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Satire Of U.S. Central Command Iraq Leaflet Drop (english)
26 Mar 2003
Modified: 27 Mar 2003
Satire Of U.S. Central Command Iraq Leaflet Drop
Satire Of U.S. Central Command Iraq Leaflet Drop
Satire Of U.S. Central Command Iraq Leaflet Drop
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Dangerous Meditation (english)
27 Mar 2003
China's Campaign Against Falungong

The Chinese government is using new laws and new interpretations of old laws to crack down on the Falungong, Human Rights Watch says in this report. today. Falungong members have been classified with Tibetan and Uighur 'splittists' and unauthorized religious groups as a major threat to the Communist Party, Human Rights Watch said. This 117-page report, Dangerous Meditation: China's Campaign Against Falungong, analyzes why and how the Chinese government embarked on a plan to eradicate the group it terms an "evil cult." In recent documents, the Chinese government has suggested that Falungong is a terrorist organization. The new report traces the evolution of the Chinese government's crackdown, starting with the July 1999 ban on the hierarchically-organized meditation group, which now boasts millions of members worldwide. From the initial ban, the government moved on to prohibit practicing the group's exercises in public, and to confiscate and destroy hundreds of thousands of copies of its publications
Indonesia: Freedom of Expression Under Assaul (english)
27 Mar 2003
Indonesia: Freedom of Expression Under Assault

Human Rights Watch today condemned the January 16 conviction of an activist who organized peaceful demonstrations in Jakarta. The demonstrations called for an end to "crimes against humanity" committed by Indonesian forces in Aceh.

Faisal Saifuddin, head of the Jakarta office of a nongovernmental organization called SIRA (Sentral Informasi Referendum Aceh), was sentenced to one year in prison by the Central Jakarta criminal court.
"This trial should never have taken place. It represents an assault on the right to free expression, which the Megawati government has pledged to respect," said Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division.

Faisal Saifuddin was charged with violating articles 154 and 155 of the Criminal Code, known as the "spreading hatred" laws, often used by the Soeharto government against critics and activists. The prosecutor had demanded a two-year sentence.

According to the prosecutor's written summation, the key accusations against Faisal Saifuddin were that on November 9, he led a demonstration in front of the United Nations office in Jakarta, and also participated in a subsequent demonstration on November 13, 2000. At the demonstrations, flyers were distributed, including one dated November 8, signed by Faisal Saifuddin and by Muzakkir M., the Secretary of SIRA-Jakarta. The flyer allegedly accused the "neo-colonialist government of Indonesia" of crimes against humanity and "suppressing the basic rights and human dignity of the people of Aceh." It ended with an appeal to "the U.N. and the international community to press both the neocolonialist government of Indonesia and GAM [Acehnese rebels] to implement a ceasefire and stop the violence in Aceh."

The language in the flyer, excerpted above, appears to have been the government's sole legal rationale for the one-year sentence, which was a clear violation of the internationally recognized right to free expression.

Other SIRA activists have also been targeted in the past year. On November 20, 2000, Muhammad Nazar, the head of SIRA in Aceh, was arrested on charges of "spreading hatred" for having hung banners in favor of a referendum on independence for Aceh and against the military during a campus rally the previous August. He was convicted in March 2001 and given a ten-month sentence; he was released, with time served, last October.