arbitrary arrest
Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community
At least 60 people have been imprisoned or fined after a spate of raids in the capital, Baku
By Shaun Walker

Authorities in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, have begun a vicious crackdown on the city’s LGBT community, according to activists in the country. Reports suggest that over the past 10 days dozens of gay and trans people have been arrested. One person the Guardian contacted said he had been beaten in police custody.

Homosexuality is legal in the oil-rich, post-Soviet country, but a survey released last year by a rights organisation ranked Azerbaijan as the worst of 49 European countries in which to be gay.

“There have been previous crackdowns on LGBT people, but this one is much bigger, with systematic and widespread raids,” said Samed Rahimli, a Baku-based lawyer who is helping coordinate legal defences for those who have been detained.

Rahimli said he was aware of 60 cases of LGBT people who had been either sentenced to 20 days’ imprisonment or fined as part of the recent crackdown. Those currently in jail were charged with resisting police orders. “This is a common charge used in Azerbaijan for arbitrary arrests.” He said many more people could have been caught up in the sweep but not formally charged.

Azerbaijani authorities denied that the roundup targeted all LGBT people. Eskhan Zakhidov, a spokesman for the country’s interior ministry, told the local APA news agency: “These raids are not against all sexual minorities. The arrested are people who demonstratively show a lack of respect for those around them, annoy citizens with their behaviour, and also those whom police or health authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.”

Zakhidov did not clarify what might count as annoying behaviour or a lack of respect. Other officials have said the raids did not target LGBT people specifically but were instead aimed at people engaged in prostitution, and were launched after complaints from local residents.

The Guardian exchanged written messages with three gay men who said they had been caught up in the wave of arrests. None of them wanted their names disclosed and all said they were currently in hiding in Azerbaijan. One of the men said he had been beaten in a police station and released after being made to pay a 150 manat (£65) fine. “The police told me they would arrest me if they see me in the street again. Now I am afraid to leave my house,” he said.

Another said he was approached in a Baku nightclub by police who said they were conducting a search for LGBT people. All three said they had friends currently in detention, and reported police carrying out sweeps of the city searching for people who “look gay”. Their stories could not be independently verified but chime with the testimony of local lawyers and rights activists.

a fine-grained but important distinction

Javert’s sense of duty and devotion is not directed at the letter of the law. It isn’t directed at some personal ideal of justice either. If it were, he would’ve broken far sooner than he did: a core belief that the letter of the law is always the highest form of justice would get utterly annihilated before long in an era of political instability and high regime turnover rate. What happens when the new regime makes laws that contradict the previous set? What happens when he witnesses an injustice or an overreach on the part of the police? 

Javert’s primary belief system is at once much simpler and much more adaptable than either of those: he is devoted to authority

I’m just going to quote Hugo here, because it’s one of the first things he tells us about Javert and his beliefs:

This man was made up of two very simple sentiments, and within reason very good ones, which he rendered almost bad by taking them to extremes: respect for authority and hatred of rebellion. And in his eyes theft, murder, any crime, was simply a form of rebellion. He looked on any state official, from the prime minister to the rural policeman, with a deep-seated blind faith. On anyone who had once crossed the legal threshold of wrong-doing he heaped scorn, loathing and disgust.

The reason Javert is able to placidly endure so many changes to the letter of the law and keep his mouth shut about whatever abuses he witnesses is because both of those things are subordinate to his guiding principle, which is: society in the form of legal authority is always in the right, and those it punishes and casts out are always in the wrong. They are unpeople, and more than that, they are a threat to respectable society.

This is why Javert doesn’t bother finding out who’s at fault for the fight between Fantine and Bamatabois. It’s not an oversight and it’s not just a bias in favor of the respectable property-holder’s version of events (which he doesn’t even bother to obtain in the book); he doesn’t give a shit about how it started, he refuses to give a shit about how it started, because that is 100% irrelevant to him. He has no desire to be ‘fair’ to a streetwalker as though there were two sides to this story. The only thing that matters to him here is the distinction between citizens and 'undesireables,’ and there is no provocation or circumstance that could excuse a whore attacking a gentleman. He doesn’t bother to find out whether Bamatabois was in the wrong because there’s no way for Fantine to have been in the right. This “us vs. them” distinction is so important to him that he will make unfair and excessive use of his discretionary powers*, refuse to give a single shit when M. Madeleine tells him Fantine wasn’t the one who started the fight, stand up to an authority figure who he thinks isn’t giving proper respect to authority, and balk and squirm about standing down when he has the letter of the law flung in his face, all in order to defend that distinction against a perceived offense.

(* Side note: Fantine is not a criminal, but she is a legal outcast. Prostitution was legal but heavily regulated; upon registering as a prostitute, Fantine would have lost most of the few civil rights women had at the time and been subject to arbitrary arrest and detention for anything the police deemed “a breach of the regulations.” Javert’s hatred is not exclusively for those who’ve broken a law, it’s for the entirety of the criminal and quasi-criminal underclasses.)

Now, this is not to say that Javert doesn't care about the letter of the law. His devotion to upholding social order is coupled with a sense of personal duty towards the rules that it’s set up to govern itself. He’s aware that his integrity is the one thing separating him from the abyss, from the “them” he hates so much, and so he is punctilious about never overstepping the boundaries that have been laid out for him. He has made irreproachability (according to the letter of the law) an essential part of his identity. But when the law gives him leeway, he uses it in the service of his guiding principle, which is “protect the 'us’, punish the 'them’ and keep them in their place.”

And his ultimate line between the two isn’t even wrongdoing, precisely–it’s the official confirmation, the mark of Cain the legal system stamps on anyone it’s deemed a transgressor. Granted, part of his job (in addition to keeping the 'scum’ in line) is to identify formerly-law-abiding people who’ve committed crimes, arrest them, and pack them off to join the ranks of the transgressors, but what his suicide note reveals is that he’s been turning a blind eye to a thousand little forms of wrongdoing and injustice when they’re committed by authority figures against the dregs of society. 

So… Javert is only partly about whether the law represents justice. His ultimate devotion is not to the law itself but to his role as a dog protecting the sheep from the wolves. And his ultimate dilemma isn’t simply “wait the law might not be entirely just all the time ERROR ERROR SEGMENTATION FAULT ERROR BSOD,” it’s about whether the legal system is really a reliable way to separate the wolves from the sheep, and whether people really are irrevocably one or the other, and whether Javert’s first brush with moral duty and divine justice completely invalidates the duty towards law and society that he’s devoted his entire life to.

tl;dr people’s perception of Javert/his value system focuses too much on the act of breaking the law and not enough on the status of being a person outside the law

people need to stop saying that the accords were bad because the Avengers were put in prison. Like have you even read the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights???? 

I am assuming most people haven’t so I’m just going to highlight a few things here: 

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Now, all UN legislation has to be compliant to these rights (among other things). Let me repeat that:  ALL UN LEGISLATION HAS TO BE COMPLIANT TO THESE RIGHTS. 

It is literally impossible for the Avengers to be imprisoned for a long period of time WITHOUT a trial. Yes, they can be held in jail until the date of a trial is set and then they can remain in jail until the day they are tried (just like any other human being). And yes, they need a higher level security prison to hold criminals that hold so much power, but, to assume that the Avengers were gonna be kept in that prison without a trial is literally laughable.

Now, since it is a high level prison, it is obvious that they have spent some time thinking where they would contain them. It is obvious that they were planning to use this jail if any of the Avengers actually went rogue, which in turn means the prison MUST pass the conditions established by human rights law across the world. 

So let’s break down the prison, shall we? 

The location is unknown but it is held underwater. This is not in violation to any rights, given that it does not break the “Accommodation for prisoners shall provide adequate cubic content of air, floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation” clause. The place has ventilation, will obviously have heating if needed, and lighting was rather good. The room sizes themselves were rather spacious, which, again, more than complies with International regulations. 

Next we see that the rooms themselves are reinforced, which comes as no surprise considering who they are dealing with. This too does not go against any clauses under the article  of Right to an Adequate Standard of Living. 

Then we have to consider Wanda’s collar. It seems to be able to give out an electrical charge if necessary to stop her from using her powers. Now, given that it is not actively harming her, nor is it affecting he mental capabilities, one could legally make the argument that it does not fall under torture as described under the charter (act by which severe physical or mental pain or suffering is intentionally inflicted on a person, other than that which is inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions). Of course, one could also argue that if this has been legally sanctioned, then the use of the collar is lawful and therefore does not break human rights laws. Not only that, but under the charter, strong forms of physical force ARE allowed IF the situation requires it (i.e. someone is trying to break out), but of course an investigation will follow to see if it was truly required. It is also important to note that, given the fact that they have not been given a trial as of yet, it is impossible to determine the legality of that damn thing so an argument could be made that it is indeed immoral (though, as I stated before, it cannot currently be said that it is torture). 

Apart from that, they have done nothing to these people. Let me repeat that: they have done NOTHING to the former avengers. 

Furthermore, the US secretary of State would NOT be in control of the prison and the fact that Ross decided to just incarcerate them there without giving the movie audience much of an explanation calls into question the very fact of its authenticity; meaning, we do not know if this is just Ross acting on his own. 

Regardless of whether it is Ross or not, governmental institutions are in their right to imprison those that have broken international law. Let me repeat that: Once international law has been broken, governments around the world have the right to take action and no, not because it is your favorite character means they don’t deserve to go to prison. 

Did the movie try to paint the prison in a bad light? Yes. Did the Russo brothers know about international law and actually thought through the viability of a prison like that? No they did not. Did they take the time to actually show us a more realistic process of legal processing? No, fuck no. Is it okay for them to have been imprisoned without trial? It actually is, IF a trial was promised and a date was set. You CANNOT legally imprison ANYONE unless they have had trial, so, again, the prison wasn’t so much a product of the Accords as it was just a physical show of the Russo’s vast ignorance and desire to produce cheap, idiotic and nonexistent issues. 

anonymous asked:

I dont think that hating israel is a solution.

 This, Anon, is such a gross oversimplification that we’re wondering if you’re trolling us or if you’re really that uniformed.  In case it’s the latter, here’s a breakdown for you:

1) Israel is a racist, apartheid state.  Israel has in place “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group.“ which meets the ICC’s definition of apartheid.

Specifically, Israel practices apartheid against Palestinians by:

-denying them the right to life & liberty of the person via extrajudicial executions, torture, a military trial system that falls short of international standards for a fair trial; and arbitrary arrest & detention; 

-applying procedures & standards of evidence differently to Palestinians than to Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT);

-impeding the free movement of Palestinians & denying Palestinians the right to leave and return to their country;  

-denying Palestinians the right to decide where they would like to live via systematic administrative restrictions, discriminatory legislation, and by the permit & ID systems;

-denying Palestinians the right to a nationality;

-restricting the right to work for Palestinians;

-prohibiting Palestinians from free membership in and control of trade unions;

-using the Israeli military to attack and close down Palestinian schools; arrest and detain students and teachers; operate a racially-segregated school system in the West Bank; and deny exit permits to Palestinians who wish to study abroad;

-censoring Palestinian press outlets and routinely denying journalists access to the Gaza Strip;

-banning public gatherings of ten or more Palestinians without a permit issued by the Israeli military command;

-declaring Palestinian political parties illegal and subjecting those parties along with any charities or cultural organizations they are affiliated with to military attack and closure;

-deciding on the entry and residency of the West Bank based on racial group membership;

-appropriating about 30% of the land in the OPT for exclusively Jewish use while barring Palestinians any access to a further 38% of the OPT;

-persecuting those opposed to apartheid through arrests, detentions, travel bans, and closing down human rights organizations;


2) Boycotting is a peaceful & effective weapon to wield against apartheid with a history of success.

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement seeks to put international pressure on Israel to dismantle apartheid and comply with international law through the boycott of Israel, divestment from the Israeli economy, and sanctions against Israel.  

In the 1980s the BDS movement against South African apartheid was instrumental in bringing that system of racist exploitation to its knees

3) Boycotting Israel to promote the dismantling of apartheid must include a cultural boycott. Israel uses culture as a propaganda tool to cover up its grave violations of international law.  The Israeli foreign ministry funds Israeli academics, artists, athletes, writers, etc. so long as they “promote the policy interests” of Israel abroad.

This is all done to create the false impression that Israel is not an apartheid state but is actually a “normal” country like any other.

When Israeli academics, artists, and athletes are treated like anyone else when engaging with the international community, they have no reason to question the apartheid regime back home.  But when they are continually ostracized, isolated, and confronted about the apartheid regime, then the consequences of apartheid and what action they must take is made clear.

Caveat: We recognize that there are elements in the movement against Israeli apartheid that are anti-Semitic.  This is unacceptable and only undermines the struggle against apartheid.  Anti-Semitism must be rooted out and destroyed wherever it is found.  But we also recognize that there is nothing inherently anti-Semitic in criticizing and struggling against the apartheid system Israel has established.  On the contrary: calling Israel to account for its racist human rights abuses is a clear extension of the traditions in Jewish history of defending and advocating for human rights.


Worldwide protests call for an end to violence in Aleppo

From Colorado to Kuwait, protestors around the world are demanding a halt to the violence in Aleppo.

A U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria says it is “imperative” to ensure that civilians are granted safe passage out of eastern Aleppo.

The Commission of Inquiry says the Syrian government and its allies now bear primary responsibility for preventing rights violations and reprisals in the area.

It said Wednesday that “numerous reports of violations perpetrated by pro-government forces continue to emerge, including summary executions, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and forced conscription.”

In a statement issued in Geneva, the group said it also “received allegations” that opposition groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-linked Fatah al-Sham Front, were preventing civilians from leaving and embedding fighters among civilians, putting the civilians at risk. (AP)

(Photos: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images, Amel Emric/AP, Emrah Gurel/AP, Samer Bouidani/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

See more images of the protests on Yahoo News.


Nadir Tharani

Country: Tanzania

Style: Expressionist

Medium: Ink on paper

Fun Fact: He’s also an architect


All the paintings and poems, the short and long stories, the songs and melodies, all the seminars, meetings and workshops this year and the next and the year after, all this preening and prodding will not change the world.


A series of drawings on the arbitrary detention, harassment, beating, torture, rape and imprisonment of those who are seen as not conforming to the strictures of power – from fruit hawkers, children at school, voters, passengers, dreamers, strollers, to those who seek a more equitable life for all.

These Positions of Power, this alignment of the human body imposed by those who exert power, are postures that embody power relations in their raw form. They probably came into being with the foundation of states – though their visual depiction or representations are more apparent in recent times.

The numbering relates to Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

More at

A Letter to Anti-Feminists

Hello there, I am a feminist. You can do your scoffing later, but for now I’d encourage you to read this. *whispers* It might just change your perspective.
First of all, I’d like to ask you a question. Are you aware of the movement you’re discouraging and speaking against? Do you know what feminism is? If your answer is anything along the lines of “women think they’re better than men!!! we already have equality, feminists just want attention!!” etc then please let me tell you something.
That’s not correct.
I know it’s hard to hear, but the idea you’ve had in your head all this time of narcissistic women who only want to post nudes online without hate is not the biggest part of what feminists stand for.
Sure, your mind might think that everything is all fine and dandy with the women here, and those very women might agree with you. Obviously, if you can’t see the gender-biased reality of just the United States, I might not be able to convince you that such a thing exists (or maybe I’ll just do that in another post). But could you step outside your bubble for a minute and realize all the shit going on in other countries?
In Saudi Arabia, women cannot do anything without a man present, including own a banking account, join in the conversation, or even walk outside.
In Yemen, women are literally considered half of a person in the court of law, they are not protected from domestic and sexual abuse, and they can be subject to “arbitrary arrest” for just being female. These can lead to prison time, humiliation, and death- just for being a woman. Is that equality?
How about this: in India, men actually throw acid on women when they feel she’s deserved it. Hydrochloric acid. And they get away with it, even though it permanently alters the woman’s face and confidence and much more and can even kill her.
So no, feminism is not a movement against men. It’s actually kind of arrogant to think a movement saving millions of lives across the world is solely to attack your “manhood”. This is a movement encouraging men and women to stand up for gender equality EVERYWHERE, not just in the USA. So before you say you’re an “anti-feminist” and laugh at a joke mocking this movement, take a second to realize that just because you think you don’t need this doesn’t mean it’s not needed.
Feminism saves lives. Are you really against that?

10 years ago today


60 minutes II first airs the photographs which alert the american public to the fact that people were physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped and killed, in their name, by United States Army personnel, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

“The Iraqi people, themselves, are seeing a new day thanks to the brave men and women who came to liberate them…Thanks to our military, Iraqi citizens do not have to fear a secret police, arbitrary arrests, or loved ones lost forever… thanks to our military, the torture chambers of a dictator are closed.”

George W Bush, August 2003

I used to scoff at the wild-eyed claims made by people on the right and left who said that we were living in a police state. Having lived for a year and a half in China, where a police state has been operating now for 65 years, and having visited police states in Eastern Europe during the days of the Soviet Union, I have seen and experienced what life is like when the police, secret and overt, run rampant, and I knew the US was not like those places.

I’ve changed my mind, though. The only difference I see now, knowing what we know about the breadth and depth of police activity in the US, between what’s happening here and what happens in places where police states have long existed, is that in long-standing police states, everyone knows they are being watched and are subject to arbitrary arrest, while here in the US, many Americans remain blissfully ignorant of what has happened to their vaunted freedoms.
Petition to help Trans Woman Monica Jones
  • Petitioning Phoenix City Prosecutor 

Monica Jones should not have to go to court to fight wrongful charges resulting from a discriminatory arrest. We demand that you ensure the pending charges against Ms. Jones are immediately dropped.

Monica Jones, a trans activist and sex worker rights advocate in Arizona, was profiled and wrongfully arrested as part of an anti-prostitution diversion program in Phoenix. She was not engaging in sex work, but was in fact walking down her street to the local bar the night she was arrested.  As a transgender woman of color, Monica Jones has been routinely targeted and singled out for police harassment.

Since refusing to plead guilty to the charges she is innocent of, Ms. Jones has been targeted four additional times by police officers while walking around her neighborhood carrying out everyday activities such as bringing groceries home or heading to her local bar.  Each time, the police use insulting and transphobic language and threaten her with arrest, despite the fact that she is doing nothing more than simply walking outdoors. Across the U.S., and here in Phoenix, transgender women of color are routinely targeted for harassment and hate-motivated violence, by both police and the public, and are frequently profiled as sex workers by police.  Transgender women are also targeted for cruel treatment in prisons, including by guards.

Ms. Jones states, “I believe I was profiled as a sex worker because I am a transgender woman of color, and an activist. I am a student at ASU, and fear that these wrongful charges will affect my educational path. I am also afraid that if am sentenced, I will be placed in a men’s jail as a transgender woman, which would be very unsafe for me. Prison is an unsafe place for everyone, and especially trans people.”

Monica Jones should not have to go to court to fight wrongful charges resulting from a discriminatory and arbitrary arrest stemming from a department in which she studies.  Please stand with Monica by pressuring Phoenix City Prosecutor to ensure that the pending charges against Monica Jones are immediately dropped.