From Pussy Riot to Assange… state controls are getting tighter

I wrote a post recently about how a Somali comedian was shot dead for mocking a radical Islamic group in his country while a newspaper editor in Morocco was threatened with death after he expressed support for pre-marital sex.

In the past week the news that has come from Russia, U.K. and Pakistan are further examples that state authority and laws, instead of protecting individual freedom and rights, are being used against people.

The band members awaiting sentencing

First in Russia, a Moscow court had handed a two-year jail sentence to three feminist punk rockers that infuriated the Kremlin and captured world attention by ridiculing Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s main church.The sentencing, as expected, drew criticism from several countries including the USA and UK who said it was “disproportionately” harsh for the offence the women  committed.

But then these same countries while criticizing Russia were busy  gunning for the  founder of Wiki Leaks Julian Assange who is holed up inside the  Ecuador Embassy in London  and has  been forced to seek asylum in the South American nation. He addressed the media from the balcony of Ecuador’s London embassy last Sunday and called on U.S. President Barack Obama to end “a witch-hunt against Wiki Leaks.”

Madonna showed her support for the Russian band when she performed in Moscow recently

“As Wiki leaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies. We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.’

“Will it return to and reaffirm the values, the revolutionary values it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?” It’s a very pertinent question he  raised at a time when regimes all over the world are suppressing the right to freedom of expression and speech.

This story is somewhat different but shocking. It comes from Pakistan where using the country’s harsh blasphemy laws,   an 11-year-old Christian girl, who reportedly suffers from Down’s syndrome, had been arrested after being accused of blasphemy for burning pages of the Quran in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. While hurting people’s religious sentiments is unacceptable, how justifiable is it to arrest an 11 year retarded child? That’s the question many sane people will be asking but then more insanity seems to be prevailing in the world today than sanity So the news can only get worse.

As Assange said,” “There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.”

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Chandani

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