Saudi Arabia arrests key activist in human rights crackdown

Mohammed al-Bajadi held along with women who campaigned for right to drive

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on human rights activists has continued with the arrest of its most prominent human rights campaigner, Mohammed al-Bajadi, Amnesty International has said.

Related: The Guardian view on Saudi women drivers: going backward | Editorial

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Georgia accuses Russia of war crimes during 2008 conflict

Tbilisi says Russia bombed civilian areas, in closing evidence at human rights court

Georgia has accused Russia of war crimes, human rights violations and a “rampage” across its territory during the military conflict between the countries almost 10 years ago.

In closing evidence before the European court of human rights in Strasbourg on Wednesday, the Georgian government said Moscow was guilty of multiple violations during the fighting in August 2008.

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Venezuela has fallen to a dictator. But we can help to restore democracy | Reynaldo Trombetta

Nicolás Maduro has brought the country to its knees. The international community must support Venezuelans trying to restore democracy

The descent of Venezuela into a dictatorship has resembled the fable of the boy that cried wolf. Back in July 2000, when Hugo Chávez won his first re-election, many in the opposition, surprised by his sudden rise in popularity, claimed electoral fraud. Since then, it seems, the norm has been for the opposition to accuse the government of stealing elections, without presenting enough evidence to gain the support of the international community. This has made it difficult for many outside Venezuela to label the regime a dictatorship. Until now.

It has never been clearer that Nicolás Maduro – who cynically described this weekend’s vote as “a triumph of democracy” – is a dictator. Dozens of countries throughout Europe and the Americas warned that the fraudulent presidential elections should not occur and are now refusing to recognise the results.

Related: The Observer view on Venezuela’s need for profound change, not a sham poll | Observer editorial

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Home Office under fire over ‘muddled’ strategy on slavery that fails victims

Resignation of anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland prompts scrutiny of Theresa May’s flagship policy

Anti-trafficking campaigners have accused the Home Office of a “muddled and inconsistent” strategy over modern slavery that is failing its victims, following the resignation of Britain’s first anti-slavery commissioner.

Kevin Hyland, appointed by Theresa May when she was home secretary, stepped down last week after nearly four years in the role as champion of her flagship policy to make prosecutions easier and protect victims of modern slavery, citing government interference.

Related: Child slavery victim sues Home Office after sexual assault at Morton Hall

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'told to expect another conviction'

Husband reports comments by judge after British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran appears in court

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman serving a five-year jail sentence in Tehran, has been told to expect another conviction after she went to court to face new charges, her husband has said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 39, who has been in prison for two years, was taken to court on Saturday for “spreading propaganda against the state”, despite claims of diplomatic progress.

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Further arrests of Saudi women's rights activists in escalating crackdown

Ten leading campaigners reportedly held as media denounce women as ‘traitors’ for supporting end to ban on female drivers

At least 10 prominent Saudi activists, mostly women’s rights campaigners, have now been reported to have been arrested in what appears to be an escalating clampdown ahead of the much-vaunted lifting of the prohibition on women driving in the kingdom on 24 June.

The arrests, with more feared by human rights campaigners, come amid a high-profile campaign in Saudi media outlets and on social media denouncing the women as “traitors”.

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Russian 'dirty money' is damaging UK security, MPs say

Government must stop money laundering by ‘kleptocrats and rights abusers’, which is helping Putin subvert international rules

A powerful committee of MPs has warned that the government is putting national security at risk by allowing “kleptocrats and human rights abusers to use the City of London to launder their ill-gotten funds to circumvent sanctions”.

The foreign affairs select committee said the government’s lax approach to tackling international money laundering is putting money “directly into the hands of regimes that would harm the UK, its interests and its allies”.

Related: Breaking Bad to the Paradise Papers: all you need to know about money laundering

Successeful @GazpromEN bonds sales in London with demand three times higher than the placing (€750 mln). Business as usual? pic.twitter.com/oJWa5J5Fut

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In Erdoğan’s warped world, even intellectuals are now ‘terrorists’ | Kenan Malik

Turkey’s president is destroying civil society, hardly noted when he was here last week

Imagine a seminar in London. Around the table are Blairites and Corbynistas, Ukippers and Remainers, Scottish Nationalists and Tory Eurosceptics, Islamists and English Defence Leaguers, radical feminists and transgender activists. All discussing Britain’s political future, with deep disagreements but with mutual respect.

It would be difficult to picture this in London. Still less that a similar seminar could take place in Istanbul. Yet, when I gave a lecture there last September, that was just what it felt like. I was talking about populism and immigration. In the room were students of all political persuasions: supporters of the ruling Justice and Development party and critics, liberals and social democrats, Turkish nationalists, Kurds and Armenians. They had deeply differing views, but all had a commitment to open dialogue.

Related: Erdoğan ends UK state visit by calling jailed journalists 'terrorists'

Fear and self-censorship are like smoke. It seeps everywhere, and it gets thicker every day. We cannot breathe anymore

Related: Campaigners call for UK to act on rights as Turkish president arrives

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Australia's lame response to Anwar Ibrahim’s detention was a mistake | Elaine Pearson

The region looks to Australia as a functioning democracy. We shouldn’t sideline human rights issues for trade and security ties

They say when you go to prison, you find out who your real friends are. And you remember who dumped you, or forgot about you, or who didn’t do all they could to get you out.

On Wednesday, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop was quick off the mark in welcoming the release of Malaysia’s jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. She said “We have followed Anwar’s trial and incarceration closely and have expressed concern to the previous Malaysian Government.”

Related: Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim released from prison

Related: At last, tyranny has ended in Malaysia. Now let’s build an open society | Nurul Izzah Anwar

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Imprisoned, threatened and silenced: human rights workers across Asia are in danger | Andrew Gilmour

From the Philippines to Cambodia and Myanmar, civil society – and the people who defend it – are under attack

In February, hundreds of Filipino participants in the peace process, environmental activists and human rights defenders were labeled “terrorists” by their own government. The security of the individuals on this list is at stake, and some have fled the Philippines.

The UN independent expert on the rights of indigenous peoples – Victoria Tauli-Corpuz – was on this list. This followed the vilification only months before of another UN independent expert – Agnès Callamard – who deals with extra-judicial executions. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared that he wanted to slap her, and later announced that he would like to throw other UN human rights officials to the crocodiles. The national commission on human rights in the Philippines was threatened with a zero budget and its former chair, Senator Leila de Lima, is in detention for her advocacy.

Those working for religious freedom have been called “anti-Islam”, they and their families threatened or harassed.

Related: ‘Slow genocide’: Myanmar’s invisible war on the Kachin Christian minority

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