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    November 03, 2017

    Photo Credit: Via Amnesty International

    Thirteen health and human rights activists, including two South Africans and one Ugandan, have been released after the court found that there was insufficient evidence against them. The 13 were arrested during a consultative meeting to discuss the Tanzanian government’s decision to limit the provision of certain health services that it had previously provided.

    October 26, 2017

    After more than 100 days in prison, Amnesty’s Director in Turkey, Idil Eser – and all of the “Istanbul 10” - have been released!  They were imprisoned in July on entirely baseless terror charges, as part of a widespread crackdown in Turkey. 

    Thank you to the incredible efforts of human rights supporters around the world who spoke out in so many ways to help bring about this uplifting news. Had they been convicted, they could have faced jail terms up to 15 years.

    Amnesty supporters all over the world have been campaigning for the release of all 11 human rights defenders since their arrests in June and July, through meetings with government officials, rallies, letter writing, public demonstrations, and high profile figures calling for their release. It has been a remarkable period of solidarity and action.

    October 20, 2017

    Today’s release of Irish citizen Ibrahimn Halawa is a resounding victory for those who have campaigned on his behalf and brings to an end his painful four-year ordeal behind bars in an Egyptian prison, said Amnesty International.

    Ibrahim Halawa release from Wadi al-Natroun prison is long overdue after more than one month from his acquittal date. He is due to arrive home to Ireland in the coming days. Amnesty International has been campaigning for his release since he was first arrested four years ago at a protest in Cairo. Thousands of Amnesty International supporters in dozens of countries signed petitions calling on the authorities to set him free during the years he was detained.

    “After four years of unjust detention, today Ibrahim Halawa finally walks free. He should never have been jailed in the first place and it is utterly outrageous that he was forced to spend a single minute of his young life behind bars.” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 04, 2017

    Poet Wu Mingliang, better known by his pen name “Langzi”, and Peng Heping were released on 22 September after being criminally detained since August. It is believed Wu Mingliang’s detention was was related to poems that he had helped produce that commemorated Liu Xiaobo.

    Wu Mingliang was released on bail on 22 September 2017 after having been criminally detained at Haizhu District Detention Centre in Guangzhou on suspicion of “illegal business operations” since 18 August 2017. 

    Wu Mingliang’s lawyer and friends believe that he was detained due to his involvement in producing an anthology of poems in memory of Liu Xiaobo, who had passed away on 13 July 2017. Wu Mingliang was administratively detained for 10 days on 1 July 2017 after co-signing a letter of support of the detained Liu Xiaobo. During that time he was repeatedly asked by the police about an anthology of poems he took part in writing, editing and compiling to commemorate Liu Xiaobo, the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

    October 02, 2017

    Pictured above: Mohammad Abu Sakha

    Mohammad Abu Sakha, a 24-year-old circus performer and teacher from Palestine’s West Bank has been released after two years of being held in administrative detention, by Israeli authorities in a prison in southern Israel without charge or trial.

    Mohammad teaches circus skills at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit, near Ramallah, where he specialises in working with children with learning difficulties. The circus school trains Palestinian children and youth in circus arts and to ‘strengthen the social, creative and physical potential of the Palestinians, seeking to engage and empower them to become constructive actors in society.’ 

    October 02, 2017

    Pictured above: Indigenous Leader and Human Rights Defender - Mario Luna Romero

    September 05, 2017

    It’s not often we have positive news to share on death penalty cases. However, in August 2017 we heard back news on two cases in the US whereby the Governor in Missouri issued a stay of execution and the Governor in Arkansas announced his intent to commute a death sentence.

    On 22 August, the governor of Missouri issued a stay of execution for Marcellus Williams who was due to be put to death later that day. The governor issued a stay of execution so as that he could appoint a five-member Board of Inquiry to consider “all evidence presented to the jury, in addition to newly discovered DNA evidence, and any other relevant evidence not available to the jury”. The Board “shall report and make a recommendation to the Governor as to whether or not Williams should be executed or his sentence of death commuted”.

    September 05, 2017

    The announcement of a ceasefire agreement between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government is a historic step forward in efforts towards a just and sustainable peace in Colombia. Peace negotiations must ensure that all responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights are held accountable, Amnesty International said.

    “Colombia is taking yet another step towards an end to a five-decade-long armed conflict that has shattered millions of lives,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “It is imperative that all parties to the conflict end attacks on civilians and other crimes under international law and that the parties prioritise human rights and accountability during peace negotiations.”

    The ceasefire has been signed for a four-month period, after which the Colombian government and the ELN will start discussing a potential peace agreement.

    September 05, 2017

    Photo Credit: via Amnesty Germany

    The criminal case against prominent Russian human rights defender Valentina Cherevatenko for “violation of ‘foreign agents’ law” was closed on June 19 due to an “absence of the elements of the crime”. She was not informed of the decision and only learnt of it by accident over a month later.

    Valentina was the first Russian activist to face criminal prosecution under the "foreign agents" law. Therefore, news of the case against her being dropped is also a victory for Russian civil society as a whole, bringing hope that there may be space for positive change.

    September 05, 2017

    Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, prominent Sudanese human rights defender has been released with all charges against him dropped - along with five other human rights defenders, late on August 29.

    Reacting to the good news, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “It is a great relief that this awful chapter has drawn to a close. Dr Mudawi, a prisoner of conscience, has been reunited with his family and is once again a free man.

    August 28, 2017

    Photo: Four-year-old Carlos spent nearly half his life in immigration detention in the U.S. with his mother, Lorena. Now he and three other children and their mothers are free!

     

    GOOD NEWS: The Berks Kids are free!

    No child should grow up behind bars. But thanks to Amnesty supporters, courageous lawyers and activists on the ground, four children and their mothers are finally free after nearly 700 days in an immigration detention center in the United States!

    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.

    July 27, 2017

    Photo Credit: Amnesty International

     

    University professor Dr Salem Mohamed Beitelmal was released on 6 June. He had been abducted by local militias on the outskirts of Tripoli since 20 April. He has now returned home and joined his family.

    June 30, 2017

    Syrian Kurdish opposition activist Suleiman Abdulmajid Oussou was released on 24 June. He had been detained by the Asayish forces since 23 May. Suleiman Abdulmajid Oussou was held in poor conditions while suffering a critical heart condition.

    Suleiman Abdulmajid Oussou, a 58-year-old activist and father of six, was released on 24 June from Allaya prison in Qamishli, north-eastern Syria, for treatment and under the condition that he signs a written statement pledging that he will attend the court hearings when notified. Suleiman Oussou is currently receiving the medical care his condition requires and recovering at home.

    June 23, 2017

    Opposition politician Adam Azim has been released after spending nearly a week in detention in Maldives. He was arrested and faced trumped up charges after criticizing the government in a TV interview.

    Adam Azim, 46, is a well-known advocate for democracy in Maldives and a shadow minister in the opposition alliance, Maldives United Opposition (MUO). Shortly after his return to Maldives from a visit to Europe, Adam Azim was interviewed on the private TV channel Sangu TV on 8 June where he criticized the lack of independence of the judiciary as well as alleged corruption among government officials. Hours after his interview, police arrested him at his home in the capital, Malé. According to the arrest warrant, Adam Azim was suspected of inciting rioting and forceful overthrow of the government as well as obstructing police officers and obstructing the administration of law (under Sections 532, 533 and 610 of the Penal Code). He could have faced up to 17 years in prison if charged and convicted.

    June 12, 2017

    Photo credit: via Crime Russia website.

     

    Murad Amriev was handed over to Russian law enforcement officers at 3am on 9 June after having been returned from Belarus where he unsuccessfully attempted to claim asylum. He has been released on bail on condition that he does not leave Chechnya.

    At 12pm on 9 June the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya reported that at 3am Murad Amriev had been handed over to officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya. On 10 June it was reported in the media that Murad Amriev had been released on bail on condition that he would not leave Chechnya.

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