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Torture

    September 01, 2015

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have laid criminal charges today against a Syrian official for the torture of Canadian citizen Maher Arar almost 13 years ago.  It represents a tremendous advance in Mr. Arar’s longstanding quest for justice, truth and reparation for the grave human rights violations he experienced in 2002 and 2003.  It also sets a ground-breaking precedent – nationally and internationally – in the critical campaign to end the impunity that has long shielded torturers around the world.

    “Torture continues at such alarming rates worldwide because those responsible are rarely held to account for their heinous crimes,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “No matter where it occurs or who carries it out, all governments are obliged to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility for torture face justice.  But few ever do. Canada is taking a historic step in meeting that responsibility by seeking the arrest of a foreign official accused of committing torture in another country.”

    August 28, 2015

    The case of Salim al-Aradi, a dual Libyan-Canadian national who has been detained for a year without charge, highlights pervasive repression by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said Amnesty International.

    Salim al-Aradi has been in detention since 29 August 2014.  He was held in secret detention for several months after he was first arrested and is believed to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody. His health is said to be deteriorating rapidly and he has been denied access to adequate medical care.

    "The unlawful treatment of Salim al-Aradi demonstrates the extreme tactics the UAE authorities are resorting to in the name of protecting national security,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Locking someone up for an entire year without charge is grossly unjust and a very serious violation of their rights. Salim al-Aradi should either be immediately charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence or else released.”

    August 23, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs EAT   24 August 2015

    Beatings with iron bars and acid burns are among an array of torture techniques used by Burundian security forces to extract “confessions” and silence dissent, according to a new Amnesty International briefing published today.

    In a briefing titled “Just tell me what to confess to”: Torture and ill-treatment by Burundi’s police and intelligence service since April 2015, Amnesty International has documented chilling testimonies of victims of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of security forces. The briefing highlights a spike in the use of torture in Burundi since April 2015.  

    “The testimonies we received are as devastating as they are disturbing since torture and other ill-treatment are prohibited both by Burundi’s Constitution and by international and regional treaties Burundi is party to,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    August 10, 2015

    Today’s conditional release of Mazen Darwish, a human rights activist who had been jailed on trumped-up terrorism-related charges, ends the worst of a painful ordeal for him and his family over the past three and a half years, said Amnesty International.

    Mazen Darwish, Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), spent over three years in arbitrary detention after being arrested alongside a number of other colleagues during a raid on the office of the SCM by Air Force Intelligence personnel in Damascus in February 2012. Mazen Darwish is the last of the group to be released, two of his colleagues Hani al-Zitani and Hussein Gharir were conditionally released last month.

    July 09, 2015

    The Thai authorities must not return 50 ethnic Uighurs to China, where they are at risk of being tortured, forcibly disappeared and executed, and China must reveal the whereabouts of more than 100 already deported, said Amnesty International.

    This morning, the Thai authorities confirmed that they have deported to China some 109 Uighurs – the Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. They were part of a group detained for irregular entry into Thailand in March 2014.

    Since the 1980s, the Uighurs have been the target of systematic and extensive human rights violations by the Chinese authorities.

    “Thailand has violated international law by forcibly returning some 109 Uighurs to China. This is akin to sentencing them to the worst punishment imaginable. Time and time again we have seen Uighurs returned to China disappearing into a black hole, with some detained, tortured and in some cases, sentenced to death and executed,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director for East Asia at Amnesty International.

    July 03, 2015

    By Moses Akatugba, Nigeria (30 June 2015).

    June 24, 2015

     

     

     

     

     

    Moroccan human rights and political activists Wafae Charaf and Oussama Housne were sentenced to three-year and two-year prison terms respectively in 2014 for “falsely reporting” torture. They were also convicted of slandering Morocco’s police force and ordered to pay compensation, even though neither of them had accused the police. They are prisoners of conscience.

    Wafae Charaf said she was abducted after she went to a workers’ protest in Tangiers on 27 April 2014, by men who beat her for several hours and threatened her with further violence if she did not stop her activism.

    June 24, 2015

    Yecenia Armenta Graciano has spent almost three years in prison, while the men who brutally tortured her remain free.

    Her nightmare began in 2012, while she was driving relatives to the Culiacán airport in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. Plain-clothed state policemen pulled her car over, forced her out, blindfolded her and drove her away. They subjected her to near asphyxiation with a plastic bag over her head, poured water over a cloth covering her mouth to simulate drowning, hung her upside down naked, and raped her. “I wanted them to just give me a bullet to the head so that it would all stop”, she says.

    After almost 15 hours of torture, the police officers threatened to bring in Yecenia’s children to rape and kill them. It was at that moment that Yecenia succumbed to their demands to sign a confession to involvement in the murder of her husband, all while still blindfolded.

    June 23, 2015

     

    Angel Amílcar Colón Quevedo was tortured and unjustly detained in Mexico. He is seeking justice and reparations in order to protect others from what he suffered.

    Angel Amílcar Colón Quevedo is a defender of the rights of his people, the Garifuna Indigenous people of Honduras. He was travelling through Mexico in search of work that would enable him to pay for cancer treatment for his son when he was detained by police in the northern city of Tijuana in March 9, 2009. What followed was a nightmare of torture and injustice.

    Angel was tortured by the police then handed over to soldiers at a military base who beat him, subjected him to water-boarding, and put a plastic bag over his head then jumped on his chest to cause near asphyxiation, amongst other forms of physical and psychological torture. He was forced to sign a confession to crimes he had not committed.

    June 23, 2015
    Amnesty activists with torture survivor Angel Colon. Halifax, May 2015.
    One year ago, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to Stop Torture. And it’s working.

    We have shone a light on torture taking place in Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan. In each of these countries we have campaigned alongside families of torture survivors and NGO partners, and we have seen results. Here are a few of the highlights.

    Mexico

    October 15, 2014 – Mexico releases Honduran torture victim and prisoner of conscience, Ángel Amilcar Colón without charge after more than five years of pre-trial detention. 20,000 people signed petitions as part of an Amnesty International campaign calling for his release.

    February 10, 2015 – The last remaining charge was dropped against torture survivor Claudia Medina Tamariz. Over 300,000 people signed petitions as part of an Amnesty Internatioanl campaign calling for charges against her to be dropped.

    June 22, 2015

    By Louisa Anderson and Justine Ijeomah

    After 10 years in jail, and over 800,000 messages from activists around the world, Moses’ life has been spared. Here, we speak to Justine Ijeomah, Director of the Human Rights, Social Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF) in Nigeria and long-time ally in the campaign for Moses’ freedom. He describes Moses’ journey from schoolboy to death row inmate, and how the 26-year-old torture survivor reacted when he found out his life had been spared.

    June 18, 2015
    In 2012, Dave, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested, accused o

    In 2012, Dave Enriquez, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested and accused of stealing two roosters. In the police station, Dave, who suffers from intellectual disabilities, wasn’t allowed to contact his lawyer or family. Instead, four policemen beat Dave with a wooden paddle, pounded his fingers with a stapler and banged his head against the metal gate of his cell.

    Dave has been since been released, however, a complaint filed against the police, with support from the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, was dismissed by the prosecutor’s office. No one has been held responsible.

    In recent years reports of torture have risen dramatically in the Philippines, but to date not one torture survivor has obtained justice. The few victims who do manage to initiate proceedings against their torturers find themselves confronted with a dauntingly complex criminal and administrative complaints system.

    June 16, 2015

    By Sevag Kechichian, Saudi Arabia Researcher at Amnesty International

    Today, like many people around the world, I waited to find out if Raif Badawi would again be hauled out of his prison cell and mercilessly lashed another 50 times in a public square in Jeddah.

    The same suspense has gripped people for 23 weeks since the first time this act of cruelty was inflicted on the imprisoned blogger on 9 January this year. That day, a crowd of onlookers gathered in the square immediately after Friday prayers to witness this hateful spectacle.

    While flogging and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments are commonplace in Saudi Arabia, they are not necessarily carried out on Fridays and in public. There is often an air of secrecy even around the many beheadings and other executions in the country – which have seen a macabre spike since the beginning of this year.

    Amnesty International has campaigned for Raif’s release since his arrest in 2012. Since he was flogged, it joined more than a million activists, journalists and political leaders in calling for an end to the horror and for his immediate release.

    June 16, 2015

    About 50 people arrested by the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a security clampdown after armed gunmen attacked Goma airport and other parts of the city two weeks ago must urgently be granted full access to lawyers, be allowed family visits and presented before court to assess the legality of their detention, Amnesty International urged today.

    “The Congolese Constitution is very clear on the rights of people arrested and detained,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
     
    “Detention without access to family members and lawyers increases the risk of torture and other ill-treatment. They are also at risk of enforced disappearance”.

    Four people including two members of the Presidential Guard in charge of airport security were killed in the attack on 2 June.

    June 11, 2015

    Each of the remaining 950 lashes the Saudi Arabian authorities plan to inflict upon dissident blogger Raif Badawi will bludgeon freedom of expression and make a mockery of the country’s international human rights obligations, Amnesty International warned amid fears his public flogging could resume as soon as tomorrow.

    These fears have been heightened after Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court announced in the media on 6 June it had upheld a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for Raif Badawi, with no room to appeal the ruling.

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