This is the first installment of the Civil Liberties Roundup I introduced before the New Year. It will be a running aggregation of news stories and other important items related to the outline of topics I described. As I mentioned in that post, I hope this can be collaborative with HA readers, so please feel free to email me with any items you feel I’ve left out. Here’s the roundup:
Vindu Goel and Andrew E. Kramer write in the Washington Post about web freedom across the globe.
Matt Taibbi talks about the disparity in who goes to jail in the United States.
Radley Balko has his list of civil liberties ‘predictions’ for 2105.
John Knefel writes in VICE about a Surveillance Industry conference.
Religious fundamentalists in the U.S. Congress have introduced a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks.
Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a ban on
hoodies clothing that can conceal identity in public.
Illinois is holding some criminal offenders in jail even after they’ve been released or paroled because they can’t afford the imposed fees for “adequate” post-incarceration residency.
The police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland is even worse than you thought.
A University of Pennsylvania student was visited by police in the Homeland Security Bureau over attempts to organize protests in the city of Philadelphia.
In Florida, a dishonest informant and incompetent police actions led to a tragic drug war raid that ended with a dead man and $5 worth of seized pot.
El Salvador continues to arrest women who have miscarriages under their draconian abortion laws.
The British Home Office is mandating that school officials report on toddlers who show signs of being at risk of becoming terrorists.
In Russia, opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence for embezzlement, while his brother was jailed. Also in Russia, transgendered people are being barred from getting driver’s licenses.
Prosecutors looking into corruption within the government of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan were removed by the top judicial body in the country.
In Azerbaijan, journalist and government critic Khadija Ismayilova was arrested in December and charged with the crime of trying to drive someone to suicide. Later in December, a U.S.-backed radio station was shut down as well.
The Syrian government is going to great lengths to prevent military desertions in its ongoing war against many of its own citizens.
In Saudi Arabia, 12 Pakistanis were executed for drug smuggling from October to December alone. Also, a woman was arrested after attempting to sneak into a soccer stadium dressed as a man. And a liberal activist is set to be publicly flogged for blasphemy.
The kingdom of Bahrain arrested the head of the main opposition group for unspecified reasons.
In Israel, the only female Arab lawmaker is being forced to stand trial for incitement to violence. Meanwhile, numerous high-ranking members of the government continue to push for the removal of Israel’s African immigrant population.
Several African nations, including Cameroon and Kenya, are pushing through strict, vague anti-terror laws that are ripe for abuse.
Egypt continues to arrest large numbers of journalists. Al-Jazeera English’s former Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy writes about his ongoing persecution here. An Egyptian court also banned an annual Jewish festival that had been a regular occurrence since 1979.
Also in Egypt, a writer faces trial for insulting Islam during an October religious holiday celebration.
The Sudanese government continues to get away with a genocide in Darfur.
The Chinese government announced that they are reducing the number of offenses that can result in a death penalty.
In Indonesia, drug trafficking is a crime still punished with death by firing squad.
In the Philippines, there’s a large backlog in the criminal justice system with many people being jailed for long periods of time before receiving a trial.