Thursday, May 31, 2018

USA: Close Guantanamo - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International, USA, May 31, 2018.

Tomorrow is Toffiq al-Bihani’s 46th birthday. It’s also the 16th birthday he’s spent in the military prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Toffiq al-Bihani has been cleared for transfer out of Guantánamo Bay since 2010. He has faced torture and enforced disappearance, which are crimes under international law.

IRAN: Execution Trends - NEWS

IRAN Human Rights, May 29, 2018.

According to reports by IHR, at least 77 people, among them three juvenile offenders have been executed between January 1. and May 20, 2018. 

Four were hanged in public spaces. Of the reported executions 62 were sentenced to death for murder, seven for Moharebeh (being an “enemy of God”), seven for rape, and 1 for drug offenses. For comparison, it is reported that during the same period in 2017, at least 203 people were executed, 112 were executed for drug offenses. The significant reduction in the number of executions in 2018 seems to be due to a temporary halt in drug-related executions as the number of executions for murder charges were nearly the same as in 2017.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

IRAN: Doctors Abuse Women in Shahr-e Rey Prison - PRESS RELEASE

Amnesty International, USA, May 25, 2018.

Women prisoners of conscience from Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish religious community are being subjected to verbal abuse, including sexual slurs, and denied proper medical treatment by doctors and other health professionals at Shahr-e Rey prison on the outskirts of Tehran, Amnesty International revealed today.

The organization has received testimonies indicating that doctors at the prison, a former industrial chicken farm in Varamin, are routinely dismissing the women’s complaints of pain and discomfort as “fake” while refusing to prescribe them medication on a timely basis or carry out thorough diagnostic tests. They are also failing to ensure that medical equipment in the prison clinic is functioning properly and poses no threat to patients’ health.

USA: Stop Separating Asylum-Seeking Parents & Children - NEWS

Amnesty International, Wire Magazine, May 7, 2018.

The US government must stop separating asylum-seeking parents from their children and denying them access to asylum procedures through prolonged detention, said Amnesty International today in response to reports of the US Department of Homeland Security’s adoption of a draconian family separation policy that will apply to anyone who presents themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy was also referenced today in remarks by Attorney General Sessions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

IRAN: Halt Execution of Kurdish Prisoner - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, May 22, 2018.

Iranian Kurdish prisoner Ramin Hossein Panahi, sentenced to death in January 2018, is at imminent risk of execution. 

The Office for Implementation of Sentences has said that his execution will be carried out soon after the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan on 15 June. 

He was convicted and sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial.

Monday, May 21, 2018

TEXAS: Halt Execution of Clifton Williams - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, May 21, 2018.

Clifton Williams is due to be executed in Texas on 21 June for a murder committed in 2005. The courts have rejected the claim that he has intellectual disability. His lawyers are seeking further review on this issue, as well as pursuing executive clemency.

Cecilia Schneider, 93 years old, was beaten and stabbed to death and her body set on fire during a burglary of her home on 9 July 2005. Clifton Williams, aged 21 at the time of the crime, was charged with her capital murder and in October 2006 was convicted and sentenced to death. 

At trial and on appeal, his lawyers claimed that he has intellectual disability, and that his execution would violate Atkins v. Virginia, the 2002 US Supreme Court ruling banning the death penalty on individuals with such disabilities. 

Two defence experts assessed his IQ at under 70, while the expert for the state assessed it at 70 on one test, 71 on another, and 73, 78 and 83 on others (an IQ of 70-75 is commonly taken as an indicator of possible intellectual disability). His lawyers argue that with the margin of error, his IQ could be as low as 65, alongside evidence of his adaptive deficits.

WASHINGTON DC: Annual General Meeting - NEWS

AmnestyInternational, Washington DC, May 21,2018.

Dear Members:

On Feb. 22-25, 2018, AI-USA Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Washington DC . Many people from US and other countries attended this meeting. 
In addition to Angie Hougas (Member, Board of Directors) and myself, other participants from Wisconsin were:
  • Darla LeClair, City Councilwoman for the City of Two Rivers, WI;
  • Jacob Pankratz, WI Legislative Coordinator (LC), AI-USA;
  • Taylor Zamzov, from District 1 (WI), Student at Winona State Univ;
  • Mary Anderson-Petroske, Teacher, Superior, WI;
  • Olivia Anderson-Petroske, Student.
After the AGM, on Feb 26, 2018, above individual and over 320 members & activists lobbied their representatives on Capitol Hill.  The focus were these 3 issues:

1. Resistance to cutbacks in aid to refugees and migrants (Trump is requesting a 33% cutback) and to the cutback in refugees entering the US.

2. Support for a bill to put strong pressure on Myanmar to end the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and of punish the bad acting generals.

3. Support a Senate resolution on human rights defenders and a House resolution creating a Prison of Conscience Day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

TIBET: Educator Imprisoned for Teaching Tibetan Language - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International, Australia, May 15, 2018.

Tashi Wangchuk is facing 15 years in prison for advocating for Tibetan languages to be taught in schools.

Tashi wants Tibetan children to learn their native tongue in Chinese schools, as well as the Mandarin they currently learn.

For his peaceful advocacy to keep the Tibetan culture alive, he’s facing 15 years in prison.

In January 2016, Tashi was taken into custody and then ‘formally’ arrested two months later on suspicion of “inciting separatism”. The authorities have accused him of attempting to discredit the Chinese Government’s international image.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

MEXICO: Mothers of the DIsappeared - NEWS

Amnesty International, Canada, May 10, 2018.

Today is Mother’s Day in Mexico, and as you are reading this email we will be marching in the streets of Mexico City and raising our voices together with mothers of the disappeared. We will carry with us more butterfly messages from Amnesty International supporters to make visible the depth of concern in Canada.

USA: Do Not Let Kids Grow Up in Jail - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International, USA, May 9, 2018.

Many children and families come to the United States of America seeking safety as they flee from violence and persecution in their home countries. But the government is throwing these families behind bars and locking them up for weeks, months, and even years.

Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania is a family detention center unfairly jailing children and their parents who are seeking refuge and safety here. Berks is one of three family detention centers in the United States. It’s the oldest of these “baby jails,” and a place where toddlers and their moms have been kept behind bars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

ISRAEL: Forced Deportations Halted - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, May 8, 2018.

The Israeli government has declared that it will not pursue forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to third countries under the Israeli ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. This follows the release of 280 asylum-seekers who had been detained as a result of the policy, after an order by the High Court of Justice. 

COLOMBIA: Environmental Defender Killed - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, May 7, 2018.

A member of the Ríos Vivos (Living Rivers) Movement was killed on 2 May, the same day that the group carried out an all-day march against the Hidroituango hydroelectric project in Antioquia, Colombia. 

Others are at risk.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Amnesty International, USA, May 4, 2018

Two Reuters journalists are facing up to fourteen years in prison for reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December, and held without access to lawyers, family members or the outside world for two weeks.

There has been an erosion of the space for a free press in Myanmar, where journalists and other media workers face ongoing restrictions in connection with their work. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s arrest appears to be aimed at preventing them, as well as other journalists, from independently reporting on the Rohingya crisis.

Journalism is a peaceful act of bringing information to light, and for the Rohingya crisis it is essential. The ongoing military campaign against Rohingya Muslims has been called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Amnesty International, USA, May 1, 2018.

Ramin Hossein Panahi, a 22-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority, was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial that lasted less than an hour on 16 January 2018. His family told Amnesty International that he appeared before the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, with torture marks on his body, but that the court failed to order an investigation. According to his lawyer, the court convicted and sentenced him to death for “taking up arms against the state” (baqi) merely based on his membership of the armed Kurdish opposition group Komala. No specific evidence was provided linking him to activities involving intentional killing, which is the required threshold under international law for using the death penalty. Between his arrest and trial, he was only allowed one brief meeting with his lawyer, which took place in the presence of intelligence officials. The authorities also refused to disclose to him and his lawyer the details of the evidence brought against him and to provide them with a written copy of the judgement. The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in March 2018.