Thousands of demonstrators have continued their protests in Kuala Lumpur for a second day to demand the resignation of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak over a financial scandal.
The crowd of yellow-clad protesters, who slept on the streets near the city’s Independence Square, woke on Sunday to mass exercises and a resumption of the previous day’s peaceful demonstration.
Initial crowds appeared smaller than Saturday, when police said 29,000 had gathered, while the rally’s organisers – electoral-reform pressure group Bersih – said 200,000 had turned out.
Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied outside Japan’s parliament to oppose legislation that could see troops in the officially pacifist nation engage in combat for the first time since World War II.
In one of the summer’s biggest protests ahead of the new laws anticipated passage next month, protesters on Sunday chanted “No to war legislation!” ”Scrap the bills now!” and “Abe, quit!”
Organisers said about 120,000 people took part in the rally in the government district of Tokyo, filling the street outside the front gate of the parliament, or Diet. Similar demonstrations were held across nation.
Bloomberg: Thousands rally in Tokyo rain to protest Abe’s defense-law plans (Asia Times)
The proposed bills have been welcomed by the US, which wants support from its biggest Asian ally to help balance China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Other governments in Asia are also largely supportive, apart from China and South Korea, which are at loggerheads with Japan over territorial disputes and interpretations of history.
Parliament’s lower house has already passed the bills, which are now being debated in the less powerful upper house. If the upper house fails to pass them within 60 days, the lower house can enact them by passing them a second time, with a two thirds majority.
Chaim Levinson: Torture of Palestinian Detainees by Shin Bet Investigators Rises Sharply (Haaretz; also at Khamakar Press)
The Shin Bet is required to report to the court that torture were used, so that the judges will know what weight to give evidence gathered under such means. Defense attorneys are not allowed to make copies of the reports, but only to read them. The documents themselves are kept in a safe.
Until 1999, thousands of Palestinian prisoners were tortured every year. The Public Committee against Torture in Israel estimates that most Palestinians questioned experienced at least one kind of torture.
In September 1999, following a petition to the High Court of Justice, the court prohibited the systematic use of torture, but left a small opening to interrogators: An interrogator who used violence could claim after the fact that there was an “urgent need” to violate the law. Then-High Court President Aharon Barak left it to the discretion of the attorney general whether to press charges.
“Urgent need” is something that is decided in retrospect, if a complaint is filed, but in extreme cases permits to torture are still issued. The attorney general has set rules as to when “urgent need” is present, but these rules are not made public.
The High Court of Justice issued a historic ruling in 1999, according to which the Shin Bet security service was not authorized to use physical means in its interrogations. The court thus repudiated the conclusions of the 1987 Landau Commission of Inquiry on the matter, which permitted the Shin Bet to use “moderate physical pressure” during interrogation.
Sixteen years later, an investigation by Haaretz shows that torture is still used in interrogations in Israel, under the euphemistic term “the necessity defense,” and that recently its use has increased.
According to the Haaretz investigation, the cases in which torture is used are not rare and few, and often it is used unnecessarily, in accordance with existing protocol.
Natasha Roth: Palestinian women and children prevent arrest of minor in Nabi Saleh (+972)
An Israeli soldier attempts to detain a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a demonstration in the West Bank village. His mother and sister make sure that doesn’t happen…
The incident was captured on video by Bilal Tamimi, a local Palestinian journalist. The soldier can be seen running down a hill chasing Mohammed, who had his arm in a cast after breaking it during clashes in the village a few days earlier. He eventually catches up with Mohammed, puts him in a headlock and pins him against a rock. The soldier then sits on Mohammed, preventing him from moving.
Others can be heard yelling at the soldier that Mohammed is a child, and that his hand is broken. The soldier calls out for someone to come and help him, and turns to the activist standing next to him and mutters something about “leftists being trash.” He then drags Mohammed forward and pins him down again. At this point Mohammed’s 15-year-old sister, Ahed; his mother and his father, Nariman and Bassem; and his aunt Nawal arrive, along with other activists.
Mohammed’s family tries to pull the soldier off the boy, tugging at his arms and head. The soldier responds by flailing his arms wildly at them, trying to hit them, and putting his hand around Ahed’s throat. They continue trying to pull him away until another soldier arrives and leads him away. As he is walking off, the soldier throws a stun grenade into the middle of the crowd.
Gili Cohen: Palestinian Women, Children Stop IDF Soldier Detaining a Minor (Haaretz)
A Perfect Picture of the Occupation (Haaretz)
The video clearly shows, once again, the truth about a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children. And an army that fights children and chases them as they flee is an army that has lost its conscience.