Daily World News Digest, 20 January 2017

Missing Pakistani bloggers accused of blasphemy

VOA news reported yesterday that religious protesters threw stones at supporters of five missing Pakistani activists on Thursday and demanded that police charge the missing men under a blasphemy law that carries a mandatory death sentence. The liberal activists, who have posted blogs criticizing the political influence of the military and speaking up for the rights of religious minorities, have all gone missing separately since 4 January. Shortly after their disappearances, blasphemy allegations against them appeared on social media and in a complaint to police. http://bit.ly/2iXtvmG

Sindh High Court rejects police report on missing persons

The International News reports today that the Sindh High Court accused police officials on Thursday of “incompetence” and “inefficiency” with reference to investigations into missing persons cases. Hearing petitions involving enforced disappearances, the court said that either police officers were not efficient enough to recover missing persons or were not sufficiently interested to carry out their duties. http://bit.ly/2k7zJhN

Supporters protest illegal detention of Kashmir leader

The Kashmir Media Service reported yesterday that the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League (JKML) has condemned the continued illegal detention of its Chairman and senior leader of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), Masarrat Aalam Butt. The JKML General Secretary, Feroz Ahmad Khan, in a statement issued in Srinagar deplored the fact that the authorities have not released Masarrat Aalam even as a Srinagar court had acquitted him in a case on Wednesday and ordered his release. http://bit.ly/2jTH19p

Yemen: two men forcibly disappeared

Amnesty International reported on 19 January that the fate and whereabouts of two members of Yemen’s Baha’i community remain unknown following their arrest on 11 January. They have been denied contact with their families and lawyer, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty says. http://bit.ly/2k9PatN

Burundi: call for immediate end to killings, illegal detentions

Human Rights Watch reported on 19 January that members of the Burundi ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure, have brutally killed, tortured, and severely beaten scores of people across the country in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. It said Burundi’s once vibrant independent media and nongovernmental organizations have been decimated, and more than 325,000 people have fled the country. In the past year and a half, several hundred people have been killed and others have been tortured or forcibly disappeared. HRW called on the Burundian authorities imediately and publicly to order Imbonerakure members to stop illegally detaining, ill-treating, and extorting money from the population, Human Rights Watch said. The Burundian justice system should investigate and prosecute members of the Imbonerakure who commit these crimes. The government should also dismantle all illegal roadblocks throughout the country. http://bit.ly/2k2OuT5

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff. These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.