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    April 19, 2016

    The brutal assault by Zimbabwe's state security agents on the brother of the abducted pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara must be urgently and impartially investigated and those responsible brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    State security agents punched and beat Patson Dzamara with batons and later forced him to drink about four litres of water after he staged a peaceful demonstration at Independence Day celebrations attended by President Robert Mugabe on 18 April at Harare's National Sports Stadium.

    Patson Dzamara held up a placard reading “Independent but not free – where is my brother Itai” near a VIP tent when up to 10 security agents set upon him.

    “The brutal attack on Patson Dzamara for simply lifting a placard is yet further evidence that the Zimbabwean government is prepared to lash out at anyone highlighting its appalling human rights record,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    April 18, 2016

    Air strikes on residential areas in the south eastern Pool region of Congo that have reportedly resulted in deaths, casualties and the destruction of properties, including churches, schools and medical facilities represent an unlawful use of lethal force by the security forces, Amnesty International said today.

    They are a clear violation of the country’s international human rights obligations, including the right to life and should be subject to a thorough, independent and impartial investigation. Eyewitnesses told the organization that on 5 April, helicopters dropped at least 30 bombs on residential areas including a school in the town of Vindza where the target was a house which used to be the residence of Pastor Frederic Ntumi, leader of the “Ninjas” armed group. The government blamed the “Ninjas” for the 4 April violence in the capital Brazzaville. Subsequently the towns of Soumouna and Mayama have come under attack. An eyewitness told Amnesty International that she saw at least 30 dead bodies between Soumouna and Ngula a village located some 8 km.

    April 18, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs  GMT   19 April 2016

    The terrifying reality of the Syrian government’s relentless barrel bombing of the besieged city of Daraya, outside Damascus, is made brutally clear in a new video released by Amnesty International today amid the latest round of peace talks in Geneva.

    Warning: Video contains graphic content

    The organization hopes the harrowing eyewitness footage will spur the international community to re-double its demands on the Syrian government to grant immediate lifesaving humanitarian access to Daraya and all areas still under siege.

    Although no barrel bombs have been dropped on Daraya since the partial “cessation of hostilities” came into effect on 26 February, there have been attacks with other weaponry and thousands of civilians who remain in the city continue to suffer from severe food and medical shortages and no electricity.

    April 17, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT+1 on Monday 18 April 2016

    With all eyes focused on the implementation of the recently agreed EU-Turkey deal, the plight of more than 46,000 refugees and migrants stuck in squalid conditions across mainland Greece, is in danger of being forgotten, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    The report, Trapped in Greece: an avoidable refugee crisis, examines the situation of refugees and migrants – the majority women and children –trapped on mainland Greece, following the complete closure of the Macedonian border on 7 March.

    “The decision to close the Western Balkans route has left more than 46,000 refugees and migrants in appalling conditions and in a state of constant fear and uncertainty,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    April 14, 2016

    Posted at 0300 GMT 15 April 2016

    The South Sudanese government must end arbitrary detentions by the intelligence agency under which dozens of men are being held in squalid conditions without charge or trial sometimes for months on end, said Amnesty International days before opposition leader Riek Machar is due to return to the capital Juba as part of a peace deal requiring the parties to the conflict to form a national unity government.

    Amnesty International has compiled a list of 35 men arbitrarily detained by the National Security Service (NSS) at its headquarters in the Jebel neighbourhood of Juba. Some of the detainees have been held for close to two years, without access to lawyers and with very limited access to their families and the outside world.

    The list, published as part of a briefing Denied protection of the law: National Security Service detention in Juba, South Sudan, includes a former state governor, a 65-year-old university professor, a Ugandan aid worker and a journalist employed by UN-run Radio Miraya.

    April 14, 2016
    Released 8:30 EDT / 13:30 BST 14 April 2016   FIFA President Gianni Infantino cannot afford to continue the organization’s indifference to human rights abuses in Qatar, said Amnesty International today, following the publication of a report identifying major shortcomings in FIFA’s policies and practices.   FIFA hired John Ruggie, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, to review and report on the organization’s business practices in December 2015. While the report sets out broad organizational human rights reforms, it does not specifically tackle the human rights crisis in Qatar, where thousands of World Cup workers are at risk of abuse.   “FIFA has had its head in the sand about the abuses in Qatar for more than five years, telling itself and the world that the Qatari authorities will fix things. That has not happened, and now only concerted FIFA action to prevent abuses on World Cup sites will save the soul of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrants’ Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.
    April 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  14 April 2016

    All those abducted by Boko Haram must be released and those whose lives have been devastated by the armed group must receive support and justice, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abduction of more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls.

    Activists from the organization will join #BringBackOurGirls demonstrations in Abuja and campaigners around the world to mark the anniversary and remember all those abducted, killed and displaced by the armed group.

    “Few of us can begin to comprehend the suffering of parents who have not seen their daughters for two years,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.

    “In addition to the Chibok schoolgirls, today we also remember all those abducted, killed and displaced. Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.”

    April 13, 2016

    Today’s decision to suspend the Mejlis, a representative body of ethnic Crimean Tatars in Crimea, demolishes one of the few remaining rights of a minority that Russia must protect instead of persecute, said Amnesty International.

    The decision – announced by the de facto prosecutor of Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya – signals a new wave of repression against Crimean Tatar people. It comes after increased attacks to the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine two years ago.

    “Anyone associated with the Mejlis could now face serious charges of extremism as a result of this ban, which is aimed at snuffing out the few remaining voices of dissent in Crimea,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “The decision to suspend the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and ban all its activities under Russia’s anti-extremism legislation is a repugnant punitive step denying members of the Crimean Tatar community the right to freedom of association.”

    April 12, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Release

    JACKSON, Ga. – The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Kenneth Fults this evening at 7:00 p.m. despite concerns

    about Fults’ mental state, racial bias, and lack of adequate representation during his trial. Fults has an IQ of 74 and several jurors have said that his lawyer was sleeping during the proceedings.

    One juror signed a sworn statement eight years after the fact saying: 

    “I don’t know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened.

    Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what the nigger deserved.”

    “Mr. Fults’ death sentence is tainted by undeniable racism,” said James Clark, senior death penalty campaigner with Amnesty.

    “This case shows the fundamental flaws in the death penalty system. Georgia authorities must halt this execution immediately and end the death penalty once and for all.”

    Fults was convicted of murdering Cathy Bonds in her home in May 1997.

     

    April 08, 2016

    The release of dozens of student protesters in Myanmar is a step forward for human rights that should pave the way for the new government to release all remaining prisoners of conscience and amend or repeal all laws that fuel arbitrary arrests, Amnesty International said.

    The Tharawaddy Court in Myanmar today dropped charges against scores of students facing jail for largely peaceful protests in March 2015. The move came after the new government announced on 7 April that it would work to release all prisoners of conscience as soon as possible.

    “Today’s release of most of the student protesters is a huge step forward for human rights in Myanmar, and we are delighted that these men and women will walk free. It sends a strong message about the new government’s intention to end the cycle of political arrest and detention in Myanmar. We are now looking forward to the release of all other prisoners of conscience - including those students who are facing charges in other courts. The new government must ensure that no prisoner of conscience is left in jail,” said Laura Haigh, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.

    April 08, 2016

    Releaed 08:00 BST 8 April 2016

    The scheduled execution of a 36-year-old man convicted on drug offences tomorrow, Saturday 9 April, demonstrates the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for the right to life and their determination to continue with a staggering execution spree that saw nearly 1000 people put to death last year, said Amnesty International.

    Family members of Rashid Kouhi received a call from prison authorities yesterday informing them that they should go to Rasht’s Lakan Prison in Gilan Province, Northern Iran, to have a final meeting with him today before his execution tomorrow.

    April 07, 2016

    Thousands of refugees and migrants are being held arbitrarily in appalling conditions amid growing uncertainty, fear and despair over their fate under the new EU-Turkey refugee deal, Amnesty International said, after obtaining access to two highly restricted detention centres on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios.

    On 5 and 6 April, an Amnesty International research team were granted access to two closed detention centres, Moria on Lesvos and VIAL on Chios. A total of around 4,200 people are currently detained at the two sites. Most arrived on the Greek islands after the EU-Turkey deal took effect on 20 March. Some of them have been detained for a fortnight or more.

    Among the 89 refugees and migrants Amnesty International’s team interviewed, there were a large number of particularly vulnerable people, including pregnant women, babies, small children and people with disabilities, trauma and serious illnesses.

    April 07, 2016

    The vicious killing of another secular activist in Bangladesh is a grave reminder that the authorities are failing to protect people exercising their right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    Four masked men attacked Nazimuddin Samad, 28, with a machete in Dhaka late last night before shooting him dead. No one has claimed responsibility, but the killing fits the pattern of other similar attacks on secular activists by radical Islamist groups over the past year.

    “There can be no justification for the brutal killing of Nazimuddin Samad, who has apparently paid with his life for nothing but being brave enough to speak his mind. This is not just a senseless murder, it is a blatant attack on the right to freedom of expression,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director from Amnesty International.

    Nazimuddin Samad was a student activist who had organised campaigns for secularism on social media. He was named on a “hit list” of 84 bloggers published by a group of radical Islamists in 2013.

    April 05, 2016

    Released Wednesday 6 April 2016 00.01GMT

    Dramatic surge in executions globally– highest number recorded by Amnesty International in more than 25 years Three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – responsible for almost 90% of all recorded executions For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s countries were abolitionist for all crimes after four more countries abolished the death penalty in 2015

    A dramatic global rise in the number of executions recorded in 2015 saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century. The surge was largely fuelled by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International found in its review of the global use of the death penalty.

    April 05, 2016

    Today’s decision to drop charges against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang must not derail efforts to ensure justice for victims of the 2007/8 post-election violence, said Amnesty International. The two had faced charges of crimes against humanity.

    In its decision, a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) declared the charges vacated. However, it held that the charges were dropped “without prejudice to the Prosecutor’s right to re-prosecute the case in the future.” The decision may also be the subject of an appeal by the Office of the Prosecutor.

    “This decision could be seen as a major setback by thousands of victims who have waited so long for justice,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

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