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Torture

    September 22, 2014
    A guard passes by an exhibition board during the China International Exhibition on Police Equipment Anti-Terrorism Technology (CIPATE) in Beijing May 2009© Feng Li/Getty AFP

    Originally issued 00:01 BST  23 September 2014

    The flourishing trade, manufacture and export of tools of torture by Chinese companies is fuelling human rights violations across Africa and Asia, new research by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation reveals.

    The new report - China’s Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression - shows there are now more than 130 Chinese companies involved in the production and trade of potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment – compared to only 28 Chinese companies a decade ago.

    Some of the devices openly marketed by these companies – including electric shock stun batons, metal spiked batons, and weighted leg cuffs – are intrinsically cruel and inhumane and therefore should immediately be banned.

    September 18, 2014

    By Jacqueline Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    The disappearance of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls in April 2014 led to a worldwide social media campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. Tens of thousands of Amnesty International supporters signed our petition targeted at the Nigerian authorities. The world watched, and waited. Then the social media campaign faded and the issue disappeared from the headlines. Five months later the girls are still missing. And in the intervening months many more girls, boys, women, and men have been kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters.

    September 18, 2014

    Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    “Welcome to hell fire”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria details how people are often detained in large dragnet operations and tortured as punishment, to extort money or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases.

    “This goes far beyond the appalling torture and killing of suspected Boko Haram members. Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director.

    “Torture is not even a criminal offence in Nigeria. The country’s parliament must immediately take this long overdue step and pass a law criminalizing torture. There is no excuse for further delay.”

    September 17, 2014

    "I was given a thorough beating. They took me to a place they called ‘theatre’… They tied my hands behind my back and tied me with a rope while I was left hanging on a rod. They were pulling the ropes from both sides” –Statement made by a former detainee in SARS Awkuzu.

    We know where torture is happening in Nigeria—and with your help we are going to try to stop it.

    Torture is common and routine in Nigeria. Suspects in military and police custody across the country are subjected to torture as punishment or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases. The reliance on “confessions” together with rampant incommunicado detention and a system riddled with corruption provides the ideal setting for torture and other ill-treatment.

    A wide range of torture methods are used including beatings, shootings, nail and teeth extractions, and rape and other sexual violence. Many detention facilities have “torture chambers.” Officials are able to torture and get away with it because most complaints about torture don’t lead to an investigation, and rarely to prosecution.

    September 12, 2014

    By Shappal Ibrahim, a Syrian Kurdish rights activist.

    When Shappal Ibrahim, a peaceful activist with the Union of Young Kurds, was approached by a Syrian government official claiming to be a fellow supporter of the country’s “revolution”, he did not realize it was part of a ploy to detain him for his human rights activities. After agreeing to meet the official on 22 September 2011, he was driven away and detained in the city of Qamishli, his hometown. He was held in secret for nearly two years, one of Syria’s many “disappeared” before he was released as part of a presidential amnesty on 29 May 2013. It was only then he learned that on 5 September 2012 a court had sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Here, he tells his story of how he was treated in some of Syria’s many detention centres.

    September 11, 2014
    A torture wheel, discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Torture is endemic in the Philippines. Police officers in the Philippines tortured Jerryme Corre, a bus driver, in what could be a case of mistaken identity. Jerryme is still in prison awaiting justice. Alfreda Disbarro was arrested and tortured while in custody at a police station. Her torturers have yet to be held to account. And earlier this year, a “wheel of torture” was discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines. Detainees were forced to spin the wheel, and whatever form of torture the arrow landed on was inflicted on them.

    How has torture become so widespread in the Philippines? Because authorities have turned a blind eye and allowed it to become endemic. But two recent events provide hope that things can change.
     

    September 11, 2014

    By Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Expert on the Philippines

    Although it is talked about little, torture is the Phillipines’ dirty, open secret. It is endemic. Even though banned in Philippine law, and even though the country has signed up to all the right international treaties on ending torture, this has amounted to little more than paper promises.

    Amnesty International has received numerous and harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture and other cruel and inhuman practices by security forces.

    And the police are woefully equipped to address the issue. With around a quarter of a million police officers and soldiers combined, according to the President himself, the Philippines has one of the smallest police to population ratios in the world. This means that the national police has been dependent on poorly trained but sometimes armed police auxiliaries. On the ground, police officers rely on informants and “assets” to do their policing – and sometimes extra-legal activities.

    September 04, 2014
    Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received more than 7,000 complaints for torture and other ill-treatment between 2010 and 2013. © Claudia Daut/Reuters

    Torture and ill-treatment in Mexico is out of control with a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases in the past decade, according to a new report published by Amnesty International. The organization is calling on the Mexican government to act now to stop the wide-spread and persistent use of torture by members of the police and armed forces.

    The report, Out of control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico charts a serious rise of torture and other ill-treatment and a prevailing culture of tolerance and impunity. Only seven torturers have ever been convicted in federal courts and even fewer have been prosecuted at state level.

    September 04, 2014

    By Katie Young, Amnesty International Australia

    Travel guides describe Mexico as one of the world’s great civilisations, whose landscapes are as stunning as they are diverse. But there’s a dark flipside to the family-friendly resorts and shimmering blue coastlines: Mexico is suffering from an epidemic of torture.

    Here we look some sickening facts about torture in Mexico and what you can do to help.

    1. Reports of torture are 600% higher than in 2003

    Torture in Mexico is, quite frankly, out of control. In the last ten years alone, there has been a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases of torture. Between 2010 and the end of 2013, the National Human Rights Commission received more than 7,000 complaints of torture.

    An Amnesty survey recently found that a whopping 64 per cent of Mexican citizens are afraid they would be tortured if they were ever to be detained by the police. In the same survey, Australia and China came out at 16 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

    2. How are people tortured in Mexico?

    Torture techniques in Mexico all have one thing in common: they’re brutal.

    August 14, 2014

    Two activists recently imprisoned after they reported they had been abducted and tortured must be released immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International said.

    Human rights and political activist Wafae Charaf was sentenced to a year in prison and a 1000 MAD fine (approximately USD 120) on Tuesday for allegedly falsely reporting being abducted and tortured by unknown persons in April this year.

    The court also ordered her to pay 50,000 MAD (approximately USD 6,000) in compensation to Morocco’s police force for slander, although she did not accuse them.

    “No-one should be imprisoned for reporting torture and slander should not be a criminal offence. This conviction sends a chilling warning to anyone who has suffered torture, or any other ill-treatment, that they should keep quiet or risk ending up behind bars,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    August 12, 2014

    This morning’s arrest of a General accused of abductions and torture in the Philippines is an encouraging sign that the authorities are finally tackling a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations by the security forces, Amnesty International said.

    Retired Major General Jovito Palparan, 63, was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation and members of the armed forces at around 3am in the Santa Mesa area of the Philippines’ capital, Manila.

    Often referred to as Berdugo (“the executioner” or “the butcher”) by human rights activists, he faces charges of kidnapping and illegal detention of university students in 2006.  

    “Today’s arrest of one of the Philippines’ most wanted alleged human rights violators must embolden the authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice military and law enforcement officials who have reportedly abused their power through involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions,” said Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International.

    July 29, 2014

    The European Union (EU) must urgently strengthen its laws to enable member states to immediately ban the trade in new devices and technologies that have no practical  use other than to torture, ill-treat or execute individuals, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, as experts meet in Brussels today to strengthen current regulations.

    The organizations are also calling on the EU to close current legal loopholes which effectively allow the promotion, brokering and provision of technical training in the use of devices and technologies that can easily be used by law enforcers for acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    July 24, 2014

    Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International said as it applauded two landmark human rights judgments handed down today. 

    The European Court of Human Rights found that the Polish government colluded with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to establish a secret prison at Stare Kiejkuty, which operated between 2002 and 2005. At the site, 180 km north of Warsaw, detainees were held in secret detention and tortured.

    “Today’s historic rulings finally unlock the truth about a dark period of Poland’s recent history and mark a milestone against impunity. Poland knowingly became part of the USA’s illegal network of black sites that was used to secretly detain and torture individuals rounded up in counter-terrorism operations,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    July 10, 2014
    Sasha, a 19-year-old pro-Ukrainian activist, fled to Kyiv after he was abducted by separatists at gunpoint in Luhansk. He said he was beaten repeatedly for 24 hours.© Private

    Amnesty International has gathered graphic and compelling evidence of savage beatings and other torture meted out against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern Ukraine over the last three months.

    A new briefing, Abductions and Torture in Eastern Ukraine, details the findings of a research trip to Kyiv and south-eastern Ukraine in recent weeks. It documents allegations of abduction and torture perpetrated by separatist armed groups and pro-Kyiv forces.

    “With hundreds abducted over the last three months, the time has come to take stock of what has happened, and stop this abhorrent ongoing practice,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    July 10, 2014

    The skin across Sasha’s forehead and around his eyes is slightly yellow and there is a recent scab on his temple. He is healing well.

    Ten days before our meeting, the 19-year-old was barely recognizable: the skin on his face stretched tight, swollen and bruised. Abducted and tortured, Sasha believes he is lucky to be alive.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    After the city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine came under control of separatist armed groups in April 2014, he was an obvious target.

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