November 21st, 2007

The verdict

In Saudi-Arabia a woman, who was sitting in a car with non-relative male (a crime), was ambushed and raped by 7 men. She was convicted to 90 whiplashes and that sentence has been firmed up to 200 and 6 months imprisonment in an appeal case. For publishing the verdict, her lawyer saw his license removed and being prosecuted too. The US government is “surprized” *) but refused to condemn the verdict. But hey, S-A is a friend isn’t it? Nice, very nice. This is what Human Rights Watch has to say about it:

“A courageous young woman faces lashing and prison for speaking out about her efforts to find justice,” said Farida Deif, researcher in the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch. “This verdict not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators.”

The 7 men were convicted to 2-9 years.

Earlier on the nest: The Saudi’s.

Note: *) This is a double translation and might not be the exact word used.

Added Dec 17th:  King Abdullah granted pardon to the woman. It is not clear to me if she was imprisoned in the mean time.

November 21st, 2007

The Chestnut tree

I want you opinion please. A growing news item here, apparently growing to international proportions is the chestnut tree in the back garden of the house where Anne Frank lived in World War Two (for the uninitiated, Anne Frank was a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, writing a diary of her life while hiding in what is called in English “the Secret Annexe”. The family was arrested after a tip-off and she died from typhus in concentration camp Bergen Belsen at age 15, a few weeks before the British liberated it. She would have been send immediately to the gas chamber in Auschwitz had she been below 15. The diary was found in the house which is now a museum, is published around the world, mandatory reading for millions of students and an icon of the prosecution of Jews). The monumental tree she describes in her dairy is ill and the city has given a permit to chop it down, to the shock of many people.

This has gone to court and the judge ordered the city to give the protesters time to find alternative solutions. The tree is saved for approximately 8 weeks.

What is this? History, or small-news?

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Side line: a neighbor of the museum “Anne Frank house” collects the chestnuts falling from the tree in his garden. I heard he sells them on E-bay and the price has risen from below $100 to nearing $10.000 a piece. I did NOT verify this.

Added Dec 17th: the tree will get a steel support. What might have pushed that decision is that more and more signals were emerging the  museum wanted the have the space to expand. Probably foul rumor, but smore/fire, etc.