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Case Updates

    See below for recent information on current and past Amnesty International action cases.

    - To follow progress on cases covered in the media with frequent updates, we recommend following our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/AmnestyNow,
    - You can also look for updates directly on our petition pages - see list of active petitions.
    - For information about cases with a positive outcome see Good News 
     

    Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed.

    Execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari is a bloody stain on country’s human rights record.  Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was executed in a Tehran prison on October 25. She had been convicted of killing of a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her.

    “The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “Tragically, this case is far from uncommon. Once again Iran has insisted on applying the death penalty despite serious concerns over the fairness of the trial.”hank you to everyone who mobilized so quickly to take action for Reyhaneh Jabbari!  The swift campaigning helped Reyhaneh’s case and has reached the ear of the Iranian authorities.

    Learn more


    Claudia Medina tells her own story

    Amnesty members around the world are mobilizing to seek justice for Claudia Medina. Here she shares a personal account and urges us to join the effort to Stop Torture:

    "My name is Claudia Medina.

    Two years ago, in the middle of the night, marines entered my home in Veracruz, Mexico. They didn’t show me a court order, but blindfolded me and took me away.

    For 36 long hours they kept me in solitary at a naval base. There, they tortured me physically, psychologically and sexually to make me confess to being a criminal. One of them even threatened to go and fetch my children and do the same to them.

    Afterwards, they presented me to the media as a member of a criminal gang. They accused me of crimes based on what they said I did and what I allegedly confessed.
    Two weeks later I was released on bail, but I am still charged with these offences. Although I complained about my illegal detention and torture to the judge and the federal prosecution service, they have still not done anything to investigate my case.

    At first, I found it very hard to speak out publicly about what happened to me because I thought I was the only one.
    But since then, I have met other people who had the same thing happen to them, and I realised that it is as if the authorities are suffering from some kind of disease. Marines, soldiers, federal and state police all behave in the same way.

    It is not fair that other people should have to suffer the same as me. Nobody should be tortured. That is why I am asking you to support me in the struggle that I have decided to undertake. I want justice to be done - I want the people responsible to be brought to justice.

    Please join this struggle." 

    Speak out for Claudia and learn more about Amnesty's global campaign to Stop Torture
     


    Jailed human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng released into control by authorities

    Chinese authorities released human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) on August 7 from a Xinjiang prison after he completed a three-year prison sentence, but Gao is apparently not free. He appeared to be accompanied by Chinese security personnel and barred from speaking on the phone to family or supporters so far. His wife Geng He (耿和), based in the US, reached his brother who had travelled to Xinjiang to meet Gao. The phone call was cut off soon after the brother said he was with Gao on the return trip, and he said it was “not possible” for her to speak to Gao, according to the wife’s Twitter @genghe1. Activist Hu Jia (胡佳) told Chinese Human Rights Defenders that he spoke with the brother, who said Gao’s teeth were ruined and they would seek medical treatment in Urumqi for a few days and then head back to their home village in Yulin, Shaanxi Province.

    An outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s rights abuses, Gao was known for defending Falun Gong practitioners and members of Christian house churches, which led to authorities stripping him of his lawyer’s license in 2005. Beijing police charged him with “inciting subversion of state power” in the summer of 2006, and that December he was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years. Though released on parole, Gao was repeatedly disappeared for extended periods and tortured by police between 2007 and 2011. In December 2011, state media reported that Gao had been imprisoned in Xinjiang to serve his sentence after violating terms of his parole. Gao Zhisheng’s case has been the focus of intense international pressure and advocacy; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion in 2010 that called on the Chinese government to release him, and the US granted political asylum to his wife and children in 2009, after they fled China in January of that year. 

    Gao's wrongful detainment was one of the central campaigns during Amnesty International's global letter-writing marathon, Write for Rights, on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, 2012. 
     


    Victory for Sawhoyamaxa confirmed!

    It was an astonishing victory for the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Paraguay. On June 11, Paraguay’s President, Horacio Cartes enacted a law to allow the expropriation of more than 14,400 hectares of land in the north of Paraguay so that the land could at long as be returned to the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community.

    Reacting to the news, Aparicia González, a member of the Sawhoyamaxa community, told Amnesty International, “I am very happy but I’m crying because my grandmother, my father and many of my family did not have the chance that I have today to enjoy our land.

    About 160 Sawhoyamaxa families have lived for years on a narrow strip of land beside the Concepcion-Pozo Colorado highway, fenced out of their ancestral lands by a man who the government had recognized as the rightful landowner

    Amnesty International researcher María José Eva Parada describes what the settlement looked like when she visited in 2012: “Men and women, young and old, were fighting to survive with barely anything. Food and water were scarce. They lived in temperatures that reached as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Everybody was terrified of the enormous trucks that raced by the fragile wooden houses they lived in.”

    It took the Sawhoyamaxa almost 25 years to secure legal right to live on their ancestral lands. The Sawhoyamaxa began legal actions in 1991. When they weren’t able to obtain justice in Paraguay, they took their claim to the Inter American Commission of Human Rights and the Inter American Court of Human Rights, which ruled in their favour in 2006.

    Over the last five years, Amnesty International members in Paraguay and across the world have stood alongside the Sawhoyamaxa through letter-writing actions and other pressures on the authorities in Paraguay..

    Other Indigenous peoples in Paraguay are still fighting for their rights. The indigenous community of Yakye Axa, is also waiting to return home their ancestral lands.  The Inter American Court of Human Rights ruled on their favour in 2005 and an agreement with the landowner was reached in 2012, but they still have no access to their lands.

    Amnesty International responded to the Sawhoyamaxa victory by stating, “Today signals a victory for the Sawhoyamaxa who can finally return home. Now Paraguay should use this momentum to address the rights of other indigenous communities who are denied access to their lands in the country.”

    Read more
     


    Meriam Ibrahim released, other charges pending

     

    Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian and mother of two, was released from prison on June 23 after her sentence to flogging and death was reversed by an appeals court. She is now with her family in the United States Embassy in Khartoum but is unable to leave Sudan due to further charges against her.

    Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’, and to flogging for ‘adultery’ on May 15th. Her case originated in August 2013 when she was charged with adultery, allegedly after relatives reported her to authorities for her marriage to a Christian man. Under Shari’a law as practised in Sudan, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, and any such marriage is considered adultery. 

    She is unable to leave Sudan until Sudanese authorities close this new case. No further action is requested at this point. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim’s case. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

    Read more


    Dr. Tun Aung moved to prison closer to home

    Dr. Tan Aung, a prisoner of conscience in Myanmar

    It's not the outright release we've been asking before, but it's positive news for Dr. Aung. He is a prisoner of conscience who has been held in Myanmar’s Sittwe prison, 170 km from his family. That made it difficult for them to see him for the occasional 20-minute prison visits they were allowed.

    Last December 10, during Amnesty International's global letter-writing campaign Write for Rights, supporters from around the world campaigned for Dr. Aung's release and raised international awareness of his wrongful imprisonment in Myanmar. Since then we have continued to work for his human rights and have been campaigning for his transfer to Insein prison to be closer to his family. In May 2014, we learned that he had indeed been moved to Insein prison early in the year.

    This is a wonderful success in a very challenging Write for Rights 2013 action. Learn more about his case.



    You have helped obtain protection for Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez

    APRIL 7, 2014

    Over 9,000 Amnesty supporters have spoken up about the grave danger facing Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez, following death threats and the assassination of two of his family members.

    Your voice is being heard.

    • Colombian media reported that thousands of Canadians had called for protection of Flaminio and his community
    • The Canadian government informed us it called on Colombian officials to provide protection for Flaminio and the people of La Esperanza. The Canadian government also reported it had  contacted the prosecutor’s office to call for action to bring to justice those responsible for the threats and assassinations
    • The government of Colombia provided Flaminio with a bodyguard and other protection measures.

    Flaminio sent the following message: “A huge thank you to everyone. Believe me, your support is so important.”

    Continue reading Flaminio's update.

     


    Letter to My Son By Eskinder Nega

    APRIL 2, 2014

    "I have reluctantly become an absent father because I ache for what the French in the late 18th century expressed in three simple words: liberté, egalité, fraternité. Before the advent of my son in my life, I was a nonchalant prisoner of conscience on at least seven occasions. The blithe was hardly unnoticed by my incarcerators." - Eskinder Nega, writing to his son from prision. To hear the full letter click here.

    Eskinder Nega is an Ethiopian journalist and human rights activist.Eskinder has been subjected to outrageous injustices. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail for writing articles calling for freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.

    Please add your name to Amnesty International's petition to the Ethiopian authorities to release Eskinder Nega immediately.


    Over 1,000,000 letters from Write for Rights

    DECEMBER 18, 2013

    There was tremendous early results from Write for Rights 2013. Barely a week has passed since December 10th, when Amnesty supporters in 80 countries put pen to paper for the world's largest human rights event, Write for Rights.Yet the global action counter has now surpassed 1,3 million, well on its way to our target of 2.0 million actions. We're seeing some immediate impact from our writing, in these messages of thanks from those we wrote for:

    Yorm Bopha, after her release on bail, "Thank you to Amnesty International's supporters! Your campaign has been successful, as my release shows! But my case is not over yet. Please keep pushing the Cambodian government   to end the case against me. And please keep supporting me, my community and others in Cambodia! We can achieve the most success when we all work together!"

    Read more thank yous from the 2013 Write for Rights international cases.


    Omar Khadr thanks Amnesty International members for standing up for him

    OCTOBER 8, 2013

    "Perhaps the one positive thing coming out of all I have been through is to know that there are so many good people in the world, like the members of Amnesty International, willing to stand up for other people."
    – Omar Khadr, Edmonton Institution.

    From Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay and now the outskirts of Edmonton. Who would have thought that human rights campaigning that began with a short news report that a 15 year old Canadian had been arrested by US forces on the battlefield in Afghanistan in the summer of 2002 and continued through a decade of activism, media interviews and legal work while that same young Canadian endured the lawlessness and injustices of Guantánamo Bay; would now bring me to a maximum security prison outside Edmonton. But that is where, after eleven years of working on his case, I recently travelled to meet and spend some time with Omar Khadr.

    Read of Alex Neve's, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, blog on his experience speaking with Omar Khadr. 


    al-Khawaja's wife speaks about her imprisoned husband

    JUNE 26, 2013

    By Khadija al-Mousawi, wife of imprisoned human rights defender ‘Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
    Take action for human rights defender al-Khawaja

    "It was on a Friday when we gathered in my daughter Fatima’s flat as a family – eating together, talking about politics and human rights or joking and laughing. Suddenly we heard a very loud noise. In a matter of seconds the flat door was broken in and burly, masked men burst into the room. I cannot explain how I felt at that moment, because no word in the dictionary, or in any language, can explain it.

    My husband had always said “whenever they come to take me, please do not interfere and I will just go with them”. But he was not allowed to go peacefully." 

    Read Khadija al-Mousawi's interview.

     


    This is a Cold War - Amnesty Interviews Katia from Pussy Riot

    JUNE 10, 2013

    Pussy riot member Ekaterina (Katia) Samutsevich talks to Amnesty International about her activism, life after prison, and her band mates who are still in prison.

    Do the conditions of your suspended sentence restrict you a lot?

    “In general, no. But I notice that I’m sometimes under surveillance, quite explicitly. Several times on the subway I’ve seen someone clearly doing a video recording. Other Pussy Riot members are also followed.

    Apparently the authorities fear that we’re planning another protest, and that’s why they’re keeping an eye on us. But this isn’t professional surveillance. They either lack experience or are simply sending us a message: ‘You are being watched’.My phone is tapped, I’m sure of that. So of course I watch what I say.”

    Read the rest of Ekaterina (Katia) Samutsevich's interview here. 


    Fighting Back - Interview with Azza Hilal Suleiman from Egypt

    FEBRUARY 12, 2013

    Footage of Egyptian soldiers mercilessly beating a “red-hooded woman” during a protest went viral last year. Now, Azza Hilal Suleiman is suing the military. She told Amnesty International Senior Editor, Clare Fermont, her story.

    “I was so innocent,” she said. “I went to the Day of Anger demonstration on 28 January 2011 by bus. I saw the demonstration, so asked the driver to stop. As we walked, our numbers kept growing. I was very happy.”

    “But we all had great courage,” she said. “I kept pushing past the riot police, who seemed smaller than me. I tried to save a young boy carrying his shopping who had been grabbed by the riot police.”

    Read the rest of Azza Hilal Suleiman's interview.

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