FRIDAY WRAP ( 8 - 14 FEB 2013 )


In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful.
Azam Russia brings you the latest update on the world issues.

Sameer Issawi

 PALESTINE -  Sameer Issawi, 33, has been on a hunger strike in an Israeli jail for more than 203 days. Initially released by Israeli authorities in an October 2011 prisoner swap, Issawi was re-arrested in July 2012 and told he would have to serve the remaining 20-years of his original sentence for allegedly violating the conditions of his release.
   It is not officially known how prison authorities have kept him alive during months of not eating. 
Some of Issawi’s supporters said he was being force fed through an intravenous tube, but the latest reports from prison indicate that he has begun refusing all nutrients and water and that he faces imminent death.
   His sister said that Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos, who represents Issawi, recounted that on a recent hospital visit that the hunger-striker told him: "I'm reaching the end of the tunnel. I'm either going to see the light of freedom or the light of martyrdom."
   Issawi’s sister said she last saw her brother during a court appearance in December. "He weighed only 47kg… he was just skin and bones, he could barely even speak."
    Because of the length of his hunger strike, Issawi suffers from a loss of vision, dizziness and loss of consciousness. He has lost control over his limbs and suffers severe pain all over his body - especially in his abdomen and kidneys, his sister said.
    Issawi also suffers from fractured ribs that Shireen said were caused by an attack perpetrated by Israeli soldiers while he was handcuffed to his wheelchair at a December 2012 court hearing. "They beat him and they beat us. Then we were not allowed to see him at all," his sister said.
   Danny Danon, a right-wing member of Israel’s Knesset, told the Jerusalem Post that officials should not listen to protests about the treatment of hunger strikers. "We do not need to listen to these efforts because they are terrorists," he said. 
    Palestinian activists, unsurprisingly, disagree. "The Israelis must charge him with a crime or set him free," Elshaer said.
     "If he dies, there will be a big reaction… just the other day someone started a rumour online that Samer had died and Facebook and Twitter were going crazy. The reaction was quick. I think the public all over the world, not just Palestinians, will react to his death."
Malaka Mohammed, the Gaza Strip coordinator for the "Free Samer Issawi" campaign said she is being told that Samer could die at any moment, and that Israeli forces are on standby.

EGYPT - YouTube has been temporarily banned in Egypt for carrrying an anti-Islamic documentary that triggered deadly riots across north Africa and the Middle East in September.
 In what human rights activists have called a backwards step for internet freedom, Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website for 30 days after the trailer for Innocence of Muslims sparked outrage.
The ban had not been enacted by Sunday afternoon, and a Google spokesperson said the company, which owns YouTube, had not yet been served with any order. But five years after a request for a similar ban was thrown out by an Egyptian court, this week's putative YouTube ban has been seen as a regressive step.

TUNISIA - Tunisia is facing a general strike on Friday after angry protests triggered by the assassination of an opposition politician plunged the country into its biggest crisis since the revolution two years ago.
The UGTT, Tunisia's trade union federation, called the strike in protest at the murder of Chokri Belaid on Wednesday. It will be the first such strike since 1978 and there is now deep uncertainty and anxiety about how events will unfold.
Belaid, a secular, leftist human rights lawyer, was shot dead at close range on his way to work in an attack that was condemned by the government, blamed on extremists but claimed by nobody. The assailant fled on a motorbike pillion.
The killing has opened up the possibility that Tunisia could now see the kind of political polarisation that it has so far managed to avoid since the overthrow of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, was among those condemning the murder of Belaid and urging Tunisians to unite against those who want to push the country towards "violence and chaos".
Four opposition groups – including the Popular Front – announced that they were pulling out of the national constituent assembly in protest at the murder.Opposition parties have said that the government should bear responsibility for the killing of Belaid as ministers had failed to curb intimidation, violence and threatening language used by radical preachers and on extremist websites.

SYRIA - Syrian rebels have shot down two military warplanes over the northwestern province of Idlib, a monitoring group has said.
Both jets were hit with fire from heavy machineguns while the air force was carrying out a series of raids in the area, much of which is under the control of the rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.Abdul-Rahman said the rebels captured about 70 percent of the oil field but there was still sporadic gunfire in the area.
Meanwhile, Iranian authorities said on Thursday that gunmen had shot dead an Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief in an ambush on the way from Damascus towards the Lebanese capital.
Iran's elite fighting force named him as commander Hassan Shateri, in a statement on its website that said he was killed on Tuesday.

May Allah bless,

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