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Torture

    October 24, 2017

    Prisoners in Russia endure inhumane conditions, often for weeks on end, as they are transported thousands of miles in cramped, windowless trains to corrective colonies in distant parts of the country, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    Prisoner transportation in Russia: Travelling into the unknown documents the cruel and degrading conditions that both male and female prisoners continue to endure under practices inherited from the Soviet past.

    “Convicted prisoners are packed into tiny spaces on trains with no ventilation, no natural light, little water, and infrequent access to toilets. At the end of journeys that can last well over a month, they finally arrive at their destination, thousands of miles away from their families,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “It’s time the Russian authorities finally rid themselves of the legacy of the GULAG. They must end these practices and ensure that prisoners are transported in conditions which comply with international law and standards.”

    September 25, 2017

    The new Ministerial Directions announced today by the Minister of Public Safety to avoid complicity of Canadian law enforcement and intelligence authorities in torture and other mistreatment by foreign entities are a significant improvement on the previous Directives issued in 2011. However, loopholes and lack of clarity in some areas may still leave the door open to complicity in abuses and the tacit promotion of torture at the hands of foreign officials, warns Amnesty International Canada. 

    “The revised Ministerial Directions are a welcome advance on earlier versions which had taken a reckless and unlawful approach to Canada’s international obligation to prohibit and criminalize torture and had been criticized by the UN Committee against Torture.  In particular, it is welcome news that Canada will no longer share with or request information from other states if that gives rise to a substantial risk of torture,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.  

    September 20, 2017

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.

    It may not have grabbed headlines but it was nonetheless long overdue good news from Mexico!

    The CNDH, the Mexican government’s human rights commission, issued an important public statement on September 10, calling for action by authorities to ensure justice for Angel Amílcar Colón, the indigenous Garifuna human rights defender who was tortured and unjustly imprisoned for 5 long years.

    In September 2014, our Secretary General Alex Neve visited Angel in jail and blogged about his grace, dignity and inspiring commitment to justice, despite the horrendous abuses he was suffering.

    Amnesty International named Angel a prisoner of conscience and began campaigning for his release with the legal team at Mexico’s Centro Prodh human rights centre.

    We were thrilled when our joint efforts successfully won Angel his freedom in October 2014.

    August 22, 2017
    Erkin Musaev, a former Uzbekistani government official and UN employee, who was tortured and then wrongly imprisoned by the authorities, has written a letter of thanks to Amnesty International following his early release from prison last week.

    Erkin Musaev was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2007 after a series of grossly unfair trials – he was accused of spying for an unnamed NATO member-state and of misusing UN funds. His conviction was based on a confession he was forced to sign after security service officers threatened his family.

    Outraged at the injustice of his detention without a fair trial thousands of Amnesty International supporters sent 427,000 messages of solidarity for Erkin Musaev, demanding his release as part of Write for Rights 2014.

    Now free, he has written a letter offering his personal thanks to Amnesty International activists who spoke up for him:

    August 18, 2017

    By Aubrey Harris, Amnesty Canada's Coordinator for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Follow Aubrey on Twitter @AmnestyCanadaDP

    The fact that torture occurred in Guantanamo Bay is not news. Not only did former president Barack Obama state it bluntly as “we tortured some people,” even former vice-president Dick Cheney implied it in his “dark side” quote justifying some forms of torture. International law, however, is explicit in it. The International Convention Against Torture makes clear that any statement extracted as the product of torture cannot be used except as proof that the torture occurred.

    Efforts to present the public perception of torture as “acceptable” exist not only in the tough-guy films of Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino, but most explicitly in the propaganda film “Zero Dark Thirty.” For the first 25 minutes of the film, a man is portrayed being tortured by operatives at CIA black sites in order to obtain information to find Osama bin Laden.

    August 11, 2017

    At least 66 people detained over mass protests in Morocco’s northern Rif region have reported suffering torture and other ill-treatment in custody including being heavily beaten, suffocated, stripped naked, threatened with rape and insulted by police, sometimes to force them to “confess”, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on Morocco’s authorities to ensure a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into their claims, and for any “confessions” extracted under duress to be excluded from trial proceedings. One protester is also under investigation for “falsely reporting” that police tortured him.

    “These protesters took to the streets calling for social justice and better services, yet have faced torture and other ill-treatment, in the form of brutal beatings, rape threats, insults and other abuse. It is vital that the authorities thoroughly investigate these claims and that those behind this reprehensible abuse are brought to justice,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director for Amnesty International.

    July 20, 2017
    Detainees subjected to severe beatings, agonising stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death Widespread torture at 20 sites, including four military bases, two facilities run by intelligence services, a private residence and a school Calls for US and other international partners to investigate their military personnel’s possible knowledge of torture at one base

    Hundreds of people in Cameroon accused of supporting Boko Haram, often without evidence, are being brutally tortured by security forces, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Using dozens of testimonies, corroborated with satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence, the report ‘Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: human rights violations and war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram’ documents 101 cases of incommunicado detention and torture between 2013 and 2017, at over 20 different sites.

    July 17, 2017
    Verdict Awaited for Sahrawis Charged in Fatal 2010 Clashes   The Moroccan judicial authorities should ensure that upcoming verdicts in a mass trial are not based on confessions or statements implicating other defendants obtained under torture or other ill-treatment during police interrogations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.  
    July 10, 2017
      Following reports in Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper that security forces in the Russian republic of Chechnya killed 27 people on the night of 26 January 2017, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, said:   “These allegations come from a credible source and as horrendous as they are, appear totally plausible for Chechnya, where the authorities enjoy complete impunity for human rights violations.   “Amnesty International has documented the practice of extrajudicial executions in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus for many years, and these allegations are consistent with our past findings. They must be investigated immediately, and if proven to be true, all perpetrators must be brought to justice.   “In addition, a full and thorough investigation needs to  be carried out into allegations of the secret imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment of more than 100 gay men in Chechnya in April.  
    June 09, 2017

    The Russian authorities must immediately release Chechen torture survivor Murad Amriev, and under no circumstances place his life at further risk by handing him over to the Chechen authorities, Amnesty International said today.

    Having tried to flee to Belarus earlier this week, Murad Amriev was arrested and unlawfully handed back to Russian police officers early this morning. He is currently in custody in an unknown location in Russia, stoking fears about his fate.

    “The story of Murad Amriev reads like a thriller, but it is real and his life is at stake. He was ‘handed over’ to the Russian authorities early this morning in what amounts to an unlawful rendition after he attempted to seek asylum in Belarus. Under no circumstances should the federal authorities of Russia deliver him into the hands of Chechen law enforcement officers, which could put him at risk of torture or death,” said Heather McGill, Russia Researcher at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2017

    The Tunisian government must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by accepting recommendations on combating torture, ending discrimination and protecting women and girls from sexual and gender based violence, said Amnesty International.

    The Tunisian government received recommendations from more than 50 states at the country’s third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council today.

    Tunisia has made some progress on opening up political and civil space and some legislative reforms have been introduced, the security sector has remained largely unchanged and in recent years there has been a resurgence of violations committed with impunity,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

    April 28, 2017

    Following today’s suspension of more than a dozen police officers and the announcement of an internal investigation into revelations that 12 people were detained illegally in a cramped “secret jail cell” in Manila on drugs-related charges, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    April 27, 2017

    Mexico’s new General Law on Torture is a welcome step forward to tackle the country´s human rights crisis. Authorities must now ensure all those responsible for these heinous crimes under international law face justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Mexican Congress today finally passed the General Law on Torture which was promised over two years ago by the Mexican president after a national public outcry following massive human rights violations in the case of 43 disappeared students. The Mexican Senate today approved a final version which had been debated by both chambers of Congress.

    “Unless the Mexican authorities make a real effort to ensure all those responsible for the thousands of cases of torture reported every year across the country are brought to justice, this law will be nothing but words on paper. We must not allow this to continue to be the case,” said Tania Reneaum, Director at Amnesty International Mexico.

    Torture is a widespread practice in Mexico. People are routinely tortured in an attempt to force them to sign false “confessions”.

    April 26, 2017

    A call for appeals to improve the General Law on Torture was sent to the Urgent Action Network on January 16th 2017.

    On 19 April the lower house of Mexican congress approved their version of the General Law on Torture and sent it back to the Senate for final approval before it becomes law. This final version is an improvement of the earlier draft, and all of the four regressive articles Amnesty International was concerned about have been improved upon.

     

    A General Law on Torture was drafted during 2015 and 2016 and presented in the Senate due to pressure from civil society given the widespread problem of torture in Mexico. This law will replace the existing federal and state laws on the issue and apply nationwide.

    April 04, 2017

    Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Ammar al Baluchi's story shows the ways in which the US has tried to cover their brutal, extensive use of torture.

     

    Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.

    In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated "black sites". Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture similar to water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; forced nudity, and beatings that have resulted in a painful traumatic brain injury.

     

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