News More and more Iranian prisoners, including journalists, are risking their lives by going on hunger strike in protest against prison conditions or mistreatment, or simply to demand proper medical care.Soheil Arabi, a citizen-journalist held since December 2013, has been on hunger strike for the past 25 days in protest against the way the Revolutionary Guard intelligence services have been harassing and threatening his wife, Nastaran Naimi.Naimi was arrested at her home by plainclothes intelligence officers in July and was held for eight days. Since then, she has been constantly harassed and threatened, and was fired from her job at their request.Arabi’s family say Arabi is now in a critical condition because he has not eaten anything at all since 23 September.Mehdi Khazali, the outspoken editor of the Baran blog, was arrested on a Tehran street by men in civilian dress on 12 August and, according to his family, has been on hunger strike ever since the day of his arrest.This was disputed by the Tehran prosecutor a month after his arrest. “He is not on hunger strike, despite what is claimed by the enemy media abroad,” the prosecutor insisted. “He is well and his family saw him last week.” This has not been confirmed by his family.Khazali had been openly critical of the head of the judicial authority in the months prior to his arrest. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011.Ehssan Mazndarani, a journalist with the daily Farhikhteghan arrested in November 2015, is in very poor health but is still being held despite a regulation requiring the prison authorities to provide ailing detainees with the medical care they need.His relatives say they are extremely worried about him because he can no longer even swallow water and the prison authorities are refusing to authorize a transfer so that forensic doctors can examine him.RSF points out to the Iranian authorities that they are required to respect both Iran’s own laws and regulations* and the international standards** established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has signed.Iran is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.*According to Iran’s prison regulations, adopted by the judicial body that oversees the prison system, prison officials are supposed to provide detainees with any medical care they need. Articles 102 and 103 of the regulations say that “monthly medical checks are obligatory in the prison clinic” and that “if necessary, the detainee must be transferred urgently from the prison to the hospital.”These regulations also say that the judge in charge of the case is responsible for the health and safety of any prisoner with a serious and incurable illness.**According the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to whichIran is party, depriving detainees of medical care constitutes a violation of the ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely concerned about the prison conditions of detained journalists and citizen-journalists in Iran, especially those who are ill or on hunger strike. The plight of Soheil Arabi, Mehdi Khazali and Ehssan Mazndarani is particularly alarming. March 18, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa Judicial harassmentViolenceImprisonedInternet Organisation After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists Receive email alerts IranMiddle East – North Africa Judicial harassmentViolenceImprisonedInternet June 9, 2021 Find out more September 27, 2017 Iranian authorities neglect health of imprisoned journalists Follow the news on Iran News Help by sharing this information Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 News Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists to go further News RSF_en February 25, 2021 Find out more
NEW: R&B singer R. Kelly, charged with aggravated sexual abuse, angrily denied the accusations in a new interview with @GayleKing, insisting the claims are “rumors” & “not true.” Kelly has pleaded not guilty; see the first clips here & watch @CBSThisMorning Wednesday at 7a ET. pic.twitter.com/5yT1QwPsIq— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 5, 2019When asked if he held any women against their will, Kelly said, making a point to speak directly to the camera, “How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I have been through in my way, way past to hold somebody. Let alone 4, 5, 6, 50 you said — how stupid would I be to do that?”According to the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office, which charged Kelly last month, three of the four accusers were younger than 17 at the time of the alleged incidents.When Kelly was charged at the end of February, the singer’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said he believes all the alleged victims “are lying” about his client.Kelly continued to claim his innocence to CBS, breaking down in the process.“I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement and don’t let them eat and don’t let them out … Stop it,” he said. “Y’all quit playin. Quit playin. I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me y’all. I’m fighting for my f—– life.”But King continued to press Kelly, sometimes saying she finds it hard to believe the singer is innocent, explaining to him that “we are in a different time, where women are speaking out,” referencing #MeToo and other powerful movements as to why some allegations are coming out now from his past.“Now women feel safe saying these things about you,” she added.“I love women. I love all women. I love everybody. But the thing is, is that these stories on Lifetime they’re very bogus. And they’re not true. Absolutely not true,” he added. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Two weeks after the singer was charged with 10 counts of felony criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, R. Kelly is speaking out in his first interview — getting emotional, claiming his innocence and lashing out, saying these allegations are “not fair.”In an interview with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, the singer, 52, referenced his past case from 2008 involving assault and abuse claims, which ended in his acquittal.“It’s not fair. It’s not fair to nobody. When you beat your case, you beat your case,” the singer says in the clip released by the network.But King pushes Kelly, saying the new charges he’s facing involves new women and claims, whether they are from the past or not. In response, the singer says their claims are “not true.”The allegations and charges against Kelly have come after the network Lifetime aired its special Surviving R. Kelly, a docuseries about the decades’ worth of misconduct allegations against the singer.“Whether they’re old rumors, new rumors, future rumors, not true,” he adds.
Camden County, Georgia, is proposing to build a commercial spaceport that would launch orbital and sub-orbital rockets eastward over populated areas, including the Intercostal Waterway, Little Cumberland Island, and Cumberland Island National Seashore.But according to litigation filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on October 17, 2018, the risks of the project have not been fully disclosed to the public.Every other spaceport in the United States launches directly over the ocean. But the proposed Spaceport Camden site would launch over dozens of private residences and a national park that hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year. This would jeopardize hikers and force closures of the national park for weeks at a time.It’s also located on a toxic site that has already experienced deadly explosions. Morton Thiokol, Inc. manufactured booster rockets on the site for NASA, including the space shuttle Challenger in the 1980s. Those Thiokol-built rockets failed and caused the infamous shuttle to explode just 73 seconds into flight in 1986. Fifteen years earlier, Thiokol was involved in another tragedy in Camden County on the banks of Todd Creek: an industrial fire and explosion killed 29 and injured 50, with shock waves shattering windows up to 11 miles away. Later, Union Carbide produced highly toxic methyl isocyanate gas on the site. The gas is famous for a 1984 tragedy in Bhopal, India, where it spilled at the city’s Union Carbide plant and was eventually held responsible for more than 20,000 deaths.“It’s the worst possible site for a commercial spaceport,” said Kevin Lang, whose family owns property on Little Cumberland Island. “It endangers people, wildlife, property, and public lands.”With all of this contamination on a site surrounded by water, environmentalists worry the construction and rocket launches will cause severe water contamination.“There have been no studies on vibrations, extreme heat, fuel spills, and other potential impacts that happen regularly at rocket launch facilities,” says Megan Derosiers, executive director of the nonprofit 100 Miles. “How will construction affect the existing contamination on that site? None of these concerns are addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement, and Camden County isn’t talking about them. These are huge concerns—especially because of the hazardous waste landfill that is on the site now, that sits right on the bank of Todd Creek. And that bank is eroding. And so with vibrations, and continued disruption, thanks to the spaceport, that site will continue to get worse over time.”‘This dispute is really about documents’In order for Camden County to acquire a Launch Site Operator License from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Camden County is required to submit both a risk analysis, called a Hazard Analysis, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the FAA.Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in March 2018, SELC submitted two requests to the FAA asking for the disclosure of documents that relate to the DEIS and the Hazard Analysis for Spaceport Camden.When the SELC filed the FOIA requests back in March, the FAA acknowledged receipt of the requests but did not provide a determination—acknowledgement that responsive documents exist, claims that certain exemptions may apply, and a timeline for when those documents will be produced.By law, FOIA requests should receive a response within twenty days. After six months with no response from the FAA, the SELC filed suit.“This dispute is really about documents,” says SELC attorney Brian Gist. “This litigation doesn’t impact the environmental review process and the permitting for the facility. This is solely about whether, when, and how FAA will provide the requested documents.”Line in the sand“They’re going to be shooting rockets over us,” says Lang. “If a rocket explodes, it’s kind of unclear how we’re supposed to get off the island.”According to the DEIS, the probability of a launch failure at the proposed spaceport is approximately one to three explosions every two years. The DEIS says that launch failures typically occur at the launch pad soon after ignition, after the rocket is in flight, during the return flight, or at the landing site for first-stage landings.As stated in the DEIS, debris from explosions at the launch pad “would be expected to impact within the launch site boundary or on land or in water within the hazard area.” But the DEIS does not identify the geographic limits of this hazard area.According to SELC’s lawsuit, the Hazard Analysis also likely contains other critical information currently unavailable to the public such as potential damage to fisheries, saltmarshes, and waterways and estimates of human fatalities.Steve Weinkle is a concerned Camden County resident and lives about six miles from the site of the proposed spaceport. Weinkle says he has seven outstanding FOIA requests with the FAA and that his concern with the spaceport is primarily an economic one. “I’m a retiree,” says Weinkle. “I’m on a fixed income. I have seen my property taxes increase because of this proposed spaceport.”Weinkle says that after two years without response from the FAA regarding his FOIA requests, he received a call from the FAA on October 18, 2018 and believes that the FAA is anxious to correct their prior failures to follow FOIA.According to the FAA, the FAA does not comment on pending litigation.