Ahmed Mansoor and four other pro-democracy activists pardoned and freed

first_img United Arab EmiratesMiddle East – North Africa Follow the news on United Arab Emirates Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders hails the decision by the president of the United Arab Emirates today to pardon blogger Ahmed Mansoor and four other pro-democracy activists a day after they were convicted of insulting the country’s leaders. All were expected to be released later in the day.After an unfair trial, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced Mansoor to three years’ imprisonment for insulting the leaders of the UAE and calling for anti-government demonstrations.Each of his four co-accused, lecturer Nasser bin Ghaith, and activists Farhad Salem Hassan, Ali Al-Khamis and Ahmed Abdul Khaleq, was also convicted under the criminal code of insulting the leadership and received a two-year prison sentence.The UAE legal system treated the case as a matter of state security so there was no appeal against the verdict and the only hope of the accused was a pardon from President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “This is excellent news for Ahmed Mansoor and the four activists who will finally be released after eight months in prison. The perseverance of their families and all those who supported them in their campaign deserves our praise,” Reporters Without Borders said.“The verdict of the court handed down on 27 November is nonetheless shocking and illustrates the repressive security policy carried out by the government since the uprisings began in the Arab world.“We should like to recall that no tangible proof was presented against Mansoor during the trial, which ended, however, with an extremely harsh sentence. He is innocent and his only crime is having encouraged the government to undertake democratic reforms,” the press freedom organization added. Organisation News November 28, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Ahmed Mansoor and four other pro-democracy activists pardoned and freed RSF joins other NGOs in amicus brief in WhatsApp suit against NSO Group News RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance United Arab EmiratesMiddle East – North Africa “We urge the authorities to investigate the ill-treatment suffered by Mansoor and his co-accused in prison, as well as the threats received by his family. The UAE authorities have a duty to do all they can to protect all their citizens and guarantee their security.”The blogger and human rights activist was arrested on 8 April and charged in his capacity as administrator of the democracy discussion forum Al-Hewar (“dialog”), on which he and the four other activists – nicknamed “the UAE Five” – were accused of posting messages between July and October last year criticising the government’s policies.From 2 October this year, the five refused to attend hearings in protest against a trial they said was unfair and politically motivated, and was marred by numerous irregularities. They had been on hunger strike since 13 November. During the trial, the five were denied access to their lawyers who were prevented from interviewing prosecution witnesses. After their arrest, the UAE Five were the targets of a smear campaign launched on the Internet and carried by some local media outlets. Their critics, who accused them of treason, organised demonstrations outside the Abu Dhabi court and did not baulk at threatening the families of the accused.In a joint statement issued on 10 November the five accused the websites Lethal Character and Proud Emirati of being behind the campaign and of fanning a climate of hostility towards them and their families.In a statement issued on 9 November, Mansoor’s family said the campaign had intensified on the Internet, on television and in newspapers.At a trial hearing on 23 October, an audio recording of someone making death threats and calling for a demonstration against Mansoor was played in court. The blogger’s family issued a complaint against the person behind the recording, identified as the poet Saïd Bakhit Al-Kutubi, but so far no legal proceedings have been taken as a result. A relative of Nasser bin Ghaith was struck by a demonstrator outside the courtroom yesterday. The assailant was arrested. NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say to go further Help by sharing this information June 8, 2021 Find out more News News Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns this campaign and regrets that no action has been taken against those orchestrating it.The organization calls on the UAE authorities to follow up the defence complaints and open an investigation, so that those behind the intimidation campaign are brought to justice. They must remain conscious of the duty to protect the safety of the five activists after their release.The UAE is among the countries under surveillance in the list of Internet enemies compiled by Reporters Without Borders in March this year. In recent months, the government has stepped up its pressure on netizens. RSF_en April 28, 2021 Find out more Photo copyright: ReutersRead our previous press releases about Ahmed Mansoor December 23, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Press release: Appointment of Public Service Leadership Taskforce Chair and Members

first_img Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chairman of Standard Life, and deputy chairman of Barclays Dame Inga Beale CEO Lloyds of London Deborah Cadman OBE Chief Exec. West Midlands Combined Authority Peter Cheese CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Tony Danker Productivity Leadership Group George Freeman MP Conservative MP Andrew Haldenby Co-founder of Reform (2001), Director since May 2005 David Halpern Behavioural Insights Team Sandra Kerr Race Equality Director, Business in the Community Julian McCrae Institute for Government Steve McGuirk Chairman of Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust Charles Mead Director at YSC Consulting Dame Julie Moore Chief Exec. University Hospitals Birmingham Paul Nowak Deputy General Secretary TUC Richard Nugee Chief of Defence People Professor Dame Alison Peacock Chief Executive at the Chartered College of Teaching Gillian Stamp BIOSS Sara Thornton Head of National Police Chief Council Sara Weller CBE Non-Executive Director at Lloyds Banking Group Sir Gerry Grimstone has been appointed as the Chair of the Public Service Leadership Taskforce, which will advise the government on the role of leadership development in improving productivity and outcomes across public services.Sir Gerry has appointed his Taskforce and work is underway to consider how a Centre for Public Service Leadership can best work to create networks and share best practice across the public services.As set out at Autumn Budget 2017, great leadership is crucial for improving productivity and outcomes across public services. The Taskforce will play an important role in supporting this, advising government on the role, remit and responsibilities of the Centre for Public Service Leadership.The Taskforce brings together experts from across the public, private and third sectors and will meet regularly. It will submit its findings in a report to Ministers.Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chair of the Taskforce, said: “Excellent leadership is crucial to delivering the quality public services people rely upon. I am delighted at these appointments, and look forward to working with this group of leading experts to support public service leaders to deliver the highest quality services at the best value for money”.This work is being supported by a joint Cabinet Office and HM Treasury team, who would welcome input from people who are interested in helping to develop this work. If you would like to get in touch, please email: [email protected] of Taskforce members:last_img read more

This man heckled so well the Syracuse Chiefs gave him tickets

first_img Published on August 30, 2017 at 10:25 pm Contact: [email protected] | @jtbloss He has always loved baseball. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Broadnax played shortstop at John Jay High School. During his senior year in 1979, the recruiting letters arrived. St. John’s and Texas A&M, he said, were among the colleges to offer him a scholarship.He never went to college. He never even opened the letters. His focus was elsewhere.“The streets,” he said, simply. “Started hanging out, partying.”Broadnax remembered it started with a few puffs of marijuana or one drink after games. The summer after graduation, drugs put a lot of money in his pocket. Selling turned to using. Alcohol, cocaine, crack. He turned 20, then 30, then 40.“I didn’t understand that I had a problem,” Broadnax said. “I just thought that if I can just control it, I’d be OK. But there’s no such thing as control.”Broadnax remembered being jumped in 1985. The assailants whacked him in the head with a baseball bat.“Ironic,” he said later.He lost teeth, broke his jaw and entered a four-day coma, he said. In the ‘90s, he said, he spent six years in prison. When he got out, he went back to using because he didn’t know what else to do.Broadnax became his own best customer. Through it all, his mother, who he still lived with in Brooklyn, wanted a better life for him. In 1999, she got sick.“She didn’t tell us because what I was doing was killing her anyway,” Broadnax said. “She couldn’t take it no more.”His mother died of bone cancer on May 31, 2001. Broadnax missed the funeral because he was somewhere getting high. He inherited his mother’s home, but he couldn’t afford it. So, he moved to Syracuse to live with his sister. New town, new life, he hoped.It worked for a while. His first night in town, Broadnax met the woman who would become the mother of his two now-teenage sons, Lloyd Jr. and Michael who all now live in Texas. In 2003, he ran into an old friend who he knew from Brooklyn and the friend told him he looked like he needed help. Broadnax entered a rehabilitation program at Commonwealth Place in Syracuse and started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings.Joseph Bloss | Senior staff writerThat year, months after the birth of his first son, Broadnax wandered back to the game that defined his own childhood. He attended Chiefs games, which became representative of the stability he was struggling to achieve. At games, Broadnax sat in the upper left corner seats. It was the perfect perch to chirp at plenty of players, including then-24-year-old Chiefs outfielder Jayson Werth. Broadnax’s heckling became so notorious that the Chiefs wanted to put an end to it. They couldn’t face such scrutiny in their own park.The team proposed an offer: If Broadnax agreed to heckle the opposition instead, a Chiefs player would buy his ticket. Broadnax credited former Chief and longtime major-leaguer Shaun Marcum as an early adopter of the deal, which still continues today.Current first baseman Brandon Snyder supplies Broadnax’s tickets this year. Snyder’s been around the International League since 2009 and has been on the wrong side of Broadnax’s quips before. He once approached Broadnax in the parking lot after a game and asked, in good fun, to cut him a break. Broadnax kindly declined. Now, with a chance to have Broadnax on his side, Snyder had to make sure the opponent got the same treatment.“It’s like no matter what, even now on this team, you hear him,” Snyder said. “You can’t block him out.”Earlier this month, Broadnax roamed the scattered first-baseline crowd during a weekend series against the Indianapolis Indians. To keep his routine, Broadnax only needed a water bottle to keep his mouth wet and a hand towel to keep his sweaty, shaved head dry. On the concrete below his seat, he placed a cheat sheet of the Indians lineup, so he could quickly recall a name for maximum heckling. Indians’ first baseman Edwin Espinal, or “Big Baby” as Broadnax called him, was the target for the day.Broadnax was friendly with other spectators, too, sharing foul balls with crying kids and telling vacation-bound regulars they deserve their post-season trip. As the game dragged on, Kevin Lantry and his son Liam, both from Baldwinsville, felt emboldened by Broadnax and chipped in some heckling of their own.“We could’ve sat anywhere, but look where we did,” Lantry said.Broadnax has relapsed multiple times during the past decade. He did not attend one game last summer because he was incarcerated, he said, but that he’s been clean since the arrest on March 1, 2016.Now, he goes to games with his daughter, Nayana, named using the letters “N” and “A,” because it’s the abbreviation for Narcotics Anonymous. He has a job cleaning windows around town. He’s part of an alcohol substance abuse program at Onondaga Community College that includes psychology and communications courses, as well as an internship. He’ll proudly show off his OCC student ID, because he sees it as a symbol of how he’s providing others the care that saved him.“My story is my story,” Broadnax said. “That’s what helps me, today, to stay focused.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img During every game at NBT Bank Stadium this year, a man in the stands predicts the future. He knows if a pitcher will throw a fastball or a changeup. He knows if a batter will knock a “base hit” — his famous phrase exclaimed more often than even the hottest teams could collect base hits. He knows if a towering fly ball will land past the outfield fence for a home run.Well, at least he sounds like he knows.“We call him the pitching coach, the hitting coach and just about anything else,” said David Underwood, a NBT Bank Stadium vendor of 20 years. “Sometimes he actually gets it right.”The claims come from Lloyd Broadnax. Everyone at every Syracuse Chiefs game hears him. He is the team’s loudest fan. It’s not close. The 55-year-old’s cheers, and more famously, his jeers, echo throughout the often-empty minor-league ballpark that will host its last series of the season this weekend. Within the Chiefs organization, Broadnax is known as “Suspect,” one of his signature insults.“You’re looking suspect,” he yelled at an opposing pitcher who couldn’t find the zone.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’m selling strikes, you want to buy one?” Broadnax asked another working with a 3-0 count.“Did somebody call the landscaper? He’s doing a lot of mowing around here,” he shouted after a Chiefs hurler collected another strikeout.Some fans laugh because the noise gives humor to an otherwise quiet experience. Others stare because they can’t comprehend a passion for class AAA ball like Broadnax’s. What they don’t see, though, is a man who leans on America’s pastime to stay behind the line he’s crossed his whole life.last_img read more