Middle East & North Africa

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Middle East & North Africa

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The Egyptian Health Minister (L) gives a press conference, accompanied by a doctor and a medical staff member in a tent set up outside a hospital, in Ismailia, Egypt, 24 January 2021, KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt: Fake news and Coronavirus trials

A wave of arrests during the country’s COVID-19 health crisis has seen journalists, doctors, and social media users falsely accused of disseminating misinformation about the pandemic, reports SMEX.

Opposition supporters take part in a sit-in in front of the UN building in Manama, Bahrain, to condemn torture and in solidarity with victims of torture, 26 May 2014, Hussain Albahrani/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Bahrain: Prevalent torture and its chilling effect on free expression

In a revealing new report, rights organisations examine how systemic torture since Bahrain’s 2011 popular protests has become an intrinsic part of the country’s justice system, and the culture of impunity that persists.

Tunisian protesters confront police officers forming a human shield to block access to the interior ministry, during a protest against "police repression" and calling for the release of recently detained demonstrators, in Tunis, 30 January 2021, Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Report: MENA governments exploit pandemic to deepen repression

In the guise of confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities in MENA have censored online information, suppressed criticism, and passed measures hostile to rights and freedoms, says a new report from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).

Relatives of inmates at Roumieh prison, demonstrating outside the Ministry of Justice, call for a general amnesty and for the protection of prisoners following the spread of COVID-19 in the facility, Beirut, Lebanon, 14 September 2020, ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images

GCHR annual report documents defence of human rights in face of lockdowns and civic restrictions in 2020

The report features a summary of human rights violations in 12 countries and case updates on 557 human rights defenders across the Gulf and neighbouring countries.

A group of protesters hold banners and placards demanding the cancellation of the Formula 1 race being held in Manama, Bahrain, as they stage an anti-government demonstration, 19 April 2015, Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Bahrain: Formula 1 race ‘sportwashing’ rights abuse, say rights groups

In a joint letter, IFEX joins rights groups in calling on Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to investigate human rights violations linked to F1’s activities in Bahrain, and the company’s role in whitewashing the country’s rights record.

French-Moroccan journalist and rights activist Maâti Monjib (C), who had been on hunger strike, gestures upon his release from El Arjate prison near the capital Rabat, 23 March 2021, STR/AFP via Getty Images

European Union urged to take action to secure release of Moroccan and French journalist Maâti Monjib

In a statement issued prior to the provisional release of Moroccan and French journalist Maâti Monjib, we joined 15 organisations in urging the European Union to take action on his case.

Rights activist Sanaa Seif is surrounded by supporters after being released from prison in connection with a previous case, Cairo, Egypt, 15 November 2016, -/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt: Rights activist Sanaa Seif sentenced for “spreading false news”

Detained since 23 June 2020, activist Sanaa Seif received an 18-month sentence for protesting the horrid prison conditions prisoners in Egypt face, including her brother, jailed blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights joins the growing number of voices calling for her immediate release.

The mother (C-R) of Omar Radi (whose photo appears on the banner), a prominent Moroccan journalist on trial over charges of rape, takes part in a demonstration, Casablanca, 22 September 2020, FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Sex crime charges: A new tactic to silence journalists in Morocco

Moroccan authorities are using trumped up sexual assault and “morals” charges to retaliate against journalists for their critical reporting and discredit them publicly, says the Committee to Protect Journalists.

People take part in a protest against a "campaign of repression" targeting those who post information on social networks and in support of freedom of expression, in Rabat, Morocco, 9 January 2020, FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Mapping digital rights in MENA: towards a safer online environment

New research from IFEX member 7amleh examines how digital rights policies and practices in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia are impacting freedom of expression and the right to information, and highlights the need to improve people’s access to a safer online environment.

An AFP reporter hits the ground as a Syrian soldier runs past during snipper fire in the town of Maalula, Syria, 18 September 2013, ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images

The devastating toll of Syria’s uprising on journalists

On the tenth anniversary of the anti-government uprising that began Syria’s civil war, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) evaluates this war’s devastating impact on the country’s media and journalists, of whom hundreds have been killed and at least another hundred have disappeared or have fled abroad.

A protester wears a mask depicting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman with his hands painted red next to people holding posters of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a demonstration outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, 25 October 2018, YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images

In MENA: The search for justice in a pandemic of impunity

February 2021 in Middle East and North Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Naseem Tarawnah, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

A young man holds a poster with images of prisoners of conscience, during an opposition pro-democracy demonstration, Duraz, Bahrain, 15 August 2014, Ahmed AlFardan/NurPhoto

Bahrain: Rights groups call on the Biden administration to prioritise human rights in the Gulf

In a joint letter, IFEX joins rights groups in bringing attention to the ongoing suppression and deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, and urges US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to fulfill President Biden’s pledge to prioritise human rights when it comes to US foreign policy in the region.

During an RSF protest, people hold placards depicting imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi (Up L), assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi (Bottom L) and other Saudi activists, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to Germany in Berlin, 1 October 2019, TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images

RSF files criminal complaint in Germany against Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and others

The complaint details a litany of crimes against humanity committed against 35 journalists in Saudi Arabia, including that of murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Representatives of Human Rights First, PEN America, POMED, CPJ and others gather in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, 2 October 2019, to remember Jamal Khashoggi, OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

US must hold Mohammed bin Salman accountable for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, rights groups say

In response to the release of a U.S. congressional report identifying Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as having ordered the operation against journalist Jamal Khashoggi, rights groups call on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on the prince, and suspend arms sales.

General view of a Parliamentary session in Tehran, Iran, 22 October 2020, Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran amends law to further stifle freedom of expression

New amendments to Iran’s Islamic Penal Code will empower authorities to further choke free expression and target religious and ethnic minorities, while providing fertile ground for arbitrary arrests and detentions, says ARTICLE 19.

A policeman enters Dubai's Al-Awir central prison in the United Arab Emirates, 21 May 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

UAE: Ill-treated prisoners of conscience continue to suffer in Emirati prisons after serving sentences

The recent death of Jordanian journalist Tayseer Al-Najjar from health complications contracted during a prison term in the UAE has raised alarm over the fate of thirteen prisoners of conscience, including two women activists, who remain in Emirati prisons despite serving their sentences.