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World news in brief

04 October 2019


In Yemen, one of the released prisoners is greeted by a relative. See gallery for more world news pictures

In Yemen, one of the released prisoners is greeted by a relative. See gallery for more world news pictures

Yemen prisoners’ release boosts hopes for peace

HOUTHI forces in Yemen released almost 300 prisoners last week, raising hope that the Stockholm Agreement between the parties in the conflict would be upheld (News, 18 December 2018). The UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the gesture of goodwill, and said that he hoped that it would lead to a new meeting of the two sides to discuss prisoner releases at the earliest opportunity. In its latest report, covering 6-19 September, the UN’s human-rights office verified 47 civilian casualties, including 18 killed and 29 injured in Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross said that the release of prisoners was a “positive step”.


Iranian pastor on hunger strike over children’s education

A PASTOR, Yousef Nadarkhani, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence in Iran for “acting against the national security” and “promoting Zionist Christianity” (News, 11 May 2018) is on hunger strike to protest against the prohibition of his children from continuing their education. His sons, Yoel and Daniel, have both been denied education because they have not completed Islamic Studies, CSW reports. Pastor Nadarkhani wrote in a letter that his decision strike was “motivated by the necessity to defend my children as members of the Christian minority who are violated by discriminatory measures” taken at the initiative of education officials. CSW’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, called on the Iranian authorities to rectify the situation. 


Southern African Synod evenly split on LGBTQI motion

THE Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s General Synod has remained divided on the issue of guidelines for ministering to LGBTQI people. The Synod was evenly split this week — 75 for, 75 against, with 14 abstentions — on a motion asking the Bishops to prepare guidelines. But the Synod resolved to create a Permanent Provincial Commission on Human Sexuality to “listen and continue to inform and advise”. The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, said that he was disappointed by the division: “The discussion is still painful for everyone, and emotion, prejudice, and fear rather than theological substance dominated this year’s deliberations on both sides.”


Pakistani in blasphemy case freed after 18 years on death row

A PRISONER on death row in Pakistan over a blasphemy conviction has been released after the country’s supreme court acquitted him on lack of evidence, CLAAS reports. The man, Wajih-ul-Hassan, was convicted in 2001 over letters written to a lawyer, and was sentenced to death. The director of CLAAS-UK, Nasir Saeed, said this week: “It is sad that it took too long to get him justice. Although blasphemy is considered a sensitive issue, it is also a serious matter that innocent people have to wait too long to get justice from the Pakistani courts. The Government and courts must play their role to avoid unnecessary delays.”

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