UN Tells Saudi Arabia To Stop Stoning And Executing Kids

The Committee on the Rights of the Child also condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes on Yemen.


GENEVA (Reuters) - A U.N. human rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia on Friday to end “severe” discrimination against girls and to repeal laws that allow the stoning, amputation, flogging and execution of children.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes in Yemen, which it said had killed and maimed hundreds of children, and its “use of starvation” as a tactic in that war against Iran-backed Houthis.

The committee’s 18 independent experts examined the kingdom’s record of compliance with a U.N. treaty protecting the rights of people under the age of 18.

Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, who led a Saudi delegation to the committee’s review, told the body that sharia, Islamic law, was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But the kingdom had the political will to protect children’s rights, he said.

The U.N. experts voiced deep concern that Riyadh “still does not recognize girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate (against) them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship”.

Traditional, religious or cultural attitudes should not be used to justify violations of their right to equality, they said.

Children of Shiite Muslim families and other religious minorities are persistently discriminated against in their access to schools and justice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they said.

Children over 15 years are tried as adults and can be executed, “after trials falling short of guarantees of due process and a fair trial”, the report said.

Out of 47 people executed on Jan. 2, 2016 - the biggest mass execution for security offences in decades, that included a prominent Shi’ite cleric, at least four wereunder 18 when sentenced to death, it said.

The experts urged Saudi authorities to “repeal all provisions contained in legislation which authorize the stoning, amputation and flogging of children”.

Saudi Arabia should “unambiguously prohibit the use of solitary confinement, life sentences on children and child attendance of public execution”.

All forms of sexual abuse against children should be a crime and perpetrators prosecuted, the experts said.

They cited the case of Muslim preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi, saying his charges were reduced and he was released from jail “after having raped, tortured and killed his five-year-old daughter” in 2012.

Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens, Mostly Women, Kids Celebrating Easter in Pakistan Park


NBC News

At least 63 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 300 others were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a children's park in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province on Sunday evening, officials said.

"A large number of people, majority of them women and children, were present in ‎Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore when the suicide bomber blew himself up. Mostly women and children are killed and injured in the blast," Said Lahore Police Chief Dr. Haider Ashraf.

The police chief said there was an unusual rush of the people in the park due to the weekend and Easter. He said a large number of Christian community celebrating the holy day were present in the park.

"Most of the dead and injured are women and children," said Mustansar Feroz, the police superintendent for the area in which the park is located.

Police officials said they had recovered the body of the suicide bomber. ‎He seems to be between 25 and 30 years old, he said.

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA), headed by Maulvi Omar Khalid Khurasani claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Lahore.

The group spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, called NBC News from an undisclosed location while using an Afghan cell number and said they carried out the attack.

"Members of the Christian community who were celebrating Easter today were our prime target," the spokesman said.

Asked if women and children were their target as most of those killed in the blast included women and children, the Taliban spokesman said they were not on their list.

"We didn't want to kill women and children. Our targets were male members of the Christian community," Ehsan said. He said this was the first of series of ‎attacks they had planned this year in different parts of the country.

Punjab Health Minister Salman ‎Rafique said they had declared emergency in all the hospitals of Lahore city to better handle the injured.

"We are in a state of emergency. All the hospitals are under emergency. All ambulances had been called to site of the blast as a large number of people, the majority of them women and children are injured," the health minister said.

Media footage showed children and women crying and screaming and rescue officials, police and bystanders carrying injured people to ambulances and private cars.

Punjab Chief Minister, Shabaz Sharif later announced a three-day mourning in the province.

In 2014, Pakistan launched an offensive against Taliban and affiliated jihadist fighters in North Waziristan, seeking to deprive them of safe havens from which to launch attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Punjab has traditionally been more peaceful than other parts of Pakistan. Sharif's opponents have accused him of tolerating militancy in return for peace in his province, a charge he strongly denies.

Last year, a bomb killed a popular Pakistani provincial minister and at least eight others when it destroyed the minister's home in Punjab.

Murder suspect 'suffering greatly,' his lawyer says

Bail denied Wisconsin man accused of killing 4 in his family

April 17, 2010
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times

The Wisconsin man charged with killing four family members and seriously injuring two other relatives in a hail of bullets as they slept at his sister's Marquette Park home suffers from a "multitude" of mental health illnesses, his attorney said Friday.

James Larry, a 32-year-old Muslim convert who allegedly told authorities he was ordered by "Allah" to carry out the carnage, has been under doctors' care since 2002 and recently received psychiatric treatment in Janesville, Wis., said Julie Koehler, an assistant Cook County public defender.

Koehler said Larry was crying, his head bowed, when prosecutors detailed how he allegedly killed his pregnant wife, Twanda Thompson, 19; son, Jihad, 7 months, pregnant niece Keyshai Fields, 16, and 3-year-old Keleasha Larry, another niece.

"He is suffering greatly," Koehler said, after Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Larry held without bond.

Larry also shot his 57-year-old mother, Leona Larry, and a nephew Demond Larry, 13, before dawn Wednesday. Both remain in critical condition, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said.

The body count could have been worse, Santini added. He said Torino Hill, a 35-year-old man living in the home's basement, was spared when James Larry's gun jammed and another niece, 12, escaped injury when she ran down the street and called police.

After shooting several family members at the home, in the 7200 block of South Mozart, James Larry kicked in the door of Hill's room and pulled the trigger several times, but no bullets fired, Santini said.

James Larry, who has a lengthy criminal record, admitted his role in the shooting spree, told detectives he knew his wife and 16-year-old niece were pregnant and even led police to the 9mm handgun he allegedly used in the shooting, Santini said.

"That's not the lot, turn left. It's the first vacant lot off the alley on the left," Larry directed officers, according to a police report.

James Larry also allegedly told officers he wished he "had more bullets."

"I wish I had more bullets. Kill me. I threw the gun in a vacant lot by the police station. I'll show you," James Larry said, according to the report.

A relative said that when James Larry looked to the sky and didn't see the moon or the sun before dawn Wednesday, "that meant Allah told him to take his family."

On Friday, several local Muslim leaders and organizations denounced the murders and stressed that the Islamic faith should not be associated with the tragedy.

James Larry's sister Keshai -- the mother of three victims, including the two dead girls -- joined Inner-City Muslim Action Network members and Jewish and Christian leaders later in the afternoon to show solidarity with the religious groups, IMAN's executive director Rami Nashashibi said.

For years, the Marquette Park-based IMAN has been involved in many anti-violence efforts in the neighborhood and is taking an active role in assisting the victims, Nashashibi said.


Cleric supports targeting children

By Rajeev Syal
(Filed: 05/09/2004)

An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Mohammed said: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq.

"As long as the Iraqi did not deliberately kill women and children, and they were killed in the crossfire, that would be okay."

Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London, but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan.

"The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.

The father of seven came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group. He has since been given leave by the Home Office to remain in Britain for five years but the Government is reviewing his status.

He gave an interview yesterday to promote a "celebratory" conference in London next Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, was infuriated by Mr Mohammed's comments. "That sounds to me like incitement and I will report him to Scotland Yard," he said. "It is an insult to most moderate Muslims, who are sick of people like this claiming to represent them."

Bomber targets Iraqi children

At least 18 children and one U.S. soldier die after suicide bomber attacks soldiers passing out candy in Baghdad.

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Cox News Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq A suicide car bomber struck U.S. soldiers handing out candy to a crowd of Iraqi kids on Wednesday in an attack that killed at least 18 children and teenagers and one American soldier. In all, 27 people died in the blast.

Horrified parents in the Baghdad neighborhood rushed to the scene to find the street scattered with children's bodies, dazed and injured soldiers, children's sandals and a broken bicycle. The explosion injured an additional 70 people, including a newborn and three U.S. soldiers, and shattered windows and blew down nearby walls.

Twelve of the dead were 13 or younger, said police Lt. Mohammed Jassim Jabr. Among the wounded was 4-day-old Miriam Jabber, cut slightly by flying glass and debris.

"There were some American troops blocking the highway when a U.S. Humvee came near a gathering of children," said Karim Shukir, 42. The troops began handing out candy and smiley-face key chains.

"Suddenly, a speeding car bomb ... struck both the Humvee and the children," Shukir said.

The area is a predominately Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. The slaughter of so many Shiite children is likely to raise tensions further between the majority Shiites - who dominate the government - and the minority Sunni Arabs, the foundation of the insurgency.

Army Lt. Col. Kevin Farrell said his troops had cordoned off the area near a highway to conduct searches when the bomber drove up a side alley. Unable to reach the bulk of U.S. forces, he detonated his vehicle in the crowd of children, witnesses said.

"The scene was almost indescribable," Farrell said. "People nearest the blast, some were literally obliterated on the scene. Multiple lacerations and traumatic amputations. At least nine people I saw were killed instantly in a most horrific fashion."

It was the second major bombing this week, and highlighted the continuing dangers and difficulties of interaction between Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops, who have grown increasingly isolated in their bases more than two years after the invasion of Iraq.

Iraqi children are on their summer break from schools and often play in the streets. It is a common practice for soldiers to distribute candy and other treats when meeting Iraqi children.

Kareem Shakur al-Dulaime's house, which is next to the blast site, was badly damaged. His wife and two children in the home were injured and two of his children in the street were hospitalized, but not seriously hurt.

The soldiers "prompt these things," he said. "They moved terrorism to Iraq. They brought Iraq's enemies to Iraq. They made this a battlefield."

At al-Kindi hospital, where many victims were taken, a mother blamed the insurgents. "May God curse the mujahedeen and their leader," she said.

"My son was lucky - he was injured by a piece of shrapnel that lodged in his head. All the rest of his friends died," Abu Mohammed said.

Army spokesmen condemned the attack and said interaction between troops and civilians will continue. Friendly Iraqis often wave at troops or approach them to pass on tips about insurgent activity, U.S. military officials said.

"Part of what we do is to interact with the public to help to tear down those perceived barriers between the Iraqi people and the U.S.-coalition forces," military spokesman Lt. Col. Steven Boylan said. "This horrific attack against children continues to bring home to everyone that the terrorists offer nothing of value or future for the Iraqi people. To attack children in this matter goes against all that is good and proper in the world."

In the months after the spring 2003 U.S.-led invasion, soldiers commonly bought sodas and cigarettes in Iraqi groceries and talked to Iraqis. The frequency of such close contacts was greatly reduced as the Sunni-led insurgency gathered momentum.

A recent audiotape attributed to al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi stated that killing civilians was permissible in the war against U.S. troops and the Iraqi government.

U.S. officials announced Tuesday that they had captured Abu Abd al-Aziz, who they said was Zarqawi's top commander for Baghdad. Zarqawi and his followers are responsible most of the car bombings that target Iraqis and U.S. troops, U.S. officials said.

In September 2004, about 35 children were killed in a multiple bombing when soldiers were giving them treats at the opening of a water plant.

Wednesday's bombing left a shallow crater scattered with injured residents and embedded with engine parts in the asphalt street in the al-Khaleej neighborhood of eastern Baghdad. One house had caught on fire and others had large portions of exterior walls blown away.

Hours after the blast, some of the wounded returned to their homes in the neighborhoods that had been hurt by shrapnel, and swept up glass and brick.


Violence against Afghan Children Rises, Worries UN

By Maha Saad
Voice of America
United Nations
07 July 2008

A United Nations official says that violence against children is on the rise in Afghanistan, warning that children are being used as suicide bombers and young boys are being sexually abused. VOA's U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer has the story by intern Maha Saad.

The U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, just back from a five-day visit to Afghanistan, warns that the deteriorating security situation in the country is becoming a growing danger for children. She says armed groups, including the Taliban, are recruiting minors to serve as soldiers, munitions carriers and even as suicide bombers.

"Afghan sources confirm that children under 18 are being recruited into the Taliban and other anti-government forces," said Radhika Coomaraswamy. "There has been a surge in the last few months. Children are being used even as suicide bombers."

Coomaraswamy says although there have been minimal reports of sexual violence against girls in Afghanistan's Muslim society, there have been reports that boys are being sexually abused by warlords and mujahadeen fighters.

"We are particularly concerned about what has been called the 'bacha bazi'[boy-play] system or practice where there are young boys increasingly associated with military commanders," she said.

Coomaraswamy is urging the Afghan government, the Taliban and other anti-government groups to respect the safety and dignity of children.