We Did It! A Victory for VAWA
Mohamed Zain Al-Abideen, the Dean of the College of Higher Education at the University of Al Zaiem Al Azhari in Omdurman, was arrested on 20 February by National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents after leaving his office at the university campus. He was taken to the NISS headquarters, where he was interrogated for an hour and a half about an article he wrote, in which he criticized Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on the issue of government corruption and nepotism. Mohamed Zain Al-abideen was subsequently transferred to Kober Prison in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. He was detained for 15 days in a 2m x 2.5m cell, with no access to a lawyer or contact with his family. He was released on 4 March without charge.
Georges Moubayed, a jeweller aged 62, was abducted after leaving his house in the Jaramana district of the Syrian capital Damascus on 10 January 2012. It was not known where he was being held, and on 12 January, his family received a phone-call in which he said he had been shot in the leg. The abductors demanded a ransom of 30 million Syrian Lira (about $500,000) for his release. He was released at the end of January 2012. There is currently no other information regarding the conditions surrounding his detention or release.
Around 15 men detained in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital, during a protest held on 16 December have been released. Around 12 were set free without charge after they were reportedly made to sign pledges that they would not participate in protests in the future. The remaining three were released after being tried and sentenced to suspended prison terms of up to five months.
Former prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer García told Amnesty International how he had been arrested in Havana on 21 February and held in police custody. He was transferred to a detention facility in the province of Camagüey the following day, and then to the province of Santiago de Cuba on 23 February before being released without charge on 24 February. While detained he was threatened with imprisonment if he continued his dissident activities as coordinator of the umbrella group of dissident organizations Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU).