02 July 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Iraq to begin manual recount of national election votes on Tuesday
by Gulf News, 30 Jun 2018

Baghdad: Iraq will begin a manual recount of votes on Tuesday from a May parliamentary election clouded by allegations of fraud, a step towards the formation of a new parliament and government.

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Syria: southern towns surrender to Assad forces after thousands flee homes
by Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian, 30 Jun 2018

Several southern Syrian towns have surrendered to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, after more than a week of fierce attacks forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.
The United Nations says fighting has driven 160,000 people from their homes, towards borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Both countries say they will not allow any Syrians to cross.

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UN talks help stall Saudi-led assault on strategic Yemen port
by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 29 Jun 2018

A full-scale assault on the strategic Yemen port of Hodeidah by a Saudi-led coalition has been forestalled by discussions about the possibility of a wider ceasefire. This includes handing over the port to the UN for supervision, the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has said.
He was speaking for the first time about his private efforts to mediate an end to the conflict around the port, which has the potential to lead to a blockade of the badly-needed aid required to keep Yemen from a drastic shortage of food, water and oil.

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Egypt: Verdicts expected for 739 defendants in grotesque mass death penalty trial
by Amnesty International, 29 Jun 2018

The mass trial of 739 people, many facing the death penalty on charges related to participation in the al-Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013, is a grotesque parody of justice, Amnesty International said ahead of the verdicts expected to be handed down by a Cairo Criminal Court tomorrow.
Among the defendants is journalist and prisoner of conscience Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”, detained while working as a photojournalist documenting the protest. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

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