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    July 25, 2017
      The Lebanese authorities must disclose the full findings of their investigation into the deaths of four Syrian refugees, said Amnesty International, after the country’s military prosecutor yesterday revealed that a forensic report concluded that they had died of “natural causes”. The men died after they were arrested in a military raid on the town of Arsal on 30 June 2017.   Forensic analysis of photographs showing the bodies of three of the four deceased men, commissioned by Amnesty International, reveals signs of recent beatings and trauma to the head, legs and arms suggesting they may have been tortured. “It is extremely important for the full findings of the forensic report commissioned by the military prosecutor to be made public and accessible to the lawyers and families of the victims,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.  
    July 21, 2017
      The Egyptian authorities must conduct an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into allegations that police officers tortured a man to death this week at a police station in Cairo, Amnesty International said today, urging them to ensure that witnesses who testified against the suspected perpetrators are protected from any threats or harassment.   On 18 July, police officers arrested Gamal Aweida, a 43-year-old Coptic Christian man, along with a friend, from a local café and took them to Mansheyet Nasir police station for questioning in relation to a minor offence. Around 15 hours later, his family received a phone call informing them he was dead.       “The evidence strongly suggests that Gamal Aweida was tortured to death by Egyptian police. Such brutality is shocking and far too common.  Years of impunity have emboldened perpetrators of such abuses in Egypt, giving security forces free rein to torture and ill-treat detainees without fearing any consequences,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.  
    July 19, 2017
      A court today convicted 23 Sahrawi activists over deadly clashes in Western Sahara after failing to exclude evidence tainted by allegations of torture during the trial hearings, said Amnesty International.   Early this morning the Rabat Court of Appeals sentenced the defendants to prison terms ranging from two years to life imprisonment in connection with the clashes that followed the forcible dismantlement of a protest camp in Gdim Izik, Western Sahara, in 2010, killing 11 members of the security forces and two Sahrawi protesters.  
    July 17, 2017
    Verdict Awaited for Sahrawis Charged in Fatal 2010 Clashes   The Moroccan judicial authorities should ensure that upcoming verdicts in a mass trial are not based on confessions or statements implicating other defendants obtained under torture or other ill-treatment during police interrogations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.  
    July 13, 2017

    The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.

    “The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    July 10, 2017
      The Saudi Arabian authorities must not forcibly return three Sudanese activists to Sudan where there is a real risk they could be imprisoned and face torture and other ill-treatment, said Amnesty International. Elgassim Seed Ahmed, Elwaleed Imam and Alaa Aldin al-Difana were initially arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities in December 2016. They appear to have been detained at the request of the Sudanese authorities in relation to posts on social media expressing support for civil disobedience protests in Sudan late last year.   There are serious fears that they could be deported at any time.   “Forcibly deporting these three men back to Sudan where they are likely to face unfair trial, torture and other ill-treatment would be a flagrant violation of Saudi Arabia’s international obligations and a cruel demonstration of their utter disdain for international law,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s office in Beirut.   
    July 07, 2017
      The Chinese authorities must end their ruthless campaign of detention and torture of human rights lawyers and activists, said Amnesty International, ahead of the second anniversary of the start of an unprecedented crackdown launched under President Xi Jinping. Nearly 250 human rights lawyers and activists have been targeted during the nationwide sweep which began on 9 July 2015. Six have since been convicted for “subverting state power” or “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Three others are still awaiting trials or verdicts. “For two years the Chinese government has been methodically decimating the ranks of human rights lawyers and activists. This vicious crackdown marked by arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and ill-treatment and fake confessions must end now,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International. “Lawyers and rights advocates play a crucial role in protecting human rights and the rule of law. The torment that they and their families continue to be subjected to flies in the face of the Chinese government claim that it upholds the rule of law.”  
    July 06, 2017
      Evidence gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Egyptian police extrajudicially executed four men who had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for periods up to four weeks after they were arrested on suspicion of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The evidence raises serious questions about government claims that the men were killed during exchanges of fire in two separate incidents on 20 and 23 June.   Family members who saw victims’ bodies at the morgue told Amnesty International that three of them bore signs of torture including bruises and in one case, burns, and that National Security Agency officers prevented them from photographing the bodies, confiscating the mobile phone of one of the relatives.  
    October 19, 2016

    Canada must put human rights at the forefront of its approach to national security by adopting a rights-based framework in its upcoming reform of current laws, policy and practices, says an Amnesty International policy brief released today. 

    “For too long, Canadians have been presented with the false and misleading notion that inescapable trade-offs must be made between protection of human rights and ensuring Canadians are kept safe from security threats,” said Alex Neve. “By adopting a human rights-based framework for national security, Canada can demonstrate leadership in addressing grave human rights shortcomings in its current approach while also better ensuring the overall security of its citizens.”

    Amnesty International’s policy brief outlines five guiding principles to form the basis of a human rights-based framework to national security and calls for a number of existing laws and policies to be repealed or reformed.

    December 09, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada

    The hug, the smiling faces outside the barbed wire perimeter of El Hongo Prison, tell this latest good news story from Mexico!

    Adrián Vásquez is free from a nightmare of torture and unjust imprisonment – free, at last, to return to his wife Judith and their family.

    Adrián’s release came in the early morning of December 2nd, more than three years after he was picked up by police in Tijuana and tortured so badly that he required life-saving surgery. The 33-year-old bus driver and father of four was driving his car when police pulled him over, accused him of being a notorious drug trafficker driving a stolen vehicle.  Their “evidence” alone was used to charge and imprison Adrián for three anguished years while his trial was ongoing.

     

    Hours after Adrián’s release, there was more good news!

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    February 18, 2015

    Marines broke into Claudia Medina's home in Veracruz City on August 7, 2012 and took her away to a naval base where she was subjected to physical, sexual and psychological torture.

    October 09, 2014
    Justice for Ayotzinapa protest in Mexico City, 8 October 2014

    By Kathy Price, Mexico Campaigner

    The photos arrived in a steady stream on my Facebook feed, a flood of images too numerous to include here - impossible to ignore. From the wide boulevards of Mexico’s capital to the streets of small towns across the country, women and men, young and old, thousands and thousands of them, marched in protest, united in their outrage about what was done in Guerrero State.

    Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment thrive behind closed doors. It must stop, and those responsible for authorizing and implementing it must be held accountable.

    The UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as "…the intentional infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering for purposes such as obtaining information or a confession, or punishing, intimidating or coercing someone." Torture is always illegal. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

    Abuse of prisoners doesn’t have to be torture to be illegal. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (CID) is also illegal under international and Canadian law. CID includes any harsh or neglectful treatment that could damage a detainee’s physical or mental health or any punishment intended to cause physical or mental pain or suffering, or to humiliate or degrade the person being punished.

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