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Stories about Middle East & North Africa

Saudi court slams internationally criticized jail term for iconic female activist

Hathloul, a symbol of Saudi political prisoners, was sentenced after a three-year pre-trial detention and a rushed trial that overlooked her claim of being tortured, drawing global outcry against Riyadh.

Iconic House of Wonders collapse leaves Zanzibaris wondering about fate of cultural heritage

The House of Wonders collapse left many wondering about the fate of Zanzibar's cultural heritage. 

How will the war in Nagorno-Karabakh change Azerbaijan?

After Azerbaijan's victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, strongman President Ilham Aliyev enjoys huge popular support. But the new presence of Russian peacekeepers is causing unease, say researchers Sergey Rumyantsev and Sevil Huseynova.

Kuwait's stateless Bidoon population angered by another death

Denied the Kuwaiti nationality and dubbed "illegal residents" by the state, thousands of Bidoon are stranded in a legal limbo and are unable to access basic civil and human rights.

Seven African governments employ surveillance spyware, says new study

Equatorial Guinea, Botswana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have employed surveillance technology from Circles, a firm affiliated with Israel's NSO Group, according to the report by Citizen Lab.

US in Syria: What to expect of the new administration?

Humanitarian considerations will be the main distinction between the two US administrations in Syria's war, where Washington vies to curb terrorist threats and Russia's influence in a vital region.

The power of ‘personal experience': An interview with Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil

Nabil's "technique mixes painting and photography, inspired by hand-painted movie posters of the 1940s and 1950s, and is reminiscent of the pre-digital world."

Pressure mounts on Egypt to release prominent human rights defenders

Three senior members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), one of Egypt’s most prominent human rights groups, were arrested earlier this month on charges of terrorism.

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert freed from Iranian jail in prisoner swap

"It’s far past time for democratic allies — indeed all responsible governments — to work together to end state sponsored hostage taking once and for all, beginning with #Iran"

Can secularism be compatible with Islam?

"Islam has become an insecure identity that is always undermined by criticism from the Christian or godless, but always colonial, West."

In the Middle East, words escape prison walls to inspire freedom and hope

"Why is our homeland so small and tight, and why am I considered a criminal or an enemy that threatens it!”

Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh raises scrutiny of Israel's arms sales to Azerbaijan

Israeli-produced weaponry gave Azerbaijan a key advantage over Armenia in the latest war over Nagorno-Karabakh. But for some human rights activists in Israel, that's not a matter of pride.

Shutdowns, throttling and stifling dissent online: Africa’s new normal, Part II

Weaponizing digital blackouts or social media clamp down by Algeria, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania is an ominous sign of a deeply problematic system of governance. 

Shutdowns, throttling and stifling dissent online: Africa’s new normal, Part I

African governments are using school examinations and politically charged moments as an excuse to effect digital blackouts or clamp down on social media. 

The importance of ‘unlearning’ the past: Interview with Balkans expert Keith Brown

"Critical thinking [...] liberates us from the illusion that figures in the past imagined their own identity in terms of the nationalisms of their future."

Ali Banisadr and the art of ‘visual thinking’

Ali Banisadr's MATRIX 185 exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the Iranian-American artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the US.

New book tells stories of suffering and resistance from Iran’s female prisons

In "White Torture," Narges Mohammadi interviews 12 female political prisoners—and shares her own experiences in an Iranian jail, where she spent eight and a half years.

Rights groups in Tunisia mobilize against police protection bill

Article 7 of the bill grants security forces immunity from prosecution for the use of excessive and lethal force against citizens in situations “they deem dangerous.”

‘The war in Karabakh has made the possibility of conflict resolution even more distant’, fears Armenian politician Mikayel Zolyan

Negotiations can start only once aggression against civilians stops. However, war has widened the gap between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, and therefore for dialogue, says Armenian MP and analyst Mikayel Zolyan

Nagorno-Karabakh: An old conflict in a new geopolitical context, says South Caucasus expert Tom de Waal

The most recent of outbreak of violence began on September 27. This time, both combatants and analysts are predicting that the conflict will escalate, with unknown and potentially dangerous consequences.

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