Saturday, September 30, 2017

CHINA: Uyghur Woman Incommunicado after Secret Trial - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International USA, Sept. 29, 2017

Buzainafu Abudourexiti, who returned to China in 2015 after studying for two years in Egypt, was suddenly detained in March 2017 and sentenced in a secret trial to seven years in prison. No information has been provided about the charges against her, but it is believed that it may be part of a wider crackdown on Uighur students who studied abroad. Held incommunicado, she is at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

USA: Four Children and their Mothers Free - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, Sept. 29,2017

On 17 August, four-year-old Carlos and 16-year-old Michael along with their mothers, Lorena and Maribel (all names changed to protect their identities), were ordered released from Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania by an immigration judge after nearly 700 days in detention. This follows the release of two other young boys and their mothers held in Berks for over 22 months on 7 and 14 August.

Carlos and Lorena fled threats, intimidation and severe and repeated gender-based violence in Honduras before arriving in the United States in October 2015. They were held at the Berks County Residential Center, a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centre in Pennsylvania, for over 22 months. Michael and Maribel were also held there for over 22 months. They fled El Salvador in October 2015 following constant death threats to the family when Michael was targeted for gang recruitment.

Friday, September 29, 2017

INDONESIA: Human Rights Defender faces Defamation Charges - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Sept 25, 2017.

Novel Baswedan, a prominent investigator for the independent state anti-corruption commission (Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK) has had charges filed against him for criminal defamation proceedings under Article 27(3) of Law No. 19/2016 on the Electronic and Information Transaction (ITE). The allegations are with regard to an email that Novel Baswedan, in his capacity as KPK’s workers’ union representative, criticised the leadership of the current KPK’s director of investigation unit and questioned the appointment of a KPK police investigator, claiming that it did not comply with the KPK’s internal procedures. 
Walking home from Morning Prayer on 11 April 2017, Novel Baswedan had a vial of hydrochloric acid thrown into his face by two men on a motorcycle. At the time of the attack he was leading the ongoing investigation into a misappropriation of funds for an electronic ID cards project, in which members of parliament and high-ranking government officials are implicated. Due to severe damage to his corneas, Novel Baswedan is currently undergoing intensive treatment in Singapore, and is expected to remain there for another three to four months. 
There have been no developments in the case of the acid attack since President Joko Widodo summoned the Chief of the National Police in late July for a press conference and a sketch of the suspects was made public. The lack of progress by the police in investigating the acid attack is in direct contrast to their swift response to the claims of defamation, demonstrating that the current approach taken by the police in their investigation into this case, and other attacks on other human rights defenders in the country, is insufficient.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

CHINA: Human Rights Defender Detained - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA,Sept 27, 2017.
Zhen Jianghua has been criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” since 2 September 2017...To date, all requests from Zhen Jianghua’s lawyers to meet with him have been rejected. 
Taken away from his home in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province on the night of 1 September 2017, Zhen Jianghua was brought back again a few hours later by dozens of police officers. His residence was then searched and his phones and laptops confiscated. 
On 2 September 2017, police performed a second search of Zhen Jianghua’s home. They confiscated numerous documents relating to his website, “Human Rights Campaign in China” (, which documents the human rights situation in China through reports by grassroots rights activists. Since Zhen Jianghua’s arrest, police have questioned his friends and family members, warning them not to disclose the details about his detention to the outside world. 
Zhen Jianghua is a human rights defender with over 10 years’ experience working for marginalized communities in China and has been detained several times as a result of his human rights activism. Without access to a lawyer, there are concerns that Zhen Jianghua is at real risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Amnesty International, USA, Sept 26, 2017.

Yemenis who left everything behind to come to the US have been stuck in Malaysia for months because of the discriminatory Muslim and Refugee Travel Ban. 

Dozens of Yemenis won an opportunity to immigrate to the United States through the Diversity Visa Program and travelled to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, in late 2016 and early 2017 for processing at the US embassy. After their interviews at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the embassy informed them that either their diversity visas were in administrative processing or that their applications had been denied. 

After attending interviews in the US embassy, the Immigrant Visa Unit of the embassy notified nine of the group with whom Amnesty International has communicated that as a result of the Executive Order banning travel to the US by individuals from six Muslim-majority countries (including Yemen), their applications would remain in administrative processing until the 90-day period of travel restriction passes. Given that the current diversity applications will be nullified at the end of September due to the visa lottery cycle, suspending the issuance of visas until the expiry of the 90-day travel ban provides an extremely short window of opportunity for applicants to be awarded a positive decision and to be able to immigrate to the US. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

FLORIDA: Execution Reset for Michael Lambrix - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Sept. 21, 2017.

Michael Lambrix is scheduled to be executed in Florida at 6pm on 5 October. Twenty-three years old when he was sent to Florida’s death row in 1984, he is now 57. He maintains that he acted in self-defence during the crime in question. 

Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant were killed on 6 February 1983 and buried near the trailer home that Cary Michael Lambrix shared with Frances Smith. Michael Lambrix was charged with murder. His 1983 trial ended in a mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict. At retrial in 1984, the jury voted to convict him of two counts of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty, by 10 votes to two for one murder and eight to four for the other. Michael Lambrix maintains his innocence of pre-meditated murder, claiming he acted in self-defence when Clarence Moore fatally attacked Aleisha Bryant and came at him when he tried to stop the assault. 

USA, GEORGIA: Juror Racism Claim, Execution Sept 26 - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, September 19, 2017

Keith Tharpe was arrested on 25 September 1990 and charged with the murder of his sister-in-law, Jaquelin Freeman, who was shot dead earlier that day. He was brought to trial in January 1991. During jury selection, the defence challenged the prosecutor’s dismissals of five of eight prospective African American jurors and raised evidence of this prosecutor’s history of discriminatory jury selection tactics. The judge nevertheless accepted the prosecutor’s “race-neutral” reasons for the dismissals and the trial proceeded before a jury with two African Americans serving on it. Keith Tharpe is African American, as was Jaquelin Freeman. 
On 16 May 1998, Keith Tharpe’s appeal lawyers conducted an interview with a white male former juror on the case. In an affidavit, one of the two lawyers recalled that the former juror “stated that there are two kinds of black people in the world – ‘regular black folks’ and ‘niggers’.” She said that according to him, “if the victim in Mr Tharpe’s case had been one of the niggers, he would not have cared about her death”. The second lawyer also signed an affidavit recalling the former juror reflecting on whether “niggers even have souls. I don’t know. You tell me”; and that he “felt that because a black person doesn’t have a soul, giving one the death penalty was no big deal”. She recalled a second meeting with the former juror on 25 May 1998 to have him sign an affidavit documenting his prior statements. She stated that at this meeting, the former juror referred to one of the two African Americans on the jury, and who the lawyers were trying to locate, as a “nigger”. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

MILWAUKEE: Local Rohingya Plead for HELP - NEWS

Milwaukee Independent, September 20, 2017

“If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep!” – Desmond Tutu 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu criticizing Mynamar leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi as she callously ignores the ethnic cleansing of Rohinga Muslims by Buddhists and the military of Myanmar (Burma).

On September 15, more than 150 protesters, mainly Rohingya refugees, lined the street on 3rd and Wisconsin Avenue to urge elected officials to help put an end to the Genocide of Rohingya Muslims, also known as Burmese. Refugees from Burma are the largest refugee group in Wisconsin, with a total of 5,265 as of 2016. That total is 7 percent of the 73,000 in the United States.

IRAN: Woman Asylum Seeker Beaten after being Deported from Norway - NEWS

Iran Human Rights, September 21, 2017

Leila Bayat was sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking alcohol in Iran. She applied for asylum in Norway but her asylum was denied and she was returned back to Iran after 8 years. Yesterday her flogging sentence was carried out in Tehran.

During the investigation of her asylum case, the Norwegian authorities didn’t approve the documents regarding Leila Bayat’s flogging sentence and denied her asylum.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

SAUDI ARABIA: US National at Risk for Execution - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Sept. 15, 2017.

Robert Paul Slaten, a 61-year-old US citizen and father-of-two, was sentenced to death by the General Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, on 13 July for the murder of his wife.
The General Court had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Robert Slaten was guilty of murder. However, it then convicted him of the crime by relying on statements made by the victim’s son, who swore 50 times in court that he believed Robert Slaten was responsible for the murder of his mother even though he was not present at the crime scene and provided no substantive information to support his belief. The procedure follows a Shari’a law provision that allows a court to rely on a male heir of the victim expressing at least 50 times under oath his belief that the accused is the perpetrator. Trial records show that at first the victim’s son refused to make these sworn statements but was eventually persuaded to do so by the judges.
Robert Slaten was arrested 2 April 2011, outside his home.  According to his family, he was detained incommunicado in solitary confinement for the first two months of his detention. During this time, he was repeatedly interrogated without a lawyer. He was told that he would be allowed to call anyone he liked if he would only “confess” to murder. Robert Slaten had virtually no legal representation throughout his trial. His lawyer only attended a few court sessions at the start of his trial, while US embassy representatives were not present in any of the sessions. He maintains his innocence and has appealed the latest decision, again before the Court of Appeal.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

IRAN: Ali Taheri Remains at Risk for Execution - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, September 15, 2017

On 27 August a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced spiritual teacher Mohammad Ali Taheri to death for “spreading corruption on earth” for establishing the spiritual group Erfan-e Halgheh. He has been held in solitary confinement for over six years.

The verdict states that the conviction is for establishing Erfan-e Halgheh and “corrupting the thoughts and beliefs of tens of thousands of Muslim citizens across the country” and cites as “evidence” Mohammad Ali Taheri’s books, writings and teachings. His lawyer has 20 days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Mohammad Ali Taheri’s trial took place over two sessions: 6 March and 10 July. Prior to his first court hearing, Iranian state television aired Satan’s Ring, a programme which introduced him as the leader of a “perverse sect” and claimed his teachings had led people to doubt their Islamic beliefs. At the end of the programme, individuals who described themselves as “survivors” called for his execution. This programme was played during the 10 July trial session, along with videos of Mohammad Ali Taheri teaching at Erfan-e Halgheh classes prior to his 2011 arrest.

This is the third time the authorities had sought the death penalty against Mohammad Ali Taheri for the same activities. The authorities have kept him in solitary confinement in Section 2A of Evin prison, where he remains imprisoned, while they claimed to be carrying out investigations. He was ultimately convicted of “spreading corruption on earth” in 2015 and sentenced to death, but acquitted on appeal in 2016. However, he was not released and, in late 2016, was charged with “spreading corruption on earth” for the same activities that formed the basis of his 2011 conviction.

MYANMAR: Stop Violence Against Rohingya People - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, Canada, September 13, 2017

In just over 2 weeks, more than 370,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar to nearby Bangladesh. Reports are flooding in of killings by the Myanmar security forces, Satellite images confirm that entire villages have been burned to the ground. 

Many risk their lives as they flee by foot and escape in fishing boats, travelling from Myanmar to Bangladesh - many are badly injured. Well over half are women and children.

All the refugees are confirm the attacks are by the Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Amnesty International, USA, September 11, 2017

On 7 September, the family of Said Mabkhout al-Sai’ari learned that the execution of the 29-year-old is scheduled to take place on 13 September in the General prison of Najran, southwest of Saudi Arabia, where he is currently detained. He has been at risk of imminent execution since 2 July 2017; but on 7 September prison officials informed the family about the scheduled execution date.
Said al-Sai’ari was sentenced to death on 25 December 2013 by the General Court in Najran, for the murder of another Saudi Arabian man during a fight that broke out between members of two tribes on 2 July 2009. His death sentence was ratified by the Supreme Court on 20 March 2016 and ratified by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud in August 2016. It was then sent back from the Ministry of Interior to the Najran Governorate for implementation in mid-November 2016. His execution was postponed for six months after his relatives exerted pressure to delay it.
Said al-Sai’ari has always maintained his innocence and according to the 86-page court document, the General Court in Najran sentenced him to death despite concluding that there was not enough evidence to convict him. 

The court relied on the statements of the victim’s father who, despite not being present at the crime scene, swore 50 times in court that he believed that Said al-Sai’ari was responsible for the murder of his son. The procedure follows a Shari’a law provision that allows a court to rely on the male heirs of the victim expressing at least 50 times under oath their belief that the accused is the perpetrator. Said al-Sai’ari did not have access to a lawyer throughout the pre-trial investigation. Following his detention on 2 July 2009, he remained in solitary confinement for at least a month and was only allowed his first contact with his family four months later.

USA: Stop Executions in Ohio - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, September 10, 2017

The next execution in Ohio is scheduled for September 13, 2017 for Gary Otte (OH’tay). Otte, 45, who has been on death row for 24 years, and was sentenced to die before his 21st birthday. On Friday, September 1, Governor Kasich denied clemency to Otte and also delayed 19 of the 26 remaining scheduled executions.

It has been three and a half years since the botched execution of Dennis McGuire took place in Ohio on January 16, 2014. Since that time, three innocent men have been released from death row in Ohio after their wrongful convictions were finally exposed. Ohio has freed a total of nine innocent men from death row.  ...One estimate by the National Academy of Sciences suggests that as many as 4% of death row prisoners could be innocent.

Despite these unsettling developments, Ohio has scheduled 27 new execution dates through 2022, beginning with Ronald Phillips, who was executed on July 26, 2017. With the state’s history of wrongful convictions and botched executions, Ohio must recognize that the death penalty is broken beyond repair. Please tell Governor Kasich to stop these executions.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Amnesty International, UK, September 3, 2017

The Saudi Arabian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the death sentences of 14 men after a grossly unfair mass trial is a worrying reminder of the country’s lethal crackdown on dissent, said Amnesty International today. The men who were found guilty of protest-related crimes now face imminent execution.

“By confirming these sentences Saudi Arabia’s authorities have displayed their ruthless commitment to the use of the death penalty as a weapon to crush dissent and neutralize political opponents,” said Samah Hadid, Director of campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty international.

“King Salman’s signature is now all that stands between them and their execution. He must immediately quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards,"

At least 66 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the start of 2017, including 26 in the past three weeks alone - more than one execution per day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

SUDAN: Madawi Ibrahim Adam Released from Prison - GOOD NEWS

The Guardian, September 2, 2017

An award-winning human rights activist jailed by the Sudanese government after he was accused of spying and treason has been released following eight months in prison.
Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, an engineering professor at the University of Khartoum, said he would press on with his fight to repeal all laws that “allow arbitrary detention and forbid freedom of speech, a free press and peaceful demonstration”.

Speaking to the Guardian from his home in the Sudanese capital, where he was celebrating his release with family and friends, Adam said: “I will continue the daily work of defending human rights in Sudan, the region and the world at large.”

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Amnesty International, UK, September 2, 2017

It has been two years since three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach in Turkey. He and his family from Syria, braved the treacherous seas in the hope of reaching Europe. 

Images of his lifeless corpse made headline news and brought the terrifying human cost of the global refugee crisis to Europe’s attention. But since then, governments have failed to act – and the deaths have continued to rise. 

This year alone, thousands have drowned or disappeared on their dangerous journey towards a safer life. EU leaders have the power to stop these deaths – by investing in protective sea patrols. 

Already this year, the stretch of sea between Libya and Italy has claimed the lives of 2,253 women, men and children. Together, I know we can change this because we have before.

Back in 2015, the risk of dying while attempting to cross the open Mediterranean Sea was as high as 1 in 16. The EU was turning a deaf ear to the fact that the sea was becoming a graveyard.

So we came together and demanded they act – and they did. The EU significantly increased search and rescue, and the death toll dropped dramatically. Thousands of lives were saved.  

But they have failed to keep it up and 2017 looks set to be the deadliest year yet. Please, let’s come together again. Because when we shout loudly, we have the power to save lives.