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Immigrant activist released from detention to have “the freedom to say goodbye” and an orderly departure after being taken into custody based on an 18-year-old conviction that makes him eligible for deportation. Controversy swirls over Republican plans to release House Intelligence Committee memo alleging FBI and Department of Justice improperly surveilled a former Trump administration official. Cleveland Indians to retire longtime logo—Chief Wahoo—that many saw as offensive. Some Democrats plan to boycott tonight’s State of the Union in protest, others plan to go stare the President down or draw attention to priority issues with guests and gestures. —Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today

U.S.

Activist Entitled to ‘Freedom to Say Goodbye,’ Judge Rules
In an impassioned rebuke of the Trump administration’s immigration practices, a Federal District Court judge in Manhattan ordered the immediate release of the immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir, calling his abrupt detention on January 11 unconstitutional and cruel.
NEW YORK TIMES

House Intel Committee votes to release Nunes memo on FBI
The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to publicly release a classified memo by Republicans alleging FBI abuses in the agency’s surveillance, an aggressive move that could feed a GOP push to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and ratchets up a battle with the Justice Department.
CNN

Cleveland Indians Will Abandon Chief Wahoo Logo Next Year
The Cleveland Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms beginning in 2019, according to Major League Baseball, which said the popular symbol was no longer appropriate for use on the field.
NEW YORK TIMES

These Democrats plan to boycott Trump’s State of the Union address
President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address tonight from the U.S. Capitol, but not all of Congress will be in attendance. Trump’s tumultuous first year in office was marked by controversy, leading several Democratic lawmakers to announce that they plan to boycott the speech altogether.
CNN

 
Global

Kenya gov’t turns off TV stations airing opposition event
Kenya press reports that the government has switched off three TV stations after they aired live broadcasts of an event where the opposition is trying to “swear in” its leader Raila Odinga as an alternative president. The attorney general has warned that such a protest act challenging the official president will amount to treason.
ABC NEWS

Since 2016, Myanmar Courts Have Convicted 100% of People Charged Under Telecom Law 66 (d)
The notorious Section 66 (d) provides for up to three years in prison for “extorting, coercing, restraining wrongfully, defaming, disturbing, causing undue influence, or threatening any person using a telecommunications network.” New research shows that the use of Section 66 (d) has produced a 100 percent conviction rate and that penalties issued under the law have been disproportionately harsh.
GLOBAL VOICES

Poland president to review Holocaust bill after Israel outcry
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda says he will review controversial plans to outlaw any suggestion of Polish complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. Israel has fiercely objected to the draft law, which would also make it illegal to describe Nazi death camps in Poland as Polish. Critics say it seeks to limit discussion about Polish involvement.
BBC NEWS

Amnesty workers tried as terrorists? This is the repressive new Turkey
In the past week more than 150 people, including at least four journalists, have been detained in various locations in Turkey on the grounds that they had criticized the Afrin operation in social media posts. They’re being investigated for “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization.”
THE GUARDIAN

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