Malaysian religious authorities have confirmed the caning of three women convicted of having sex outside of marriage.
This marks the first time the Sharia Law sentence was meted out to women in Malaysia. The punishments were carried out earlier this year and each woman was caned six times.
The Sharia laws apply only to native Malays and not the Chinese and Indian minorities who live in the pacific nation.
Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said: The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in future . He said he hoped the punishments would not be viewed in such
a way as to defile the purity of Islam .
Officials in Burma, ordered a Baptist church to cease holding services after the pastor refused to wear an election
campaign T-shirt supporting the military government's Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
The election commission summoned Pastor Mang Tling and ordered him to stop holding services and discontinue the church nursery program.
The village headman had given the pastor a campaign T-shirt to wear in support of the USDP, and when he refused to wear it, the headman filed a report with local authorities accusing him of persuading Christian voters to vote in favor of an
opposing party, the National Unity Party (NUP).
Under Burmese law, religious leaders can be penalized for engaging in politics, giving the pastor a solid legal reason to decline the T-shirt. The law also bans leaders of religious groups from voting in national elections, according to
the CHRO, although lay members of those groups are able to vote.
The election law is quite vague, a Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) spokesman told Compass: One of the things we were watching out for during the election was to see if church elders or council members might be excluded from
voting. But these people were able to vote. The law seems to apply only to pastors, monks and imams.
A housemaid and her boyfriend will be lashed 100 times each, jailed and deported for committing adultery, according to a UAE court
The Sharjah Sharia Court ordered the lashing of N.M., a Filipina housemaid, 100 times and her deportation for unlawful sex. The court also sentenced her Bangladeshi boyfriend, S.M., to be lashed 100 times for adultery and jailed one year for
entering the house of the sponsor without permission. S.M. will be deported after serving his sentence.
According to court papers, N.M. had sex with her boyfriend in her sponsor's house in Sharjah. N.M. brought her boyfriend to her sponsor's house each time the family was not at home, but according to police N.M.'s sponsor saw M.M. while leaving
Police said that N.M.'s sponsor snitched to the police who arrested them both and they admitted to the crime. N.M. told police, the prosecutor and the court that she used to bring her boyfriend to the house whenever the family was out. N.M. and
M.M. admitted having sex several times in the sponsor's house.
According to Sharia law if Muslims commit adultery they will be lashed and deported if they are expatriates. If non-Muslims commit adultery they will be jailed and deported.
Iran is close to gaining a seat on a new United Nations agency, called UN Women, which aims to promote equality for women. But the
nomination of Iran has caused outrage, particularly in light of the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery.
The United States expressed outrage at the nomination. Its spokesman, Mark Kornblau, said UN Women is tasked with promoting gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide. We and many other countries are concerned by the negative
implications of Iran's potential board memberships, given its poor record on human rights and the treatment of women.
Under a General Assembly resolution, four UN agencies are being merged into one 41-member body. Regional groups nominate 35 countries with a further six donor nations to be included. The Asian group has proposed an uncontested ten-nation list
that includes Iran.
Saudi Arabia's nomination as one of the donor countries has also caused concern. Women are not allowed to drive in the kingdom and segregation of the sexes is strictly enforced by the country's religious police.
In both countries, women are routinely harassed and can face severe punishment, including jail and lashings, for behaviour or dress deemed immodest.
Update: Saudi joins the board of UN Women but Iran voted off
It seemed incredible that Iran appeared destined to win a place on the prestigious new UN agency promoting women's rights, but an
international outcry has reversed Teheran's fortunes and it has been rebuffed. There was disappointment, however, that Saudi Arabia managed to secure a seat at the table.
Of the Iranian bid, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, said. They lost, and they lost handily. We've made no secret of our concern that Iran joining the board of UN Women would have been an inauspicious start to that board... It was a very
A British government spokesman said: The UK strongly believes that countries on the board of UN Women should have demonstrated a firm commitment to women's rights and gender equality.
Of the UN's 192 member states, Iran is one of just six that has not ratified the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Until last week, Iran's election had seemed a foregone conclusion despite the international outcry over Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery. It was one of only ten Asian countries
standing for the ten seats set aside for them on the 41-member board.
Amid growing outrage, however, Western governments including the US, Canada and Australia persuaded East Timor to add its name last Thursday. That meant the 54 members of the UN's Economic and Social Council had to vote on the Asian slate
yesterday. After some intense behind-the-scenes lobbying, Iran came 11th and last with just 19 votes.
Maryam Namazie, spokeswoman for Iran Solidarity, a campaign group, said the Ashtiani case had knocked some sense into voting states. Otherwise, having Iran on UN Women would have been like putting the Vatican in charge of UN Children
or the Burmese junta in charge of UN Election Monitoring.
The Swedish government plans to invest 10 million kronor ($1.49 million) to enable state agencies to develop clearer 'ethical'
guidelines for civil servants working overseas in order to curb the buying of sexual services and improper sexual relations.
The measures include education, a common website and guidance materials that will be developed.
It is clear that everyone knows that you cannot buy sex, surf for porn during work hours, or come as a rich man or woman and sexually exploit someone living in poverty. That much we know. But it must be made clear in a document what you can
do and cannot do, Gender Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni told the Svenska Dagbladet.
However, she said that the government is reluctant to put its foot down and establish standard general guidelines. Different agencies have different needs, she told the newspaper. You can't compare the military in
peace-promoting missions with agencies which maybe only travel to Brussels.
The government has not investigated how common the purchase of sexual services, visits to porn clubs and the sexual exploitation of locals is among Swedish civil servants, soldiers and aid workers.
Sabuni instead used media coverage on Swedish soldiers who bought sex in Germany and UN staff who exploited the local population in the Congo, to illustrate the problem.
A study commissioned by the government showed that only one-fifth of all government agencies have some form of 'ethical' guidelines and the government hopes that the 10 million kronor allocation will address this.
Even though they suspect that this is bad behaviour, it should be clear what the consequences are if one violates the ethical guidelines. It is difficult for the employer to take action when it is not known from the beginning that it is a
violation of the guidelines. Clarity is needed, said Sabuni.
The nutter mayor of the southern seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia got his way when the City
Council approved a ban on football games in public parks and squares, blasphemy out loud and very skimpy clothes, the ANSA news agency reported.
Mayor Luigi Bobbio said that miniskirts and other provocative outfits will still be allowed as long as they are not too revealing.
The measures also include a ban on playing football in public spaces -- Bobbio said these games often turn into fights -- sunbathing or undressing in town, blasphemy and foul language in general. Men cannot go around shirtless, the rules say.
Italian women face 500 euro fine for wearing miniskirts in Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples.
In a move sharply at odds with a country which produced the likes of Monica Bellucci and Sophia Loren, the town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples, intends to prohibit women from wearing provocative clothing.
The town's council also wants to ban men and women from wearing low-slung jeans as part of a list of 41 new rules that every good citizen must respect .
The nutter mayor, Luigi Bobbio, said it was all part of an effort to restore urban decorum and improve coexistence by targeting people who were rowdy, unruly or simply badly behaved .
Playing football in parks and gardens and swearing in public will also be banned under new regulations which will be put forward for approval at a council meeting on Monday.
If the new regulations are approved, offenders will face fines of between 25 and 500 euros.
A local parish priest, Don Paolo Cecere, said he supported the crackdown: It's the right decision. In this way we can fight the spread of sexual molestation, he told a local newspaper, the Cronache di Napoli.
Limey wives are getting expensive.
I'll have to wait until the sales
Snatching a bride in Chechen Republic can now lead to a $35,000 fine for the groom's family, in addition to whatever sentence the groom himself may receive in accordance with the criminal code.
The decision was voiced by Sultan Mirzaev, the chair of the Muslim spiritual council after gathering of over 300 imams and qadis (religious judges) of the region's villages and towns.
The clerics condemned the violent practice, because it violates Chechen traditions, the teachings of the Koran and also Russia's criminal code. It can result in long-lasting grudges between families. Sometimes the groom and his friends, recklessly
fleeing with the snatched bride from her family, die in traffic accidents.
Mirzaev said that any person who snatches a girl from now on will have to pay about $35,000 to the offended family.
There has been anger in Australia over a newly released video which shows an unarmed Aboriginal man being tasered 13 times by police officers.
The incident occurred in Perth in 2008, and has been released as part of a report on the use of taser guns by the Western Australian police.
The state's premier said the video had damaged the reputation of the force.
The state attorney general said the government would consider new guidelines on the use of the devices.
Closed circuit cameras recorded the moment two years ago when the Aboriginal man was surrounded by nine police officers in a Perth detention facility and then targeted by a taser gun for refusing to agree to a strip search. The man, thought to be
mentally ill, was hit by the stun gun 13 times.
The premier of the state, Colin Barnett, condemned the incident as an unjustified use of excessive force , while the state's attorney general expressed surprise that no charges had been brought against the police officers shown in the film.
Beer bikes - the unlikely combination of a multi- person bicycle and bar - should not be able to ply the streets of German cities,
a court has ruled.
The 16-man pedal-power pubs have become an increasingly common sight on the streets of German cities, to the joy of stag night parties.
The administrative court in Dusseldorf ruled that no more beer bikes should be allowed to roll without a special permit, and such permits would not likely be forthcoming. The ruling now paves the way for other cities to clamp down.
A two-hour tour of Berlin on a beer-bike with 30 litres of beer - led by a sober guide - costs over 600 euros (830 dollars).
Judge Ute Fischer however poured cold water on the proceedings, saying that the purpose of the beer bike was in fact a party in a public place, which required a licence. The fact that the party moved was, in the judge's view, beside the point.
There was also safety to consider
Operators say they will file an appeal to a higher court.
The Indonesian government has dismissed a lawmaker's proposal to force teenage schoolgirls to undergo virginity tests.
Women's affairs ministry official Wahyu Hartomo told AFP: That kind of test violates human rights and will have serious psychological impacts on students. It is more effective for our generation to receive moral education
from their parents at home, especially with the (bad) influence from the Internet.
Lawmakers in Sumatra island's Jambi province have agreed to drop the idea, which was proposed by local parliamentarian Bambang Bayu Suseno, who claimed: The idea is simple. Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters
being deflowered before the time comes, so before they continue their studies they can undergo a virginity test and automatically protect their dignity.
Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?
It's one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of honour . Nor is the problem
confined to the Middle East: the contagion is spreading rapidly
It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the honour of their families – are as barbaric as they
are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered
under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.
A 10-month investigation by The Independent in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank has unearthed terrifying details of murder most foul. Men are also killed for honour and, despite its identification by journalists as a largely Muslim
practice, Christian and Hindu communities have stooped to the same crimes. Indeed, the honour (or ird) of families, communities and tribes transcends religion and human mercy. But voluntary women's groups, human rights organisations, Amnesty
International and news archives suggest that the slaughter of the innocent for dishonouring their families is increasing by the year.
Hundreds of photographers gathered on the Sydney Harbour foreshore to rally against laws which prevent them from taking pictures
of Australian landmarks without a permit.
Australian landscape photographer Ken Duncan says the laws imposed by all levels of government are inconsistent and unnecessary. He says some of the country's most iconic landmarks are now off limits to commercial photographers unless they have a permit
which can often cost them hundreds of dollars.
He joined a crowd of protesters at Campbell's Cove on Sydney Harbour calling for a nationally consistent set of laws which allow artists to take pictures without bureaucratic restraint.
In an act of defiance the crowd took photographs of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Egypt's Public Prosecutor has referred a physician to the criminal court in Menufiya governorate for the death of a 13-year-old girl
during a circumcision procedure.
Investigations indicated the child bled to death after undergoing the procedure. According to the investigations, the girl was buried without a burial license to avoid any suspicion about the cause of death.
The doctor was taken into custody pending trial.
Minister of State for Family and Population Moushira Khattab had filed a complaint demanding that legal measures against whoever was involved in the incident be taken immediately.
In June 2008, the Egyptian parliament made amendments to the Child Law banning FGM and imposing a sentence of a maximum of two years and a fine of a maximum of $1,000 as a penalty for performing it. The law also punishes practitioners, including
parents, with between three months and two years in jail.
Egypt's top Islamic and Christian authorities were quick to voice support for the ban, saying the practice had no basis either in the Quran or in the Bible. But conservative Muslim and Christian Egyptian families still have their daughters
circumcised as a means to preserve their chastity.
A 2005 government report found that about 90% of Egyptian women had undergone the extremely painful procedure intended to severely mutilate the genitals.
A British DJ was sentenced to four years in prison by a Dubai court after tests revealed traces of cannabis in his blood. Sure, it's not exactly legal at home, but FOUR years?!
Of course he's not the first Brit to wind up behind bars or deported because they're not clued up about the strict United Arab Emirates laws.
According to the Foreign Office, 1.1 million Britons visited the UAE last year and 294 of them were arrested or detained by police - making it more likely to happen there than in any other country in the world.
So if getting banged up abroad is on your to do list of life experiences, here are some easy ways to break the law in Dubai...
Do some dirty dancing. Ever thought your dance moves ought to be illegal? Then head to Dubai, where they just very well might be. Unless you're at a licensed club or in the privacy of your hotel room then
dancing is considered indecent and provocative and could get you arrested. During Ramadan you won't even find a dancefloor to throw some shapes on risk-free - dancing, loud music and live music are forbidden during the ninth month of the Islamic
calendar, so nightclubs usually close and all the bands go on holiday.
Give someone the finger. Back home it's just a bit rude but making insulting gestures in Dubai is regarded as obscene and totally unacceptable – as 56-year-old Brit Simon Andrew discovered when he was accused
of showing an aviation student his middle finger during a row and was arrested. He denies flipping the bird but has had his passport confiscated while awaiting trial. It has been known for offenders to get a 6-month sentence for such an act and
some have been deported.
Have sex on the beach . For a surefire way to wind up behind bars, break a couple of laws at once. Because of their strict laws about indecency, public sex is beyond unacceptable and do it with someone you're
not married to – a crime that entails prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation – and you're firing on all cylinders. Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors did just that last year and were banged up for three months before being
deported, as well as fined 1,000 dirhams (about £180).
Snog in a restaurant . Don't assume you have to go all the way to infringe on their decency regulations – the law exttends to kissing and even holding hands, unless you're married. British marketing executive
Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams – both in their 20s - were arrested and accused of public indecency after an Emirati woman claimed they exchanged a passionate kiss in a restaurant. They were given a one-month jail sentence for public indecency
and illegal drinking, fined 1,000 dirhams, then deported. The pair maintain it was merely a peck on the cheek.
Drink Sex on the Beach . If you thought we were talking about the vodka-based cocktail before, that could work too. Buying drinks in licensed hotels or bars is allowed but drinking or being drunk is
illegal in public. You'll stand out particularly well in the resort of Sharjah where booze is banned full stop, apart from for residents with a licence to drink at home. It is also an offence in the UAE to drink and drive, no matter how tiny the
amount. If you're arrested on alcohol-related offences you'll likely be jailed while you await trial and penalties entail hefty jail sentences and large fines.
Smoke some wacky baccy . Drugs are almost always a law breaker, but Dubai is about as far from Amsterdam as you can get. Possession and consumption is treated very seriously in the UAE and – as the British DJ
who had no drugs on him recentlly discovered – possession includes anything in your system, so even if you have a cheeky joint before you get on the Dubai-bound plane and you could end up falling foul of their regulations, and wind up with their
mandatory minimum of four years in jail.
Other laws you should know about . Shopping in shorts could attract attention from the authorities - unless you're on the beach or by the pool, then anything tight, transparent, short or displaying your
stomach, shoulders or back if you're a woman, is considered indecent. Same if you're a man in shorts or displaying a bare chest. Photography of certain government buildings is also illegal, as is perusing any form of pornographic material. If
all else fails, smuggle in a bacon sandwich – pork is banned – and a poppy seed roll will add to the criminality of the action, as poppy seeds are also on the UAE's forbidden list.
A significant number of girls and women in Iraqi Kurdistan suffer female genital mutilation (FGM) and its destructive after-effects, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. The Kurdistan Regional Government should take immediate action to end FGM
and develop a long term plan for its eradication, including passing a law to ban the practice, Human Rights Watch said.
The 73-page report, 'They Took Me and Told Me Nothing': Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan, documents the experiences of young girls and women who undergo FGM against a backdrop of conflicting messages from some religious leaders
and healthcare professionals about the practice's legitimacy and safety. The report describes the pain and fear that girls and young women experience when they are cut, and the terrible toll that it takes on their physical and emotional health. It
says the regional government has been unwilling to prohibit FGM, despite its readiness to address other forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence and so-called honor killings.
The evidence obtained by Human Rights Watch suggests that for many girls and women in Iraqi Kurdistan, FGM is an unavoidable procedure that they undergo sometimes between the ages of 3 and 12. In some cases documented by Human Rights Watch,
societal pressures also led adult women to undergo the procedure, sometimes as a precondition of marriage.
The previous regional government took some steps to address FGM, including a 2007 Justice Ministry decree, supposedly binding on all police precincts, that perpetrators of FGM should be arrested and punished. However, the existence of the decree
is not widely known, and Human Rights Watch found no evidence that it has ever been enforced.
In 2008, the majority of members of the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA) supported the introduction of a law banning FGM, but the bill was never enacted into law and its status is unknown. In early 2009, the Health Ministry developed a
comprehensive anti-FGM strategy in collaboration with a nongovernmental organization. But the ministry later withdrew its support and halted efforts to combat FGM. A public awareness campaign about FGM and its consequences has also been
The new government, elected in July 2009, has taken no steps to eradicate the practice.
Egyptian men married to Israeli women face being stripped of their citizenship after a landmark ruling by
the Supreme Administrative Court.
The judge Mohammed el Husseiny of the Supreme Administrative Court said the interior ministry must ask the cabinet to take the necessary steps to strip Egyptian men married to Israeli women, and their children, of their citizenship.
The court's decision is taking into account Egypt's national security . The case for [Egyptian] men married to Israeli Arab women is different to those married to Israeli women of Jewish origin because [Israeli Arabs] have lived under
Israeli occupation, el Husseiny said in his ruling.
I am so surprised by the verdict. Egyptian law says citizenship can only be revoked if the citizen is proven to be spying on his country, and this verdict considers marrying an Israeli an act of spying. said Cairo-based attorney and human
rights activist Negad el Borai.
The Egyptian citizenship is not a grant from the regime, but its our legal and constitutional right, Shokri el Shazli, the head of the Egyptian expatriates in Israel, said in the Egyptian independent daily Al Masry Al Youm: No one has
the right to strip me from my nationality, and if this happens, there will be an international outcry, so I don't think they will do it.
German court fines computer owner for not setting up wi-fi security
Unjust indeed. Its about time that Microsoft were required to produce an easy to understand network set up interface before people are prosecuted for not setting up a jargon infested spaghetti interface
German citizens are responsible for the security of their own private wireless connections, a court has ruled.
The ruling comes after a musician sued the owner of a network connection that had been used to illegally download and file-share music.
The owner had proof that the householder was on holiday at the time but the court ruled that the network should have been password-protected.
The court's verdict was that the owner could be fined up to 100 euros (£86).
Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation, the court in Karlsruhe said.
While it did not find the owner guilty of actual copyright violation the ruling was that the person must take a degree of responsibility for their connection being used to break the law.
British intellectual property barrister David Harris described the verdict as eccentric .
I don't think there is any prospect that a UK court would follow that guideline, he told BBC News: There is no criminal provision in English law that requires you to secure a wi-fi connection, and currently no liability for the acts of
another party if they misuse your connection.
Libya and Thailand were among 14 countries elected as new members of the U.N.'s top human rights body in a vote that rights advocates
criticized as uncompetitive and pre-cooked.
Angola, Mauritania, Uganda, the Maldives, Malaysia, Qatar, Moldova, Poland, Ecuador, Guatemala, Spain and Switzerland were also elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms on the 47-nation Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva.
Both Libya and Thailand have been criticized by rights groups for their human rights records.
The council elections have become a pre-cooked process that strips the meaning from the membership standards established by the General Assembly, said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director at U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.
States serious about the role the council can play in promoting human rights should push for competitive slates in all regions, and should be willing to compete for a seat themselves, she said.
Without naming any specific countries, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice made it clear she was not happy with some of Washington's new fellow council members: It's fair to say that this year, there is a small number of countries
whose human rights records is problematic that are likely to be elected and we regret that, she said.
Iran also had been running for a seat on the council, but it withdrew its candidacy last month in exchange for a seat on the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
Offsite Comment: Human Rights Just a Joke At the U.N.
Once upon a time, the United Nations was about protecting human rights and Eleanor Roosevelt was the chairman of its premier human rights agency, the Human Rights Commission. This week, the U.N.’s top human rights body, renamed the Human Rights
Council, is poised to add Libya to its membership. Libya will be elected by the U.N. General Assembly through a secret ballot in a process that champions geographic and religious loyalties over anything remotely resembling the actual protection of
The Obama administration is making no moves to call for the defeat of Libya or any of the other soon-to-be human rights specialists now running for a seat. And yet, the 2009 State Department Human Rights Report says that in Libya there is routine
torture and abuse of detainees, legally-sanctioned amputations and flogging, sentencing of political opposition members without trial, indefinite detention of women and girls suspected of violating moral codes, homosexuality is
criminalized, and their president claims that the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah are forgeries.
A British woman jailed for kissing a man in public in Dubai has spoken of the hypocrisy of the Emirate's strict decency laws.
Charlotte Adams was arrested with Ayman Najafi last November after a local woman complained they had been seen kissing on the mouth in a restaurant.
Adams and Najafi insisted they had given each other only a peck on the cheek but were sentenced to a month in prison by a Dubai court last month.
Adams served 23 days and was freed on Friday and deported. Najafi, a management consultant from north London who has lived in Dubai for the past 18 months, is understood to be continuing his fight against the conviction after being backed by his
I love (Dubai) and it makes me sad that I'll never come back, although I think I'd struggle to ever feel free here again. The laws need to evolve to match the culture here. At the moment, it's all just hypocrisy.
She said hotels in Dubai regularly offer free alcohol, particularly to women, though drinking in public is still officially illegal in the Gulf state: Everyone gets so drunk they forget where they are, particularly the westerners, which is when
their behaviour can become dangerous legally.
A trainee teacher who fronts a German death metal band whose live act features blood-smeared women has been threatened with dismissal by German authorities.
Unless he abandons his controversial music career with the band Debauchery, Thomas The Bloodbeast Gurrath will have to give up his teaching traineeship, according to a report in Bild.
The Stuttgart-based teacher and his band have released albums with names like Kill, Maim, Burn and Torture Pit. The band's live shows and promotional materials feature nude women covered in blood and BDSM equipment.
Gurrath defended his hobby, saying it merely reflected the violence in the world around him, according to thelocal.de, the English-language German website: I would never give up my music just because the education authorities order it, he
A girl aged 12 has won a divorce from her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia in a case that may help to introduce a minimum age of
marriage in the kingdom for the first time.
The girl's unusual legal challenge to the arrangement generated international media attention and scrutiny of Saudi Arabia's record of child marriages.
It also prompted the state-run Human Rights Commission to appoint a lawyer to represent her. The commission has capitalised on the case and pushed for a legal minimum age for marriage of at least 16.
Three committees have been assembled to examine the possibility. Medical experts, child psychologists, social workers and scholars in Islamic law will debate the issue over the coming months before submitting their recommendations to a public
Based on these findings, the commission and the Ministry of Justice will issue new guidelines and impose a legal minimum age for the first time. The main aim is to not allow cases like this to happen again, said Alanoud alHejailan, a lawyer
for the commission: There will be some opposition, of course, but we feel that public opinion has changed on this issue. We want to gather all the public support we can for a minimum age for marriage.
The 12-year-old has been fighting her case through the courts in the conservative town of Buraidah, near Riyadh, the capital. She was married against her wishes to her father's elderly cousin last year. A dowry of 85,000 riyals (£14,500) was
paid and the marriage consummated. She has now reached agreement with her family that a divorce will be settled privately, and has dropped her legal challenge to the marriage.
An air stewardess fears she can't return to Dubai where she lives because she has had a baby out of wedlock.
Irish Ex-pat Liz Curry has Alexandra during a 24-hour stopover in South Africa.
Dubai's strict Muslim laws mean Liz could now be sent to prison if she goes back to the country where she has lived for eight years. The penalty for having sex outside marriage is at least three months in prison followed by deportation.
Liz said: I'm on unpaid leave at the moment but I can't go back to work in Dubai because of the law. I'm unmarried so if I'd had the baby in Dubai I would have been arrested and I can't take that risk.
A British couple jailed in Dubai for kissing in public have lost their appeal against their conviction.
Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams were sentenced to a month in prison with subsequent deportation and fined about £200 for drinking alcohol.
The couple were arrested in November after a vengeful local woman accused them of breaking the country's decency laws by kissing on the mouth in a restaurant.
The couple's defence lawyers said the woman - who did not appear in court - had not seen the kiss herself, but had been told by her two-year-old child that the girl had seen the couple kissing.
The pair said they would make a second appeal against the judge's decision. The couple decided not to start their sentence immediately, but the Dubai authorities are holding their passports so they are unable to return to Britain.
The BBC's Ben Thompson, at the court, said the judge spoke entirely in Arabic as he quickly dismissed the appeal, saying he upheld the previous sentence.
Professor John Strawson, an expert in Islamic law, told BBC Radio 5 Live he was not surprised by the judge's decision. He said: The problem in this particular case is that one of the British citizens is of Muslim origin.
And I think that the combination of the alleged kissing and the consumption of alcohol in an illegal place, meant that this was a case that the authorities really wanted to pursue, and they are probably sticking to their rigid interpretation of
A British expatriate in Dubai is facing jail and deportation after being accused of making a single-finger gesture in an argument.
Simon Andrews has had his passport confiscated for almost eight months while waiting for his case to be heard.
He told Dubai Court of Misdemeanours he denies flipping the finger at Mahmoud Rasheed, an Iraqi aviation student, during an argument. He will appear in court on Sunday for a full hearing of the case.
Making insulting gestures is regarded as unacceptable, and carries with it the possibility of a jail sentence of up to six months and deportation.
It is the latest in a string of prosecutions of expatriates and visitors in Dubai for breaching the emirate's public decency laws.
The Foreign Office says that British citizens are more likely to be arrested in the United Arab Emirates than anywhere else in the world. It warns visitors not to misled by the emirate's tolerance of some non-Muslim practices such as drinking alcohol
into thinking that there is a free-for-all. The emirate still practises a form of Sharia law.
Two Emirates Airline cabin crew in Dubai were given three-month jail terms for exchanging sexy text messages.
The then-married flight attendant and her male supervisor were convicted of coercion to commit sin, the National daily reported.
It said the pair -- both Indian -- were earlier sentenced to six months in prison to be followed by deportation, but an appeals court last week reduced the jail time and dropped the expulsion penalty. The court concluded there was not enough evidence to
prove that the unidentified pair had actually been sexually involved.
The messages were exposed during a bitter divorce battle between the attendant and her husband that began in 2007, the daily said.
It said the divorce court had ordered Dubai's telecommunications company, Etisalat, to produce the text messages after the husband accused his wife of an affair. Etisalat provided copies of SMS messages in October 2008, allowing the husband to file a criminal complaint
against his wife, the paper said.
Australian children engaged in sexting could be charged with child sex offences under laws set to pass federal parliament.
However, the attorney-general will have 'discretion' [as if politicians know the meaning of the word discretion] as to whether people under 18 are charged with child sex offences for sending sexual material via their
The federal government has accepted the recommendation of a parliamentary committee into the proposed Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences Against Children) Bill 2010 which means a young person cannot be prosecuted for sexting without the
consent of the attorney-general.
The committee is of the view that the extension of this safeguard may ensure that behaviour which is not exploitative of, or harmful to, children is not captured by the child sex offence regime, particularly where that behaviour involves children
themselves, the committee said in a report tabled in the Senate.
A US federal appeals court rebuked a Pennsylvania district attorney who threatened to file felony child pornography charges against teens who were photographed semi-nude unless they attended an education program.
In a unanimous decision issued by the appeals court in Philadelphia, a three-judge panel said the threat amounted to a Hobson's Choice that would retaliate against one of the girls and her family for exercising their constitutional right to free
speech. A rare dose of government-issued sanity in the prosecutorial crusade against teenage sexting , the ruling upheld a lower-court order issued last year in the case.
The case stems from inappropriate images of minors found by officials at Pennsylvania's Tunkhannock School District, that included, among other things, a girl posing in her bathing suit. In late 2008, Wyoming County District Attorney George
Skumanick told an assembly of about 20 students and their parents he would bring felony child pornography charges against them unless they completed a six- to nine-month program. For female offenders, that meant attending classes designed to help the
participants gain an understanding of what it means to be a girl in today's society, and require them to write a report on what the students did and why it was wrong.
The panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the education program requirement amounted to compelled speech, in violation of the Constitution's First Amendment. As such, Skumanick's threat to prosecute was retaliation.
A British man is facing jail in Dubai after he was accused of kissing a woman in public.
Ayman Najafi is expected in court today alongside a 25-year-old female British tourist to appeal against a one-month prison sentence.
The pair were allegedly seen kissing on the mouth in a restaurant, breaching Dubai's nasty decency laws. They were arrested by police in November last year and appeared in court last week.
A judge at Dubai's Misdemeanours Court heard written evidence from a woman who initially snitched to police about the alleged incident. She said she was 'offended' by their behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her
The judge dismissed Najafi's claim that he had merely kissed the woman on the cheek and sentenced both defendants to a month in jail followed by deportation. The Britons were bailed pending the appeal against a custodial punishment.
The Dubai authorities are holding their passports so that they cannot leave the country.
A Saudi Arabian woman, Sawsan Salim, has been sentenced to 300 lashings and one and a half years in prison for filing harassment complaints about government officials and appearing in court without a male guardian present.
In 2007, Salim filed 118 harassment complaints against local officials, who allegedly mistreated her when she appeared in their offices unchaperoned, according to Business Week. Salim appeared without a male guardian because her husband, her sole male
family member, was in prison at the time. She initially approached a local court in 2004, when she sought help to release her husband from prison.
The legal guardianship system in Saudi Arabia requires that women, both minors and adults, must be accompanied by a male guardian outside the home. If women wish to conduct themselves in public business, work, or to drive, they must obtain permission
from or be accompanied by their male guardian, who may be her husband, father, brother, or even a minor son, according to Human Rights Watch.
Between 6,000 and 8,000 women in Austria have been forced to undergo genital mutilation, according to Social Democratic MP Petra
Bayr, a member of the Austrian Platform against Female Genital Mutilation, said today: Many parents believe they are doing their daughters a favour by forcing them to undergo it.
She said the only way to change such thinking was to engage in awareness-raising and make it clear to parents that genital mutilation was neither called for by religion nor a pre-condition for finding a husband.
Rather, she added, genital mutilation was a violation of human rights that left its victims mentally and physically damaged for the rest of their lives.
Bayr added that her group was working with health personnel, migrant organisations and religious leaders to try to change the situation.
Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an honour killing
carried out as punishment for talking to boys.
The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.
Police made the discovery in December after a tip-off from an informant, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on its website. The girl had previously been reported missing. The informant told the police she had been killed following a family
Her father and grandfather are said to have been arrested and held in custody pending trial. It is unclear whether they have been charged. The girl's mother was arrested but was later released.
Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter – one of nine children – had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex.
A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.
On the occasion of the International Action Day against Female Genital Mutilation, a representative empirical study on Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi-Kurdistan is going to be presented on February 6.
The report summarizes the results of a one-and-a-half year empirical study conducted by the German relief organization WADI. The numbers presented in the report are alarming: A vast majority of women in Iraqi-Kurdistan have undergone FGM with some
regions reaching a top ratio of more than 80%.
The study provides comprehensive evidence on the underlying dynamics of FGM and helps understand, why mothers who themselves experienced the horror of mutilation allow FGM to be practiced on their daughters.
A vast majority of women who adhere to the practice believe it to be a religious obligation in Islam. Others refer to tradition and state that it has always been like that.
The study also shows a clear correlation between the level of education and the attitude towards FGM. Still, the FGM rate amongst university graduates is around 30%. But it becomes clear that with an increasing social status, women are more likely
to question harmful traditions and alleged religious obligations.