HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Prisoners are commonly tortured and beaten by both the Mutawwa'in and officials in the Ministry of Interior. Numerous prisoners have been executed -- by means of stoning, beheading, or firing squad -- for crimes ranging from “deviant sexual behaviour” to sorcery; other convicts have been punished by amputations or the loss of an eye. Prisoners are sometimes held for long periods of time without charge or trial.
Women are the victims of systematic discrimination in Saudi Arabia. Domestic violence and rape are widespread problems, and women have no redress when victimized by such crimes. Nor can women travel, be admitted to a hospital, or drive a car without their husbands’ permission. Buses are segregated, and women must sit in the rear.
Jordanian security forces use torture on a regular basis. It is common for prisoners to be held without charges, to be prevented from meeting with lawyers, and to be kept in unsanitary conditions; Women are at a distinct legal and social disadvantage in Jordan. Social security, inheritance, divorce, and testimony laws all favor men. Marital rape and wife-beating are permitted by law (can you believe what I’ve just written, ‘wife beating is permitted!’) and "honor crimes" (domestic violence committed against women by men who feel the women have undermined their honor by their "immoral behavior") receive minimal sentences.
The Lebanese government and army do not respect human rights, and the several terrorist organizations that are headquartered within the country commit many abuses as well. Arbitrary arrests are common, and some prisoners are held for long periods of time without trials or charges. The use of torture is widespread. Many political prisoners have disappeared or died without explanation while awaiting trial.
In the areas of Lebanon controlled by the Syrian-backed militia Hezbollah, only Islamic law is applied; in the independent Palestinian refugee camps in the south, no specific legal system is empowered AND Palestinians are systematically slaughtered.
Forced labour is not illegal in Lebanon, and many foreign servants, women, and children are compelled to work against their will. Child labor in general is rampant. Child abuse, kidnappings, and even the sale of children to adoption agencies are relatively common, and are ignored by the government.
Arbitrary arrests, torture and disappearances of prisoners all occur regularly. Syrian, Lebanese, and Jordanian political prisoners have been held incommunicado by the government for long periods of time, as have missing Israeli soldiers captured by Syria and by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization it backs. Prisoners captured as many as twenty years ago remain unaccounted for.
Many financial laws, such as those pertaining to inheritance and social security, discriminate against women, and the punishment for adultery by women is twice as severe as the punishment for the same transgression committed by men. Women cannot travel outside the country without their husbands’ permission.
GAZA AND THE LEFT BANK
Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces use arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention as methods of quashing dissent. Lack of due process is prevalent in court proceedings. The PA executive and security services frequently ignore or fail to enforce court decisions.
PA security commonly closes down media outlets and bans publications or broadcasts whose reports paint the Palestinian Authority in an unflattering light, and periodically harasses or detains members of the media who are responsible for such reports.
Palestinian women endure various forms of social prejudice and repression within their society. Because of early marriage, girls frequently do not finish the mandatory level of schooling. Elderly men take wives as young at 8, who often die do to early sexual abuse!
The only true democracy in the Middle East is Israel.