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Aug. 31, 2016 | Press Releases

Venezuela: HRF Condemns Arbitrary Arrest and Fabrication of Evidence Against Opposition Leader

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NEW YORK (August 31, 2016) — Human Rights Foundation (HRF) strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest on apparent terrorism charges of opposition leader Yon Goicoechea by agents of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN). HRF calls on Venezuela’s government to stop fabricating absurd evidence on prodemocracy activists, to provide information on Goicoechea’s whereabouts and to release him immediately. Goicoechea’s family has received no news of him since Monday, when armed agents stopped his car and transported him to an undisclosed location. Goicoechea’s is the latest detention in an ongoing crackdown against the country’s democratic opposition. This crackdown has intensified ahead of planned nationwide demonstrations — called for tomorrow, September 1 — to demand a presidential recall referendum.

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Aug. 30, 2016 | Press Releases

HRF to Bahrain: Stop Shutting Down the Internet

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NEW YORK (August 30, 2016) — Last week, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), as part of a coalition of 30 organizations from around the world, called on Bahrain’s authoritarian regime to restore the country’s internet service, which has been disrupted since June 2016. The coalition sent a letter to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain, as well as other agencies, demanding that the authorities cancel any “service restriction orders” to telecommunications companies that enabled the shutdown and commit to transparency around such orders.

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Aug. 29, 2016 | Press Releases

HRF Welcomes UN Special Rapporteur’s Opinion Limiting Broad “Hate Speech” Prohibition

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NEW YORK (August 29, 2016) — Human Rights Foundation (HRF) welcomes a recent opinion by David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, which effectively narrows the definition of “hate speech” under international law. On August 15, the Special Rapporteur condemned the government of Singapore for prosecuting 17-year-old blogger Amos Yee on charges of “wounding religious or racial feelings.” Mr. Yee published several videos that contained language disparaging devotees of Islam and Christianity, as well as their religious beliefs. Using profanity, Mr. Yee called Christians “frauds” and accused them of “cherry pick[ing]” the compassionate verses from the bible while “completely ignoring the verses that contradict them.” The Special Rapporteur’s opinion stressed that, although Mr. Yee’s videos may be “offensive, shocking and disturbing,” the language and means of expression he used should not be criminalized as hate speech because they do not constitute “serious and extreme instances of incitement to hatred.”

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