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HUMAN RIGHTS

Bern violated Youssef Nada’s rights: court

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Wednesday that Switzerland violated an elderly Italian-Egyptian man's rights in its application of UN counter-terrorism resolutions.

The 17 judges ruled unanimously that Switzerland violated Youssef Moustafa Nada's "right to respect for private and family life" and the "right to an effective remedy" enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Nada, in his eighties, had been living since 1970 in Campione d'Italia, an Italian enclave inside the Swiss canton of Ticino that is separated from the rest of Italy by mountains and a lake.

Between 1999 and 2002, the UN Security Council adopted a series of resolutions in response to attacks by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, including a travel ban for individuals on the sanctions list.

Because of his suspected financial ties to al-Qaeda, links he denies, Nada's name was added to the UN list — on the initiative of the United States — and Switzerland launched a probe into his activities.

In 2002 on a visit to London, he was arrested and deported back to Italy, and his money confiscated. Later, Ticino revoked his special border-crossing permit and Switzerland denied his requests to enter for medical reasons.

After Italy and Switzerland dismissed their cases against him, Nada requested to be taken off the sanction list, but Switzerland said it was up to the UN to clear him.

It wasn't until years later, in 2009, that Nada's name was removed.

The judges concluded "that the Swiss authorities had not sufficiently taken into account the realities of the case, especially the geographical situation of the Campione d'Italia enclave, the duration of the measures imposed or the applicant's nationality, age and health."

They added that "the applicant did not have any effective means of obtaining the removal of his name and therefore no remedy in respect of the violations of his rights."

The Strasbourg-based court said in a statement: "As it had been possible for Switzerland to decide how the Security Council resolutions were to be implemented in its legal order, it could have been less harsh in imposing the sanctions regime on the applicant."

The court ordered Switzerland to pay Nada €30,000 ($39,000).

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EGYPT

UN rights chief alarmed over Egypt clashes

The United Nations human rights chief in Geneva voiced deep concern on Tuesday over the killing of at least 20 people in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Egypt in recent days.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: worried by Egypt developments. Photo: UNHRC

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was "deeply disturbed" by the deaths in clashes that have raged in Egypt since Friday.
   
He demanded in a statement that Cairo "take urgent measures to bring an end to the excessive use of force by security personnel."
   
Zeid's comments came after 20 people were killed Sunday when protesters clashed with security forces after Islamists called for rallies against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government as Egypt marked the fourth anniversary of the toppling of ex-strongman Hosni Mubarak.
   
Supporters of Mubarak's successor, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, have regularly clashed with security forces since he was ousted by then army chief Sisi in July 2013.
   
Sunday's death toll marked the highest for a single day since Sisi came to office after a landslide election victory last May.
   
"Hundreds of people have died during protests against successive governments since January 2011, and there has been very little in the way of accountability," Zeid said.
   
"The lack of justice for past excesses by security forces simply encourages them to continue on the same path," he warned, pointing out that this was "leading to more deaths and injuries, as we have seen in recent days."
   
The statement said that the death of a leading female activist, Shaimaa Al Sabagh, was caught "on video and in photographs posted on the Internet after she had apparently been shot from behind during a peaceful protest in central Cairo."
   
At least 97 people had also reportedly been injured in clashes in a range of cities, including Cairo, the statement said.
   
"I have in the past urged the Egyptian authorities to take urgent measures to ensure that any excessive use of force by security personnel is promptly investigated, alleged perpetrators are put on trial and victims have access to
justice and compensation," Zeid said.
   
He also decried numerous arrests over the weekend.
   
More than 500 backers of Egypt's blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood were also arrested, in the biggest police sweep targeting Morsi's supporters in a single day since Sisi came to power.
   
"All those who have been detained for protesting peacefully must be released," Zeid said, insisting that the long-term stability of Egypt is only possible if fundamental human rights are respected."
   
"Otherwise people's grievances will fester and feelings of injustice will grow, creating fertile ground for further social and political unrest," he warned.