the 71st International Venice Film Festival on Thursday. She said that the embargos "actually penalized the people in the country," AP reported. - 8/30/14

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

- One year after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assumed the office of President, the regime in Tehran is apparently stepping up surveillance of its citizens' online and telephone activities, threatening some with punishment for "seditious" activities. -Doug Bernard, VOA - 8/30/14

Five Thousand Iranian Mine Workers Strike in Protest against Arrest of Strikers

- In an increasingly tense and prolonged stand-off between striking miners, the Bafgh Iron Ore Mines, and judicial officials, which originally began in May 2014 over plans to privatize the mine, a new round of strikes at the mines began on August 19 over the arrests of some of the strikers, reportedly involving some 5000 miners... - 8/29/14

Families of striking Iranian miners angered by bail

- While the court has issued bail for workers detained during the labour protests in Bafgh, their families protest that the accused "have not committed any crime and should not be required to put up bail for their release." - 8/28/14

Tehran police renew satellite crackdown

- Tehran police have once again started a campaign of confiscating satellite dishes from people's homes. The Etemad daily reported on Thursday that some people have described officers arriving at residential buildings with warrants to enter and confiscate satellite dishes. - 8/28/14

Political Prisoners at Evin Transferred into Quarantine without Explanation

- Twenty-seven political prisoners have been transferred from Evin Prison's Ward 350 to quarantine, where they are now being held in conditions tantamount to clear and serious ill treatment. - 8/23/14

Learn about the role of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran

- Dr. Ahmed Shaheed is the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How do UN human rights mechanisms encourage all countries, including Iran, to uphold human rights? - 8/23/14

Iran: Riot police arrest protesting mine workers

- Riot police were deployed at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine on Wednesday August 20 in response to miner protests. According to ILNA, one of the protesting workers reported that police tried to break up the demonstrations and arrested 16 workers. - 8/23/14

Female Iranian-American photojournalist freed on bail

- The Washington Post reports that its female photojournalist who was detained by Iranian authorities a month ago has now been released on bail. The daily has refrained from releasing the name of the photojournalist upon the request of her family; however, it has indicated that she holds dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship. - 8/22/14

Jailed Iranian journalist out on bail after two months

- Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been released on bail after two months in custody. Azarpeyk's lawyer told ISNA that Azarpeyk's family posted bail of 200 million toumans for her release, which occurred at 2 PM. Azarpeyk was arrested in May and charged with propaganda activities against the regime. - 8/21/14

Paying the price for sanctions: The customers with Iranian links being ditched by British banks

- HSBC and others deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautious? -Maria Tadeo, Independent - 8/20/14

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City's Prisons

- Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said. - 8/19/14

Iranian journalist's arrest extended despite lack of trial

- The arrest warrant for jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been renewed again for another month despite Azarpeyk's objections and her demand for due process. In a report by the Etemad daily, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi, Azarpeyk's lawyer, said the investigation is now complete and his client should be given a chance to face her charges. - 8/19/14

Iranian photographers face the lash after criticising official's book

- Two photographers in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 75 lashes after criticising an illustrated book published by a local official. Both men, who are from Qazvin province, were put on trial when Mohammad-Ali Hazrati, the head of the local cultural heritage organisation, felt insulted by the negative reviews the pair had written in separate posts online about his photography book, "Qazvin, the Land of Times Past". -Saeed Kamali Dehghan - 8/19/14

Iranian-Arab activists draw harsh sentences

- Preliminary court has sentenced four Iranian-Arab activists in Ahwaz to heavy prison terms after they had already spent more than two and a half years in jail. Hassan Abiyat was sentenced to life imprisonment, Aidan Beyt was sentenced to 10 years and Khaled Obeydavi and Jasem Soadi were each sentenced to five years in prison. - 8/16/14

Iran: Head Of Judiciary Reappointed Despite Controversies

- The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has renewed Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani's term as head of judiciary for another five years. At a ceremony, Ayatollah Khamenei called on the judiciary to focus on policies to reduce case-processing times, fight corruption, and establish social security and prevent crime. - 8/15/14

Judge Ashley Tabaddor Files Suit against Department of Justice for Violating First Amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1964

- The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) was today informed of a suit filed against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) by Judge Ashley Tabaddor, an immigration judge for the U.S. Immigration Court. In this suit, Judge Tabaddor challenges an order that indefinitely recuses her from hearing cases involving Iranian nationals, citing that the order violates her First Amendment rights of free speech and association. - 8/13/14

Iran: Centre urges rethink of ban on satellite programming

- The Iranian Parliament's research centre reports that government policies on satellite usage in the country have not succeeded and need to be reconsidered. In a report released on Tuesday August 12, the centre says the ban on satellite equipment and usage has not been an effective policy. - 8/13/14

A Maple Syrup Mecca for Iran's Gays

- With generous social benefits, a welcoming attitude, and a thriving support community, Toronto has emerged as the unofficial capital for gay Iranian refugees.-Nina Strochlic, Daily Beast - 8/13/14

Iranian MPs Vote To Ban Vasectomies, Punish Contraception Advocates

- Iran's parliament has voted to ban vasectomies and other permanent forms of birth control in an attempt to increase the country's birthrate. The legislation would ban vasectomies and impose punishments for encouraging contraceptive services and abortions. - 8/12/14

Iranian government opposes concert gender segregation

- Iranian police closed down a concert of pop singer Mohsen Yeganeh in Urmia, West Azerbaijan Province last week and announced that concerts in Iranian cities except Tehran would be held for males and females separately. - 8/11/14

Iran lightens punishment for birth control procedures

- The Iranian Parliament says the Health Commission has amended the new fertility bill, eliminating prison sentences for vasectomies and tubectomies. Abdolrahman Rostamian reports that physicians who perform these procedures will not face imprisonment but in the new draft of the bill they first would be given oral and then written warning and would finally face the closure of their practice. - 8/11/14

A U.S. Journalist's Arrest Points to a Power Struggle in the Leadership of Iran

- Jason Rezaian knew he was being watched. A man on a motorcycle had been following him and his wife for weeks, his colleagues said. The tail was so blatant that Mr. Rezaian, The Washington Post's correspondent in Tehran, had even managed to take a picture of the license plate. -Thomas Erdbring, NY Times - 8/8/14

Iranian cyber police officer sentenced for death of blogger

- A court in Tehran has sentenced the accused in the death of jailed blogger Sattar Beheshti to three years in jail and 74 lashes. According to the Beheshti family attorney, the accused has also been ordered to have an obligatory transfer for two years. - 8/8/14

While Officials Maintain Silence, Hardliners Make Baseless Accusations Against Jason Rezaian

- After two weeks of silence by Iranian officials on the reason for the detention of husband-and-wife journalists Jason Rezaian and Yegabeh Salehi and their whereabouts, media with ties to security and intelligence organs believed to be holding them have begun leveling baseless charges of spying against them, revealing the intentions of interrogators to fabricate a case in order to justify their actions. - 8/7/14

Rohani deputy slams Tehran's gender segregation plan

- The presidential deputy for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, says the Rohani administration does not approve of gender segregation in the workplace. This comes after the head of Iran's judiciary commended the mayor of Tehran for implementing a plan to separate male and female public employees in municipal offices. - 8/7/14

Prominent Iranian activist found dead in Turkey

- Jamal Hosseiny, the editor-in-chief of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), was found dead at his home in Turkey. HRANA reports that on Tuesday August 5, Turkish police discovered Hosseiny's lifeless body behind his desk at his home with drops of blood on his face and other parts of the house. - 8/7/14

Iran awards first annual human rights prize

- Iran has awarded its first annual prize for human rights activism to the head of the Al-Nasr Children's Hospital in Gaza. The 30,000-euro prize was awarded for the first time on the sidelines of the Islamic Human Rights Ceremony in Tehran. - 8/6/14

At least 11 Killed By Fire At Iranian Prison

- Reports from central Iran say at least 11 inmates at a prison have been killed in a fire. Abdullah Mousavi, a local judiciary official, said on August 5 that the prisoners died from suffocation when the fire broke out at the Shahr-e-Kord prison in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province on August 4. - 8/6/14

Persian daily "Qanoun" to return to newsstands

- A court in Tehran revoked a ban on the Persian daily Qanoun (Law). In a hearing on Monday, the paper was punished by a fine of 50 million rials (about $1,650) after it was found guilty on charges of making 'false accusations', disturbing public opinion and publishing articles against public decency. - 8/5/14

27 Journalists Now Detained in Iran, says IFJ

- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has issued a renewed appeal for the government of Iran to show its commitment to press freedom and human rights by releasing the ever increasing number of journalists being held in the country. - 8/2/14

Health of jailed Iranian journalist of growing concern

- Akram Mohammadi mother of jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk reports that her daughter's temporary arrest warrant has been renewed and she has been told not to have much hope to see her daughter released. - 8/2/14

Iranian Showman Launches "Child for Child" Gaza Campaign

- Popular Iranian children TV show host has run "Child for Child" campaign to support the rights of oppressed Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. "Children all over the world wish a peaceful and comfortable life free of war for Gaza children and we want to realize such wish by running the campaign," said Dariush Farziaei (known as Uncle Pourang in Iran). - 8/2/14

Jailing of returning Iranian journalists called part of anti-Rohani plan

- Hossein Mirdamadi, the father of jailed journalist Serajeddin Mirdamai, says the judge in his son's case has said that he will be made an example so that other journalists will not think of returning to Iran. - 8/1/14

Jason Rezaian's Mother Pleads for Her Son's Release

- Mary Rezaian, the mother of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who was detained in Iran last week with his wife Yeganeh Salehi without charge or access to a lawyer, makes a heartfelt plea to Iranian authorities in this video to release her two loved ones. -Jasmin Ramsey - 7/31/14

Six judges accused of leading role in Iranian crackdown on free speech

- Iran's crackdown on journalists and political activists is being spearheaded by a small group of judges under the influence of the country's intelligence and security apparatus, according to human rights organisations. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 7/31/14

Column: Free Jason Rezaian, Other Iranian American Detainees

- All Iranian Americans who travel to Iran know they face a certain amount of risk. Obliged to use Iranian passports instead of obtaining visas like other Americans, Iranian Americans can easily be barred from leaving the country and become pawns in the three-decade-old U.S.-Iran confrontation as well as in Iran's complicated domestic political battles. The latest such pawn appears to be Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. -Barbara Slavin - 7/30/14

Rights Groups, US Urge Iran to Release Journalists

- Rights groups and the U.S. State Department are continuing to call for Iran to release four people arrested last week, including Washington Post Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian and two other journalists. - 7/29/14

Iran Is World's Leading Jailer Of Female Journalists And Netizens

- The arrest on 22 July of two journalists and a photographer, including the Tehran correspondent of the Washington Post and his Iranian wife, brings to 65 the number of news providers behind bars in Iran. They include 10 women, of whom three are foreign nationals, making Iran the world's leading jailer of female journalists and netizens. - 7/29/14

Tehran told to drop plans for gender segregation in city offices

- The Ministry of Labour has called on Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baghher Ghalibaf to revoke the directive for gender segregation in city offices. The ministry maintains that the directive violates the International Labour Convention's anti-discrimination provisions. - 7/29/14

Singing is our resistance: Iranian sisters on their fight to perform

- A prominent Iranian musician today told how she uses music as her "resistance" against the strict laws in her home country. Mahsa Vahdat, 40, who performed at Womad festival with her sister Marjan, 37, on Sunday, said she refuses to comply with a law preventing women from singing solo to a mixed-sex audience. -Evening Standard, London - 7/29/14

Israel Creates 'No Man's Land' in Gaza, Shrinking Strip by 40 Percent

- "Scorched earth," historically, means destroying land to deprive the encroaching enemy of its use. Israelis shy away from using the phrase to describe what they are doing because, in Israel, it brings to mind the strategy of the Nazi retreat from Russia at the end of the Second World War. -Jesse Rosenfeld, Daily Beast - 7/29/14

Iran should free Post journalist Jason Rezaian and his colleagues immediately

- Mr. Rezaian, who grew up in California as the son of an Iranian immigrant, went to the country in 2012 because he believed he could offer a more nuanced portrait of Iran, his mother told The Post. He has reported not just on political developments in Tehran but also on social issues, such as a water shortage, and cultural developments, including a nascent Iranian appetite for baseball. -Editorial Board, Washington Post - 7/29/14

Raid Leaves Arrested Washington Post Journalist's Home in Tehran "Looking Like a Scene from Hell"

- Jason Rezaian, Yeganeh Salehi, two journalists, and a photographer were arrested in Tehran on the night of July 22, 2014, after their homes were raided by security forces. The agents also confiscated their personal belongings, including laptops, books, and notes, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/28/14

Iranian Journalist Mirdamadi Gets Six-Year Sentence

- Jailed Iranian journalist Serajeddin Mirdamadi was sentenced to six years in jail on Sunday July 27 at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. The sentence, which was issued at a preliminary hearing, can be appealed within 20 days. Mirdamadi used to reside in Paris and collaborated with a number of media outlets including Radio Zamaneh. - 7/28/14

Iran students face expulsion from Norway over sanctions

- Academics from Norway's top technical university have expressed concern after almost a dozen post-graduate science students from Iran had their residence permits cancelled because of international sanctions. -Fariba Sahraei, The Nation - 7/28/14

Iranian Security forces shut down poet's commemoration

- The fourteenth commemoration ceremony for the passing of Iranian poet Ahmad Shamloo was interrupted by Islamic Republic security forces. HRANA reports that the ceremony was organized by Iran's Writers' Association and was held on Thursday July 25. - 7/26/14

Iran Detains 4 Journalists, Including Washington Post Reporter

- Three Americans, including a reporter for The Washington Post, appear to have been detained in Iran, the newspaper and the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday. Two of the detainees are Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper the Nation, the CPJ said in a statement. - 7/25/14

Ruling of Combined 127-Year Sentence for Facebook Users Violates Iran's Own Laws

- A source knowledgeable about the case of eight young Iranians sentenced to heavy prison sentences for their activities on Facebook told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that in an illegal ruling, Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Moghisseh has issued verdicts that are up to three times longer than allowable under Iran's own laws. - 7/25/14

Photos: Iranian Mothers For Peace group protests attacks on Gaza

- Iran's Mothers for Peace gathered in protest in front of the United Nations offices in Tehran to condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Iran's Mothers for Peace expressed affinity with the Palestinian mothers who have lost family members in the Israeli attacks. - 7/24/14

Iranian actress Niki Karimi criticizes world's silence on Israeli crimes in Gaza

- Iranian actress-cum-director Niki Karimi has expressed her criticism over the world's silence on the ongoing Israeli crimes in Gaza. "It is very strange to me that in today's world of instant communication such a tragedy can be occurring, and yet everyone still does as he pleases, and nothing is done to stop it." A large group of Iranian cineastes also gathered at Tehran's Shafaq Cultural Center yesterday to protest against Israeli crimes in Gaza. - 7/24/14

Jailed Iranian journalist seems weak at court

- Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk attended the Revolutionary Court on Sunday and Monday, July 20 and 21. Eyewitnesses report that Azarpeyk appeared weak and showed serious weight loss. Azarpeyk has only been allowed to contact her family once since her arrest. - 7/24/14

Gaza Under Fire: A Humanitarian Disaster

- The current crisis in Gaza comes against a backdrop of a continued blockade imposed on the territory by Israel, widespread unemployment, severe poverty, electricity cuts, closure of borders and crossings since 2006, destroyed infrastructure and a stagnant Gazan economy, combined with a lack of political progress at the Israeli-Palestinian political level. -Khaled Alashqar, IPS - 7/23/14
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