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    September 28, 2016

    Since seizing power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s military authorities have allowed a culture of torture and other ill-treatment to flourish across the country, with soldiers and policemen targeting suspected insurgents, political opponents, and individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society, a new report by Amnesty International said today.

    The report, “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow”: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand, documents 74 cases of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police, including beatings, suffocation by plastic bags, strangling by hand or rope, waterboarding, electric shocks of the genitals, and other forms of humiliation.

    September 28, 2016

    In response to the news that the 16-year prison sentence against prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who is critically ill, has been upheld on appeal, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

    “This verdict is yet another cruel and devastating blow to human rights in Iran, which demonstrates the authorities’ utter contempt for justice. Narges Mohammadi is a prominent advocate of human rights and a prisoner of conscience. She should be lauded for her courage not locked in a prison cell for 16 years.

    “By insisting that this harsh and appalling sentence is imposed for her peaceful human rights work, the authorities have laid bare their intent to silence human rights defenders at all costs.

    September 28, 2016

    Silencing human rights activists who highlight human rights violations will not solve the problem of torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand, Amnesty International said today.

    In Bangkok, Thailand’s authorities prevented Amnesty International from proceeding with the launch of “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand.” This report details torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police against suspected insurgents, government opponents, and a range of individuals from vulnerable backgrounds, including alleged drug users and minorities.

    “The Thai authorities should be addressing torture, not human rights activists doing their legitimate work. Instead of threatening us with arrest and prosecution, they should be holding the perpetrators of torture accountable. It is an appalling state of affairs when speaking up for human rights can be criminalised but torture continues with impunityl,” said Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director, Global Operations.

    September 28, 2016

    Nearly a year on from a bloody spike in violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) Israeli forces continue to display an appalling disregard for human life by using reckless and unlawful lethal force against Palestinians, Amnesty International said today.

    In a memorandum sent to the Israeli authorities on 14 September, the organization has detailed 20 cases of apparently unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces seeking clarification about the status of investigations. In at least 15 of the cases, Palestinians were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life, in what appear to be extrajudicial executions. The Israeli authorities have not responded to Amnesty International’s concerns.

    “Since the escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories last year, there has been a worrying rise in unlawful killings by Israeli forces, fostered by a culture of impunity,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 27, 2016

    Today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) conviction of Ahmad Al Faqi Al-Mahdi, a senior member of the Ansar Eddine armed group, must be the first step towards broader accountability for all crimes committed during Mali’s 2012 conflict, Amnesty International said. 

    The ICC sentenced Al-Mahdi to 9 years imprisonment for intentionally directing attacks against religious buildings and historical monuments in the northern town of Timbuktu between June and July 2012. Al-Mahdi admitted his guilt to the court.  

    “This verdict is a clear recognition that attacks on religious and historical monuments can destroy the culture and identity of a population and constitute crimes under international law,” said Erica Bussey Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Advisor.

    “This positive development should not let us lose sight of the fact that hundreds of civilians were murdered, tortured and raped during the 2012 conflict in Mali. The ICC should therefore continue to investigate crimes committed by all sides to the conflict.”

    September 27, 2016

     Released  00.01 27 September 2016 CET

    Denial of effective access to asylum & degrading treatment Anti-refugee rhetoric reaching “fever pitch” ahead of referendum Prime minister Orbán throws down dangerous gauntlet to the EU

    Thousands of asylum-seekers – including unaccompanied children – are suffering violent abuse, illegal push backs and unlawful detention at the hands of Hungary’s authorities and a system blatantly designed to deter them, Amnesty International has revealed in a new report.

    Stranded hope: Hungary’s sustained attack on the rights of refugees and migrants, published against the backdrop of the toxic referendum campaign on refugee quotas, finds hundreds of asylum-seekers are left waiting for months in degrading conditions. Many of those who manage to get into Hungary are pushed back to Serbia or detained unlawfully in detention centres.

     

    September 26, 2016

     Released 2300 GMT 26 September 2016

    The success of an historic peace deal between the Colombian government and the country’s largest guerilla group, which was officially signed today in Cartagena, rests on the Colombian authorities’ ability to ensure truth, justice and reparation for the millions of victims of the more than 50 year-long conflict, said Amnesty International.

    The peace agreement will still need to be ratified via a plebiscite, to be held on 2 October.

    “Today will rightly be a day of celebration in Colombia. The authorities must now guarantee this historic achievement is not undermined by ensuring that all those responsible for the despicable crimes under international law inflicted on millions of people over half a century face justice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The crimes of those who carried out, ordered or benefited from these abuses, including those in business and politics, cannot and must not be brushed off with the stroke of a pen.”

    September 26, 2016


    Amnesty International welcomes the release of Dr. Homa Hoodfar from Iranian prison after more than three and a half months of arbitrary detention on baseless charges with extremely limited access to her lawyer and family. Amnesty International considered Dr. Hoodfar to have been a prisoner of conscience detained on trumped-up national security-related charges which which solely stemmed from her work on women’s rights issues. The organization lobbied Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally with a petition which garnered over 50,000 signatures. She was imprisoned in solitary confinement in a section of Tehran’s Evin Prison which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards. During this period, grave concerns were raised about her health and lack of access to adequate medical care. 

     

    “We are overjoyed by Dr. Hoodfar’s release from prison in Iran.”

    - Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. 

     

    September 26, 2016

    The shooting to death of a prominent journalist outside a court in Amman yesterday is an alarming attack on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

    Nahed Hattar was in court to face charges of “offending religion” and “inflaming religious feelings” under the country’s strict blasphemy laws, after he shared a satirical cartoon deemed to be offensive to Islam. His family warned he had received a number of death threats since his arrest in August.

    “This deplorable murder of a journalist in broad daylight sends an alarming message about the state of freedom of expression in Jordan today.  By using strict blasphemy laws to prosecute a person for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression the Jordanian authorities are fuelling a climate in which violent threats against people whose views are deemed offensive by others are allowed to flourish,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 26, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must not execute Imdad Ali, a death row prisoner with a history of mental illness, Amnesty International said today.

    “With this warrant to execute Imdad Ali, Pakistan is clearly in breach of international human rights standards that protect people with mental illnesses and ensure that they are never subject to this cruel and irreversible punishment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    Imdad Ali was convicted of the murder of a religious teacher in 2002. In 2012, he was diagnosed a suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia,” a condition the doctor who examined him described as “a chronic and disabling psychiatric illness.”

    Dr. Naeemullah Leghari, the head of psychiatry at Nishtar Hospital in the central Pakistani city of Multan, added that Imdad Ali’s illness “impairs the person’s rational thinking and decision-making capabilities.”

    September 23, 2016

    A prison disciplinary board has sentenced Chelsea Manning, who is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, to 14 days in solitary confinement following her suicide attempt in July.

    She was found guilty of the charge of “conduct which threatens” for attempting to harm herself. Following is a statement from Justin Mazzola, researcher with Amnesty International USA:

    “Chelsea Manning is already serving an exorbitant sentence, and this latest conviction is just more cruel and inhumane punishment from the government. It is unconscionable that instead of giving her the medical help she needs, the government has put her in solitary confinement.

    “In addition to the cruelty of isolating someone who has just attempted suicide, this punishment will be reflected in Manning’s disciplinary records and could prevent her from being paroled.

    “Manning’s previous treatment in prison before her trial and this most recent conviction pose serious risks to her mental health. We urge the government to give her the support she needs and to commute her sentence.”

    September 23, 2016

    As the trial begins today of Ahmed H., a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards on the Serb-Hungarian border last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews. Amnesty International’s Balkans researcher, Todor Gordos said today:

    “The use of anti-terror powers to target an asylum seeker involved in clashes on the border is an absurd and chilling demonstration of Hungary’s sledgehammer response to the refugee crisis.”

    “I witnessed the alleged “mass attack” by migrants at the Roszke border and what we documented were chaotic and desperate scenes, sporadic acts of violence and the excessive use of force by police and border guards.”

    ·         Spokespeople on the ground and available for interview

    *************

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    September 22, 2016

    In response to a Bahraini court’s decision today to uphold the dissolution of the country’s main opposition political group, Al-Wefaq, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther said:

    “The decision to uphold the dissolution of Al-Wefaq is a flagrant attack on freedom of expression and association and a brazen attempt to suppress criticism of the government in Bahrain.

    “The Bahraini authorities have not presented any credible evidence that Al-Wefaq is anything but a peaceful opposition movement which has been seeking reform in the country in the face of increasing government repression.

    “In the absence of independent institutions to scrutinize the government and hold authorities to account, peaceful opposition movements are particularly important. Silencing critical voices encourages further human rights violations and abuse of power.”

    Background

    September 22, 2016
    (Nairobi, September 22, 2016) – Sudanese authorities have yet to provide justice to victims of a violent crackdown on anti-austerity protesters in Khartoum in September 2013, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.   “Although it seems like Sudan has succeeded in sweeping the horrific violence of September 2013 under the carpet, victims’ families still demand justice,” said Mosaad Mohamed Ali, Executive director at ACJPS “The UN Human Rights Council, currently holding a session on Sudan, should press Sudan to hold those responsible to account for the appalling bloodshed on the streets of Khartoum and other towns, and provide meaningful justice to victims of killings, assaults and other abuses.”   Sudanese authorities responded with a violent crackdown to large-scale protests that swept the country following the announcement of austerity measures on September 22, 2013, with security forces and armed men allied to them using live ammunition, tear gas and batons.  
    September 22, 2016

    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s cynical response to the enforced disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero two years ago illustrates the Mexican government’s ongoing reckless approach to human rights, Amnesty International said.

    “The Ayotzinapa tragedy has exposed how President Peña Nieto’s administration will stop at nothing to cover up human rights violations taking place under their watch in Mexico,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    “From failing to stop the attack against the students, to preventing international efforts to uncover the truth, to brushing off any complaints over the way this investigation has been handled, authorities in Mexico have done all they can to obstruct justice and protect their image.”

    The 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College were forcibly forcibly disappeared on the night of 26 September 2014 after they were arrested by municipal police while preparing to participate in a demonstration in Mexico City to commemorate the 2 October 1968 massacre of students. 

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