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Egypt: New Family Law for Christians to Be Drafted Following Contentious Court Decision

(June 29, 2010) On June 13, 2010, the Ministry of Justice of Egypt established a committee to compose a draft law regulating marriage and divorce for Christians. The purpose of this initiative is to help alleviate the anger expressed by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church after a Supreme Administrative Court ruling allowed divorced Christians who […]

Egypt: Bill Targets Human Rights Activists and Local NGOs

(May 18, 2010) It was reported on April 2, 2010, that a bill targeting human rights activists as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be discussed by the People's Assembly (lower house) of the Egyptian Parliament in its current session. The bill curtails the activities of human rights activists in Egypt. It subjects NGOs to […]

Bahrain: Shura Council Prohibits Liquor Consumption by Muslims but Allows It for Non-Muslims

(May 18, 2010) On April 30, 2010, the Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Security of the Shura Council (legislature) of Bahrain approved a new provision as an amendment to the Penal Code, Law 15-1976. The new article regulates the use of all kinds of liquor in the Kingdom. It prohibits Muslims from drinking liquor […]

Egypt: Administrative Court Prohibits Christians from Visiting Churches in Jerusalem

(Mar. 24, 2010) On February 2, 2010, the Administrative Judicial Court of Egypt, the country's adjudicative body for administrative disputes related to government contracts, tenders, and administrative questions, issued a decision supporting a ministerial resolution issued by the Minister of Interior (equivalent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to prevent Christians living in Egypt […]

Jordan: Bill to Amend the Family Law Adds Provision on Electronic Divorces

(Mar. 24, 2010) On February 2, 2010, Jordan's Ministry of Justice, in pending legislation to amend the law on family matters, added a new provision on divorce via cell phones, the Internet, and email messages. The new provision authorizes a husband to divorce his wife unilaterally by sending her a text message or an email. […]

Egypt: Law on Public-Private Partnership to Develop Infrastructure Being Discussed

(Jan. 4, 2010) On November 14, 2009, Egypt's Council of Ministers discussed new legislation on creating a long-term partnership agreement between the private sector and the Egyptian government. The proposed law would enable private corporations to play a larger role in developing the public infrastructure projects that in the past have been built exclusively by […]

Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Overturns Court Decision Against Female Journalist

(Dec. 4, 2009) On October 26, 2009, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree abolishing a criminal court sentence of 60 lashes and a two-year travel ban against a female journalist, Rosanna Al-Yami. Al-Yami was sentenced for working at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. (LBC), which broadcast an episode of a television show known […]

Iraq: Council of Ministers Blocks All Websites Deemed in Violation of Islamic Sharia’a

(Aug. 20, 2009) On August 3, 2009, the Council of Ministers of Iraq issued a decision to create a committee to look into means to identify and block all websites that violate Islamic law (Sharia'a). The committee will include officials from the ministries of communications, higher education, and science and technology. Some Iraqi intellectuals have […]

Morocco: Court Approves Seizure of Newspapers Evaluating King’s Performance

(Aug. 20, 2009) On August 4, 2009, the Ministry of Internal Security of Morocco confiscated two weekly newspapers, TELQUEL and NICHANE, for publishing opinion polls about the King of Morocco that included questions about his performance over the past ten years. Moroccan authorities confiscated the newspapers without further explanation and destroyed 100,000 copies of both […]

Sudan: Woman Tried Under Sudanese Criminal Code for Wearing Pants

(Aug. 20, 2009) It was recently reported in the Saudi Arabian press that a Sudanese woman faces 40 lashes for wearing pants in public. The woman, who works as a journalist with the United Nations Mission in Sudan, is being tried under article 152 of the Sudanese Criminal Code of 1991. Article 152 provides for […]