Greater Middle East
Egyptian public prosecutor Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud on April 25 ordered ousted president Hosni Mubarak transferred from a private hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to a prison hospital in Cairo. Mahmoud ordered the transfer after Mubarak's doctor cleared him to travel. Mubarak was hospitalized for heart trouble shortly after his resignation. Prosecutors have urged Mubarak's transfer so that he may be questioned by officials about allegations ranging from embezzlement to murder. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior will oversee Mubarak's transfer first to a military prison and then to the hospital in Tora Prison where he will be held for questioning.
Syrian authorities reportedly arrested hundreds of protesters and dissidents April 26 as the military surrounded Daraa, Duma, Homs and several other cities and villages. Telephone, electricity and water lines have been cut to the besieged cities and villages, which are mostly in the southwestern Hauran plateau region, rights activists say. Activists from the Syrian Revolution 2011 group posted reports on Facebook claiming tanks and snipers in Daraa are shooting "at anything that moves." The Syrian government says the troops were ordered to Daraa to put down a conspiracy by Islamists.
In Yemen, security forces shot and wounded at least 10 people April 25 as they opened fire to disperse huge anti-regime protests in the city of Taez, south of the capital Sanaa. In Syria, human rights activists report that 25 people were shot dead as government forces deployed tanks to put down protests in Daraa. Rights activists put the total death toll in the Yemeni protests at 130 since January, and in the Syrian protests at 350 over the last month. However, with Syrian figure is harder to confirm, with journalists barred from the country. (Middle East Online, Middle East Online, Airang TV, BBC World Service, April 25)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on April 22 urged the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to reverse its decision to dissolve the board of directors of a prominent civil rights group. UAE social affairs minister, Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al-Roumi, dismissed the elected board members of the Jurist Association civil rights group and appointed state officials in their stead. The decree dismissing the board members alleged that the Jurist Association violated UAE's recently enacted laws that prohibit nongovernmental organizations and its members from interfering "in politics or in matters that impair State security and its ruling regime." Al-Roumi issued the decree in response to a petition filed by the Jurist Association, other nongovernmental organizations, and hundreds of UAE citizens seeking political reform. The petitioners are calling for increased representation in the UAE government and Federal National Council, the country's legislative body.
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed on April 23 to leave power after 32 years of rule, officials said—but only if the opposition agrees to a list of conditions, including that he and his family are granted immunity. Opposition leaders said they are prepared to accept most terms of the deal, which would establish a coalition government with members of both the opposition and ruling party. The president would turn over authority to the current vice president, though not for at least 30 days. But the opposition said it could not guarantee at least one of Saleh’s demands—that demonstrations be halted. (NYT, April 23)
Security forces and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shot dead at least 70 protesters in Syria on April 22, according to human rights organization Sawasiah. An official from Sawasiah, an independent organization founded by imprisoned attorney Mohannad al-Hassani, told Reuters the killings of civilians occurred the Damascus district of Barzeh, its suburbs Zamalka, Harasta, Douma, Muadamiya, Qaboun and Hajar al-Asswad, as well as in the cities of Hama, Latakia and Homs, and in the southern town of Izra'a. Thousands also took to the streets for Friday protests in Madaya, Duma, Ezraa, Hrak, Latakia, Hasakah, Baniyas and Aleppo. (Reuters, LAT, April 22)
Syria's government passed a draft decree to lift the emergency law and a bill to dismantle the Supreme State Security Court on April 19. The government also approved a third bill to "regulate the right to peacefully protest." Syrians nonetheless took to the streets in large numbers again the next day in the central city of Homs, where activists say more than 20 protesters have been killed this week by soldiers and irregular forces. Demonstrations were also reported in Aleppo, Syria's largest city. (Reuters, CNN, April 20; AlJazeera, April 19)
Women protesters, many in full face veils, led protests against Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh on April 17, in an angry show of defiance after he tried to win support from Islamists by attacking the "mixing of sexes" at demonstrations. Security forces fired on protesters in the capital, Sana'a, wounding at least 30. The next day, at least 45 were injured as security forces again opened fire and hurled tear gas at protesters in Yemen's Red Sea port al-Hudaydah. (VOA, April 18; The Telegraph, April 17)