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    May 12, 2017

    Responding to the ongoing detention of Oğuz Güven, the web editor of the prominent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet after he was taken into police custody this morning, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher, said:

    “Since their crackdown on the media escalated dramatically following the coup attempt last July, the Turkish authorities have been relentless in their hounding of Cumhuriyet, which is now one of the country’s last remaining opposition newspapers. 12 Cumhuriyet staff members are currently held in prison pending trial, and Oğuz Güven’s detention is yet another demonstration of the authorities’ intent to stamp out independent journalism for good.

    “Reports that Oğuz Güven was apparently detained on the basis of a single headline reflect the terrifying new reality for journalists in Turkey, where one word out of place can get you locked up. His detention is another dark day for media in Turkey, which since last year, has held the disgraceful record for being the world’s biggest jailer of journalists.”

    Background

    May 12, 2017

    In response to today’s release of Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “The release of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand today, after a decade-long ordeal in prison, is long overdue. He was wrongfully imprisoned on trumped up charges and it is utterly deplorable that he was forced to spend the past 10 years of his life behind bars. His case is yet another illustration of the extreme lengths to which the Iranian authorities will go to criminalize the legitimate work of human rights defenders and journalists.”

    Throughout his time in prison, Mohammad Sadiq Kabduvand’s health sharply deteriorated. He suffered from heart and kidney problems and rarely received adequate medical treatment.

    “The Iranian authorities have a decade of appalling injustice against Mohamed Sadiq Kabduvand to make up for. They can make a start by quashing his conviction and ensuring that he is free to continue his peaceful human rights and journalistic activities,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

    May 12, 2017

    Responding to the extradition of three Turkish men suspected of links to Turkey’s Gülen movement, who had been arbitrarily detained under SOSMA, Malaysia’s draconian security law, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:

    “By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk. They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

    Background

    Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). The Malaysian authorities said they were being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.

    May 12, 2017

    The Trump administration’s executive order on travel, scheduled for federal appeals court review on Monday, would harm both immigrants and US citizens if allowed to enter into effect, warns Amnesty International in a briefing paper released today.

    “President Trump’s travel ban order separated families and sent a message of bigotry and intolerance,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International. “This harmful and discriminatory ban deserves the most probing judicial scrutiny.”

    The briefing paper, a joint initiative of Amnesty International and the CLEAR project (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) at CUNY School of Law, describes how the travel ban imposed by President Trump is contrary to international human rights law, violating treaties the US has committed to uphold. Based on interviews with more than 30 people affected by the ban, it includes a dozen case studies of the harms caused to individuals and families from Yemen, Iran, Sudan and elsewhere.

    May 12, 2017

    The killing of an activist leading the search for her daughter and thousands of others in Tamaulipas, Mexico, reveals the danger which those searching for the more than 30,000 disappeared persons in the country face every day, said Amnesty International.

    Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez was killed on the night of 10 May in the state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico. Miriam was known for her work with groups searching for the disappeared, organizations made up primarily of relatives of victims of enforced disappearance and disappearance at the hands of non-state actors.

    May 11, 2017

    In response to today’s detention of five LGBTI activists as they were trying to deliver a petition to the Office of Russia's Prosecutor General on Chechnya, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, said:

    “While the activists were released shortly after their arrest, this knee-jerk detention follows a familiar pattern of the Russian authorities crushing activism, and is a multiple violation of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and liberty of person. It is aggravated by the fact that the detainees merely wanted to support gay men in Chechnya, one of the country’s most marginalized groups, and call for their protection.”

    “The LGBTI activists should be allowed to deliver their petition. And crucially, the authorities must respond to the petition itself and investigate the allegations of horrific human rights violations against gay people in Chechnya which have rightly sparked a global outcry.”

    May 10, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken feminist academic Stella Nyanzi has been released on bail after four weeks in prison, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “It is a great relief that Stella Nyanzi is no longer behind bars, as she should never have been arrested in the first place. The government’s attempt to prosecute her for speaking out for the rights of Uganda’s women and girls, is an affront to freedom of expression.

    “The authorities must now let common sense prevail by immediately and unconditionally dropping all the charges against her. The continuation of this farcical case blatantly violates Uganda’s constitution, and its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Background

    Nyanzi appeared in court in the capital Kampala this morning looking in need of medical care.

    The charges against her under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 are based on her social media statements, including one where she referred to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks”. She denies any wrongdoing.

    May 08, 2017

    The continuing rise in abductions at the hands of militias highlights how the absence of the rule of law in Libya is fuelling chaos and lawlessness and leaving civilians in the country living in fear, said Amnesty International today. Kidnappings of civilians by militias, often for ransom, have risen sharply since 2014, particularly in the west of the country, where hundreds have gone missing and abductions have become a feature of daily life.

    Among the latest victims to go missing is Tripoli University professor Dr. Salem Mohamed Beitelmal, who was abducted over two weeks ago not far from his home in the area of Siyyad on the outskirts of Tripoli. His whereabouts remain unknown and his family have had no contact with him since his abduction.

    May 04, 2017

    Authorities in Brazil are increasingly turning a blind eye to a deepening human rights crisis of their own making, Amnesty International said in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council ahead of a review of the country on 5 May.

    Since Brazil last faced scrutiny at the UN’s Universal Periodic Review in 2012, a spike in violence has seen killings by the police in Rio de Janeiro nearly doubled to 182 in the first two months of 2017, as well as soaring rates of killings and other human rights violations elsewhere in the country.

    “Since the last review at the United Nations, Brazil has not taken enough steps to tackle the shocking levels of human rights violations across the country, including soaring police homicide rates that leave hundreds of people dead every year,” said Jurema Werneck, Executive Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    May 03, 2017

    The ruling of the Supreme Court of Peru marking the end of the trial for land invasion against the human rights defender Máxima Acuña Atalaya is a landmark decision for environmental defenders in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    After almost five years of proceedings in relation to unfounded criminal charges of land invasion, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that there was no reason to pursue the groundless trial of the defender for land invasion.

    “Many environmental defenders in Peru have been criminalized through the use of groundless criminal proceedings which seek to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate work to defend human rights, by exhausting their physical and emotional strength and their limited resources, in addition to publicly portraying them as criminals,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    It is fundamental that the authorities take effective measures to stop the use of the criminal justice system to intimidate and harass human rights defenders.”

    April 27, 2017

    Citizens’ groups, Indigenous peoples, human rights and environmental organizations are asking British Columbia MPs to take a message to Ottawa.

    “British Columbia’s Site C dam is one of the largest megaprojects of our generation,” said Andrea Morison, Executive Director of the Peace Valley Environment Association. “Our political leaders cannot continue to ignore the devastating impacts it will have on our waters and on the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

    More than 120,000 people have signed petitions, postcards and letters calling for an immediate halt to construction. Petitions were presented to BC MPs today as they prepared to return to the House of Commons after a Parliamentary break.

    Organizers included Amnesty International Canada, Leadnow, Sierra Club BC, the Peace Valley Environment Association, KAIROS, Keepers of the Water, Peace Valley Landowners Association, Alliance4Democracy and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

    April 27, 2017

    Attacks on civilians in the first three months of this year and the inability of the Afghan government to ensure their adequate protection show that Afghanistan remains an unsafe country for refugees to be returned to, Amnesty International said today.

    “At a time when civilian casualties remain high, with women and children suffering the worst of the violence, it is reckless of governments to claim that Afghanistan is safe for refugees to return,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    Since the withdrawal of the international military forces from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 the security situation in the country has seriously deteriorated with increased civilian casualties and a growing internal displacement crisis in the country. The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since 2001.

    The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recently released a report on civilian casualties containing data documenting 715 deaths and 1,466 injuries during the first quarter of 2017.

    Kabul, the Afghan capital, suffered the highest levels of civilian casualties, followed by Helmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

    April 26, 2017

    Venezuelan authorities are using the justice system to illegally increase persecution and punishment of those who think differently, says Amnesty International in a new report published today amidst an increase in protests around the country which have resulted in several deaths and hundreds of people injured and imprisoned.

    Silenced By Force: Politically-Motivated Arbitrary Detentions in Venezuela provides details on a catalogue of illegal actions on the part of the Venezuelan authorities to repress freedom of expression.

    These include arrests conducted by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, SEBIN) without a warrant, the prosecution of non-violent activists for crimes ‘against the homeland’ and the unjustified use of pre-trial detention and smear campaigns in the media against members of the political opposition, among other measures.

    April 25, 2017

    Bahrain’s authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown against perceived critics with 32 people summoned for questioning by the Public Prosecution within the past five days and charges brought against the majority of them, said Amnesty International, less than a week ahead of the country’s UN human rights review session in Geneva on 1 May.

    Those summoned include human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, a journalist and relatives of victims of human rights violations, raising fears that they are being targeted as part of a deliberate attempt to stop them – and deter others - from criticizing Bahrain ahead of and during its upcoming review at the UN Human Rights Council.

    “The intensified crackdown against Bahraini dissidents in recent days is highly alarming and exposes the shocking extremes to which Bahrain’s authorities are prepared to go to silence criticism of their human rights record,” said Samah Hadid Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Office

    April 25, 2017

    Reacting to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe vote to reintroduce full monitoring of the ‘functioning of democratic institutions’ in Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher said:

    “This welcome decision sends a clear and powerful message that Turkey must end its crackdown on human rights.

    “With this vote, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear to the authorities that human rights cannot be trampled underfoot without scrutiny and ultimately consequences.

    “It sends a strong signal to Turkish civil society, journalists and victims of human rights abuses that the Council of Europe is willing to use all the available tools to bring Turkey back to compliance to the commitments it signed up to when it joined the organisation.”

    On 3 May World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International will turn the spotlight onto Turkey’s treatment of journalists, calling for their release from pre-trial detention.

    Background

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