Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged Religion

“Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is being relocated thousands of miles to a prison colony deep in Siberia, according to her husband Peter Verzilov. Tolokonnikova has been missing for 17 days, since she vanished into the Russian prison system to be transferred to an unknown camp. Verzilov says she is now en route to the city of Krasnoyarsk, 2,600 miles east of Moscow, in the heart of Siberia.

“It’s 100 percent that it’s Krasnoyarsk region,” Verzilov told Rolling Stone by phone, saying the information came from a source in Russia’s prison administration.”

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Despite the fact that everyone in On The Media’s producer Sarah Abdurrahman’s family were all US citizens and that once citizenship is established you are supposed to be free to enter the country, they were detained for six hours by US Customs and Border Patrol.

From Techdirt:

They were treated terribly, put in a cold room with no food or drinks, and no information on what was going on. CBP demanded they hand over their electronics, and made it clear they might not get them back. The thing is, this isn’t a unique situation. As the report notes, there’s almost no oversight over CBP actions, allowing them to act with impunity. In the report, the story is told of a 4-year-old girl, an American citizen, who was detained for 14 hours, in a cold room, without being allowed to speak to her parents and given no food beyond a cookie. And then she was deported. Even though she was a US citizen. She was allowed to come back weeks later, but now has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

She tried to find out information during the detainment, but was repeatedly told “it’s not your right to know.” She wasn’t even allowed to know the names of the CBP agents who detained them. When she asked, agents turned their backs to her so she couldn’t see their name tags. Multiple attempts at getting Homeland Security or CBP to respond to questions failed.

She also tells the story of some other wedding attendees who were similarly detained with incredibly obnoxious behavior from CBP agents. The first one they met was quizzing everyone in the car on their names, and the 3-year-old kid in the back cheerily volunteered his name and the CBP agent snapped at him. The agents initially promised that they wouldn’t search their phones, but then demanded that people unlock their phones, and even told them the phones would be confiscated and not returned. People complained that they needed their phones for work and were basically told too bad. Abdurrahman notes that three full cars of people from that one wedding all had their phones confiscated, and she notes that DHS claims only about 15 phones are confiscated each day by CBP, and wonders why everyone from one wedding appear to have nearly reached that quota.

Then there’s the really ridiculous part: one of the people detained went through mutliple invasive body searches, and then after five and half hours was suddenly handcuffed and locked up in a jail cell with no explanation at all. He asked the officers to let his family know what was going on, but they didn’t. Instead, they told his family to leave, and when they asked what happened, his family was told that “an agency” was coming to “pick him up,” without giving any more details — obviously leading to the worst assumptions. Instead, it turned out the guy had an unpaid ticket for a crooked license plate from 2006. CBP called the Michigan State Police to come “get him” over this — and, again, didn’t explain any of this to his family.

While a person can submit a complaint, there is little that will be done to resolve the situation. CBP claims broad authority and operates unto itself, above the law, terrorizing its own citizens.

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Israel

The Israeli government has ordered textbook publishers to remove any content that relates to human reproduction and contraception if it is to be viewed by students under the age of 15.

Such material “does not fit in with the educational outlook for junior high school students in the state religious system”, said a statement from the education ministry.

It had requested “targeted adjustments” to ensure that textbooks “include texts and reading materials in the spirit of the state religious education system”.

Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israeli Religious Action Centre, which advocates progressive Judaism, described the education ministry’s move as a “slippery slope”.

“When we start filtering science for modesty reasons, that in the end will hinder our ability to teach science to Israeli children,” she said.

“Teaching children about these subjects in a factual and respectful way is not in any way an affront to religion.”

Over the past few years, the ultra-orthodox community in Israel has attempted to eliminate public depictions of women, including that of Hillary Clinton, and impose gender segregation on public transportation.

These students will grow up ignorant not only of the science, history, and literature that has already been taken out of the textbooks, but of women as well. Instead of learning about women, the reproductive system, or other worthy science, these students will grow up believing that women are something to be covered up, marginalized, and hidden from society.

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Protesters in Bangladesh have demanded a new blasphemy law that would the death penalty for any blogger who insults Islam.

Supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam, an Islamist group which draws support from tens of thousands of religious seminaries, converged on Dhaka’s main commercial hub to protest against what they said were blasphemous writings by atheist bloggers, shouting “God is great – hang the atheist bloggers”.

“I’ve come here to fight for Islam. We won’t allow any bloggers to blaspheme our religion and our beloved Prophet Mohammed,” said Shahidul Islam, an imam at a mosque outside Dhaka who walked 20km.

The religious group, which has the backing of country’s largest party Jamaat-e-Islami, organised the rally in support of its 13-point demand including enactment of a blasphemy law to prosecute and hang what they call atheist bloggers.

The bloggers, who deny they are atheists, have sought capital punishment for those found guilty of war crimes during the nation’s liberation war.

Muhiuddin Khan, Bangladesh home minister, said on Wednesday the government had identified 11 bloggers, including the four detainees, who had hurt the religious sentiments of the nation’s majority Muslim population.

The government has blocked about a dozen websites and blogs to stem the unrest. It has also set up a panel, which includes intelligence chiefs, to monitor blasphemy on social media.

Under the country’s cyber laws, a blogger or Internet writer can face up to ten years in jail for defaming a religion.

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