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Animal Rights Group Files 'Habeas Corpus' Petition To Free Orangutan From Zoo

Animal Rights Group Files 'Habeas Corpus' Petition To Free Orangutan From Zoo

BUENOS AIRES — The right to protection from arbitrary detention, known as Habeas Corpus, is one of humanity's greatest achievements, the fruit of England's Glorious Revolution of 1688. Now, a group of animal-rights activists in Argentina is demanding its application for an orangutan, which they say is being "illegally deprived of its liberty" inside the zoo in Buenos Aires.

The AFADA group has taken legal action on behalf of Sandra — a Sumatran orangutan the daily Clarín showed seated and pulling a pretty green and flowered sheet over its head — alleging it was not only being treated as a prisoner, but had to suffer the "presence of the public staring at it."

Judicial authorities have said habeas corpus does not apply to animals, but that they would investigate to check if Sandra was being mistreated. Buenos Aires judge Mónica Berdión de Crudo told AFADA that the courts would check for violations of a 1954 law to protect animals. The judge noted that this law, unlike habeas corpus, does apply to orangutans.

Photo: AFADA Facebook page

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Society

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.


The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA

Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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