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StopTorture

    September 18, 2014

    Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    “Welcome to hell fire”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria details how people are often detained in large dragnet operations and tortured as punishment, to extort money or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases.

    “This goes far beyond the appalling torture and killing of suspected Boko Haram members. Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director.

    “Torture is not even a criminal offence in Nigeria. The country’s parliament must immediately take this long overdue step and pass a law criminalizing torture. There is no excuse for further delay.”

    September 17, 2014

    "I was given a thorough beating. They took me to a place they called ‘theatre’… They tied my hands behind my back and tied me with a rope while I was left hanging on a rod. They were pulling the ropes from both sides” –Statement made by a former detainee in SARS Awkuzu.

    We know where torture is happening in Nigeria—and with your help we are going to try to stop it.

    Torture is common and routine in Nigeria. Suspects in military and police custody across the country are subjected to torture as punishment or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases. The reliance on “confessions” together with rampant incommunicado detention and a system riddled with corruption provides the ideal setting for torture and other ill-treatment.

    A wide range of torture methods are used including beatings, shootings, nail and teeth extractions, and rape and other sexual violence. Many detention facilities have “torture chambers.” Officials are able to torture and get away with it because most complaints about torture don’t lead to an investigation, and rarely to prosecution.

    September 12, 2014

    By Shappal Ibrahim, a Syrian Kurdish rights activist.

    When Shappal Ibrahim, a peaceful activist with the Union of Young Kurds, was approached by a Syrian government official claiming to be a fellow supporter of the country’s “revolution”, he did not realize it was part of a ploy to detain him for his human rights activities. After agreeing to meet the official on 22 September 2011, he was driven away and detained in the city of Qamishli, his hometown. He was held in secret for nearly two years, one of Syria’s many “disappeared” before he was released as part of a presidential amnesty on 29 May 2013. It was only then he learned that on 5 September 2012 a court had sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Here, he tells his story of how he was treated in some of Syria’s many detention centres.

    September 11, 2014
    A torture wheel, discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Torture is endemic in the Philippines. Police officers in the Philippines tortured Jerryme Corre, a bus driver, in what could be a case of mistaken identity. Jerryme is still in prison awaiting justice. Alfreda Disbarro was arrested and tortured while in custody at a police station. Her torturers have yet to be held to account. And earlier this year, a “wheel of torture” was discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines. Detainees were forced to spin the wheel, and whatever form of torture the arrow landed on was inflicted on them.

    How has torture become so widespread in the Philippines? Because authorities have turned a blind eye and allowed it to become endemic. But two recent events provide hope that things can change.
     

    September 11, 2014

    By Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Expert on the Philippines

    Although it is talked about little, torture is the Phillipines’ dirty, open secret. It is endemic. Even though banned in Philippine law, and even though the country has signed up to all the right international treaties on ending torture, this has amounted to little more than paper promises.

    Amnesty International has received numerous and harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture and other cruel and inhuman practices by security forces.

    And the police are woefully equipped to address the issue. With around a quarter of a million police officers and soldiers combined, according to the President himself, the Philippines has one of the smallest police to population ratios in the world. This means that the national police has been dependent on poorly trained but sometimes armed police auxiliaries. On the ground, police officers rely on informants and “assets” to do their policing – and sometimes extra-legal activities.

    September 09, 2014

     

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
    - September 8, 2014, from Guadalajara, Mexico

    UPDATE: Ángel Colon was released in October 2014! He's now struggling for justice in his case and speaking out against torture in Mexico. Take Action >> Stand with Angel. 
     

    The prison we were about to visit loomed large and intimidating     Watch video of Angel Colon

    It had been a two and a half hour drive from Guadalajara. As we approached, the ominously named prison, CEFERESO Number 4, the Federal Centre for Social Rehabilitation, loomed large and intimidating at the bottom of one last hill.

    We spent the next hour going through the most extensive series of endless security checks I’ve been through in any prison visit, anywhere. It included a stamp on our forearms which only showed up under a special light, which we had to show again on our way out to demonstrate that none of us had stayed behind and allowed a prisoner to slip out in our place. There was, in fact, far more visible security than I have experienced on any of the visits I’ve made to the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    September 04, 2014

    By Katie Young, Amnesty International Australia

    Travel guides describe Mexico as one of the world’s great civilisations, whose landscapes are as stunning as they are diverse. But there’s a dark flipside to the family-friendly resorts and shimmering blue coastlines: Mexico is suffering from an epidemic of torture.

    Here we look some sickening facts about torture in Mexico and what you can do to help.

    1. Reports of torture are 600% higher than in 2003

    Torture in Mexico is, quite frankly, out of control. In the last ten years alone, there has been a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases of torture. Between 2010 and the end of 2013, the National Human Rights Commission received more than 7,000 complaints of torture.

    An Amnesty survey recently found that a whopping 64 per cent of Mexican citizens are afraid they would be tortured if they were ever to be detained by the police. In the same survey, Australia and China came out at 16 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

    2. How are people tortured in Mexico?

    Torture techniques in Mexico all have one thing in common: they’re brutal.

    July 29, 2014

    The European Union (EU) must urgently strengthen its laws to enable member states to immediately ban the trade in new devices and technologies that have no practical  use other than to torture, ill-treat or execute individuals, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, as experts meet in Brussels today to strengthen current regulations.

    The organizations are also calling on the EU to close current legal loopholes which effectively allow the promotion, brokering and provision of technical training in the use of devices and technologies that can easily be used by law enforcers for acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    July 10, 2014

    The skin across Sasha’s forehead and around his eyes is slightly yellow and there is a recent scab on his temple. He is healing well.

    Ten days before our meeting, the 19-year-old was barely recognizable: the skin on his face stretched tight, swollen and bruised. Abducted and tortured, Sasha believes he is lucky to be alive.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    After the city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine came under control of separatist armed groups in April 2014, he was an obvious target.

    July 10, 2014

    On the morning of 27 May, Hanna, was sitting in her flat in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, when there was a knock on the door. As her boyfriend Feodor lifted the latch, seven armed men wearing balaclavas and camouflaged fatigues barged through. They said they were from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), the pro-Russian separatist group which had recently seized power in the city.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    This was the start of a terrifying six day ordeal for the 30 year old pro-Ukrainian activist. She had been involved in demonstrations providing medical help and first aid to protesters injured in clashes.

    June 26, 2014

    1. Torture is mainly used against terror suspects and during war

    Amnesty International research shows that torture and other ill-treatment continue to be an issue in many countries facing real or perceived national security threats, including terrorism.

    However, the focus on torture and other ill-treatment in what the US authorities then called the “war on terror” at the beginning of the century may have skewed the global picture. What our research also clearly shows is that most victims of torture and other ill-treatment worldwide are not dangerous terrorists but rather poor, marginalized and disempowered criminal suspects who unfortunately seldom draw the attention of the media and public opinion, either nationally or globally.

    Real or perceived political “enemies” of the government who have never carried a bomb or any other weapon, including human rights defenders, opposition politicians and journalists, are also frequent victims of torture.

    May 15, 2014

    The pain of torture is unbearable. I never thought I would be alive till this day. The pain I went through in the hands of the officers was unimaginable. In my whole life, I have never been subjected to such inhuman treatment. –Moses Akatugba, February 2014

    On November 27, 2005, Moses Akatugba, then only 16 years old, was awaiting the results of his secondary schools exams when he was arrested by the Nigerian army and charged with stealing three cell phones and various other communication-related items.

    Moses describes being shot in the hand and soldiers beating him on the head and back during his arrest. He was initially held at the army barracks, where he said soldiers showed him a corpse and when he was unable to identify the dead man, he was beaten.

    After being transferred to Epkan police station in Delta State he suffered further torture and ill-treatment. Moses told one human rights defender that the police severely beat him with machetes and batons, tied and hanged him for several hours in interrogation rooms, and used pliers to pull out his finger and toe nails in order to force him to sign two confessions.

    May 13, 2014

    by Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International
     

    “I am here to ask for your help,” said Claudia Medina when I met her in Mexico earlier this year. “I’m going to report a crime of torture.”

    Her words touched me, because I knew what Claudia had been through. At 3am on 7 August 2012, marines broke into the home she shared with her husband and three children. They tied her hands and blindfolded her, put her in a pick-up truck and took her to a naval base in Veracruz City. They accused her of being a member of a powerful and violent criminal gang, which she flatly denied.

    May 12, 2014

    Belgian-Moroccan citizen Ali Aarrass remains in prison in Morocco, serving a 12 year sentence for illegal use of weapons and participation in a group intending to commit acts of terrorism. The only evidence against him was a confession obtained through torture.

    Ali Aarrass continues to experience some ill-treatment and harassment in detention. International support has played a role in helping to improve his detention conditions.

    Send a message of solidarity to Ali Aarrass in prison. Your messages let Ali Aarrass know that he is not alone, and they let prison officials know that he is not alone.

    May 09, 2014

    Dilorom Abdukadirova is serving an 18-year sentence in Tashkent Women’s Prison after an unfair trial. She was tortured and ill-treated in pre-trial detention. Her family fears she may still be at risk.

    In May 2005, Dilorom Abdukadirova joined in a mass demonstration in Babur Square in the centre of Andizhan. The protesters hoped the president would meet with them and listen to their concerns about the economy. They were greeted instead by security forces using live ammunition. Hundreds were killed. Dilorom was among 500 protesters who managed to escape from the square and flee to Kyrgyzstan on foot. Eventually she was granted asylum in Australia in 2006.

    The Uzbekistani authorities assured Dilorom and her family that nothing would happen if she returned home. In January 2010, she set off to reunite with her husband and children. However, she was immediately detained upon arrival at Tashkent airport because she did not have a valid exit permit in her passport. She was questioned for four days and released after being charged with “illegal exit” from Uzbekistan.

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