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New report reveals press freedom nearly eradicated in Hong Kong – JURIST

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A new report released Tuesday warns that press freedom in Hong Kong has been almost completely curtailed by government crackdowns, creating a space for pro-Beijing and pro-government media outlets. The report, by the UK-based advocacy group Hong Kong Watch, is based on interviews with journalists currently in exile and reports from Hong Kong press associations. The crackdown, which began in 2019, has led to the closure of almost all independent and pro-democracy media outlets. Eighteen journalists have been arrested under the 2020 National Security Act, with at least twelve currently in prison awaiting trial. The public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has lost its editorial independence and its archive and Twitter history have been deleted. There are restrictions on access to public records and a new police definition of “journalist” that restricts journalists and citizen journalists. Foreign correspondents face challenges in acquiring or renewing visas, and critics are attacked and harassed by pro-government media. All of this contributes to a chilling effect on the reporting of the few remaining independent media outlets. The report recommends several actions that the international community can take in response to the crackdown. These include greater control of the situation in the city, demanding the release of journalists and media executives currently in prison, collaborating with international mechanisms such as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion, issuing emergency travel for journalists at risk of arrest and even punitive measures against the Hong Kong government, including targeted sanctions. The executive director of Hong Kong Watch and author of the report, Benedict Rogers, called press freedom “a fundamental pillar of any free and open society”, and urged the international community to “help the brave journalists who continue to take risks to do your job in Hong Kong.” He also urged that “those responsible for dismantling Hong Kong’s press freedom face the consequences and not be allowed to get away with it.”

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US Supreme Court Rejects Prison Clerk’s Qualified Immunity Case – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court declined to consider whether jail officials who “unreasonably respond” to “obvious risk” are protected by qualified immunity. Derek Monroe was placed on suicide watch while in a Texas jail by jail administrator Mary Jo Brixey. Monroe attempted suicide. Sheriff Leslie Cogdill reportedly spoke with Monroe and reflected concerns about Monroe’s mental health on his intake form. However, Cogdill and Jesse Laws, the jailer on duty, placed Monroe alone in a cell with a 30-inch rope. According to court documents, “prison policy, prison training, and common sense directed officers not to isolate an inmate known to be suicidal in a cell with an obvious potential ligation.” monroe The petition states that “[c]Requesting emergency assistance was a precaution Laws knew he should have taken. A trial court held that defendants Law, Cogdill and Brixey were not entitled to qualified immunity. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. Justice Sotomayor dissented from the court’s denial, calling Laws’ inaction an “inexplicable and unreasonable decision” that showed a “deliberate disregard for Monroe’s life or death.” -medical necessities of death.”

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Uzbekistan: Protests in autonomous republic over proposed constitutional reform – JURIST

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Protests erupted in Nukus, the capital of Uzbekistan’s autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, on Friday over a proposed constitutional reform. According to a statement from the government of the region: Despite the policy of openness and free expression of will followed by the Republic of Uzbekistan, on July 1, 2022 in Nukus, a criminal group of people organized illegal actions expressed in an attempt to take over the state. administrative bodies of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The demonstrators were protesting the planned removal of the section of the current constitution that allows Karakalpakstan the right to secede from Uzbekistan by referendum. This has caused outrage among the ethnic Karakalpak, who make up the majority of the population of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpaks from neighboring Kazakhstan held a round table discussion on the proposed change. One speaker, Rustem Matekov, stated that the day of the referendum on the new version of the constitution will be “the day of the funeral of the people of the Republic of Karakalpakstan”. However, the president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has challenged this view, saying: We, two peoples, have become one, we are blood relatives. Previously, the regions did not know the streets of Karakalpakstan or Nukus, but now we work as one people, the youth of Karakalpakstan achieve great results. […] I respect the Karakalpak people with all my heart and I can proudly say that I am a son not only of the Uzbeks, but also of the Karakalpak people. Removal is not the only proposal on the table. Other proposals include strengthening civil rights and extending the presidential term from five to seven years, which would allow Mirziyoyev to run again despite having served two consecutive terms.

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US Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions on state abortion laws – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down three orders issued by lower courts in Arizona, Indiana and Arkansas that had invalidated abortion at the state level based on Roe v. Wade. This follows the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe last Friday. The now-overturned Arizona ruling had stopped a state law criminalizing abortions performed on fetuses with non-lethal genetic abnormalities, of which Down syndrome is one. The injunction targeted relevant portions of four clauses of Senate Bill 1457, which makes it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion “knowing that the abortion is sought solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” The law also requires the doctor to sign an affidavit stating that the abortion is not performed for this reason and to inform the patient of the illegality of abortions due to genetic abnormalities. Finally, it requires doctors to inform the State when a genetic abnormality has been detected. This law was challenged in Brnovich v. Isaacson in 2021, and the injunction was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arkansas’s 2019 ruling in Little Rock Planning Services v. Rutledge passed three laws that prohibited abortion in various circumstances. Arkansas Code, Title 20, Chapter 26, Law 493 prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Law 619 prohibits all abortions solely on the basis of having a reason to believe that the fetus has Down syndrome, with the same exceptions. Law 700 requires that the person performing an abortion be a doctor licensed in obstetrics and gynecology. The federal court order of these laws was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Indiana, a 2017 ruling in the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky had mandated a law that prohibited abortions before 20 weeks in several cases. . The law, Indiana Code Chapter 16-34-4, prohibits abortions before 20 weeks if the abortion was for demographic, sexual, or fetal disability reasons. Specifically, abortion is prohibited if sought because of the possibility of a genetically inherited disease, defect, or disorder, whether or not it has been screened for or any risk is present. This includes, but is not limited to, Down syndrome and any mental, physical and intellectual disabilities. Abortions related to the sex of the fetus, or its race, color, national origin, or ancestry, are also prohibited. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the injunction. The three laws imposed by the precautionary measures will take effect immediately. These cases will be sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.

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