A woman in Timbuktu says she was lashed by Islamist militants for talking to a man who wasn’t her husband. Salaka Djicke was caught talking to her lover on 31 December last year and was then sentenced to 95 lashings by a Islamic tribunal on 3 January. Djicke fell in love with the married man after he accidentally called when dialling a wrong number more than a year ago, and their relationship quickly blossomed. When Islamic extremists occupied Northern Mali in April 2012, Shariah law was quickly implemented, forbidding women from communicating with men. Her punishment was captured on film by local residents. The man — who Dijcke didn’t name in fear of rebel fighters returning — remains in Mali’s capital after fleeing the night they were discovered. Prior to France’s intervention in Northern Mali earlier this year, Islamist militants introduced strict Shariah law, issuing punishments such as flogging and stoning for perpetrators.
On 6 February, a radio station owner was murdered in Paraguay. Marcelino Vázquez was shot by unknown assailants as he left work at Sin Fronteras 98.5 FM in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero. He was on his way from the radio station to a local night club he also owned, but was stopped by two men on a motorcycle and shot several times. While Sin Fronteras is predominately music-focused, it features a regular news show covering a variety of issues. A parliamentary coup in June 2012 and the subsequent removal of President Fernando Lugo has had a negative impact on freedom of information and expression in Paraguay.
Lawyers for three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot are appealing their convictions at the European Court of Human Rights. Representatives for Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Natalia Tolokonnikova are in Strasbourg today (7 February), after they filed a complaint on 6 February against their two year prison sentences. They said the convictions violated four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to free speech, fair trial, liberty and security and the prohibition of torture.The trio was first sentenced following their “punk-prayer” performed at Moscow’s main cathedral in February 2012 protesting Vladimir Putin’s return to power.
A radio journalist was shot on his way to work in Peru on 6 February. At the time of the attack, Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo was driving to the Radio Max station where he worked, in the town of Imperial. He was shot in the leg by an unknown assailant and is expected to make a full recovery and return to work soon. Yaya, who hosts radio show Sin Escape (Without Escape), has never faced threats in the past but police said the attack was likely the result of his journalistic work, as the perpetrators didn’t attempt to steal anything. Yaya said the attack could have resulted from his reporting on the poor construction of a community building in the nearby town of Nuevo Imperial.
Residents of a town in Japan have complained about the erection of replica statues of Michelangelo’s David, requesting that he wear underpants. Okuizumo citizens told town officials that the 16-foot renaissance sculpture’s exposed penis could frighten their children, as some of the replicas, funded by a local business man, were installed in a local park where children often play. Most of the town’s 15,000 residents approved the Renaissance art tributes, and no plans have been made to clothe the statue. Japan has stringent laws regarding nudity. While watching and distributing porn is legal in the country, the country’s authorities request that genitalia be pixelated.