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Iranian court gives death penalty to pastor

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24 Feb 2012
Iranian court gives death penalty to pastor

Ignoring an avalanche of international approbation, an Iranian court sentenced Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to hang till dead for the crime of questioning the compulsory Islamic education of his children and for seeking to register a home-based church. “It is unclear whether Pastor Youcef would have a right of appeal from the execution order,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the Washington-based American Center for Law & Justice. “We know that the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, must approve publicly held executions, but only a small percentage of executions are held in public – most executions in Iran are conducted in secret.”

Islamist parties becoming bolder in Egypt and Tunisia
Islamist political parties in Egypt and Tunisia have begun to show their true colors, pushing for far more stringent enforcement of conservative Muslim customs in the daily lives of citizens than they previously admitted was on their agenda. Popular List, an Islamist party tasked with writing Tunisia's new constitution, announced on Monday its draft called Islam "the principal source of legislation" and on Tuesday, a spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood declared that the Brotherhood wants a president with "an Islamic background” as opposed to the “consensus candidate” it had previously alluded to. The statements have led to an increase in tensions between Islamists and secularists in both countries, and a mob led by Islamists had a violent clash with security forces in the northwestern Tunisian city of Jendouba on Thursday after one of their number was arrested.

Iranian hackers hit sites in Azerbaijan
Even as the war of words between Iran and Israel continues to heat up, an active cyber-war between the Islamic Republic and its neighbor to the north, Azerbaijan, has also intensified. On Thursday, a group calling itself the 'Iranian Cyber Army' attacked the website of Azerbaijan's state television station, replacing AzTV's homepage with the message: "Life is a game. Game over!" The homepage of state airline AZAL was also defaced by hackers calling themselves 'Cocaine Warriors from Persia."

UNSC condemns terrorism against Israel
In a rare show of support for Israel from the UN, the Security Council on Thursday condemned "in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack against Israeli diplomats in New Delhi, India and the attempted attack in Georgia's capital Tbilisi. According to Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor, it was the first UNSC resolution condemning terrorism against Israelis since 2005. He added that the move’s "breaking the silence echoes around the world."

UN accuses Assad regime of Crimes Against Humanity
The UN issued a report on Thursday accusing the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad of crimes against humanity, which had been ordered at the “highest levels” of the regime. Meanwhile, troops loyal to the regime continued to pound several cities with heavy weapons and the death toll in the year long revolt continued to climb. A meeting of Western and Arab countries, as well as Turkey and others considering themselves “Friends of Syria” was scheduled to begin in Tunisia on Friday. The meeting was boycotted by Russia and China, which jointly vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad. Jihadist fighters from around the region have reportedly flocked to Syria to join the revolt, ironically giving breathing room to fledgling governments in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere who are struggling to rebuild their countries after devastating civil conflict.

 

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