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Torture

    February 03, 2017

    Following the Trump administration’s appointment of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Reports that Gina Haspel directed the alleged CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand, at a time when detainees held there were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance, as well as a possible role in the destruction of evidence of such crimes under international law, raise extremely serious concerns.”

    “This announcement comes on the heels of President Trump’s recent vocal support for torture, and means all indicators are flashing red.

    “These allegations are serious and must be subject to close scrutiny. No one should be appointed to a position where they could interfere in the investigation of or facilitate the concealment crimes under international law.

    “With all the Trump administration’s talk of ‘extreme vetting’, they must not fail to vet public officials for their ability to uphold the US constitution and international law.

    January 31, 2017

    The Honourable Ralph Goodale

    Minister of Public Safety

    269 Laurier Avenue West

    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8

     

    January 30, 2017

    Dear Minister Goodale,

    We are writing to you about the urgent need for Canada to revise the Ministerial Directives on torture issued by the previous government to conform to the unconditional ban on torture in international law.

    Doing so now would send an important signal to Canadians and to the international community that Canada will under no circumstances use information from a foreign country that was likely obtained under torture, or share information that could likely lead to an individual being tortured.

    As you know, in 2011 the government introduced a ministerial directive that allows, under exceptional circumstances, for information garnered under torture by a foreign country to be transmitted to and used by Canadian security agencies. The same directive also provided guidelines for instances when Canadian agencies could share information with countries that are know to engage in human rights abuses, even if doing so would likely result in torture.

    December 08, 2016

    The Sri Lankan authorities must take decisive action to stop torture and other ill-treatment, investigate complaints, and hold perpetrators accountable, Amnesty International said today following the publication of the concluding observations by the UN Committee against Torture on Sri Lanka.

    “If the Sri Lankan authorities are serious about breaking with the harrowing legacy of the country’s decades-long conflict, it must end impunity for torture and other acts of ill-treatment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Sri Lanka has taken important and positive steps. However, we also share the UN Committee against Torture’s alarm over Sri Lanka’s failure to prevent these crimes by the security forces and their concern that torture and other ill-treatment continue to take place. Impunity persists for perpetrators, as well as for those who have committed enforced disappearances, and deaths in custody and the use of coerced confessions continue to be reported.”

    Lingering shadow of the conflict

    December 04, 2016

    Released 21:01 GMT 4 December 2016

    Under the military’s dominance, the Pacific island nation of Fiji has seen an ingrained culture of torture take root among its security forces, a new Amnesty International report says today.

    Famed for white-sand beaches and sweeping views of turquoise water, Fiji is known as a holiday destination. But over a decade since the 2006 coup, the military remains in control of key institutions, including the police, with a militarization of the justice system that allows torture and other ill-treatment to go unpunished.

    The new Amnesty International report, Beating Justice: How Fiji’s Security Forces Get Away with Torture details how uniformed officials on Fiji’s islands have inflicted severe beatings, rape and other sexual violence, attacks by police dogs, shootings and other forms of torture and ill-treatment or punishment in violation international law.

    November 01, 2016

    Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful street protester convicted for participation in “unauthorized” assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture, Amnesty International said today. Ildar Dadin’s letter from prison was published by Meduza online newspaper on Tuesday.

    “Ildar Dadin’s allegations of beatings, humiliation and rape threats are shocking, but unfortunately they are just the latest in a string of credible reports indicating that torture and other ill treatment are being widely used in the Russian penal system with impunity, with the aim of silencing any form of dissent,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia.

    “We are urging Russian authorities to end the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill treatment and investigate Ildar Dadin’s appalling allegations. They must also immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, and provide him with full remedy for the injustice done to him. No one should be in jail for peacefully expressing their opinion.”

    October 03, 2016

    The European Parliament should vote in favour of measures strengthening the European Union’s landmark regulation combatting the trade in equipment that can be used to torture, ill-treat or execute people, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation (Omega).

    Final amendments to the torture trade Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 accepted by the EU Council will be debated and voted on by the full European Parliament plenary on Tuesday 4 October.

    “The global market is rife with sinister equipment like leg chains and spiked batons which can easily be turned into tools of torture. Introducing tighter EU restrictions on the sale, brokering and promotion of these devices will bring us a step closer to eradicating this shameful trade,” said Ara Marcen Naval, Advocate Advisor for Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    “For too long companies have been able to profit from human suffering. This vote is an opportunity for the EU to send the message that it will not tolerate torture.”

    September 28, 2016

    Since seizing power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s military authorities have allowed a culture of torture and other ill-treatment to flourish across the country, with soldiers and policemen targeting suspected insurgents, political opponents, and individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society, a new report by Amnesty International said today.

    The report, “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow”: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand, documents 74 cases of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police, including beatings, suffocation by plastic bags, strangling by hand or rope, waterboarding, electric shocks of the genitals, and other forms of humiliation.

    September 28, 2016

    Silencing human rights activists who highlight human rights violations will not solve the problem of torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand, Amnesty International said today.

    In Bangkok, Thailand’s authorities prevented Amnesty International from proceeding with the launch of “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand.” This report details torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police against suspected insurgents, government opponents, and a range of individuals from vulnerable backgrounds, including alleged drug users and minorities.

    “The Thai authorities should be addressing torture, not human rights activists doing their legitimate work. Instead of threatening us with arrest and prosecution, they should be holding the perpetrators of torture accountable. It is an appalling state of affairs when speaking up for human rights can be criminalised but torture continues with impunityl,” said Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director, Global Operations.

    August 29, 2016

    Fresh details of secret detention by the Ukrainian authorities have emerged following the release of 13 people from a Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) compound in Kharkiv, said Amnesty InternationaI and Human Rights Watch today.

    The release comes after Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch exposed the use of torture and secret detention by both Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists during the conflict in eastern Ukraine in a joint report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine” published on 21 July.

    The organizations have now written to the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine with fresh details of secret detention in Ukraine including detailed testimony from some of those released, as well as the details of five who are still being secretly detained in the compound.

    August 25, 2016

    The Egyptian authorities’ refusal to release Islam Khalil who was tortured and subjected to enforced disappearance for 122 days is another alarming setback for human rights in Egypt, said Amnesty International.

    Islam Khalil was transferred to the Second Raml Police Station in the coastal city of Alexandria in preparation for his release yesterday after a court ordered his release on bail of 50,000 EGP (approximately US$ 5,630) on 21 August 2016.  However instead of releasing him, the police officers beat him repeatedly until he fainted and brought fresh charges against him including the accusation that he physically assaulted a police officer yesterday.

    August 18, 2016

    Researchers from the Forensic Architecture agency at Goldsmiths, University of London have worked with survivors from Syria’s most notorious prison to build a digital reconstruction of the unmonitored and unphotographed facility, allowing us to see inside for the first time.

    Visit saydnaya.amnesty.org to explore the digital reconstruction of Saydnaya

    Since 2011 thousands have died in Syria’s prisons and detention facilities. With anyone perceived to be opposed to the Syrian government at risk, tens of thousands of people have been tortured and ill-treated, in violation of international law.

    In April 2016, Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture travelled to Istanbul to meet five survivors from Saydnaya Prison, near Damascus. In recent years, no journalists or monitoring groups which report publicly have been able to visit the prison or speak with prisoners.

    As there are no images of Saydnaya the researchers were dependent on the memories of survivors to recreate what is happening inside.

    August 18, 2016

    International attention may have moved on, but the crisis in Burundi continues. In April 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office. This sparked largescale protests across the country, which were violently repressed by security forces. Several months later, bodies were being found on the streets the capital on an almost daily basis. Now the crackdown has become less isible, but the climate of fear remains. y May 2016, some 262,000 people had led the country. It’s not hard to see why.

    345 PEOPLE TORTURED
     
    345 cases of torture were reported in the first four months of 2016, according to the UN. Amnesty had already pointed out a rise in the use of torture against political opponents in 2015 in the report Burundi: Just Tell Me What to Confess to.

    474 PEOPLE KILLED

    Over 474 people were killed in the first year of the crisis, including 130 in December 2015 alone. Among them were 29 children and 77 police officers.

    36+ PEOPLE MISSING

    August 18, 2016

    Responding to reports that at least six people, including four police officers, were killed and scores wounded when two car bombs exploded in eastern Turkey, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner said:

    “Today’s car bombings are the latest in a series of reckless and brutal attacks in eastern Turkey which have claimed the lives of members of the public, including children.”

    “Those responsible for these crimes show a contempt for the right to life and must be brought to justice.” 

    *****

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

     

    August 17, 2016

    The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons are laid bare in a damning new report published by Amnesty International today which estimates that 17,723 people have died in custody in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011 – an average rate of more than 300 deaths each week.

    ‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons documents crimes against humanity committed by government forces. It retraces the experiences of thousands of detainees through the cases of 65 torture survivors who described appalling abuse and inhuman conditions in security branches operated by Syrian intelligence agencies and in Saydnaya Military Prison, on the outskirts of Damascus. Most said they had witnessed prisoners dying in custody and some described being held in cells alongside dead bodies.

    August 12, 2016

    The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) issued a wake-up call to Burundi today, said Amnesty International after the Committee flagged an increase in the use of torture and other ill-treatment since the beginning of the country’s current crisis in April 2015.

    In its concluding observations following a special report submitted at CAT’s request, the Committee’s 10 independent international experts expressed deep concern over hundreds of cases of torture alleged to have taken place in recent months in both official and unofficial places of detention.

    “The spike in torture cases we have seen in Burundi since the onset of the crisis is extremely alarming and must be urgently addressed by the Burundian government,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s East Africa Deputy Regional Director.

    The Committee made strong recommendations including conducting prompt, efficient and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and ensuring that all those responsible are prosecuted and sentenced taking into account the grave nature of the offence.

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