Thursday, August 31, 2017

MALDIVES: Death Penalty Reinstatement Looms - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, August 30, 2017

According to statements by the Maldives President, the death penalty would be implemented ‘by the end of September’. If carried out, these would be the first executions in the country in over 60 years. The Maldives Supreme Court upheld the convictions and death sentences of three men in mid-2016, who could be at imminent risk of execution.

Three prisoners facing the death sentence, Hussain Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath and Mohamed Nabeel are believed to be at imminent risk of execution. According to media reports, President Abdulla Yameen reiterated on 6 August his commitment to carry out the executions “by the end of September”. The names of the prisoners involved in the scheduled executions have not been disclosed, however this announcement followed information received by Amnesty International on 19 July 2017, indicating that the authorities were preparing for imminent executions. 

SYRIA: Day of the Disappeared - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, Canada, August 30th, 2017

The Day of the Disappeared is a somber reminder that every year thousands of people are subjected to what is known legally as “enforced disappearance”. The legal term may be clunky, but the human story is simple: People literally disappear from their loved ones and their community when state officials – or others acting with state consent – grab them from the street or from their homes and then deny it, or refuse to say where they are. It is a crime under international law.  More than 75,000 people have vanished or have been forcibly disappeared in Syria since 2011.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Amnesty International, USA, August 29, 2017.

On June 8, 2011, Verónica Razo was walking to pick up her children from school in Mexico City when she was suddenly stopped by a group of men without uniforms and abducted. They took her to a Federal Police warehouse where she was held for 24 hours and tortured. She was beaten, subjected to near asphyxiation and electric shocks, and repeatedly raped by several police officers. 

Verónica was threatened, and forced to sign a “confession” admitting to abduction and other crimes she didn’t commit. Medical examinations from the time of her arrest show multiple injuries all over her body. Amnesty International has reviewed Verónica Razo’s case and finds no evidence that Verónica committed any of the crimes she has been accused of, except for the testimonies that were obtained through torture and other grave violations of due process. 

It has been almost 6 years since Verónica’s arrest and she is still waiting to be released. Please take action now and ask Mexican authorities to release Verónica from prison and drop all charges against her immediately.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

SUDAN: Activist Remains in Detention, 2 Others Free - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, August 24, 2017

Elwaleed Imam Hassan Taha and Alaa Aldin al-Difana have been released from the custody of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) without charge. A third activist, Elgassim Mohamed Seed Ahmed, remains in detention pending further investigations into his online activities. The three were deported from Saudi Arabia to Sudan on 11 July and arrested by the NISS upon arrival in Sudan.

Amnesty International considers Elgassim Mohamed Seed Ahmed to be a prisoner of conscience held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

IRAN: Zeynab Jalalian Denied Sight-Saving Medical Care - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA; August 25, 2017

Zeynab Jalalian is enduring a life sentence, with the world around her growing darker by the day. Arrested for her political activities, she was tortured in custody, and may now go blind. In 2008, she was jailed for her supposed links to the military wing of a Kurdish opposition group. Today, the authorities are denying her the treatment that will save her sight. Urge Iran to release give Zeynab and give her the urgent medical care she needs.  The denial of access to medical care in these circumstances amounts to torture.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

USA: Marcellus Williams Execution Stayed - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, August 23, 2017

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens stayed the sentence of Marcellus Williams just before he was set to be executed tonight. Greitens will appoint a board to review a report from a DNA expert that may support his claim of innocence, as well as other factors.
“Marcellus Williams’ case is a classic example of the inherent injustice of the death penalty system, and why it should be altogether abolished,” said Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA. “No human being should pay the ultimate price for a cruel and inhumane system so capable of error. Missouri must join the right side of history, commute Marcellus’ sentence and that of all others on death row, and bring an end to this irrevocably broken system once and for all.”

IRAN: Hunger Strike in Raja'i Shahr Prison - PRESS RELEASE

Amnesty International, August 22, 2017

More than a dozen political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, have gone on hunger strike in protest at the cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions they have been forced to endure at a maximum-security prison in Karaj, Alborz province, Amnesty International said today.

Political prisoners at Raja’i Shahr prison were recently transferred to a newly opened area where conditions have been described as suffocating. They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds. They are also barred from having in-person family visits and are denied access to telephones.

“The fact that detention conditions have become so poor that desperate prisoners feel they are forced to go on hunger strike to demand the most basic standards of human dignity highlights the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International.

“The Iranian authorities must urgently ensure that adequate food, drinking water, medicine, health care and sanitation are available to all prisoners in Raja’i Shahr prison.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

USA: Berks Kids Free - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, August 21, 2017

No child should grow up behind bars. But thanks to you, the families' courageous lawyers, and activists on the ground four-year old Carlos* and 16-year old Michael* are finally free. 

We met Carlos and Michael, along with their mothers, hours after their release from the immigration detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania. They told us how excited they were to be free. Carlos’ mother Lorena, with tears of joy, couldn’t stop hugging us and thanking everyone for their support.

Their journey is almost unimaginable. They left home to escape conditions none of us would ever want to face – including death threats and severe gender-based violence. Counting on compassion, they hoped to find safety on U.S. soil. Instead, they were jailed at Berks for almost two years.

This month, your voice was heard. Now four Berks families have been freed. But the fight continues, including for these kids. As the Trump administration continues its attempts to jail families, we will be there to fight back and say “I welcome” to kids like Carlos and Michael – kids who deserve safety, freedom, and a better future.

Monday, August 21, 2017

IRAN: Arash Sadeghi Critically Ill - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International US, August 16, 2017
Human rights defender Arash Sadeghi, aged 30, is suffering from worsening digestive complications and respiratory problems since his 71-day hunger strike due to the persistent refusal of authorities to allow his hospitalization outside of Tehran’s Evin prison. He has been told by judiciary officials that this is on orders from the Revolutionary Guards. Prison officials told him that transfer to hospital “is out of [their] hands”. On 6 August, he was taken to a hospital outside the prison where he underwent a colonoscopy and endoscopy, had his stomach pumped, and was then returned to prison after 48 hours. This is the fourth time since February 2017 that Arash Sadeghi has been taken to hospital but returned to prison prematurely before receiving the medical care he requires. Doctors advised that he requires long-term hospitalization in order to receive specialist treatment for his numerous health problems, which were caused by his prolonged hunger strike and exacerbated by ongoing lack of adequate medical care.
Arash Sadeghi is unable to eat solid food, and the liquid diet he receives is poor in nutrients.  Prison officials told Arash Sadeghi that his medications are expensive and that he must start paying for them. Amnesty International understands that the hunger strike impaired Arash Sadeghi’s kidney function, and that he has not had any subsequent tests conducted since he ended his strike in January 2017. Arash Sadeghi went on hunger strike in October 2016 to protest against the imprisonment of his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, also a human rights defender, for writing a fictional story against the punishment of stoning. The hunger strike led to a public outcry, and authorities released Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee on temporary prison leave on 2 January. However, she was rearrested on 22 January to resume serving her sentence.

Take action by September 27, 2017.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

POLAND: Journalist Faces Criminal Prosecution - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, August 18, 2017

Tomasz Piątek, an investigative journalist for Gazeta Wyborcza, is facing criminal prosecution for his exposé book, “Macierewicz and his secrets” (Macierewicz i jego tajemnice), in which he makes allegations of purported links between Antoni Macierewicz, Poland’s Minister of Defence and the Russian intelligence services.

Shortly after the book’s publication in late June, the Minister of Defence filed a criminal complaint against Tomasz Piątek. The Prosecutor General Office’s spokeswoman told the media on 11 July that Tomasz Piątek will be facing criminal charges under Articles 224, 226 and 231a of the Criminal Code for ‘using violence or unlawful threat [which] affects a government authority performing its duty…’ and ‘insulting a public official in the course and in connection with the performance of [their] duties.’ If charged and found guilty, Tomasz Piątek could face up to 3 years in prison.  He can be charged at any moment. It is not clear what evidence, if any, the prosecution is basing the charges against Tomasz Piątek on.
In accordance with its international obligations, Poland must ensure that media workers can carry out their function of commenting on public issues, informing public opinion, and conveying information and ideas without threats, harassment or intimidation, and are not prosecuted for expressing views that do not constitute incitement to violence.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

USA: Marcellus Williams Faces Execution - MAKE a PHONE CALL

Amnesty International, USA, August 17, 2017

Marcellus Williams, aged 48, is due to be executed in Missouri on August 22nd for a 1998 murder. He maintains his innocence of the crime. An African American, he was tried before an almost all-white jury. Two of the four federal judges to review his case have concluded that he received constitutionally inadequate representation at his sentencing. Please call Governor Eric Greitens as soon as possible and ask him to stop the execution of Marcellus Williams and commute his death sentence.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

RUSSIA: Ali Keruz, Gay Human Rights Activist in Detention - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, Canada, August 15, 2017

Ali Feruz, whose real name is Khudoberdi Nurmatov, is a gay human rights activist and a journalist for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
In 2008, he fled Uzbekistan after having been arrested and tortured by security forces. Russian authorities repeatedly refused Ali refugee status or temporary asylum, and detained him on 1 August 2017. According to Ali, he was beaten and ill-treated the same day during transfer from the court to detention center.
The Moscow Basmanniy Court ruled that Ali Feruz must be forcibly returned from Russia to Uzbekistan. It was clear that if he was returned, he would be at risk of torture and imprisonment for his sexual orientation. Shortly after, a Russian appeal court suspended his deportation on 8 August, pending review of his case by the European Court of Human Rights.
Ali continues to be held in detention and remains at risk.

Call on the Russian authorities to immediately release Ali Feruz and protect him from forcible return to Uzbekistan where he is at risk of prosecution, torture and other ill-treatment, and imprisonment - including for his sexual orientation. 

PAKISTAN: Punhal Sario, Human Rights Defender Disappeared - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, August 14, 2017
Punhal Sario, a human rights defender and Convener of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh, was subjected to enforced disappearance on the night of 3 August. His friend Dr. Haresh Kumar, witnessed the abduction. Dr. Haresh claims Punhal Sario was taken from his car when he was coming out of Khanabadosh Writer’s Café, which is part of the Sindh Museum in Hyderabad, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown since then.
Mr. Punhal Sario had been part of a civil society effort to raise awareness of the trend of enforced disappearances of activists, writers, and political workers in Sindh under the newly established forum Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh. He was picked up a day before a large conference organised by the forum. This aimed at bringing together writers, journalists, activists, and intellectuals to awareness of the situation of missing persons in Sindh.
Local Sindhi activists claim that as many as 60 activists have been forcibly disappeared in the past few months from Sindh.
The practice of enforced disappearances has been an ongoing phenomenon in Sindh since at least a decade, but local activists claim that since February 2017, the numbers of people that have gone missing has increased.  Political activists, writers, and human rights defenders have been picked up, allegedly by security agencies. According to local activists, as many as 60 individuals remain missing.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

IRAN: Juvenile Offender in Danger of Imminent Execution - NEWS

Iran Human Rights, AUG 9 2017

Alireza Tajiki is a 21-year-old juvenile offender in Shiraz's Adel Abad Prison who is in imminent danger of execution. According to close sources, Alireza was transferred to solitary confinement on Wednesday August 9 and is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. Close sources say Alireza was 15 when he was arrested by Iranian authorities and 16 when he was sentenced to death on rape and murder charges. 
Iran Human Rights calls for an immediate halt to Alireza's execution and for a halt to all the execution sentences for juvenile offenders in Iran. 
"Alireza Tajiki's death sentence is in violation of international laws which the Iranian authorities must adhere to. We call on the international community to do all that they can to help stop Alireza's execution," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.
"The authorities never approved Alireza's request for a retrial, and this is unlawful. There is a lot of ambiguity in his case file that needed clarification," Alireza's brother tells Iran Human Rights.

Myanmar: Media Workers Face More Charges - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, August 8, 2017
Kyaw Min Swe, chief editor of The Voice newspaper was released on bail on 4 August 2017, after spending two months in detention. He remains on trial for the charge of “online defamation” under Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Law for a satirical article written by Kyaw Zwar Naing, a regular contributor to The Voice Daily, published on 26 March 2017 and later posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page. The article mocked a military-produced propaganda film, translated as “Union Oath”. The court proceedings remain ongoing and Kyaw Min Swe could face up to three years’ imprisonment if found guilty.
Kyaw Zwar Naing, arrested with Kyaw Min Swe on 2 June 2017, was released on 16 June after the court decided to drop the charge of “online defamation” against him. However, both men have now been charged under Article 25(b) of the 2014 Media Law for “a writing style which deliberately affects the reputation” of a person or organization. The wording of this provision is vague and overly broad, opening the law up to arbitrary or abusive application. Both men could be fined up to 1 million kyats (approx. 717 USD) each if found guilty.

There are numerous repressive laws in Myanmar, including the 2013 Telecommunications Law and the 2014 Media Law, which impose arbitrary and sweeping restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. These laws leave human rights defenders, peaceful activists, journalists and ordinary members of the public at risk of arrest and imprisonment for their peaceful activities. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SANTA MONICA, CA: Remembering Hiroshima/Nagasaki.. - EVENT

Our organization; The International Health & Epidemiology Research Center(IHERC), inpartnership with Physician for Social Responsibility( PSR-LA), Pax Christi, Friends of Chain Reaction, KPFK Radio, and many other organizations are remembering the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this Wednesday- Aug. 9th. While honoring victims during the 72nd anniversary of the bombing, we will be addressing other important and related items:

Celebrating the Historic adoption of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 120+ countries in the world, on July 7, 2017
Demanding the Nuclear-States to comply with world's demand for Total Disarmament!
WHENWednesday, August 9, 2017, 7 pm-8 pm

WHERE: Chain Reaction(Peace Sculpture), Santa Monica Civic Center, 1800 block of Main Street, Santa Monica, CA.

Friday, August 4, 2017

CHINA: Chen Huixia Arbitrarily Detained - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International USA, July 28, 2017

A judge has asked the prosecutor to collect further evidence for the trial of Falun Gong practitioner, Chen Huixia, for her indictment of “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement”. Following a court hearing in Hebei province on 12 May 2017 her trial has now been indefinitely adjourned. Arbitrarily detained since 3 June 2016, Chen Huixia was tortured and has had no access to her family for over a year. 
Chen Huxia’s family only found out about the trial less than two days before it was due to be held, in Hebei province, northern China, on 12 May 2017...The court only allowed one family member and a single friend to attend the hearing.
During the three hour hearing, Chen Huixia was twice taken away from the court by the police. On both occasions her defence lawyer was not allowed to accompany her. The lawyer argued in the hearing that the evidence provided by the police were extracted by torture and should be excluded. While not stating that evidence extracted through torture would be inadmissible in court, the judge nonetheless asked the Procuratorate (prosecutor) to collect further evidence and adjourned the trial until further notice. The family has since received no information about Chen Huixia and have not yet been allowed to visit her once since police took her away on 3 June 2016.
In the transcript from an interview conducted in 15 December 2016, only recently obtained by her daughter, Chen Huixia provided the details of how she was tortured. According to her testimony, police strapped her to an iron chair in a “brainwashing centre”, an arbitrary detention facility set up to get Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief, from 17 June to 16 July 2016 and did not allow her to sleep for 30 days. When Chen Huixia asked the prosecutor investigating the incident whether the events amounted to torture, she said it did not. 

Take Action by September 13, 2017