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Freedom of Expression

    December 08, 2010

    Amnesty International is concerned that the decision to close Libya Press, the only privately owned news agency in Libya, is the latest in a rising series of government attacks on the privately-owned press, and risks further narrowing the Libyan media landscape and the scope of freedom of expression. On 7 December, the Libya Press agency, an outlet of the al-Ghad corporation affiliated with Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, announced that it had decided to close its Tripoli office due to “ security harrassment” and its inability to protect its correspondents in Libya. According to the Libya Press agency, the decision was taken after security agencies told the leadership of the al-Ghad corporation that the “presence” of the Libya Press agency inside Libya “was not desirable.”

    December 07, 2010

    On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Chinese prisoner of conscience and co-author of CHARTER ‘08 Liu Xiaobo will be awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Despite this tremendous international honour, he remains imprisoned in China for his peaceful advocacy for human rights and democracy. Chinese authorities have refused to release him and have also refused to allow his wife to travel to Norway to accept the award on his behalf. On December 10th, a delegation of leading human rights advocates will seek to deliver to the Chinese Embassy petitions signed by thousands of Canadians from across the country urging the Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo immediately. The advocates have written to the Ambassador, seeking a meeting. It is not yet clear whether Embassy officials will meet with the delegation or agree to receive the peitions.

    The human rights advocates will make comments to the press at the time of the petition delivery.

    Place: Embassy of the People's Republic of China
    515 St. Patrick Street, Otttawa

    Date: Friday, December 10, 2010

    Time: Between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m.

    Amnesty International’s Moscow office is currently being inspected by prosecutors and tax inspectors – part of the wave of inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) across Russia in recent weeks. Three other prominent Russian NGOs are also being inspected today: Public Verdict Foundation, For Human Rights Movement and Agency for Social Information. The stated version of the inspections was to check compliance with Russian legislation on NGOs.

    Amnesty International, along with other NGOs, has repeatedly condemned the new legislation imposing increasing restrictions on NGOs and expressed its fears that the NGO laws would be used to harass and seek closure of those highlighting abuses and critical of the government.

    Amnesty International is also concerned that the recent wave of inspections has been carried out in such a way as to deliberately stigmatise and discredit NGOs in the eyes of the public.

    Amnesty International is confident that all its activities comply with Russian legislation. The organization expresses regret that its time and that of the inspectors involved is not employed in a more useful manner.

     

    In June 2012, Raif Badawi was sentenced 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $290,000 CDN) for setting up a website. Since then over 1 million people around the world have been part of a phenomenal groundswell of action. This outpouring of international pressure appears to have put the flogging on hold following the first 50 lashes in January 2015, yet the full sentence remains in place. Raif faces not just another five years in prison, but also the ongoing ordeal of wondering whether the flogging will resume. 

    The photos above display how embassies around the world have been bombarded with urgent pleas to release Raif, and Amnesty International activists have spread the word on the internet and taken the message to the streets in Ottawa, Montreal, Oslo, London, Rome… 

    AI Canada and PEN Canada, for freedom of expression, are co-hosting the film screening of Silenced Voices: Tales of Sri Lankan Journalists in exile, at the Robert Gill Theatre, located on the north-west corner of College and St. George Streets, on the 3rd floor of the Koffler Student Services Centre of U of T, the entrance being on St. George St.

    The one hour film will be followed by a discussion between the film's director Beate Arnestad and Frances Harrison, as well as Questions & Answers with participants. John Argue, AI Canada's Sri Lanka co-ordinator, will moderate the discussion.

    From 7-9pm

    November 23, 2012

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