Civil Liberties

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

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Sentencing over alleged role in failed putsch condemned as showing disregard for rule of law A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, drawing fierce condemnation from the UN and press freedom advocates. Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul The Guardian The convictions followed a months-long trial during which the prosecution alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

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Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »

The UK’s Hidden Hand in Julian Assange’s Detention

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It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch In fact, they depended on a legal charade. Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case. In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up ... Read More »

Big Data, Large Concerns

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Consent and accountability should be at the core of the new privacy law. The Supreme Court recently affirmed a fundamental right to privacy. by Amba Kak , Jason Schultz The Indian Express The government is now moving to enact a data privacy law, the Justice Shri Krishna Committee has released a comprehensive report and the consultation process is coming to a close. Multiple legal challenges against Aadhaar — many involving citizens’ privacy — are being heard before the Supreme Court. The government is keen to ... Read More »

Who is Asma Jahangir ?

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Known for maintaining a resolute stance in the face of extreme pressure and opposition, Jahangir will be remembered as a champion for the disenfranchised The Indian Express Eminent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore after she suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, according to Pakistan media. She was 66. “Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life ... Read More »

Non-Violence Uses Love as Force

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“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…there is a type of of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.…So the purpose of the direct action is to create a… Richard Moser CounterPunch The Civil Rights movements’ primary strategic approach was non-violent mass civil ... Read More »

When judges wear wigs and robes, what’s so offensive about a niqab?

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The statue representing justice is blindfolded for a reason – to symbolise that all people are treated equally in our courts no matter their wealth, position in society or religious beliefs. Duncan Fine The Age Sometimes the courts fail to live up to that ideal. This week Justice Christopher Beale in the Victorian Supreme Court banned a woman who was wearing a niqab from sitting in the public area of the court where her husband is facing a trial on ... Read More »

Rules to ban sex between politicians and staff suggested by independent MP Cathy McGowan

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A ban on sex between politicians and their staff is being suggested by independent Federal MP Cathy McGowan. By political correspondent Louise Yaxley ABC Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has insisted on his right to privacy over his relationship with a former staff member who is now expecting his baby. But his situation has prompted a debate about the appropriateness of relationships between politicians and their staff. “Good workplace practice includes clear expectations about behaviour,” Ms McGowan said. She noted ... Read More »

Merkel suggests changes could be made to new online hate speech law

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Saturday that she was prepared to consider changes to a widely criticised new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech. By REUTERS euronews The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, sparking concerns that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary. ... Read More »

Peter Dutton criticised for ‘subjecting judges to quasi-election’

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Law Council says publicly releasing potential court appointees’ names is fraught with risk Paul Karp The Guardian The Law Council has denounced Peter Dutton’s suggestion of seeking public feedback before appointing judges as a “quasi-election” model that would politicise the judiciary. It is the second time the body has criticised the home affairs minister for undermining the independence of the judiciary after it rebuked him for claims that Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to street violence and that “civil libertarian” ... Read More »

The Economics Of Slavery: Spending Power Is Linked To People Power

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We might not be as free as we think we are, writes Matthew Clark. Edward Santow – Australia’s newest Human Rights Commissioner – has noted that more people live in slavery today than at any previous time in world history. Matthew C. Clarke New Matilda How is that possible? Some of the most detailed and credible estimates of how many slaves are in the world today come from Australian research by the Walk Free Foundation. After producing The Global Slavery ... Read More »

Anti-Abortion Democrat Loses Key Support To Progressive Challenger

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters after receiving the endorsement of Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is getting a big boost from EMILY’s List By Daniel Marans HuffPost EMILY’s List, the fundraising group that backs pro-abortion rights Democratic women, on Friday endorsed Illinois progressive Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. Support from EMILY’s List, a fundraising powerhouse closely aligned with Democratic Party leadership, gives Newman a major boost in her effort to unseat Lipinski in the March 20 ... Read More »

Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

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A submission was made to this inquiry by the councils for civil liberties across Australia (New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, South Australia Council for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty Victoria Author: Joint Councils for Civil Liberties Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters This Bill is part of a major package of proposed legislation relating to national security and foreign intervention Foreign interference in democratic and ... Read More »

Science behind bars: How a Turkish physicist wrote research papers in prison

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Ali Kaya says he used science to stay sane during his incarceration Thousands of academics in Turkish universities stand accused of either having supported terrorism or the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016. Alison Abbott nature Theoretical physicist Ali Kaya is one of them. He was arrested three months after the failed coup and held for more than a year before his trial took place. On 20 December, a court declared him guilty of being a member of a terrorist ... Read More »