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    February 19, 2014

    The High Court of England and Wales struck a blow against freedom of expression today when it ruled that the nine-hour detention of David Michael Miranda, partner of the former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, under anti-terrorism legislation was lawful and proportionate.

    Brazilian national David Miranda was detained in August 2013 while in transit in London’s Heathrow airport. He was held for nearly nine hours under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 – the limit allowed without seeking further authority to continue the detention.

    “This ruling underscores our long-standing concerns about the over-broad nature of the UK’s anti-terror laws, which are wide open to abuse and misuse,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “It is clearly deeply troubling if laws designed to combat terrorism can be used against those involved in reporting stories of fundamental public interest. There is no question the ruling will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the future.”

    December 19, 2013

    ‘Today’s announcement is yet another effort by the UK to shirk its responsibility to get at the full truth’ - John Dalhuisen

    Responding to today’s announcement from the Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee will examine allegations of UK involvement in torture and other human rights violations concerning people detained overseas in the context of counter terrorism operations, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director John Dalhuisen said:

    “Today’s announcement about how the UK government now intends to address torture allegation is as disappointing as it is predictable.

    The interim report of the Detainee Inquiry has identified 27 issues for further examination, underscoring the need for an effective, independent, human rights-compliant inquiry.

    Combating torture requires coming clean about when and where it occurred, identifying who was involved, and holding those responsible to account.

    December 09, 2013

    Amnesty International has today announced it has issued a claim against the UK over concerns that the organisation’s communications have been unlawfully accessed by the UK intelligence services.

    In June disclosures made by the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed that the US was routinely accessing the communications of millions of people through a previously secret programme, PRISM, run by the National Security Agency (NSA) which the UK authorities had access to. It later emerged that the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ may have also subjected people to blanket surveillance through its own secret programme called Tempora.

    These revelations starkly exposed the huge gaps in the ability of the existing UK legal framework to keep pace with technological developments and therefore protect the human rights of those affected

    Amnesty believes that given the global and often highly sensitive nature of its work, it is highly likely that the organisation’s communications have been intercepted unlawfully by intelligence services both in the UK and US, as the content would be of interest to those agencies.

    November 20, 2013

    The Northern Ireland Attorney General’s call for an end to prosecutions for killings during three decades of political violence in Northern Ireland is an utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental rights to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Attorney General John Larkin said there should be no inquests, inquiries and prosecutions into any killings that took place before the signing of the Good Friday/Belfast  Agreement in 1998.

    John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program, said:

    “The Attorney General’s call today would in effect be the granting of a blanket amnesty for human rights abuses and violations committed by all sides during the three decades of political violence in Northern Ireland. It would be an utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental right to justice.

    “Such a move would fly in the face of international human rights standards and perpetuate impunity.

    September 12, 2013

    “There’s a cruel irony in the fact that Northern Ireland is held up as a success story when many victims' families actually consider their treatment a failure.”

    Victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland are being ‘disgracefully let down’ by a flawed and fragmented approach to dealing with the past, Amnesty International said today (Thursday 12 September) as it published a new report.

    Northern Ireland: Time to Deal with the Past blames the failure to deliver truth and justice on a lack of political will from both the UK government and Northern Ireland’s political parties.

    Fifteen years on from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and one week ahead of the start of major new talks, the 78-page report finds that victims and their families have been failed by successive attempts to investigate abuses.

    A failure to deliver a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past has contributed to the societal division that is still rife in Northern Ireland, Amnesty found.

    August 20, 2013

    Pressure placed on the Guardian newspaper by UK authorities to destroy documents represent a threat to freedom of expression, the right to information and protecting the independence of the media in the UK, Amnesty International said today.

    The Guardian has reported that the UK authorities repeatedly threatened the newspaper’s management with legal action and led to it being forced to destroy information it had received from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden. This information is about unlawful surveillance by the US and the UK governments which violates their citizens’ and other people’s right to privacy.

    “Insisting that the Guardian destroy information received from a whistleblower is a sinister turn of events,” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

    “This is an example of the government trying to undermine press freedoms. It also seriously undermines the right of the public to know what governments do with their personal and private information. If confirmed, these actions expose the UK’s hypocrisy as it pushes for freedom of expression overseas.

    August 18, 2013

    A Guardian newspaper employee detained today while in transit at a London airport is clearly a victim of unwarranted revenge tactics, targeted for no more than who he is married to, Amnesty International said today.  

    David Michael Miranda is married to Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who analyzed and published information on documents disclosing sweeping, systematic and unlawful surveillance by the US government. These documents were released by Edward Snowden.

    Miranda was detained while in transit in Heathrow and was held in detention for nearly nine hours – the point at which the government would have had to seek further authority to continue the detention.

    “It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his husband has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

    January 15, 2013

    Today’s European Court of Human Rights ruling that British Airways discriminated against an employee over her religious beliefs firmly upholds the rights to freedom of religion and expression, Amnesty International said.

    Nadia Eweida, a Coptic Christian, took her case to the European Court after the airline stopped her from wearing a visible crucifix at work.

    "Wearing religious symbols is an important part of the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. This welcome decision will hopefully reduce discrimination in the workplace against religious believers of all faiths," said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination.

    Amnesty International has documented many cases similar to Ms Eweida’s where Muslim individuals have been dismissed or not hired by private employers just because they were wearing visible religious or cultural symbols or dress.

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