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Human Rights Watch Daily Brief, 12 January 2015

Millions of dollars diverted from social programs at a South Dakota Sioux reservation; France marches for Charlie Hebdo, but what were free speech predators doing there?; arrested for a tweet in Malaysia; no justice for dead protesters in Tunisia; Egypt acquits men arrested in bathhouse raid.


  1. Millions of dollars in public funds are missing in the impoverished Lower Brule Sioux reservation in South Dakota, impacting basic services many tribal members rely on. Evidence pieced together by Human Rights Watch in a new report detail show the Tribal Council not only diverted this money from schools, water programs, and other key services, but that since 2007 the elected group has refused to share any documentation of its spending with tribal members.
  2. In Paris yesterday, an estimated 3.7 million took to the streets in an international show of solidarity with the victims of last week’s brutal attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly. The importance of a free press was front and center in the march. Curiously,the march also included world leaders from countries – like Egypt, Russia and Turkey – who are terrible offenders when it comes to harassing and jailing journalists.
  3. And tomorrow's cover, once again featuring the Prophet Muhammad, this time holding an "I am Charlie"sign and featuring the words "All is Forgiven."
  4. Another example of cracking down on free speech comes from Malaysia today, where human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen has been arrested over a tweet and is being investigated for sedition.
  5. Efforts to ensure accountability for unlawful killings committed during Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising four years ago have been plagued by legal and investigative problems and have failed to deliver justice for the victims. A lengthy process before military courts resulted in lenient sentences or acquittals for most accused of causing the deaths of protesters.
  6. The Russian parliament’s adoption of a 2012 law that requires NGOs to register as “foreign agents” has ever since been a source of tension between the Russian government and civil society groups. Read Human Rights Watch’s “Battle Chronicle” of where the fight currently stands and which NGOs are currently registers as “foreign agents” in Russia.
  7. Some good news from Egypt: Twenty-six men have been acquitted after their arrest in a Cairo public bathhouse for “practicing debauchery.” The December arrestwas cited as yet another crackdown on the LGBT community by Egyptian authorities, who have said they will appeal the acquittal.