BahrainMiddle East – North Africa March 17, 2021 Find out more Organisation News Reporters Without Borders is deeply concerned about the conditions in which Bahrain’s detained human rights activists are being held, and calls for an end to their mistreatment and for their families and lawyers to have access to them. Independent experts should also be allowed access in order to evaluate their state of health and the mistreatment allegations.The trial of a total of 25 human rights activists and opposition supporters who were arrested in August and September began on 28 October before a criminal court in Manama. At the end of the hearing, presiding judge Ibrahim al-Zayed ordered an adjournment until 11 November.The defendants are being prosecuted on more than ten different charges including terrorism and defamation but the original charge of plotting to overthrow the government has been dropped. They all pleaded not guilty.All the defendants, including bloggers Abdeljalil Al-Singace and Ali Abdulemam, complained of being denied access to their families and lawyers and being kept in solitary confinement. Defendants also told the court they had been tortured. They said they had been beaten and deprived of sleep since their arrests.Nazar Sadeq al Baharna, the minister responsible for human affairs, denied the allegations, insisting that Bahrain had a zero tolerance policy towards torture. The government issued a statement saying an expert examined 13 of the 25 defendants and found no sign of mistreatment other than “light marks” on the wrists caused by handcuffs.According to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, blogger Abdulemam told the court: “I was subjected to torture, beatings, insults and verbal abuse. They threatened to dismiss my wife and other family members from their jobs. I was interrogated without a lawyer and an officer who appeared to be from the National Security dismissed my denials. He never allowed me to respond to the questions he was asking, but rather answered them himself.”Blogger Al-Singace told the court that he had been subjected to “mental and physical” torture and that his interrogators threatened to rape members of his family. He also said he had been denied the medical care he needed and had been given no medicine although his health was deteriorating rapidly. International observers said only one relative of each defendant was allowed to attend the trial. Observers from Human Rights Watch, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the Bahrain Human Rights Society were denied access to the courtroom.A large number of riot police, backed by helicopters, were deployed around the court building to prevent any demonstration in support of the defendants. News Follow the news on Bahrain BahrainMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives German spyware company FinFisher searched by public prosecutors October 14, 2020 Find out more to go further Tenth anniversary of Bahraini blogger’s arrest News News November 2, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Detained human rights activists allege mistreatment at opening of trial Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts June 15, 2020 Find out more
None of the five largest Dutch pension funds generated positive returns during the second quarter of this year.The best performer on a relative basis was the €389bn civil service scheme ABP, with a return of 0%. In the first six months of 2017 the fund gained 1.9%.However, all schemes saw their funding rise by approximately 2 percentage points, as a consequence of reduced liabilities in the wake of rising interest rates.Despite the steadily improving funding, almost all pension funds remained cautious. Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair, reiterated that indexation was unlikely during the next five years and said that the chance of rights cuts remained as long as coverage was short of 104.2% by 2020.ABP closed the second quarter with a funding level of 96.3%.The scheme’s fixed income holdings produced a 0.7% loss, with long government bonds and emerging market debt (EMD) contributing 0.8% and -3.8%, respectively. EMD was among ABP’s best-performing allocations last year.It said developed markets equity lost 2%, while emerging markets equity generated a 0.2% profit. Private equity and infrastructure yielded positive results of 0.6% and 1.9%, respectively.On commodities, however, ABP lost 10.6%, due to falling oil prices. It also reported negative results on hedge funds (-5.8%) and property (-1%).The scheme’s combined interest and inflation hedge came at the expense of 0.3 percentage point of its overall return. In contrast, its currency hedge contributed 1.8 percentage point.PFZW hit by debt and commodity lossesThe €186bn healthcare scheme PFZW posted a quarterly loss of 0.8%, meaning it lost 0.3% over the first half of the year. Its funding, nevertheless, rose by 1.9 percentage points to 94.2%.The scheme reported positive results from private equity (0.8%), infrastructure (0.5%), government bonds (0.1%), inflation-linked bonds (3.6%) and residential mortgages (0.5%).In contrast, equity (-2.4%), property (-2.7%), credit and high yield (-2.3%), local currency-denominated EMD (-3%) and commodities (-9.7%) all ended up in the red.PFZW’s interest rate and currency hedges contributed 0.9 percentage points to its overall quarterly result.PMT, PME register second quarter lossesPMT, the €67bn sector scheme for metalworking and mechanical engineering, said its funding had improved to 96.6%, despite a 0.6% quarterly loss on investments.The coverage of PME, the pension fund for the metal and electro-technical engineering industry, rose to 95.9%.Despite positive results on equity (0.9%) and property (2.3%), PME also incurred a 0.6% loss and saw its assets drop by €400m to €45bn.BpfBouw, the €54bn scheme for the building sector, said almost all its asset classes had performed negatively.The only exception was its property allocation, which returned 1%, in particular due to the scheme’s investments in Dutch residential property and hotels as well as its holdings in the Asia Pacific region.With a funding of more than 110%, BpfBouw remains in the best financial shape of the five largest schemes.