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Torture

    June 09, 2015

    Last week’s sexual assault of human rights defender only latest travesty of justice

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must confront Uzbekistan’s leadership on the country’s appalling human rights record during his visit this Friday, said Amnesty International.

    The Uzbekistani authorities, who have long ignored the UN’s overtures on human rights, must also pledge immediate and urgent reforms to end torture and the myriad of other abuses condoned by the government.

    The rights group urges Ban Ki-moon, who is in Central Asia from 9-12 June, to firmly reassert the UN’s prior calls for Uzbekistan to honour its international obligations and to demand that UN human rights experts be allowed to enter the country.

    June 09, 2015

    The imminent release of Albert Woodfox, who has spent around 40 years in isolation after a flawed murder trial in Louisiana, is a long-awaited legal triumph, said Amnesty International today.

    “In granting Albert Woodfox’s release the federal court has taken a significant step towards addressing the injustice and cruelty he has suffered for decades," said Tessa Murphy, USA Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    In a surprise turn, a judge yesterday issued an unconditional writ ordering Albert's immediate release and barring a retrial.  

    "This 68-year-old man has suffered intolerably cruel treatment in prison while fighting to overturn a conviction for a crime for which he has always maintained he was innocent. After two flawed trials and a legal process spanning decades, which has seen his conviction overturned in both federal and state courts, finally Albert is getting the freedom he deserves.” 

    June 03, 2015

    • Ángel Amílcar Colón moves MPs with his testimony about torture at the hands of Mexican police and military

    • Amnesty International and Centro Prodh denounce widespread use of torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Mexico

    Ottawa – June 3, 2015  Members of the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights, currently undertaking a study of the human rights situation in Mexico, expressed deep concern in response to testimony yesterday from Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo about the torture to which he was subjected by Mexican state security forces while detained in military installations of the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena). The goal of the torture, Mr Colon Quevedo said, was to extract a forced confession to crimes he had not committed.

    May 29, 2015

    A Nigerian torture victim wrongfully sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was 16 years old has been pardoned following intensive campaigning from Amnesty International supporters across the world.

    Moses Akatugba, who was on death row following his conviction for stealing three mobile phones 10 years ago and was repeatedly tortured into signing a confession, said he felt “overwhelmed” after the outgoing Governor of Nigeria’s Delta State announced last night he had granted him a full pardon.

    “The pardon of Moses Akatugba, who should not have been sentenced to death in the first place because he was a minor at the time of the offence, is a victory for justice and a reminder that people power and human rights campaigning really can make a difference,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director.

    “Without the thousands of letters sent in support of Moses by his supporters across the globe, he may never have been granted his freedom.”

    May 28, 2015

    Moses Akatugba, who was sentenced to death by hanging for stealing mobile phones, has been granted a total pardon by Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Governor of Delta State!

    UPDATE - JUNE 2, 2015:  THE RELEASE ORDER ARRIVED AT WARRI PRISON THIS AFTERNOON AND MOSES IS NOW FREE!

    Thank you to the thousands of you who took action for Moses and urged the Governor to show mercy.

    The news of his release comes days after thousands of Amnesty supporters sent Facebook and Twitter messages to Governor Uduaghan asking him to make sparing Moses part of his legacy before he steps down on 29 May.

    Tens of thousands of Amnesty supporters also signed petitions as part of Amnesty's global campaign to Stop Torture and wrote letters as part of Amnesty's global event Write for Rights. Together our voices really can make a difference – thank you.


    Tortured into a ‘confession’

    16-year-old Moses Akatugba was awaiting the results of his secondary school exams when his life changed forever.

    May 27, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST  28 May 2015

    Companies based in the European Union (EU) are still marketing and trading in a range of security equipment which can be used to torture and ill-treat people, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation warned in a new report today.

    Such activities continue because of loopholes in the decade-old European regulation aimed at restricting the trade in these goods.

    Grasping the nettle: Ending Europe’s trade in execution and torture technology details these gaps and spells out how EU institutions and member states can and must close them. It is being launched as the European Parliament opens fresh debate on 28 May over proposed amendments to the EU’s “Torture Trade Regulation” in force since 2006.

    “Europe has come a long way towards ending the repugnant trade in some of the world’s most sinister tools and technologies which can be used to torture and execute people,” said Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International.

    May 22, 2015

     Released 09:00 GMT/12:00 Kyiv time on 22 May 2015

     

    Overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes, including torture and summary killings of prisoners, serve as a stark reminder of the brutal practices being committed on a near-daily basis in eastern Ukraine’s conflict, Amnesty International said in a comprehensive new briefing today.

    Breaking Bodies: Torture and summary killings in eastern Ukraine provides compelling evidence of frequent and widespread prisoner abuse by a broad range of captors on both sides of the conflict.

    Former prisoners described being beaten until their bones broke, tortured with electric shocks, kicked, stabbed, hung from the ceiling, deprived of sleep for days, threatened with death, denied urgent medical care and subjected to mock executions.

    May 19, 2015

    Released 10.00 BST (09.00 GMT) 19 May 2015

    Beatings, stress positions, asphyxiation, simulated drowning, psychological and sexual violence are among an array of torture techniques used by Moroccan security forces to extract “confessions” to crimes or silence activists and crush dissent, according to a new Amnesty International report published today.

    The report, Shadow of Impunity: Torture in Morocco and Western Sahara, reveals a darker reality to the liberal image presented by Morocco’s leaders when in 2011 they responded to popular uprisings in the region by promising to pursue a raft of progressive reforms and a new constitution prohibiting torture.

    May 06, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST  7 May 2015

    One year after Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail, Amnesty International has joined with his wife to renew appeals for his immediate and unconditional release.  

    “It is truly tragic that a whole year has passed since Raif Badawi received this cruel and unjust sentence. He is clearly being punished for daring to exercise his right to freedom of expression,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “It is not enough for the Saudi Arabian authorities to suspend the public floggings in bid to escape international criticism and sweep Raif Badawi’s case under the carpet. As long as the sentence stands he remains unjustly imprisoned and at risk of flogging, casting a further stain on Saudi Arabia’s already bleak human rights record. It is high time his conviction is quashed and for the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.”

    April 17, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    The tremendous news that three Mexican police officers have been criminally charged with torturing Adrián Vázquez in Tijuana in 2012 is a historic breakthrough; and a great day for justice.  It is obviously very welcome news for Adrián himself; and it can and must spur greater efforts across Mexico to ensure that those who have been responsible for the staggering crisis of torture the country has faced over the past decade are held accountable.

    April 16, 2015

    Three police officers have been charged with torture in the northern state of Baja California following a steadfast campaign by victim Adrián Vázquez Lagunes, his family and their lawyer, supported by Amnesty International. This is the first time torture charges have been brought in a state which is notorious for torture complaints.

    Adrián Vázquez Lagunes was arrested, threatened, beaten and nearly asphyxiated during a 12-hour spell in state police custody in 2012. The Federal Attorney General’s Office later accused him of illegally carrying firearms and being a high profile drug trafficker, while ignoring his allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture and fabrication of evidence. He remains in detention while his trial is ongoing despite the fact that the only relevant evidence against him was allegedly planted on him by the police.

    April 14, 2015

    By Ensaf Haidar, via The Washington Post

    On June 17, 2012, my husband, Raif Badawi, the father of my three children and my best friend, was arrested in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. For nearly three years, as he has languished in prison, my family has been trapped in a nightmare.

    Raif is a man of principle and a respected activist in Saudi Arabia. In 2008, he started a blog where readers could openly discuss politics, religion and other social issues. But in Saudi Arabia, one can pay an unthinkable price simply for blogging. Raif was convicted of insulting Islam and violating the kingdom’s repressive information-technology laws.

    April 12, 2015

    Released 0:01 GMT on 13 April 2015

    Law enforcement agencies around the world regularly misuse so-called “less-lethal” weapons and equipment for torture and their use can also have deadly consequences, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation said today as they launched a new briefing at the United Nations Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar.

    The human rights impact of less lethal weapons and other law enforcement equipment details the medical and other risks associated with a wide range of weaponry and equipment used in policing, including crowd control during demonstrations, as well as in prisons. And it recommends stricter controls or, in some cases, bans to stem future abuses.

    “This briefing exposes how police forces and prison officials have at their disposal a dizzying array of weapons and kit that, while known as ‘less-lethal’, can cause serious injury or even death,” said Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International.

    March 24, 2015

    Venezuela’s failure to effectively investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of 43 people and the injury and torture of hundreds during protests in 2014, is effectively giving a green light to more abuses and violence, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    The faces of impunity: A year after the protests, victims still await justice examines the stories of those who died or were arbitrarily arrested and tortured in detention during and after the protests that rocked the country between February and July 2014. Amongst the dead and injured were protesters, passers-by and members of the security forces. Some are still behind bars pending trial.

    “People in Venezuela should be able to peacefully protest without fear of losing their lives or being unlawfully detained,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Every day that passes without addressing the catalogue of human rights abuses that took place during the protests is another day of heart-breaking injustice for the victims and their families. This must stop.”

    March 11, 2015

    The Russian authorities’ threat to bring criminal charges against Eva Merkacheva and Andrei Babushkin, two human rights activists who published torture allegations from two men accused of the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, raises alarming questions over the fairness of the investigation, said Amnesty International.

    The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation suggested that raising allegations that Zaur Dadaev was tortured into confessing and that Shaghid Gubashev was also ill-treated may amount to “interference with the work of investigator with the purpose of preventing a comprehensive, full and objective investigation of the case”.

    “Threatening legal action against those who report a crime as serious as torture is ludicrous. To ignore serious allegations that torture was used to force confessions would make a complete mockery of Russia’s judicial system. They must be taken seriously, and fully, promptly, independently and effectively investigated,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

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