Plus: Algeria's president abandons bid for reelection; draconian sentence against women’s human rights defender in Iran; crackdown on free speech in Lebanon; Thai lawyer's disappearance unsolved 15 years on; Venezuelan journalist gone missing; Columbia's chance to expose the truth; farmers in Guinea file complaint against mining company; and Bahraini-born refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi finally safe.
In a stunning turnaround, Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has dropped his bid for a fifth term in office and postponed elections after weeks of protests against his candidacy.
There has been an alarming increase in the use of Lebanon’s criminal defamation laws. The sentencing of Lebanese TV correspondent Adam Chamseddine to three months in jail for “insulting” a security agency in a Facebook post is the latest escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on speech.
15 years on, the disappearance of Thai lawyer and vice-chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, Somchai Neelapaijit, remains unsolved. His body was never found, and Thailand’s penal code does not recognize enforced disappearance as a criminal offense.
Colombia finally has a chance to expose the truth. An investigation of the recruitment of children by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) challenges the guerrilla’s narrative that “no one” had ever been forced to join.
Since operations began in 1973, la Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) has taken land from rural farmers without adequate compensation, exploiting the Guinean government’s failure to provide adequate legal protections to customary land rights. Now, 13 rural communities have filed a complaint against the World Bank’s private lending arm over a loan to CBG.
Some good news: A month after being freed from a Thai jail, Bahraini-born refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi receives Australian citizenship. “Finally, no country can follow me now”, he says.