Voices from Russia

Sunday, 13 May 2018

World Defends Sudanese Rape Victim Condemned to Death


An online campaign is gaining momentum to defend a 19-year-old Sudanese woman sentenced to death for murdering her husband, who she says raped her after she was forced to marry him. The story of Noura Hussein received international attention when the details of her case circulated on social media and via an online petition on Change.org. In 2016, Hussein attempted to escape her arranged marriage, but her in-laws forcibly restrained her as her husband raped her to consummate their vows. Sarah el-Hasan, a rights activist supporting Hussein’s case, told al-Jazeera:

She wouldn’t have sex with the man; he recruited some of his cousins and brought them home where they held her down while her husband raped her.

Her lawyer Ahmed Sebair said:

The following night, when her husband tried to rape her again, Hussein stabbed him with a knife and killed him.

On Thursday, Hussein’s supporters stood behind her in the Omdurman courtroom as the judge condemned her to death by hanging after her husband’s family refused financial compensation for the killing, demanding instead that she face execution. Seif Magango, of Amnesty International said:

The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment, and to apply it to a rape victim only highlights the failure of the Sudanese authorities to acknowledge the violence she endured. Marital rape… despite being a taboo… is still a common occurrence in Sudanese society.

Nahid Gabralla is the director of NGO SEEMA, which assists gender-based violence victims and survivors. Gabralla said:

In my work, I’ve seen other cases like this. The suffering of Sudanese women happens all the time. The case of Noura is different. She stood for her rights.

Magango said:

This girl is a victim. She was married off at the tender age of 16 against her will and she stood up against that and refused to be forced into marriage. The death that took place was an act of self-defence and it’s a travesty of justice that she is at risk of being murdered, being killed by the state, only for defending herself and that is something that needs to be corrected and this death penalty, this death sentence, must be revoked.

Hussein’s lawyers have just under two weeks to appeal the conviction.

12 May 2018




Saturday, 15 September 2012

As John Robles Sees It… Muslim Rage Spreads Worldwide

Protestors outside the American Embassy in Cairo (Cairo GovernorateEGYPT


Protests against the American film Innocence of Muslims has begun to spread all over the world. There’ve been attacks on American Embassies worldwide as Muslim anger against American policies and meddling continued. The protests involved hundreds of thousands; for the most part, they’re peaceful, with the largest part of the most serious violence directed at American Embassies and businesses, and in one case, protesters burned down an American school. Since the murders in Benghazi, there have been no reports of violence against Americans.

Mass protests by Muslims continue to spread to more and more countries as outrage in the Islamic world escalates due to the trailer of an American film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed called Innocence of Muslims, which appeared on the internet. Although the film was the spark that lit the flames of the violence, massive longstanding grievances and anger against the USA and its attempts to force its policies on countries worldwide, as well as the constant meddling of the USA into affairs in Muslim world are now serving to feed the escalating violence. The deep socioeconomic problems in Arab Spring countries, something that hasn’t been addressed, is also playing into the hands of Islamists and adding more fuel to the crisis.

All over the world, governments are asking Muslims to show restraint and not to escalate the level of violence. On Friday, the protests spread from Egypt and Libya to other countries including Israel, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. There were also widespread protests in countries outside the Middle East, including but not limited to Bangladesh, Kashmir, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Qatar.


In Jerusalem, a protest near the Damascus Gate turned violent when protesters began throwing rocks at police. Apparently, the protesters began to head in the direction of the American Consulate, but the police stopped them by using concussion grenades. According to Ynetnews, there were protests in Akko, in the Wadi Ara region, and in the towns of Baqa al-Gharbiyye and Umm al-Fahm, which were for the most part peaceful.


Yemen saw some of the most violent protests with reports saying that security forces killed four protesters who were rioting near the American Embassy.


In Khartoum, hundreds of protesters stormed the German Embassy and set it on fire. Police used teargas to dispel the protesters, who then began protesting outside the British Embassy nearby.


In Kashmir, in some of the largest anti-American demonstrations so far, at least 15,000 people took part in dozens of protests, chanting “Down with America”, “Down with Israel”, and calling US President Barack Obama a “terrorist”. The country’s top cleric demanded that Americans leave the region immediately.


In Chennai, protesters threw stones at the American Consulate, shattering some windows and burned an effigy of Obama. Police arrested more than 100 protesters.


In Bangladesh, about 5,000 people marched in Dhaka burning American and Israeli flags and calling for the death of the film-maker. Police stopped them from reaching the American Embassy.


In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, protests were extremely peaceful, as only about 200 protesters held a peaceful protest outside the heavily-guarded American Embassy in Jakarta.


There were more protests in Tehran, including demonstrations outside the Swiss Embassy (which represents American interests in Iran). Reports say Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, denounced the anti-Muslim film during Friday prayers.


Three protesters were killed outside the American Embassy in Tunis, where demonstrators attempted to enter the compound. The demonstrators included ordinary Tunisians and Salafist activists. An American school was also set on fire.


Security forces in Tripoli killed one demonstrator as protesters attempted to storm a government building. In addition, protesters burned down an American Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.


In Damascus, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the American Embassy holding a peaceful demonstration. Protesters carried images of President Bashar al-Assad and chanted anti-American slogans.


Hundreds of protesters attempted to march towards the American Embassy in Islamabad and were stopped by police far from the city’s diplomatic quarter where the embassy is located.


Protesters filled the streets of Doha and lined the city’s main highway. No violence was reported.

In closing, I’d personally like to ask all Muslims to show restraint and demonstrate peacefully, as this was another provocation. Those who made the film want to see violence and want you to overreact. If you react violently, you’ll be playing into their hands.

14 September 2012

John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service



Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Subjective Assessment


Recently, the American NGO Freedom House {it’s a pro-US government lickspittle front: editor} published a list of countries rating their stance on “freedom of speech”. Compared with a previous similar list by Freedom House, Russia’s rating rose one point higher… mainly because of an increased number of Internet and satellite television users. Freedom House makes similar reports every year. This year’s report brought no sensations. The main conclusion that one can draw from it is that the situation with freedom of speech in the world didn’t worsen very much within the last 8 years. Well, no news is good news, as the proverb says.

There are 197 countries in the rating list, divided into three categories… countries with free media, countries with partially-free media, and countries with no free media. This year, the numbers of countries in all three categories are approximately the same. European countries head the list. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Andorra, and Iceland occupy the first ten places, respectively. Germany is only in the 16th place. However, the US’s rating fell from its previous 17th place to 22nd place. Experts connect this with the current economic crisis in the US, which affects the financial welfare of independent media companies. Moreover, some experts say that the current US Congress won’t provide full security to media sources.

It surprised many Russians (and, probably, not only Russians) to find that Russia was only in 172nd place on the list, next to Zimbabwe and other African countries. This raised many questions among Russian experts. Elena Zelinskaya, the Vice President of the Russian journalist union MediaSoyuz, said, “I’ve commented on reports by Freedom House for many years, and I always wonder what methods they use whilst determining the amount of media freedom in a country. We’ve asked them this question several times, but never got any answer. Thus, I’ve no other option but to conclude that they don’t base their rating of Russia on any serious research, it’s only their opinion. Moreover, I believe that their opinion has nothing to do with reality. Since the Russian parliamentary elections in December, and the presidential elections in March, Russians have become much more politically active… the political competition was and still is very lively. Since December, Russian TV channels started to devote much more attention to politics. There are many more political discussions on the web as well… everyone who can log onto the web can attest to this statement”.

Of course, it’d be wrong to say that the relations between mass media and the authorities are always smooth in Russia. However, it’d also hardly be right to say that there’s less freedom of speech in Russia than, let’s say, in Sudan or Nigeria, currently gripped by civil wars. Nonetheless, Freedom House placed these two countries higher on their list than Russia. Namely, they placed Sudan in 170th place and Nigeria in 104th. Freedom House put Libya in 132nd place, even though the new government’s very intolerant of critics, where they can execute a journalist merely for having worked for the Gaddafi régime.

Vsevolod Bogdanov, the head of the Russian Union of Journalists, also disagreed with such a low assessment of freedom of speech in Russia, saying, “I believe that Russia has enough freedom of speech. After all, it’s very hard for a public figure to hide some secret from the public today in Russia. Sooner or later, this-or-that media source will reveal their secret. True, not everything’s always perfect in the relations between the authorities and the media in Russia, and we still have room for improvement in these affairs. But, all in all, there aren’t any grounds to call contemporary Russia a country without freedom of speech”.

Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights called Freedom House’s assessment “ungrounded”. Mr Fedotov pointed up that, recently, on the initiative of his council, the Russian government decided to create a public TV channel. Besides, the RF Gosduma adopted laws to ease responsibility for slander and to toughen penalties for hindering journalists in carrying out their professional duties.

2 May 2012

Roman Mamonov

Voice of Russia World Service


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Barclays Bank Received a Fine from the USA for Doing Business with “Rogue States”

Uncle Sam sez, “Pay up, or you’re next!” I think I know what state is a “rouge state”… it “exports democracy” on the weapons-racks of Reaper UAVs. THIS is the true face of the Tea Party…


Barclays Bank, a British financial institution, must pay a fine of 298 million dollars (9.107 billion Roubles 231.963 million Euros 190.064 million UK Pounds) for conducting “illegal” financial transactions with countries that the US State Department considers “rogue states”. According to the US Department of Justice, amongst the bank’s customers were Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Myanmar. Economic and trade sanctions have been imposed against all these countries by the White House. Barclays will pay 149 million dollars (4.554 billion Roubles 115.982 million Euros 95.032 million UK Pounds) to the United States government, and an additional 149 million dollars in accordance with an agreement with the New York County District Attorney’s Office in New York City. It violated both federal and state of New York statutes, sending hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of banks from Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Myanmar, according to prosecutors. In total, the transactions amounted to approximately 500 million dollars (15.28 billion Roubles 389.2 million Euros 318.9 million UK Pounds). However, it’s possible that Barclays will not pay anything, at least, for now. It entered into an agreement with the US Department of Justice for a stay of prosecution for two years. During this period, Barclays agrees not to violate American laws, according to RBC.

17 August 2010

Voice of Russia World Service


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