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» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
Saudi Arabia: release @raif_badawi now. We won’t accept anything less. He needs to join his lovely wife and kids. He must be free.
— Maryam Namazie (@MaryamNamazie) December 26, 2013
Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.
Bringing Badawi back to court to face graver charges was recommended by a judge in Saudi Arabia, the activist’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told CNN on Wednesday. The news has caused an uproar in social media.
Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.
In July this year, a criminal court in Jeddah found the man guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and of violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law. Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison.
The court’s ruling was condemned by international human rights watchdogs.
A choice Muslims have to make: Will you demand the freedom of blogger Raif Badawi or will u back the Saudi regime? pic.twitter.com/rRDdq9n0aN
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) December 26, 2013
“This incredibly harsh sentence for a peaceful blogger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”
Badawi’s possible retrial is the latest episode in the country’s crackdown on dissent. Four members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) were jailed in 2013. In the most recent case in December, 24-year-old Omar al-Saed was sentenced to four years in prison and 300 lashes after calling for political reform. Amnesty International called for the activist’s immediate release.
“Amnesty International considers Omar al-Hamid al-Saed to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his peaceful activities as a member of ACPRA and calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and conditionally release him and to ensure that he is not subjected to flogging or any other corporal punishment,” the group’s public statement , released on December 19 reads.
Earlier, the watchdog criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to follow up on any of its promises to improve the country’s human rights record. The pledges were made following a 2009 review, issued by the UN Human Rights Council.
“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” Philip Luther, Director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said in October.
Amnesty’s criticism however did not prevent Saudi Arabia from being elected to the UN Human Rights Council in November. Its three-year term in UNHRC starts January 1, 2014.
Vietnam Shows How To Clean Up The Banking System: Ex-Banker Faces Death Penalty For Fraud | Zero Hedge
The lack of prosecution of bankers responsible for the great financial collapse has been a hotly debated topic over the years, leading to the coinage of such terms as “Too Big To Prosecute“, the termination of at least one corrupt DOJ official, the revelation that Eric Holder is the most useless Attorney General in history, and even members of the judicial bashing other members of the judicial such as in last night’s essay by district judge Jed Rakoff. And naturally, the lack of incentives that punish cheating and fraud, is one of the main reasons why such fraud will not only continue but get bigger and bigger, until once again, the entire system crashes under the weight of all the corruption and all the Fed-driven malinvestment. But what can be done? In this case, Vietnam may have just shown America the way – use the death penalty on convicted embezzling bankers. Because if one wants to promptly stop an end to financial crime, there is nothing quite like the fear of death to halt it.
Bloomberg reports that a Vietnam court will consider the death penalty for a Vu Quoc Hao, the former general director of Agribank Financial Leasing Co. who is charged with embezzling 531 billion dong. While that sounds like a whole lot of dong, converted into USD it is only $25 million, or what Goldman would call “weekend lunch money.” Just imagine how much cleaner Wall Street would be, where the typical bank fraud is generally in the billions, if bankers and other white collar criminals had the fear of death if caught manipulating petty prices or outright stealing amounts that are considered petty cash by most of the 0.001%.
But back to Vietnam and its shining example:
The trial comes as the government seeks to shore up Vietnamese banks saddled with Southeast Asia’s highest rate of bad debt and turn around an economy that grew last year at the slowest pace since 1999. The central bank governor vowed to crack down on violations by groups of shareholders working against banking reforms last year.
Eleven defendants, including Hao, 58, and Hai, are charged with embezzlement, mismanagement, abuse of power and fraud, according to a statement on the court’s website. Prosecutors allege that Hao and Hai formed 10 fake financial leasing contracts to disperse almost 800 billion dong.
At the trial yesterday, Hao said he regrets his violations and hopes the judges will give other defendants lighter sentences, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported today. The verdict and sentencing is expected to be announced Nov. 15, according to the newspaper.
Under Vietnam law, those convicted of embezzling property valued at 500 million dong or more, or creating “other particularly serious consequences,” can be sentenced to life imprisonment or death.
“The party, the government, prosecutors and our courts will give stiff verdicts in these types of cases,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said on the sidelines of an anti-corruption conference in Hanoi yesterday. “We need to make our regulations and legal framework tighter to reduce and prevent corruption.”
“It would be a signal: You could be executed for being caught doing large-scale corruption,” said Adam McCarty, the Hanoi-based chief economist at Mekong Economics. “It has implications for the whole bank restructuring the government is about to do. They want to really dig into these bad debt issues and find out who is responsible for the problems.”
And while one can dream, an outcome such as this in the US is impossible: after all it is these same embezzling bankers that control the legislative and judicial branches (the executive branch is too busy with 404 website errors), which is why deterrence of any substantial scale will never take place in the US and small, medium and large-scale theft will continue unabated, with the occasional slaps on the wrist, until there is nothing left to steal.
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- When the Right to an Attorney Gets Lost in Translation (blogs.wsj.com)
- BIA’s No Miranda-Rights Ruling Condemned (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Military Judge Acquits Bradley Manning of Aiding the Enemy (sgtreport.com)
- Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding enemy, but convicted on lesser charges, faces up to 136 years – Boing Boing (boingboing.net)
- Bradley Manning Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy (news.sky.com)
- Holder to Russia: We Won’t Kill Leaker (foxnews.com)
- Holder to Russia: I Will Allow Snowden to Live (libertyfirewall.com)
- Eric Holder: Well, Maybe Just a Little Forced Nudity and Solitary Confinement… (emptywheel.net)