World parliaments criticize Israel, Cambodia

July 15, 2010

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GENEVA—Representatives of world parliaments on Thursday criticized Israel, Cambodia and 19 other countries for their treatment of lawmakers.

The chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's human rights committee, Rosario Green, urged Israel not to deport Palestinian lawmakers Mohammed Abu Teir, Mohammed Totah and Ahmed Abu Atoun after they were recently released from prison.

The three were ordered expelled from Jerusalem for links to Hamas. But Green, a former Mexican foreign minister, said the expulsion violates the lawmakers' human rights.

Green's panel also called a Cambodian defamation case against opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua a "complete travesty of justice."

Mu Sochua faces up to six months in prison after refusing to pay a court-ordered fine for defaming Cambodia's prime minister.

Other countries scrutinized by the committee for their treatment of lawmakers included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Iraq, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In one of its harshest criticisms, the panel slammed Russia for failing to bring to justice the murderers of Galina Starovoitova, who was gunned down in the stairwell of her St. Petersburg apartment building in 1998.

"We have been urging the Russian Federation for now 12 years to investigate more deeply into the masterminding of the assassination," said panel member Sharon Carstairs, a Canadian senator, explaining why the previously confidential case was now being highlighted.

"It is clear that they are not trying to get to the bottom of her assassination," said Carstairs. "We believe therefore that it is necessary to make this a public case, in order for her murderers -- those who are ultimately responsible for her murder -- to be brought to justice."

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