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    January 16, 2018

    16 January 2018, Ottawa — Dr. Hassan Diab arrived in Canada and was reunited yesterday with his family in Ottawa. On January 12, two French investigative judges had dismissed the case against Diab and ordered his immediate and unconditional release, including the right to return to Canada. Hassan Diab, Don Bayne (Diab’s lawyer in Canada), Alex Neve (Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada), and the Hassan Diab support committee plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday, January 17.

    January 15, 2018

    Israeli authorities must release a 16-year-old Palestinian activist who could face up to 10 years in prison over an altercation with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank last month, Amnesty International said as she appeared in court today.

    Ahed Tamimi will go before Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank accused of aggravated assault and 11 other charges after a video showing her shoving, slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in her home village of Nabi Saleh on 15 December went viral on Facebook.

    “Nothing that Ahed Tamimi has done can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl. The Israeli authorities must release her without delay. In capturing an unarmed teenage girl’s assault on two armed soldiers wearing protective gear, the footage of this incident shows that she posed no actual threat and that her punishment is blatantly disproportionate,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    January 15, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the Philippines authorities have ordered the closure of the independent media outlet Rappler, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The moves by the Philippines authorities to shut down Rappler is an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism. The government must immediately reverse this decision and end all efforts to stifle free press in the country.

    “This is a politically motivated decision, pure and simple, and just the latest attempt to go after anyone who dares to criticise the government. Rappler has been fearless in holding those in power to account, including by consistently criticising the government’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It has faced persistent harassment by government supporters and even the President himself.

    “The Philippines government should focus on ending and investigating violations, mostly against poor communities, in the ‘war on drugs’, not trying to silence the messenger.”


    January 12, 2018

    Ten leaders of the independence movement in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon could be at risk of torture and unfair trials if extradited from Nigeria, where they have been arrested and detained in secret for one week, Amnesty International said today.

    On 5 January, armed men in plain clothes stormed a hotel in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja where the activists, all members of the pro-independence Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), were meeting, and arrested them without presenting a warrant or providing an explanation. They are being held incommunicado, without any access to a lawyer, in contravention of Nigerian law which demands they must be seen by a judge within 48 hours. Human rights lawyers in Nigeria have said that an extradition request has been made by the Cameroonian government, but no details have been made public.

    “By holding these activists in secret, without charge, the Nigerian authorities are failing to respect both national and international law. If they are extradited to Cameroon, they risk an unfair trial before a military court and the deeply disturbing possibility of torture,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    January 12, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s long-overdue order for the release of Canadian-Lebanese dual citizen Hassan Diab from pre-trial detention in France, following a court ruling dismissing all allegations against him. In contravention of international human rights standards, Mr. Diab spent more than three years in pre-trial detention without being officially charged or brought to trial. He remained imprisoned despite eight consecutive orders from four separate French investigative judges that he be released on bail, all of which were summarily overturned on appeals perfunctorily lodged by French prosecutors.

    January 11, 2018

    Responding to Microsoft’s announcement that it is rolling out a preview of end-to-end encryption for some Skype users, Joshua Franco, Head of Technology and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Today Microsoft has taken an important first step towards upholding its human rights responsibilities. Encryption is a vital tool for protecting internet users’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression, but Amnesty’s research has shown that an alarming number of companies are leaving users exposed.

    “It is about time that Microsoft takes its users’ privacy seriously, and we are now calling on the company to roll out default end-to-end encryption for all Skype communications.

    “Companies who don’t install full encryption are effectively handing the keys to cyber criminals and intrusive state surveillance agents. As more and more communications move online, it is up to companies to demonstrate they are on the side of human rights – the future of freedom of expression is partly in their hands.”


    January 11, 2018

    On the 16th anniversary of the opening of the notorious detention facility at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International is again calling for the fair trial or immediate release of those detained there and closure of the facility.

    “Over the years Guantánamo has come to symbolize torture, rendition and indefinite detention without charge or trial – in complete violation of internationally agreed standards of justice and human rights. Its closure is both essential and long overdue,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Forty-one individuals remain held at Guantanamo, all of whom have been in US custody for more than a decade. Most are held without charge and haven’t been brought for trial, while others are facing unfair trial by military commissions, with some facing the possibility of the death penalty.

    January 10, 2018

    The attacks on Taha Siddiqui and other Pakistani journalists must be immediately and effectively investigated by the authorities, Amnesty International said today, calling for an end to impunity for such attacks.

    Taha Siddiqui was driving to Islamabad airport at 8:20am today when the car he was traveling in was besieged by at least 10 armed men, who beat him, threatened to kill him, and tried to abduct him. The journalist escaped the assailants, but they took his possessions, including his passport, laptop and mobile phone.

    “The beating and attempted abduction of Taha Siddiqui is the latest in a deeply worrying pattern of attacks on journalists in Pakistan. This is the third case in recent months when a journalist has been targeted by violent attackers while traveling by car. There has thus far been a failure by the authorities to identify the perpetrators, let alone bring them to justice,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    January 10, 2018

    Responding to news today that Iran will implement amended drugs laws and remove capital punishment for some drug trafficking offenses, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:

    “Iran’s deadly anti-drugs campaign has had an enormous human toll over the years, resulting in gross human rights violations in the name of ill-conceived crime prevention policies.”

    “The Iranian authorities have executed thousands of people for drugs offences in Iran, in blatant violation of international law which restricts the use of the death penalty to the most serious crimes involving intentional killing.”

    “If implemented properly this long-overdue reform will spare hundreds from the gallows, but that should be just the start. The Iranian authorities must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offences with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes.”


    For media inquiries, contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or 

    January 09, 2018

    The Iranian authorities must immediately investigate reports that at least five people have died in custody following a crackdown on anti-establishment protests, and take all necessary steps to protect detainees from torture and prevent any further deaths, Amnesty International said today.

    “The shroud of secrecy and lack of transparency over what happened to these detainees is alarming. Instead of rushing to the judgment that they committed suicide, the authorities must immediately launch an independent, impartial, and transparent investigation, including independent autopsies,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “We have long documented the nightmarish conditions in detention facilities in Iran, including the use of torture. Those suspected of having any responsibility for these deaths should be suspended from their positions and prosecuted in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.”

    January 09, 2018

    Amnesty International launches a campaign today to mark the three year anniversary of the public flogging of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi. He received the first 50 out of 1000 lashes on 9 January 2015 for setting up a website focused on social and political debate.

    In the wake of his flogging, which provoked an international outcry, Amnesty International supporters around the world rose up, driving global condemnation of the authorities and demanding the unconditional release of Raif Badawi and all other prisoners of conscience. He has not been flogged again, but is still in prison serving a 10 year sentence.

    “If the Saudi Arabian authorities are truly intent on pushing through reforms and positive changes, they should immediately release Raif Badawi and all prisoners of conscience being held simply for airing their opinions freely,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns.

    January 08, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to El Salvador. Over 250,000 people from El Salvador in the United States are protected by TPS, including mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens. If forced to leave the country, they could face grave danger in El Salvador.

    Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “The end of TPS for El Salvador is a devastating betrayal for thousands of families who arrived at the United States seeking safety as well as their U.S. citizen children. If forced to return to El Salvador, mothers, fathers, and children could face extortion, kidnapping, coerced service to gangs, and sexual violence. By returning TPS recipients to El Salvador, the United States could be sending people to their deaths.”

    January 04, 2018
    Iranian authorities must ensure the right to peaceful protest, investigate reports that security forces have unlawfully used firearms against unarmed protesters and protect hundreds of detainees from torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty International said today amid concerns that the crackdown against demonstrations that have spread across Iran in the past week is intensifying.   Official statements have confirmed that at least 22 people, including two security officers, have been killed since 28 December, when thousands of Iranians began flocking to the streets to speak out against poverty, corruption, political repression and authoritarianism.   “Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves, and a duty to protect the safety of the public. However, reports of the use of firearms against unarmed protesters by security forces are deeply troubling and would contravene Iran’s human rights obligations under international law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  
    January 04, 2018

    The trial today of a Tibetan language education activist, who could face up to 15 years in jail for “inciting separatism”, has exposed how ludicrously unjust the case against him is, Amnesty International said.

    January 03, 2018
    Responding to an announcement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that all political prisoners will be released and a notorious detention centre closed, Fisseha Tekle, Ethiopia Researcher at Amnesty International, said:

    “Today’s announcement could signal the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia. For prisoners who have spent years incarcerated on politically motivated and trumped-up charges, this is long overdue.   “Most have been detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, and should never have been in jail in the first place. We are calling on the Ethiopian authorities to implement today’s decision as quickly as possible by immediately and unconditionally releasing them. The authorities should also repeal or substantially amend the repressive laws under which they were imprisoned, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.  


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