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Iran’s Guards issue warning as protests over woman’s death spread

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DUBAI:

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards called on the judiciary on Thursday to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours,” in an apparent bid to take the steam out of nationwide protests over the death of a young woman in police custody.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday as public outrage over the death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

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Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “unsuitable attire”. She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.

In a statement, the Guards expressed sympathy with the family and relatives of Amini.

“We have requested the judiciary to identify those who spread false news and rumours on social media as well as on the street and who endanger the psychological safety of society and to deal with them decisively,” the Guards, who have cracked down on protests in the past, said.

Pro-government protests are planned for Friday, Iranian media said.

“The will of the Iranian people is this: do not spare the criminals,” said an editorial in the influential hardline Kayhan newspaper.

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The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and of violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters, the US Treasury said.

The Treasury also said it had put sanctions on the heads of the Iranian army’s ground forces and of the morality police as well as on Iran’s minister of intelligence. It said it held the morality police responsible for the death of Amini.

The protests over Amini’s death are the biggest in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most have been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the province of Kurdistan.

A new mobile internet disruption was registered in the country, internet monitoring group Netblocks wrote on Twitter, in a possible sign that the authorities fear the protests will intensify.

A group of United Nations experts, including Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, demanded accountability for Amini’s death.

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“(Amini) is another victim of Iran’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy and the freedoms of opinion, expression and belief,” the experts said in a statement.

A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organisation, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

The Tasnim and Fars news agencies reports of the stabbing appeared on Telegram as both their websites were not functioning on Thursday. There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed on Wednesday in the city of Qazvin from a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”.

Nour news, a media outlet affiliated with a top security body, shared a video of an army officer confirming the death of a soldier in the unrest, bringing the total reported number of security force members killed in the unrest to five.

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An official from Mazandaran said that 76 members of the security forces were injured in the province during the unrest while the police commander of Kurdistan announced more than 100 security forces were wounded.

In the northeast, protesters shouted “We will die, we will die but we’ll get Iran back” near a police station which was set on fire, a video posted on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed. The account focuses on protests in Iran and has around 100,000 followers.

Reuters could not verify the footage.

Another police station was set ablaze in Tehran as the unrest spread from Kurdistan, where Amini was buried on Saturday.

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IJC hosted for finding ways for country’s better future: CJ

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ISLAMABAD:

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Saturday said that the Supreme Court hosted its 9th International Judicial Conference (IJC) with the intention of addressing past issues and finding innovative ways to secure a better future for Pakistan.

Addressing the closing ceremony of International Judicial Conference, the chief justice said that the summit was an incredible success and had a great turnout with participants ranging from esteemed members of the superior and district judiciary and members of the legal community to members of the executive branch and foreign speakers provided their valuable recommendations regarding steps to be taken for improving the dispensation of justice.

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In his concluding remarks, CJP Bandial shared with the participants his vision for a prosperous and progressive Pakistan where the rule of law reigns supreme.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that courts are made equally accessible to all the citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of their gender, religion, race and economic status.

He said that the judiciary and legislature were encouraged to develop alternative dispute resolution (ADR) facilities and procedures, and to promote their use amongst litigants to ensure the inexpensive and expeditious dispensation of justice. The use of technological advancements was also emphasised in streamlining litigation, he added.

Also read: Not judiciary’s role to break political deadlock: CJP

In this regard, the chief justice also informed the participants of the setting up of a National Judicial Automation Unit, approved by the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee, to help develop a National Online Dashboard for creating an integrated information system for the Judiciary. The first phase of this project is expected to be up and running by and will centralise the data/record of cases pending in all courts on one website. The second phase of this initiative seeks to implement data sharing with other stakeholders in the justice sector.

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He also referred to the Federal Judicial Academy’s initiative of launching an e-campus by the end of this year to conduct training workshops and certification courses online for all stakeholders in the justice sector.

The chief justice further emphasised the need for stakeholders in the criminal justice system, namely the police and prosecution, to improve their performance, and coordination with each other to reduce the incidences of crimes. Members of the judiciary and legal community were also urged to make efforts to enhance their capacity, legal knowledge and performance.

He said that the various organs of the state were also prompted to ensure the involvement of women, who form 50% of our population, in decision-making processes.

CJP Bandial also urged that efforts be made to effectively eradicate gender based violence, along with other formal and informal biases that women face, both in the workplace and at home.

He said that the need to counter problems relating to population growth and climate change on a priority basis was also stressed as these issues are ravaging Pakistan at present.

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The chief justice placed great emphasis on the need for all stakeholders in the justice sector to come together to improve the quality of justice dispensed by the courts.

He encouraged the use of training sessions for the police and prosecution to increase conviction rates and reduce crime.

Also read: Judge loath to play umpire in political battles

The CJP also suggested that district judges partake in training sessions to learn about amendments and developments in the law and suggested that performance audits be made mandatory at all levels of the judiciary to assess gaps in legal knowledge so that steps may be taken to remedy them. Bar councils and associations were also told to take on a more proactive role in the enhancing the legal knowledge of advocates to improve their quality of work.

He said that the issues of increasing population, worsening climate change and pervasive gender inequality were said to be hindering effective administration of justice. In this respect, the chief justice said that the Supreme Court is committed to protecting the marginalised groups directly affected but the legislature and executive must also do their bit.

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CJP Bandial concluded his speech stating that it is only through the collective resolution of the stakeholders in the justice sector that Pakistan can become a nation in which the rule of law, democracy and respect for the Constitution will thrive.



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JSMU professor thrashed for ‘sexually harassing’ female students

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A Jinnah Sindh Medical University professor was beaten by students who claimed that he sexually harassed their female peers, Express News reported.

According to details, the students allege that the teacher used to ask students to maintain “relationships and friendships” in exchange for an increase in marks.

In a viral video on social media, students can be seen beating the accused with slippers.

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The female students claimed that the professor had been harassing them for a while, adding that they had protested for his dismissal but to no avail.

Read more: Medical student ends life over ‘harassment’

Registrar Dr Azam, in a statement, said that the professor has been suspended and the complaint has been registered with the university’s harassment and disciplinary committee and an inquiry has been initiated.

He further said that the inquiry will be completed in a week and the results will be announced. “JSMU has a comprehensive anti-harassment policy and cases of harassment are dealt with seriously and strictly so that students feel safe,” he added.



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‘Masked men’ checked my house citing president’s visit: Shireen

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PTI leader and former minister for human rights Shireen Mazari has claimed that some suspicious vehicles and “masked men” visited her residence in Islamabad, saying they had come for ‘security check’ owing to president’s expected visit to her house.

In a tweet from her official handle on Saturday, Shireen said at 9pm two cars parked at dead-end side of her street and as many cars at the other end while a white car came to her residence gate. “All without number plates. 2 masked men with ear pieces & in suits told guard they had come to check house as President was visiting & then walked into my driveway,” she wrote in the tweet.

Shireen said she checked with President Dr Arif Alvi and he categorically denied. The former minister added that when the suspicious men sped away after they were confronted.

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“DG ISPR care to explain who these men were & why they came to my house?” she asked the top military spokesperson of the country.

Earlier in May, Mazari was allegedly manhandled, and arrested from outside her home in Islamabad over a case that involved the ownership and transfer of land.

Her daughter, lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, tweeted that male police officers had “beaten” and taken her mother away. “All I have been told is that Anti-Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her,” she added.

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Islamabad police, however, refuted claims of mishandling the former minister during the arrest. “Dr Shireen Mazari was arrested by female police officers as per the law on the request of the anti-corruption department. News of any mishandling is baseless,” they said in a tweet.



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