18. november: Venter på Snowden

venter-pa-snowden

VENTER PÅ SNOWDEN – Fengslede Forfatteres Dag 2016

Programmet streames direkte her.


fredag 18. november kl. 17.00 i Wergelandsalen, Litteratuhuset i Oslo

Med Edward Snowden, Alan Rusbridger og John Crane.

Billettsalg her.

PROGRAM

Programmet ledes av Christian Borch.
Velkommen ved William Nygaard, leder Norsk PEN.
Edward Snowden intervjues av Christian Borch på link fra Moskva.
Artisten Pål Moddi Knutsen fremfører sanger fra sitt ferske album «Unsongs«.
Intervju med varsleren John Crane (USA)

Paneldebatt

John Crane – Pentagonvarsler
Alan Rusbridger – tidligere sjefsredaktør i The Guardian
Michael Tetzschner – stortingspolitiker (H)
Snorre Valen – stortingspolitiker (SV)

Oppsummering ved Ole Petter Ottersen, rektor ved Universitetet i Oslo

Norsk PENs Komité for Fengslede Forfattere ved Brit Bildøen og Johanne Fronth Nygren  presenterer årets “fokusfanger”, dvs. de fengslede forfattere, journalister etc. som PEN-sentere over hele verden retter oppmerksomheten mot på denne dagen.

Edward Snowdens kamp for å få en rettslig garanti for at han ikke blir utlevert til USA dersom han kommer til Norge for å motta Ossietzky-prisen, trekker i langdrag.  Da Norsk PEN 7. mars i år bekjentgjorde at Ossietzky-prisen for 2016 tildeles varsleren Edward Snowden, ble prisseremonien fastsatt til 18. november i Universitetets Aula.  Saken er nå hos Høyesterett. Etter samråd med våre advokater i firmaet Schjødt, har Norsk PEN derfor besluttet å utsette tildelingen av prisen, som forhåpentlig kan skje ved Edward Snowdens personlige tilstedeværelse.  Tildeling av Ossietzky-prisen 2016 til Edward Snowden vil derfor finne sted 7. juni 2017.

Norsk PEN opprettholder imidlertid det årlige arrangementet 18. november for markering av den internasjonale Fengslede Forfatteres Dag. Edward Snowdens avsløringer og situasjon som varsler blir sentralt her. Snowden vil selv tale til forsamlingen via skype fra Moskva.

Programmet vil foregår på engelsk.

Billetter a kr 90, studenter og pensjonister kr 60,- kan kjøpes her.

 

Om våre utenlandske gjester:

John Crane arbeidet ved Pentagon Inspector Generals kontor med ansvar for å sikre varslere mot overgrep. Crane avslørte lovbrudd mot varslere – spesielt at Thomas Drakes hemmelige vitneutsagn ble ulovlig brukt mot ham. Crane ble sagt opp med umiddelbar virkning i 2013.

Alan Rusbridger var sjefredaktør i The Guardian fra 1995 til 2015. Under Rusbridgers redaktøransvar slapp The Guardian nyheten om overvåkningspraksis i USA og verden forøvrig ved å publisere NSA-dokumenter lekket av Edward Snowden.

Signer oppropet #SnowdentoOslo

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16. juni lanseres den internasjonale underskriftskampanjen #SnowdentoOslo, som er et opprop til den norske regjeringen. Vi oppfordrer regjeringen til å garantere NSA-varsleren Edward Snowden trygg innreise til Norge for å motta Ossietzkyprisen 18. november. Dette innebærer at Norge også må garantere at Snowden blir beskyttet under oppholdet og at han ikke utleveres til USA.

DET DU KAN GJØRE:
Signer aksjonen!
Del aksjonen på sosiale medier og oppfordre venner og bekjente til å skrive under!

Klikk her for å komme til oppropet.

Følgende stiller seg bak oppropet:
Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Daniel Ellsberg, Marit Arnstad, Jesselyn Radack, Arne Ruth, Ola Larsmo, Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Marjorie Cohn, William Binney, William Nygaard, John Kiriakou, Moddi og Mari Boine.

16. juni: Varslerdagen 2016 - lansering av #SnowdentoOslo

varslerdagen juni_heading copy

Torsdag 16. juni kl. 16.00, Litteraturhuset i Oslo, Amalie Skram

Arrangører: Norsk PEN, RootsAction, Networkers SouthNorth

På årets varslerdag 16. juni lanseres en internasjonal underskriftskampanje til støtte for at Edward Snowden uten risiko for utlevering til USA skal kunne komme til Norge for å motta Ossietzky-prisen fra Norsk PEN.  Blant de mange som stiller seg bak kampanjen er Lisa Ling og Cian Westmoreland. De er selv varslere og inspirert av Edward Sowden.

PROGRAM
Musikk ved artist Pål Moddi Knutsen.
Kommer snart med plata «Unsongs. 12 banned songs from 12 countries.»

Velkommen ved Elisabeth Eide, nestleder i Norsk PEN.
Eide presenterer Norsk PENs bakgrunn for å gi Ossietzky-prisen til Edward Snowden.

Samtale med varslerne Cian Westmoreland og Lisa Ling. Samtalen ledes av John Jones fra Networkers SouthNorth.

Presentasjon av kampanjen #SnowdentoOslo ved Rune Ottosen, styremedlem i Norsk PEN.

Musikk ved artist Pål Moddi Knutsen.

Programmet avsluttes kl. 17.30.

Andre som stiller seg bak kampanjen #SnowdentoOslo er:

Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Daniel Ellsberg, Marit Arnstad, Jesselyn Radack, Arne Ruth, Ola Larsmo, Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Marjorie Cohn, William Binney, William Nygaard, John Kiriakou, Moddi og Mari Boine.

Støtt arbeidet med å få #SnowdentoOslo – signér her.

Lisa Ling er en av tre varslere som står fram i Sonia Kennebecks prisbelønnede dokumentarfilm om droner, National Bird. Her redegjør hun for de globale konsekvensene av dronekrigføring. Hun har 20 års bakgrunn fra det militære som profesjonell soldat og reservist. Hennes ansvarsområde var informasjonshåndtering og militær etterretning. Lisa Ling tjenestegjorde blant annet i 48th Intelligence Squadrone ved Beale Air Force Base i perioden 2007-2009. Hun beskriver et system utenfor politisk og demokratisk kontroll. Ling har blitt skremt over rettsløsheten rundt de utenomrettslige henrettelsene som er en konsekvens av USAs dronekrigføring. Etter et besøk i Afghanistan der hun selv så konsekvenser for sivilbefolkningen av denne krigføringen, bestemte hun seg for å stå fram som varsler. Hun har konkludert med at den såkalte krigen mot terror i seg selv representerer terror mot uskyldige sivile.

Cian Westmoreland var sterkt inspirert av Snowden da han bestemte seg å stå fram som varsler. Han var en dekorert soldat med lang erfaring fra militær informasjonshenting på amerikanske baser i Sør-Korea, Tyskland og Afghanistan i perioden 2006 – 2010. Cians oppgave var å samordne informasjon som skulle brukes i luftangrep i Afghanistan. Han fikk to utmerkelser for å ha skaffet til veie informasjon som skal ha bidratt til å drepe 200 fiendtlige soldater i Afghanistan. Han ble nektet innsyn i hvilke konsekvenser disse angrepene fikk for sivilbefolkningen, men ble klar over omfanget av sivile tap etter at UNAMA rapporten i 2009 dokumenterte 259 sivile ofre etter angrep fra den flernasjonale styrken i Afghanistan.

Edward Snowden – Ossietzky of our time

Edward-Snowden-body

PRESS RELEASE FROM NORWEGIAN PEN

Edward Snowden – Ossietzky of our time

Norwegian PEN awards the Ossietzky Prize 2016 to the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

This year it is 80 years since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Carl von Ossietzky, an event that we commemorate by holding the award ceremony in the University Aula of Oslo, where Ossietzky in 1936 should have come to receive his prize.  Norwegian PEN invites Edward Snowden to receive the award in Oslo on Friday 18 November, and we will do our utmost to ensure that Snowden may receive the prize in person.

The Ossietzky prize is Norwegian PEN’s award for outstanding efforts for freedom of expression. The prize is awarded annually to a person or institution that over time, or in connection with a particular issue or event, made an exceptional effort for freedom of expression.

The grounds
Edward Snowden has revealed the questionable, extensive global surveillance and espionage conducted by states on their citizens and on single countries. Snowden’s disclosure of NSA’s surveillance of millions of phone calls resulted in a ruling in the US court of appeals, that the NSA’s storage of telephone metadata is indeed illegal, because it was not approved by Congress. Nonetheless, Snowden has not met any understanding from the US authorities. They uphold the indictment for espionage and theft of government property, and demand he be extradited to the US, where Snowdon may risk a life sentence.

With this year’s Ossietzky Prize Norwegian PEN wants to highlight that surveillance may only be carried out within the framework of internationally accepted legal standards for the protection of individual civil liberties. By awarding the prize to Edward Snowden, Norwegian PEN wish to pay  respect to the unique role he has undertaken as a whistle blower. The award will expose the need for an international debate on surveillance regarding the boundaries set by international and national law. The prize is also a recognition of the whistleblower’s personal courage during the revelations of  governmental/public and  secret encroachment  on the personal integrity of individuals.

This year’s Ossietzky Prize laureate has renounced his personal life and career in order to alert the world to the US government’s surveillance activities. He received the Bjornson prize in September 2015 for his work on the right of privacy, and for being instrumental in heightening the critical awareness to privacy, and to direct a critical spotlight on states’ illegal surveillance of their own and other states’ citizens. In a televised speech during the prize ceremony in Molde, Snowden stated that he was aware of the consequences of his actions. He had expected to be thrown in jail not given awards. Yet, he would do the same again. Thus he also represents a courageous defender of the whistleblowers’ freedom of expression, at a time when massive surveillance threatens freedom of speech for citizens worldwide.

Political challenges
Snowden has been instrumental in raising public awareness, and human rights organizations worldwide have supported his revelations of  illegal surveillance. It is disturbing that Norwegian and European politicians, also outspoken critics of electronic mass surveillance, hesitate or refuse to comment or support Snowden. In a non-binding resolution (adopted by a narrow majority) the European Parliament in 2015 confirmed that they recognized Snowden’s status as whistleblower and human rights defender, and urged member states to grant him asylum. All EU countries have an extradition treaty with the US, and so far none of the countries followed the invitation of the resolution.

Snowden lives in Moscow. He holds a temporary residence permit in Russia that expires in August 2017. It is high time for a political initiative to challenge the threats towards the prizewinner, an initiative that should conclude with an offer of stay and protection. A suitable start of such a process would be for the Norwegian government to guarantee him safe passage to receive the Ossietzky Prize for 2016.

From Ossietzky to Snowden
The Norwegian PEN Ossietzky Prize is named after and dedicated to Carl von Ossietzky. Ossietzky revealed how German authorities ran secret re-armament in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. For his revelations he was convicted of treason and imprisoned. Edward Snowden has, like Carl von Ossietzky, contributed to a democratic openness through his revelations.
The board of Norwegian PEN decides who will receive the Ossietzky Prize.

During the award ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936, Carl von Ossietzky’s chair was empty because German authorities refused to let him travel to Oslo. Norwegian PEN asks the Norwegian Government to ensure that Edward Snowden may receive his award in Norway by guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the United States. Norwegian PEN will do everything in our power to ensure that Snowden will sit in the chair on the stage on November 18 2016.

Over 150 organisasjoner ber Obama beskytte varslere

President Barack Obama 
The White House 
Washington, DC, United States 

CC: Attorney General Eric Holder 
Secretary of State John Kerry 

5 August 2013 

Dear President Obama, 

We are writing to you as free speech and media freedom organisations from around the world to express our strong concern over the response of the US government to the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. We urge you to take immediate action to protect whistleblowers and journalists.

Edward Snowden’s recent disclosures have triggered a necessary and long-delayed public debate about the acceptable boundaries of surveillance in a democratic country, a debate that on 5 June you welcomed having. The revelations brought into question the legitimacy of the secretive process of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and closed Congressional intelligence committees as appropriate forums to determine the fundamental human rights of Americans and persons worldwide. The disclosures have clearly served the public interest, including by prompting similar debates in countries around the world. 

We are, therefore, dismayed that criminal charges have been filed against Snowden, including those under the vague and overbroad Espionage Act of 1917. Statements by the State Department that Snowden is not a whistleblower simply because of the nature of the charges against him flatly contradict international standards on freedom of expression and information. Attempts to obstruct Snowden’s freedom of movement, his right to seek asylum, including the revocation of his passport, and other forms of retaliation also violate US obligations under international law. 

Moreover, we are concerned that the charges against Snowden are not an isolated incident, and that there have been an unprecedented number of prosecutions against whistleblowers during your administration, as well as intrusive investigations to identify the sources of journalists reporting on matters that are in the public interest. This tendency of the US government towards obsessively controlling information flows and an aversion to public discourse is both undemocratic and unsustainable in the digital era. 

Taken together, we find that these actions have set a dangerous precedent for the protection of whistleblowers and journalists worldwide. As you are aware, whistleblowers often face criminal charges when they reveal information that causes acute embarrassment to governments, to distract from the wrongdoing revealed. Similarly, journalists are also attacked for publishing the disclosed information. We are seriously concerned that governments will rely on the US example to justify attacks on whistleblowers and journalists who put themselves at significant risk to expose or report government wrongdoing, corruption, or other dangers to society. 

The US has a long history of recognising the important role whistleblowers play in democracy, going back to Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Law, the False Claims Act. While the Whistleblower Protection Act in 2009 built upon these protections, they specifically exclude protections for public interest disclosures of national security or intelligence information. While the recent Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-19 on “Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information” and Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidance on protecting reporters’ privilege are both positive, as policy they are not binding law and provide no legal protection or remedy for whistleblowers or journalists seeking to defend information disclosures. Greater legal protections in this area are therefore needed. 

We call on your administration to take the following actions:
Drop the charges with prejudice against Edward Snowden
Immediately reinstate Edward Snowden’s passport and cease attempts to obstruct his right to seek asylum in any country of his choice
Initiate an executive public consultation on the activities of the National Security Agency
Instruct the Justice Department to declassify and make public all orders issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Commit to seeking the adoption through Congress of an extension of the Whistleblower Protection Act and the reform of the Espionage Act to ensure there are appropriate and legally binding protections for whistleblowers disclosing national security and intelligence information
Continue to support the adoption by Congress of a strong and robust «media shield law» with narrow exemptions for national security information.

Yours sincerely, 

Active Watch – Media Monitoring Agency 
Afghanistan Journalists Center 
Africa Freedom of Information Centre 
Albanian Media Institute 
Aliansi Jurnalis Independen/Alliance of Independent Journalists 
ARTICLE 19 
Association for Civil Rights 
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression 
Bahrain Center for Human Rights 
Cambodian Center for Human Rights 
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression 
Cartoonists Rights Network International 
Center for Independent Journalism – Romania 
Centre for Independent Journalism – Malaysia 
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública 
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala – CERIGUA 
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social 
Derechos Digitales 
Electronic Frontier Foundation 
Foro de Periodismo Argentino 
Foundation for Press Freedom – FLIP 
Globe International 
Hong Kong Journalists Association 
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda 
Independent Journalism Center – Moldova 
Index on Censorship 
Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey 
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety 
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information 
Institute of Mass Information 
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance 
Media Institute of Southern Africa 
Media Rights Agenda 
National Union of Somali Journalists 
Norwegian PEN 
Pakistan Press Foundation 
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms – MADA 
PEN Canada 
PEN International 
Privacy International 
Public Association «Journalists» 
Reporters Without Borders 
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media 
West African Journalists Association 
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters – AMARC 
OTHER SIGNATORIES:

ACCUN – Tunisian Digital Culture 
Ain-O-Shalish Kendra, Bangladesh 
Albanian Helsinki Committee 
Alliance National Timor Leste for International Tribunal (ANTI) 
Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey 
ANDI – Communication and Rights, Brazil 
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) 
Associação Brasileira de Centros de Inclusão Digital (ABCID), Brazil 
Associação Nacional para o Software Livre, Portugal 
Association «Yakadha» for democracy and Civil State, Tunisia 
Association for Progressive Communications (APC) 
Association of Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement, Ukraine 
ATL MST/SIDA Tunisia 
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Kosovo 
Bolo Bhi, Pakistan 
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee 
Burma Partnership 
Bytes for All, Pakistan 
Catalan PEN 
Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Albania 
Center for National and International Studies, Azerbaijan 
Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia 
Centre for Internet and Society, India 
Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada 
Centre for Participatory Research and Development, Bangladesh 
Centro de Cultura Luiz Freire, Brazil 
Centro de Estudos da Mídia Alternativa Barão de Itararé, Brazil 
Centro Internacional de Estudios Superiores de Comunicación para América Latina (CIESPAL), Ecuador 
ChangeMaker, Bangladesh 
Christian Media Network, South Korea 
Civil Coalition for the Defence of Freedom of Expression, Tunisia 
COAST, Bangladesh 
Computer professionals for peace and social responsibility (FIfF), Germnay 
Digitalcourage e.V., Germany 
Electronic Frontier Finland 
English PEN 
Equity BD, Bangladesh 
Finnish PEN 
Föreningen för Digitala Fri- och Rättigheter, Sweden 
Foundation for Regional Initiatives, Ukraine 
Freedom of information and expression – Marroco, Morocco 
Freedom of the Press Foundation, USA 
German PEN Centre 
Government Accountability Project (GAP), USA 
GPOPAI – Grupo de Pesquisa em Políticas Públicas para o Acesso à Informação da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil 
Grupo Medios y Sociedad (GMS), Uruguay 
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor, Armenia 
Helsinki committee of Armenia 
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland 
Human Rights Center, Uganda 
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan 
Human Rights Club, Azerbaijan 
Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania 
Imparsial- The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Indonesia 
Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) 
INSEC- Informal Sector Service Center, Nepal 
Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, Slovenia 
Instituto Bem-Estar Brasil 
Intervozes (Brazil)
International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) 
International Youth Human Rights Movement, Russia 
Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association, Iraq 
IT-Politisk Forening, Denmark 
Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), Timor Leste 
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law 
KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), Indonesia 
KRF Public Alternative, Ukraine 
La Quadrature du Net, France 
Law and Society Trust (LST), Sri Lanka 
Law, Internet and Society Nucleous – University of São Paulo, Brazil 
Mass Media Defence Centre, Russia 
Media Defence – Southeast Asia (MDSEA) 
Moscow Helsinki Group 
National Union of Tunisian Journalists SNJT 
New Zealand PEN Centre 
Notabene, Tajikistan 
Odhikar, Bangladesh 
Open Rights Group, UK 
Panoptykon Foundation, Poland 
Panos Eastern Africa 
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria 
PEN Center West USA 
PEN International’s Swiss Romand Center 
PEN Melbourne, Australia 
PEN Palestine 
PEN Turkey Centre 
People in Need, Czech Republic 
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (Center for Whistleblowers Support), South Korea 
People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India 
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD), Ecuador 
Portuguese PEN Centre 
Press Union and Audiovisual of Djibouti (SPAD) 
Pro Media, Macedonia 
Russian PEN 
Samoa Observer 
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) 
San Miguel PEN Center, Mexico 
Scottish PEN 
SonTusDatos, Mexico 
South African PEN Centre 
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) 
Swiss German PEN Center, Switzerland 
Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) 
Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Coalition 
Think Centre, Singapore 
Tunis Centre for Freedom of the Press 
Tunisian Association of Women Lawyer 
Tunisian Engineers Council 
Tunisian Union of Free Radios STRL 
Uganda Journalists Union 
Union of Independent Newspapers, Tunisia 
Vrijschrift, the Netherlands 

Norwegian PEN ask minister of justice to reconsider Snowdens application for asylum

Oslo 3 July 2013

Minister of Justice Grete Faremo
Department of Justice
Mailbox
Oslo

Whistleblower Edward Snowden and asylum in Norway

The recent revelations of U.S. wiretapping and spying – which extends to European Union offices in the United States – is disturbing.  According to German daily Der Spiegel , EU agencies are referred to as «targets» of the U.S. security NSA.  In other words, the surveillance also includes U.S. allies in the «war on terror»  – to a degree that shocks the European leaders.

Several of these measures were described as top secret by the U.S. monitoring bodies. The threat of criminal prosecution against whistleblower Edward Snowden on the charge of espionage is an allegation against an individual who has used his right to free speech in order to uncover serious abuse, not worthy of a country that abides by the rule of law. By going out with this information, Edward Snowden has questioned the democratic openness of U.S. counter-terrorism strategy.

The practice uncovered  in the United States is in clear conflict with the principles of a democratic constitutional state. It also clearly differs from statements made by the Norwegian government after the 22 July terror, where the answer was «more democracy, more openness.»  The United States has, after the 11 September 2001 attacks, accepted an expansion of its security policy that currently appears to be beyond control,  as well as contrary to the values the country was originally founded on.  New and advanced technology may, in allience with the major web giants Google, Amazon, Apple etc. and in accordance with the Patriot Act, obtain monitoring data to an almost unlimited extent.  The fear of surveillance has already led to significant restrictions on freedom of expression and self-censorship, both in the United States and numerous other countries. Only a new and more open investigation can prevent this process from accelerating.

Edward Snowden has reason to fear the treatment the  U.S. will provide him with, should he be extradited. Norwegian PEN therefore support his asylum application to Norway, based on the facts, as these are currently known to the Norwegian public.

Norwegian PEN is one of the few organizations that has the right to propose an entry / asylum for an individual to the Norwegian immigration authorities. However, this right applies only to writers (writers, translators, journalists, etc.) who wish to stay in a Norwegian City of Asylum for persecuted writers.

Edward Snowden does unfortunately not fall  into that category.  He is a whistleblower.  Norwegian PEN generally objects to the persecution of whistleblowers. An important part of free speech is precisely the freedom to speak out about abuse, particularly when performed by authority officials or institutions.

On this basis, Norwegian PEN sends the following request to the Norwegian authorities:

With reference to Article 14 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which Norway has acceded, the first paragraph stating that «everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries,» we ask Minister of Justice Grete Faremo to instruct the immigration authorities to reconsider Edward Snow´s asylum application, in line with the treatment they previously granted the Afghan interpreters who had worked for the Norwegian forces in Afghanistan.

Sincerely,

William Nygaard / s         Elisabeth Eide/s            Carl Morten Iversen
President                                 Vice-President               Secretary General

Cc
Immigration Authorities
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Espen Barth Eide

Tunisia:

Politimann varslet om tortur – frikjent av militærdomstol

Free expression groups celebrate freeing of whistleblower police commissioner
SOURCE: IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

(IFEX-TMG) – 3 October 2011 – Free expression defenders are celebrating Thursday’s decision by a military court to drop charges against a Tunisian policeman who blew the whistle on a still-active core of officers from the country’s pre-revolution days – some of them alleged torturers, others linked to Tunisia’s long notorious internet surveillance squads.

Senior Tunisian police commissioner Samir Feriani, a public critic of the way officers previously linked to torture and censorship continue to hold influence over the security services, was dramatically arrested and initially held incommunicado on 29 May. Anti-terrorist police allegedly rammed his car before seizing him.

But on 29 September, a military court acquitted him of charges of «harming the external security of the state,» and declined to hear two other charges of distributing information «likely to harm public order,» and «accusing, without proof, a public agent of violating the law.»

Though the last two charges may yet be transferred to a civilian court, the Thursday verdict was celebrated widely by Feriani’s supporters and his family, including his elderly mother, who was in court for the hearing.

The day-long hearing was observed by members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 free expression groups.

Feriani told the IFEX-TMG observers that the verdict was not about him, but about all Tunisia and the right to freedom of expression. He was particularly pleased that the court had proved its independence from political interference and had delivered a fair and transparent verdict.

Thanking the IFEX-TMG for its support, he said he had not yet decided his next steps and would simply «wait and see,» adding, «the most important thing now is Tunisia settles down and the remains of the regime disappear.»

Feriani was arrested and later charged after he sent a strongly-worded letter to Interior Minister Habib Essid in which he blamed current officials for allowing protesters to be killed during the January 2011 Tunisian revolution, and warned that «notorious torturers» remain at large.

He also accused officers of destroying official records, including some taken from the former residence of the late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat. His accusations were reported in two newspapers, El Khabir and l’Audace, before his arrest.

The Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d’édition et de création (OLPEC), a member of IFEX and partner of Index on Censorship, has long argued that the police and security services should be held more accountable and subject to law.

OLPEC secretary-general Sihem Bensedrine said the verdict was a «fair outcome» that could restore some confidence in the Tunisian courts but left questions about the old regime’s lingering power even after the January 2011 revolution.

«It shows how the secret services continue to manipulate the archives,» she said, «denying their victims evidence while exposing the failure of the provisional government to act.»

IFEX-TMG chair Rohan Jayasekera of Index on Censorship added: «The right of whistleblowers to go public and expose wrongdoing when official channels fail to address crimes is clear and absolute. The decision of the court today is evidence that Tunisia can have a future as a mature democracy guided by fair and independent justice.»

For more information:
IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group
Rohan Jayasekera, Chair
c/o Index on Censorship
London
United Kingdom
rj (@) indexoncensorship.org
Phone: +44 20 7324 2522

IFEX – Tunisia

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
ARTICLE 19
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Freedom House
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
International Press Institute
International Publishers Association
Journaliste en danger
Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation)
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Norwegian PEN
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International

——————————————————————————–

Tunisia: Free expression groups celebrate freeing of whistleblower police commissioner

3 October 2011

Free expression groups celebrate freeing of whistleblower police commissioner
SOURCE: IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

(IFEX-TMG) – 3 October 2011 – Free expression defenders are celebrating Thursday’s decision by a military court to drop charges against a Tunisian policeman who blew the whistle on a still-active core of officers from the country’s pre-revolution days – some of them alleged torturers, others linked to Tunisia’s long notorious internet surveillance squads.

Senior Tunisian police commissioner Samir Feriani, a public critic of the way officers previously linked to torture and censorship continue to hold influence over the security services, was dramatically arrested and initially held incommunicado on 29 May. Anti-terrorist police allegedly rammed his car before seizing him.

But on 29 September, a military court acquitted him of charges of «harming the external security of the state,» and declined to hear two other charges of distributing information «likely to harm public order,» and «accusing, without proof, a public agent of violating the law.»

Though the last two charges may yet be transferred to a civilian court, the Thursday verdict was celebrated widely by Feriani’s supporters and his family, including his elderly mother, who was in court for the hearing.

The day-long hearing was observed by members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 free expression groups.

Feriani told the IFEX-TMG observers that the verdict was not about him, but about all Tunisia and the right to freedom of expression. He was particularly pleased that the court had proved its independence from political interference and had delivered a fair and transparent verdict.

Thanking the IFEX-TMG for its support, he said he had not yet decided his next steps and would simply «wait and see,» adding, «the most important thing now is Tunisia settles down and the remains of the regime disappear.»

Feriani was arrested and later charged after he sent a strongly-worded letter to Interior Minister Habib Essid in which he blamed current officials for allowing protesters to be killed during the January 2011 Tunisian revolution, and warned that «notorious torturers» remain at large.

He also accused officers of destroying official records, including some taken from the former residence of the late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat. His accusations were reported in two newspapers, El Khabir and l’Audace, before his arrest.

The Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d’édition et de création (OLPEC), a member of IFEX and partner of Index on Censorship, has long argued that the police and security services should be held more accountable and subject to law.

OLPEC secretary-general Sihem Bensedrine said the verdict was a «fair outcome» that could restore some confidence in the Tunisian courts but left questions about the old regime’s lingering power even after the January 2011 revolution.

«It shows how the secret services continue to manipulate the archives,» she said, «denying their victims evidence while exposing the failure of the provisional government to act.»

IFEX-TMG chair Rohan Jayasekera of Index on Censorship added: «The right of whistleblowers to go public and expose wrongdoing when official channels fail to address crimes is clear and absolute. The decision of the court today is evidence that Tunisia can have a future as a mature democracy guided by fair and independent justice.»

For more information:
IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group
Rohan Jayasekera, Chair
c/o Index on Censorship
London
United Kingdom
rj (@) indexoncensorship.org
Phone: +44 20 7324 2522

IFEX – Tunisia

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
ARTICLE 19
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Freedom House
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
International Press Institute
International Publishers Association
Journaliste en danger
Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation)
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Norwegian PEN
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International