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    October 19, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the journalist and human rights defender, Hisham Gaafar, who will complete two years in arbitrary pre-trial detention on 21 October, Amnesty International said. He is being held in inhumane conditions and prolonged solitary confinement causing his health to deteriorate seriously.

    Security forces arrested Hisham Gaafar on trumped up charges in October 2015. Since then, a judicial panel has repeatedly renewed his pre-trial detention without examining the scant evidence prosecutors have presented against him.

    “It is disgraceful that Hisham Gaafar has been forced to spend two years behind bars. His arbitrary and prolonged pre-trial detention is another shameful illustration of how Egypt’s judiciary is abusing the criminal justice system to punish peaceful critics and dissidents,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 18, 2017
    European Parliament President calls for release of Amnesty Turkey Director Spokespeople available

    Ahead of the 19-20 October European Council meeting, which is expected to issue conclusions on Turkey, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said:

    “EU leaders must publicly condemn the brutal and protracted crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists in Turkey, and stand firmly on the side of human rights. They must call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, including our colleagues.”

    Amnesty International yesterday held a birthday party for its Turkey Director Idil Eser in the European Parliament. This was joined by a number of MEPs, including the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri and the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani who both called for her release.

    October 18, 2017

    On 16 October, a judge of the Audiencia Nacional ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents, respectively, of the pro-Catalan independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural. They have been charged with sedition under article 544 of the Spanish Criminal Code in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September. The protests opposed and sought to obstruct an operation conducted by law enforcement and judicial authorities in several governmental buildings to prevent the organization of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia on 1 October.

    The police and judicial operation conducted on 20 and 21 September was based on a judicial order issued by a court in Barcelona and involved the searches of several official governmental buildings. On 7 September, the Constitutional Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal and against the Spanish Constitution.

    October 16, 2017

    Authorities Should Rein in Law Enforcement for Repeat Election



    (Nairobi, October 16, 2017) – Kenyan police killed at least 33 people, possibly as many as 50, and injured hundreds more in some parts of Nairobi, the capital, in response to protests following the August 8, 2017 elections, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.



    The 37-page report, “‘Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections.



    Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death. Other victims died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.



    October 13, 2017

    Groups Warn Bill c-47 IS INCOMPLETE AND DOES NOT COVER THE Majority of CanadIAN Arms ExportS

    Canada’s welcome commitment to accede to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) risks being fundamentally undermined by troubling shortcomings in the federal government’s proposed approach to implementation, warns a group of ten human rights, arms control and disarmament organizations in a briefing paper submitted to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    October 13, 2017
    More than 500 people detained in towns including Bamenda and Buea Wounded protestors flee hospitals for fear of arrest Arrested protestors forced to pay 60 USD bribe to be released

    At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest, Amnesty International said today.

    Those detained were arrested following protests in dozens of towns in North-West and South-West Cameroon on 1 October, in which more than 20 people were unlawfully shot dead by security forces.

    “This mass arrest of protestors, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights, but is also likely to be counter-productive,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.

    “The Cameroonian authorities should release anyone detained only for exercising their right to peaceful protest.”

    October 11, 2017

    The United Nations must take firm action in response to credible new evidence that UN peacekeepers drugged and raped a young woman in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today after interviewing the victim and 10 others with direct knowledge of the case.

    The organization’s on-the-ground research revealed that one or more Mauritanian peacekeepers allegedly raped a 19-year-old woman in the central town of Bambari on the evening of 30 September 2017.

    “We have uncovered compelling evidence suggesting that at least one Mauritanian peacekeeper, and possibly more, raped a young woman,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International. “The public authorities in the town of Bambari have confirmed the rape, and the UN is investigating it.

    “If substantiated, these serious rape allegations should result in the repatriation, suspension, and prosecution of any troops suspected of criminal responsibility. The UN must also ensure the victim receives support and damages. Its peacekeepers are in CAR to protect civilians from violence, rather than perpetrate it.”

    October 11, 2017

    As the mass trial of Boko Haram suspects on terrorism-related charges continues in Nigeria, Amnesty International Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho said:

    “These trials should provide a much-needed opportunity to deliver justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members. However, the fact the trials are taking place behind closed doors, with no access for the media or the public, raises huge concerns. Public hearings are crucial for protecting an individual’s right to a fair trial and due process.”

    “The Nigerian authorities must ensure that all fair trail rights are respected. Defendants must have access to lawyers and interpreters if required, and that witnesses and victims are protected from potential reprisals.”

    Amnesty International has repeatedly documented how thousands of people have been rounded up in mass arbitrary arrests with little or no evidence and held in detention for years.

    “In instances where no prima facie case has been established, as is reportedly the situation in some of the cases, detainees should be immediately released.”

     

    October 10, 2017

    Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you on behalf of the 400,000 supporters of Amnesty International across Canada to share a number of urgent recommendations about pressing human rights concerns that we hope you will raise during the meetings you will have with Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto during your visits to Washington and Mexico City next week.  We lay out bilateral, trilateral and global concerns and recommendations in the attached Annex.  We urge you to recognize that human rights considerations must figure prominently in your meetings with both Presidents and that concrete human rights commitments and action are central to the various issues you will be discussing.  We urge you to:

    October 10, 2017

    Amnesty International has unveiled the first ever, monumental ‘Aubusson’ tapestry designed by Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero at Bogota’s international airport.

    The twenty square metre tapestry, ‘The Musicians’, woven over the past several months by artisan weavers at Ateliers Pinton, in France, was commissioned by Art for Amnesty on behalf of Amnesty International to promote the human rights of millions across Colombia.

    “I’m very honoured that Amnesty International selected me for this present to Colombia. This tapestry will show all visitors to Colombia how important art and culture are here,” said Fernando Botero.

    “Colombia is going through one of the most hopeful and challenging moments in its recent history. After the signing of the peace agreement between the government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia nearly a year ago, all eyes are on the authorities to ensure justice prevails for the millions of victims of the country’s five decade long war,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 10, 2017

    ‘The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones’ - Kerry Moscogiuri

    Responding to news from Richard Ratcliffe that his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - a British-Iranian charity worker who has been unjustly jailed in Iran for the past year-and-a-half - may be facing additional criminal charges and a further prison sentence, Amnesty International UK’s Campaigns Director, Kerry Moscogiuri, said:

    “Coming against a backdrop of last year’s blatantly unfair trial and sentence, this is very depressing news and a really worrying development.

    “The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones, and once again criminalise this charity worker’s peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association through her work with Reuters and the BBC.

    “The Iranian authorities have a track record of bringing fresh criminal charges against prisoners of conscience who they wish to keep in jail.

    October 09, 2017
    Reacting to the news that a boat has capsized in the Naf river separating Bangladesh and Myanmar today, killing at least 12 people including children, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:   “Today’s drowning and tragic loss of life is yet more evidence of the desperate situation still prevailing in Rakhine state. While the Myanmar military has engaged in a campaign of violence, there is mounting evidence that Rohingya women, men and children are now also fleeing the very real threat of starvation.   “The Myanmar authorities are actively blocking aid groups from reaching affected areas in northern Rakhine State, where people are on the brink of survival. These restrictions show a callous disregard for human life and must end immediately.”

    +++++++++

    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    October 09, 2017
    ·         Taner Kiliç added to indictment of Istanbul 10 ·         Charges against the 10 increased to include “membership of a terrorist organisation”   Responding to news that a prosecutor has filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 16 years on terror charges for 11 human rights activists including İdil Eser and Taner Kiliç, the director and chair of Amnesty International Turkey, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said: “This outrageous indictment contains no new evidence but instead repeats absurd allegations against some of Turkey’s most prominent human rights defenders. “These brave activists have languished in jail for months on end for no reason other than their belief in human rights. For them to have spent even day behind bars is a gross injustice.
    October 06, 2017

    By Béatrice Fihn, Martin Butcher and Rasha Abdul Rahim (@Rasha_Abdul)

    October 06, 2017

    The Cambodian authorities’ attempts to shut down the main opposition party ahead of next year’s general election is the latest move in a relentless effort to crush all forms of dissent, however peaceful, Amnesty International said today.

    The Interior Ministry today filed a complaint with the Supreme Court asking for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to be dissolved ahead of the elections scheduled for July 2018.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government seem intent on turning Cambodia into a criticism-free state by any means necessary. The attempts to disband the opposition party ahead of next year’s crucial vote is a blatant power grab and another escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on all forms of dissent,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The international community cannot stand idly by and simply watch as the human rights situation backslides rapidly in Cambodia. Key countries must immediately push the Cambodian government to end the sweeping restrictions on opposition figures’ and human rights defenders’ rights to liberty and to freedom of expression.”

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