An air strike which hit Faj Attan, a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in the early hours of this morning, destroying three homes, killing ten people and injuring seven more, shows that after more than two years of devastating conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is as brazen as ever in its disregard for international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said today.
“Last night the Saudi Arabia-led coalition rained down bombs on civilians while they slept, killing five children and leaving three others seriously injured. Locals say that a four-year-old girl was the sole survivor in her family, after the air strike killed the other seven members. Many people were trapped beneath the rubble of their homes until the early hours of this morning”, said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.
AI USA Release
For the first time since the Supreme Court ruled against the state’s capital sentencing statute, Florida has executed a prisoner, killing Mark Asay via lethal injection.
Amnesty International recently issued a report outlining the state’s response to the Supreme Court ruling.
“There is no place in a just society for capital punishment, which is inherently cruel and arbitrary in application,” said Kristina Roth, senior program officer for criminal justice at Amnesty International USA. “The state of Florida should be ashamed for resuming its machinery of death.
“It’s too late for Mark Asay, but Florida still has a chance to be on the right side of history by commuting the sentences of all other death row prisoners and ending capital punishment once and for all.”
Thousands of civilians trapped in Raqqa, northern Syria, are coming under fire from all sides as the battle for control of the city enters its final stage, Amnesty International said following an in-depth investigation on the ground. The warring parties must prioritize protecting them from hostilities and creating safe ways for them to flee the frontline.
In a report released today, the organization documents how hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured since an offensive began in June to recapture the “capital” and main stronghold of the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).
Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they faced IS booby traps and snipers targeting anyone trying to flee, as well as a constant barrage of artillery strikes and airstrikes by the US-led coalition forces fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) armed group. At the same time, survivors recounted how Russian-backed Syrian government forces also bombarded civilians in villages and camps south of the river, including with internationally banned cluster bombs.
The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and their rivals, the de-facto Hamas administration in Gaza, have both tightened the noose on freedom of expression in recent months, launching a repressive clampdown on dissent that has seen journalists from opposition media outlets interrogated and detained in a bid to exert pressure on their political opponents, said Amnesty International.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian authorities have arrested six journalists in August so far, shut down 29 websites and introduced a controversial Electronic Crimes Law imposing tight controls on media freedom and banning online expression and dissent. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces have arrested at least two journalists since June and hampered others from freely carrying out their work. At least 12 Palestinians, including activists, were also detained by Hamas for critical comments posted on Facebook.
More than a dozen political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, have gone on hunger strike in protest at the cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions they have been forced to endure at a maximum-security prison in Karaj, Alborz province, Amnesty International said today.
Political prisoners at Raja’i Shahr prison were recently transferred to a newly opened area where conditions have been described as suffocating. They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds. They are also barred from having in-person family visits and denied access to telephones, which are usually available in other parts of the prison.
“The fact that detention conditions have become so poor that desperate prisoners feel they are forced to go on hunger strike to demand the most basic standards of human dignity is disgraceful and highlights the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International.
Six years since the Tawargha people were displaced from their hometown by Misratah militia forces in August 2011, the community of about 40,000 are still unable to return safely to their homes, Amnesty International said today.
Two months ago, in June 2017, a political agreement was signed paving the way for their return. However, the terms of the deal not been implemented and some of those who have attempted to make the journey home since have faced threats and intimidation. The agreement also fails to ensure access to justice and reparations for the horrendous abuses Tawarghas have endured in recent years.
“The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity,” said Heba Morayef.
“Without clear political will to enforce the agreement to ensure the Tawargha’s safe return home, the public commitments made in June will be little more than an empty gesture.”
Yemen’s Huthi-Saleh forces must immediately and unconditionally release a leading political activist who has been arbitrarily detained in the capital Sana’a since 14 August without access to a lawyer or his family, Amnesty International has said.
Hisham al-Omeisy, 38, was arbitrarily detained at approximately 2.45pm on 14 August in Jawlat al-Misbahi, south Sana’a, when approximately 15 armed security officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) took him away. Four days after his arrest, the NSB are still holding him incommunicado in an undisclosed location.
“Hisham al-Omeisy has been detained without charge or a court appearance in breach of Yemen’s constitution, which requires anybody arrested to be presented in court within 24 hours,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle-East.
“This detention illustrates the lengths to which local Huthi-Saleh authorities’ are willing to go to silence peaceful activists. Hisham al-Omeisy is a prisoner of conscience, whose only ‘crime’ is peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be released immediately.”
Four-year old Carlos* and 16-year old Michael* were ordered released from Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania today after hearings with an immigration judge.
Carlos and his 34-year-old mother Lorena* fled threats, intimidation and severe and repeated gender-based violence in Honduras before arriving in the United States. They have been held at Berks for over 22 months. Likewise, Michael and his 41-year-old mother Maribel* have also been held in detention for over 22 months. They fled El Salvador following constant death threats to the family when Michael was targeted for gang recruitment in El Salvador.
After Philippine police killed 32 people in what is believed to be the highest death toll in a single day in President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called "war on drugs", Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:
"These shocking deaths are a reminder that President Duterte's lawless 'war on drugs' continues unabated and actually appears to be plumbing new depths of barbarity, with police routinely gunning down suspects, violating the key right to life and completely flouting due process.
"No one is bearing the brunt of this brutality more than the poorest communities in areas such as Bulacan province, a hotspot for extrajudicial executions since the president took power, and the scene of 21 of yesterday's 32 killings.
"Duterte‘s recent statement that he might not be able to solve the Philippines' drug-related problems during his current term are very concerning. With the indefinite extension of this failed strategy there is seemingly no end in sight to these killings.