9th – 15th March

Forty Sahrawi women are reported missing after their detention by the Moroccan authorities in the occupied Sahrawi territories, said the Secretary General of the Union of Sahrawi Jurists, Abba Haisan. Speaking during a press conference in Algiers, Haisan denounced the different forms of repression and torture against Sahrawi activists held in Moroccan prisons.

The execution of seven men in Saudi Arabia after allegedly being forced to “confess” to charges of armed robbery is nothing but an act of sheer brutality, Amnesty International said today. The men were shot by a firing squad this morning in the city of Abha, in the south of the country.Accused of robbery, seven men were arrested in 2005 and 2006. The seven men were arrested in 2005 and 2006 on charges of armed robbery.

The Muslim world hopes in better relations with the Vatican under the new Pope Francis, after years of difficult relations with Benedict XVI, criticized for positions deemed hostile to Islam. The relations of Pope Benedict XVI with Muslims were strained, especially since the speech he gave in 2006 in Regensburg where he seemed to associate Islam with violence.

US President Barack Obama has told an Israeli television channel it would take Iran « over a year or so » to develop a nuclear weapon. Obama said he did not want to « cut it too close » and declined to rule out the possibility of military action. “My message – said Obama – will be the same as before: if we can resolve it diplomatically, that’s a more lasting solution. But if not, I continue to keep all options on the table”.

European Union leaders, at the EU summit in Brussels, debated a French call for the lifting of an embargo so weapons can be provided to insurgents fighting the regime. Britain has also backed lifting the embargo. But other EU governments, including Germany, have resisted the idea. Within the EU, officials said there are concerns that supplying arms to the rebels might only escalate the war and increase the bloodshed. There are also concerns that weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist militants who are fighting the regime.