Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SUDAN: Women & Girls Lack Reproductive Health Care - Human Rights Watch Report & Video

Human Rights Watch, May 22, 2017, 

(Nairobi) – Most women and girls in the rebel-held Nuba Mountains of Sudan lack access to reproductive health care, including emergency obstetric care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. 
The report, “No Control, No Choice: Lack of Access to Reproductive Healthcare in Rebel-Held Southern Kordofan,” documents how women and girls cannot get contraception and have little access to health care... The Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA/M-North), have both obstructed impartial humanitarian aid.
“Women and girls in the Nuba Mountains are suffering and dying from years without access to life-saving humanitarian aid,” said Skye Wheeler, a women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Sudanese government and armed opposition need to put the people first, and should immediately smooth the way for impartial and independent aid agencies to reach the area.”

CLICK HERE to View Video (2'13")

Monday, May 29, 2017

UGANDA: Dr. Stella Nyanzi Detained - NEWS

Amnesty International, April 2017

Uganda: Detention of feminist academic for criticizing president is a travesty.

A Ugandan university lecturer who criticized the President and his wife on Facebook must be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, after she was charged in court with insulting the President and violating his right to privacy under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011. Her prosecution violates Uganda’s obligations regarding the right to freedom of expression under the country’s Constitution, as well as regional and international human rights law.

Dr Stella Nyanzi, a single mother of three, has repeatedly criticized President Yoweri Museveni and the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the Education and Sports Minister, for the government’s failure to fulfil its commitment to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls. The feminist academic was arrested on 7 April. She pleaded not guilty in court today and was remanded in custody until 25 April.

“Lack of sanitary towels is one of the leading causes of girls dropping out of school in Uganda. Dr Nyanzi has led a campaign to ensure girls continue to attend school with dignity during their periods and, instead of commending her, the authorities have harassed, intimidated and now arrested her,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“Arresting Nyanzi simply for criticising the President and his wife serves no legitimate purpose. The state should stop wasting resources on pointless and politically-motivated prosecutions, immediately drop all charges against her and release her unconditionally.

PERU: Maxima Acuna wins Supreme Court Case - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International New Zealand; May 23, 2017

Máxima Acuña wins Supreme Court case
After five years fighting unfounded criminal charges in Peru, Máxima is free. Having withstood harassment, attacks, eviction attempts by the Peruvian National Police, and charges of "land invasion", the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that there was no reason to pursue this groundless trial.

Amnesty International visited Máxima in February, delivering all 150,000 of your solidarity letters as part of Write for Rights. She said, "Keep on supporting, helping, and not just me, OK? There are many women suffering from this kind of ill treatment, all kinds of abuse. Support them all."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Amnesty International - Happy Birthday, May 28, 1961
Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson lights a candle — the symbol of Amnesty. (“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” — Chinese proverb)

“Only when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’s people, will our work be done.”
Peter Benenson [1921-2005] — Founder of Amnesty International
Click here for more information

Friday, May 26, 2017

Amnesty International - Australia: 
May Newsletter

In Victoria, children as young as 15 were being held in a maximum security adult prison. Reports emerged that some kids were pepper sprayed, beaten by guards and even locked up for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement – but thanks to you, that's no longer a reality for these kids. For more information: Click here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

IRAN: Reprisal for Speaking Out MARYAM AKBARI MONFARED - Urgent Action

Amnesty International Urgent Action, May 22, 2017

Prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared has been threatened with an additional three-year prison term and exile to a remote prison. This was in reprisal for her open letters seeking truth and justice for her siblings who were extrajudicially executed in 1988. She has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison since 2009 serving a 15-year sentence.

 On 13 May, Maryam Akbari Monfared’s husband Hassan Jafari Hatam presented himself to a Ministry of Intelligence office in Tehran after being summoned by telephone for interrogation. He was given no reasons for the summons. Hassan Jafari Hatam has said that at the Ministry, intelligence officials verbally abused him and threatened that his wife would face an additional three-year prison term and exile to a remote prison in Sistan-Baluchestan province, south-eastern Iran. They said that these threats would be implemented unless she stopped writing open letters about the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political prisoners, including two of her siblings, who were extrajudicially executed in the summer of 1988. Maryam Akbari Monfared has written several open letters since October 2016 when she filed a formal complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office. She is seeking an official investigation into the 1988 massacre, the location of the mass graves where the prisoners’ bodies were buried, and the identity of the perpetrators. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

TURKEY: First LGBTI Choir Sings for Tolerance - NEWS & VIDEO

BBC NEWS, May 21, 2017, Video, 1 min. 37 seconds

Turkey's first LGBTI choir sings for tolerance.

Turkey's gay community says it feels under threat as the government promotes a more conservative identity.
But a choir that is open to all is helping people overcome their fears.

The Seven Colours Association choir in the port city of Mersin has changed the lives of its gay and straight members.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Mr Hakainde Hichilema was arrested on 10 April. He has been charged with treason over allegations of obstructing the Presidential motorcade as it was on the way to a traditional ceremony held in the Western Province on 8 April. Treason is a non-bail able offense punishable by death in Zambia. Hakainde Hichilema is being detained at Lilayi Police Camp, a police training school outside Lusaka.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CAMBODIA: Land Rights Defender Imprisoned - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International, Australia, 05-16-2017

Tep Vanny is a symbol of peaceful activism in Cambodia, but she’s now in prison for bravely defending the rights of others in her community. 

In central Phnom Penh, authorities have forcibly evicted thousands of families from their homes, but Vanny won’t stand for it. 

For almost 10 years she’s been fighting for justice in her community, and along with other brave activists, she’s been targeted by authorities, harassed, beaten, arrested and imprisoned. 

The government are attempting to silence her voice and show activists like her what can happen if they speak out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IRAN: In Their Own Words, PODCAST

IRAN,May 14, 2017, Podcast, 48 min.

In 2014, 30-year-old Atena was arrested for a cartoon that she had drawn a few months previously. The art student had depicted members of the Iranian government as monkeys in parliament, in response to new government plans to significantly roll back women's rights and reproductive rights for all in the country.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

IRAN: Kurdish human rights defender Mohammad Sadiq released - NEWS

IRAN, May 11, 2017

In response to today’s release of Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:
“The release of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand today, after a decade-long ordeal in prison, is long overdue. He was wrongfully imprisoned on trumped up charges and it is utterly deplorable that he was forced to spend the past 10 years of his life behind bars. His case is yet another illustration of the extreme lengths to which the Iranian authorities will go to criminalize the legitimate work of human rights defenders and journalists.”

USA: Thomas Arthur, to be executed May 25 - 30 years on death row - URGENT ACTION

USA:  May 5, 2017
Urgent Action: Execution Re-Set After 30 Years On Death Row (USA: UA 103.17)

Thomas Arthur, aged 75, is due to be executed in Alabama on 25 May. This is his eighth execution date since 2001, three times coming within a day of being killed. He maintains his innocence. This would be the first execution under the current Alabama governor.

Please call upon the governor to stop his execution.  

No physical evidence links Thomas Arthur to the crime and there is concern that the state has blocked advanced DNA testing in this case.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

IRAN: Jailed Human Rights Defender in Poor Health; Atena Daemi - URGENT ACTION UPDATE


Following 31 days of hunger strike in Tehran's Evin prison, Atena Daemi is in poor health, and requires immediate hospitalization. She has been unjustly imprisoned for her human rights activities since November 2016. 

 According to her family, Atena’s health has seriously deteriorated. She is believed to have lost about 12 kg of her weight. She is suffering from sustained nausea, vomiting, blood pressure fluctuations, and severe kidney pain. She briefly lost consciousness on 2 May. She was briefly transferred to a hospital outside prison on 8 May where some medical tests were carried out but she was returned to prison before even the test results came in. Doctors have warned that her kidney infection has reached critical levels and she needs immediate hospitalization. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SAUDIA ARABIA: Man to be executed for being atheist - CARE2 ONLINE PETITION

Saudi Arabia has condemned a young man to death. His crime? He's an atheist.

Ahmad Al Shamri is a 20-something-year-old in Saudi Arabia who spends time doing what many do  — using social media to share views on life, religion, and the world. But when he revealed online that he was an atheist, the Saudi authorities took notice and immediately came after him.

A Saudi Arabian court first sentenced Mr. Shamri to death in February 2015, but he appealed the verdict and has spent years in prison waiting for the court to overturn the punishment. Now, the Saudi Supreme Court has issued its final verdict: Mr. Shamri will be killed for his beliefs.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

IRAN: Azizi Mirmahaleh, Hamid Ahmadi, Keyan Karimi, SallarShadizadi - GOOD NEWS

 Azizi Mirmahaleh was granted permission to stay in Canada. She feared violent treatment on behalf of the Iranian government if deported due to her involvement in an opposition party.

Hamid Ahmadi:  Iranian authorities informed Ahmadi's family that they have decided to drop plans for execution.

Keywan Karimi:  Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was released from Tehran’s Evin prison on 19 April 2017. He had been imprisoned since 23 November 2016. Keywan Karimi was a prisoner of conscience. 

Salar Shadizadi, one of the juvenile offenders on death row on whom Amnesty International has campaigned since July 2015, has been released!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

SYRIA: Father of Three Missing for 1403 days - URGENT ACTION

Urgent Action: Syrian Father Of Three Missing For 1403 Days (Syria: 101.17)

Today (May 5, 2017) is Ali Mohammed Mostafa’s 55th birthday. He is a father of three who has been forcibly disappeared for nearly four years, and his family still has no information about his fate or whereabouts. On 2 July 2013, Ali went missing after being taken from his family home in Damascus.
On 2 July 2013, Ali Mohammed Mostafa, a businessman originally from Masyaf in Hama countryside, was at his family home in Damascus when he was arrested by Syrian government forces. On that morning, the neighbors informed his wife upon her arrival home that Syrian government forces raided the house, wrecked the furniture, tore clothes and papers, and arrested Ali at around 10:00 am. Since then, and despite various and continuous requests, Ali’s family has not received any confirmed information about his fate or whereabouts, which remain unknown.
Ali Mohammed Mostafa was detained twice before. In 2006, he was arrested by Syrian government forces after attempting to resolve a local dispute in his town. Then, when the protests started in Syria in 2011, Ali participated in peaceful demonstrations and in a local committee created to provide aid to internally displaced people who had fled the violence in Hama. For this, he was detained in August 2011 for a month and a half. 

A close family member told Amnesty: “We do not know whether he is dead or alive. It torments us every day. Our only wish is that Ali celebrates his 56th birthday among us”.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

MYANMAR: Lahpai Gam, Prisoner of Conscience - URGENT ACTION

Urgent Action Update: Immediately Release Kachin Prisoner Of Conscience (Myanmar: UA 83.17)

Lahpai Gam has been discharged from hospital following some improvements to his health. Returned to a prison in Kachin State, he is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released and, in the meantime, provided with access to necessary health care and treatment.
Lahpai Gam was sent back to Myitkyina prison, Kachin State northern Myanmar on 20 April 2017, after his anal bleeding stopped and it was decided that his health had sufficiently improved. Requiring several blood transfusions for anal bleeding and serious stomach problems, he had been hospitalised since March 2017. Lahpai Gam suffers from ongoing health concerns, some likely due to torture he was subjected to at the time of his arrest in 2012.  

Lahpai Gam was arrested, along with six other people, by Myanmar army officials in June 2012 in Kachin State. Working as a herdsman tending cows at the time, he was held incommunicado for almost a month before being transferred to Myitkyina prison. Lahpai Gam was tortured by the military during interrogation. In addition to being beaten with an iron rod and having a bamboo stick rolled up and down his knees, he was forced into same-sex intercourse with another male inmate. 

Lahpai Gam was charged in 2012 with being a member of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) under Article 17(1) of the 1908 Unlawful Association Act and with four counts under the 1908 Explosive Substances Act. He was sentenced to a total of twenty years’ imprisonment. However, due to insufficient evidence, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions for the Unlawful Association Act and two counts under the Explosive Substances Act. 

The two remaining charges under the Explosive Substances Act which relate to bombs that were planted near different bridges in Kachin State were upheld on the basis of a confession letter dated from the time he was tortured and held incommunicado. Lahpai Gam was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment under these charges, however according to sources, he maintains that he is solely a farmer and not a member of the KIA and has never signed a confession letter nor planted the bombs. 

CLICK HERE to Learn More and to TAKE ACTION

USA: Journalist charged while covering Dakota Access Pipeline demonstration - TAKE ACTION

Jenni Monet, an independent journalist, was arrested February 1, 2017 while covering a demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

Despite displaying a valid press pass, Jenni was arrested while complying with a request to leave the premises. 

She was strip-searched, held for five hours in a chain-link holding cage, detained for 30 hours total and then charged with rioting and trespassing. 

Freedom of the press is a right that must be respected and protected in order for each of us to enjoy a free and open society. 

Demand that charges against Jenni be dropped!

My arrest came as a total surprise: I had press credentials, I had explained that I was a journalist, and I was in the process of lawfully exiting the area.

And yet, I was handcuffed, loaded onto a school bus, strip-searched, held for hours in a metal cage and detained for a total of 30 hours.

Now, I am facing criminal charges—trespassing and rioting—simply for my work as a journalist.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

IRAN: Dutch-Iranian Prisoner Denied Heart Surgery, URGENT ACTION

Dutch-Iranian national Sabri Hassanpour, who has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest on 19 April 2016, is being denied urgently needed open heart surgery by the Iranian authorities. He had a heart attack in prison in November 2016.
Sabri Hassanpour, a 60-year-old Dutch-Iranian national who has been detained for over a year in Evin prison, is in dire health. He suffered a heart attack on 15 November 2016 in Evin prison and was taken to a hospital outside prison where a cardiologist told him that he urgently needed open heart surgery. He has a pre-existing heart condition for which he has previously undergone several coronary angioplasties to unblock arteries around his heart. He currently has constant pain in his chest and around his heart. His cell mates have taken him to the prison clinic numerous times but the doctors there simply treat him with intravenous (IV) fluids and send him back to his cell. He has also been frequently collapsing in prison after losing consciousness. The authorities have told him that he must pay for his open heart surgery, which he has explained he cannot afford. This is in breach of international law, which requires that states provide medical care for all prisoners, free of charge and without discrimination.