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Torture

    May 12, 2014

    Belgian-Moroccan citizen Ali Aarrass remains in prison in Morocco, serving a 12 year sentence for illegal use of weapons and participation in a group intending to commit acts of terrorism. The only evidence against him was a confession obtained through torture.

    Ali Aarrass continues to experience some ill-treatment and harassment in detention. International support has played a role in helping to improve his detention conditions.

    Send a message of solidarity to Ali Aarrass in prison. Your messages let Ali Aarrass know that he is not alone, and they let prison officials know that he is not alone.

    May 09, 2014

    Dilorom Abdukadirova is serving an 18-year sentence in Tashkent Women’s Prison after an unfair trial. She was tortured and ill-treated in pre-trial detention. Her family fears she may still be at risk.

    In May 2005, Dilorom Abdukadirova joined in a mass demonstration in Babur Square in the centre of Andizhan. The protesters hoped the president would meet with them and listen to their concerns about the economy. They were greeted instead by security forces using live ammunition. Hundreds were killed. Dilorom was among 500 protesters who managed to escape from the square and flee to Kyrgyzstan on foot. Eventually she was granted asylum in Australia in 2006.

    The Uzbekistani authorities assured Dilorom and her family that nothing would happen if she returned home. In January 2010, she set off to reunite with her husband and children. However, she was immediately detained upon arrival at Tashkent airport because she did not have a valid exit permit in her passport. She was questioned for four days and released after being charged with “illegal exit” from Uzbekistan.

    May 09, 2014

    Alfreda Disbarro from Quezon City, Philippines was at an internet café near her house in the early evening of October 3, 2013. Police stopped her and accused her of drug dealing. She denied this and emptied her pockets voluntarily, revealing just a mobile phone and a five-peso coin.

    The police then pointed a gun at her, punched her in the chest, handcuffed her and took her to police headquarters. Officers tortured her to force her to confess to the crime and she was in such pain that she could not eat for days and had difficulty breathing and kept vomiting.

    She was taken to the Barangay Hall of Barangay San Antonio the following day, where she was told to sign a blank sheet of paper, and photographed with three one-hundred-dollar bills and a sachet of drugs produced by the policy. Alfreda protested her innocence.

    Alfreda went before the Prosecutor on October 8, charged with the sale and possession of illegal drugs but was not asked about what the police had done to her.

    April 15, 2014

    A globally admired artistic duo has created 30 limited edition “Freedom Candles” which will shortly be auctioned on eBay in support of Amnesty International's work in promoting human rights. A short film showcasing the candles has been released.

    Mark Landwher & Sven Waschk— known as ‘coarse’— are renowned for their striking and meticulous vinyl sculptures. This is the first time that the duo has turned its attention to the subject of human rights. Coarse’s attention to craft brings out the emotion of the people involved and the issues, causing the viewer to empathize with the situation on a more personal level.

    When each candle is burned, the wax sculpture depicting the injustice burns away to reveal a new bronze figure inside—symbolizing the positive change that human rights activism can help to effect.

    April 11, 2014

    (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In response to the disclosure by McClatchy Media of information about the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and interrogation, Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security & Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

    "This is a game changer. The debate about torture should be over once and for all. President Obama should immediately declassify the entire report so that safeguards can be put in place to ensure that the U.S. government does not use torture again.

    "The U.S. should, among other steps, withdraw its reservations to the Convention Against Torture and revise the Army Field Manual on Interrogation. Furthermore, international law requires accountability for the crime of torture, including remedy for victims and prosecutions where warranted."

    April 03, 2014

    The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has voted for a degree of transparency on the now long-festering injustices associated with the secret detention program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

    Given the systematic failure of the US authorities to declassify and disclose anything like the full truth about the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs, any transparency on them is a step in the right direction.

    The SSCI has voted to submit for declassification the summary and findings of its review of the secret detention program, authorized by former President George W. Bush in September 2001 and ended by President Barack Obama in 2009.

    But publication of the SSCI summary and findings – hopefully without redactions – will be just one small step. The administration and Congress must do far more to ensure accountability for past violations and their non-recurrence in the future. For a start, the full SSCI report – and the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs themselves – should be declassified.

    January 31, 2014
    The abduction and torture of Ukrainian opposition activist Dmitrii Bulatov is a barbaric act which must be investigated immediately, Amnesty International said today.

    “The Ukrainian authorities must immediately open an investigation into Dmitrii Bulatov's case and bring to justice those who have committed this barbaric act against a prominent protest organiser,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “Dmitrii's horrific story is not unique amongst Euromaydan protestors. A number of similar cases have been reported including the case of Yury Verbytsky who, sadly, did not survive his ordeal.

    “It is very hard to see a way out the current crisis when such horrific abuses against protest organizers are taking place. The authorities must send a strong message to the perpetrators of these appalling acts of violence that there will be no impunity and that they will be held accountable. “

    January 29, 2014

    A decision by a court in Lithuania ruling that a Saudi Arabian national has a right to an investigation into his alleged torture in a secret CIA detention centre in the country is a breakthrough for justice, said Amnesty International.

    “The court’s decision in the case of Mustafa al-Hawsawi is a real victory in the pursuit of accountability for Lithuania’s alleged complicity in the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    “The Lithuanian court has set an example for all of Europe and the USA by upholding the rule of law and recognizing that victims of torture and enforced disappearance at the hands of the CIA and European agents have an absolute right to a thorough investigation.”

    “The Lithuanian government and Prosecutor General must now open a full and effective investigation into Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s claims and ensure that any other individuals who have alleged that they were held in secret CIA detention there are afforded the same right.”

    January 27, 2014

    The discovery of a secret torture cell in a police intelligence facility in the Philippines where officers physically abused inmates for fun in a game of “roulette” shows the authorities’ pitiful lack of control over the police force in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization is calling on the Aquino administration to act immediately to put an end to routine torture under their watch.

    “For police officers to use torture ‘for fun’ is despicable. These are abhorrent acts. Suspending officers is not enough. Errant police personnel and their commanding officers should be held accountable in a court of law,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International's Philippines Researcher.

     "Torture is a criminal act, and the leadership of the Philippine National Police must end its practice within its ranks. The authorities must ensure that torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is not tolerated.”

    January 21, 2014

    World leaders at the Geneva II peace conference on Syria must demand full access to investigate allegations that 11,000 people have been tortured and killed while in detention in the country and monitor conditions in detention, said Amnesty International.

    A report by former war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts is based on documents and thousands of still images of what appear to be the bodies of dead prisoners. The material was smuggled out of the country by a defected military police photographer. The photographs cover the period from the start of the uprising in 2011 until August 2013.

    “The Geneva II peace conference must treat this as an absolute priority. Concrete steps must be taken to respond to the scale of the horrific human rights situation in detention centres and the country in general,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “World leaders must demand that the Commission of Inquiry and other human rights bodies be granted immediate access to all places of detention – formal and informal – in Syria.

    January 14, 2014

    The European Court of Human Rights ruling that three British men who say they were tortured in prison in Saudi Arabia cannot pursue a claim through the UK courts is a retrograde step which dashes any hope of justice, said Amnesty International.

    The ruling blocks any opportunity for further legal action. A fourth victim died before the case was decided.

    “This is a retrograde step. Unless the UK government enters into diplomatic negotiations with Saudi Arabia for compensation, this decision dashes the victims’ hopes for justice,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s deputy director of the Law and Policy program.

    “There was never any prospect of obtaining justice in Saudi Arabia and the only option for these men was to bring the case through the UK courts. This is a major blow for not just for these men but victims of torture globally.”

    After more than 10 years of litigation, the ruling comes as a final blow to the expatriate workers who were arrested in Riyadh in 2000 and 2001 and accused of involvement in a bombing campaign.

    January 09, 2014

    The French government must no allow the extradition of Kazakhstani banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, Amnesty International said today, shortly after a French court ruled that he should be sent to Russia or Ukraine to face fraud charges.

    “Today's decision by the French court flies in the face of the realities on the ground. Russian and Ukrainian security services collaborate routinely with the security apparatus in Kazakhstan,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    “Not only do we have fears that Ablyazov would not get a fair trial in Russia or Ukraine, there is the real danger that he will eventually end up in Kazakhstan, where he will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The French authorities must not send Ablyazov to any country where he will face serious human rights violations or be forced back to Kazakhstan."

    December 19, 2013

    ‘Today’s announcement is yet another effort by the UK to shirk its responsibility to get at the full truth’ - John Dalhuisen

    Responding to today’s announcement from the Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee will examine allegations of UK involvement in torture and other human rights violations concerning people detained overseas in the context of counter terrorism operations, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director John Dalhuisen said:

    “Today’s announcement about how the UK government now intends to address torture allegation is as disappointing as it is predictable.

    The interim report of the Detainee Inquiry has identified 27 issues for further examination, underscoring the need for an effective, independent, human rights-compliant inquiry.

    Combating torture requires coming clean about when and where it occurred, identifying who was involved, and holding those responsible to account.

    December 09, 2013

    Libya’s authorities must urgently investigate the death of a soldier who was tortured to death last week following 10 hours of interrogation by his own army unit, said Amnesty International.

    Hussein Radwan Raheel, 37, who served with the Saiqa Forces, an elite army unit under the Ministry of Defence, was severely beaten and subjected to electric shocks, family members told Amnesty International. A forensic report and photos of his body seen by the organization also indicate that he was tortured.

    “Torture and ill-treatment were routinely used by the state to terrorize the Libyan people under al-Gaddafi’s brutal rule. The Libyan authorities must show that the country has made a clean break with the past by sending a strong message that human rights violations by state officials will no longer be tolerated,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    November 26, 2013

    Afghanistan’s proposed reinstatement of atrocious punishments would mark a dangerous return to legalized state brutality, Amnesty International said today as it urged the authorities to reject such plans.

    Public stoning to death, amputation of limbs and flogging are among the brutal punishments being put forward as draft amendments to the Afghan Penal Code.

    “Stoning and amputation are always torture, and so is flogging as practised in Afghanistan. All these forms of punishment are strictly prohibited under international human rights treaties which are binding on Afghanistan,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Some of these punishments are also proposed for acts which should never be criminalized in the first place, including consensual sexual relations between adults, and choosing one’s religion.

    “When Afghanistan left behind such punishments with the ousting of the Taliban over a decade ago, it was a beacon of hope for gradual human rights reform in the country,” said Horia Mosadiq.

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