ISHR/IGFM: Persecution of online activists is an international phenomenon
Trovicor GmbH - German technology for despots
Frankfurt am Main (August 29, 2011) - Thanks to German technology from companies like Trovicor LLC in Munich, authoritarian regimes are more able to focus on Twitter activists, the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR/IGFM) criticizes. Iran, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and many more countries are pursuing Twitter activists with severe and brutal violence. Systematic persecution, high prison sentences and exorbitant bails are integral parts of state terror campaigns that aim to hinder civil society.
Particularly through the use of high-tech software produced abroad, news about web authors in terror states is traced backwards and arrests are made. "Especially terrifying is the fact that many German companies have supplied the necessary technology - Germany is once again an accomplice," criticizes Martin Lessenthin, ISHR/IGFM Spokesman of the Board. Trovicor in Munich, which previously belonged to Nokia-Siemens, is currently one of the most significant German producers of such software. With offices in Dubai, Islamabad and Kuala Lumpur, it is perfectly positioned for such trade - "in order to make the world a safer place," as the company says.
Take for example Bahrain, whose regime vehemently pursues online activists. The well-known human rights activist and twitterer Nabeel Rajab is the best-known example of state censor and repression. Thanks to the monitoring technology "made in Germany," Bahraini authorities are empowered to track down online activists. According to reliable sources, Trovicor software has been used in Bahrain to track down peaceful demonstrators. Kuwait and many other Arab states follow suit in every way.
Asmaa Mahfouz, the best-known persecuted Twitter activist from Egypt, is currently standing trial before a military court. She was charged with having "offended" the military. But, according to some sources, she criticized only the militarys non-intervention to protect the participants of the July 23, 2011 protest rallies. After paying a bail of 20,000 Egyptian Pound (approximately 2,300 Euro), she has temporarily been freed. Mahfouz represents, however, only the most recent case of massive intimidation campaigns by the Egyptian military. It is estimated that since the beginning of 2011, over 10,000 civilians - among them many bloggers and Twitterers - were sentenced to relatively high sentences by military courts.
The ISHR/IGFM believes that bloggers and online activists are severely pursued in order to nip democratic movements in the bud. ISHR/IGFM Spokesman of the Board Martin Lessenthin sees in these events a "terrifying development; particularly, the provision of monitoring software by German companies must be stopped."
Media Award 2011: "No Tolerance for the New Censors - Dictators Fear Internet and Twitter"
This year, too, the ISHR/IGFM is holding its Media Award contest. Its title is "No Tolerance for the New Censors" and seeks to publicize the current developments in the censorship and repression of journalists and online activists. In this way, the new censors will shake the public conscience even more strongly. Because of the oppressive current developments, this is urgently needed.
"No Tolerance for the New Censors - Dictators Fear Internet and Twitter
ISHR/IGFM Human Rights Media Award 2011"
Deadline to enter is October 31, 2011, further info at:
Facebook-page of the International Society for Human Rights: