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    May 04, 2018

    The Russian authorities must end violent crackdown on opposition protests scheduled for Saturday ahead of the fourth inauguration of Vladimir Putin as the President of the Russian Federation, Amnesty International said.

    Authorities in Moscow and more than 30 other cities across Russia have refused to permit demonstrations by supporters of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny planned for 5 May, two days before the inauguration.

    “The Russian authorities must learn from their past mistakes, when the repeated refusal to grant permission to hold protest rallies has been a patent violation of human rights,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “Similarly, the subsequent violent crackdowns by the police on peaceful demonstrations over the past year – in which hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained – have shown the persistent failure by the authorities to respect and protect the rights to peaceful assembly and personal liberty.

    May 02, 2018
     Journalists in Turkey speak about the climate of fear on global day of action for World Press Freedom Day  Journalists & celebrities around the world join campaign co-organised by Amnesty International calling for release of more than 120 jailed media workers and denouncing politically motivate trials and sentences they are facing

    Journalists have spoken out about the stifling climate of fear that has enveloped Turkey’s media landscape, ahead of a global day of action to demand the release of more than 120 journalists still imprisoned since the failed 2016 coup.

    The journalists spoke of the challenges they face in the wake of the crackdown and the urgent need for international solidarity. Some spoke from jail. Others, including the editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Cumhuriyet, had just been sentenced. All are under under constant threat of arbitrary detention, prosecution and conviction for nothing more than doing their jobs or for expressing peaceful opinions.

    April 25, 2018

    A sustained and escalating crackdown curtailed the vital work of human rights defenders in Turkey and left swathes of society in a state of constant fear, a new report from Amnesty International has revealed.

    The report, Weathering the storm: Defending human rights in Turkey’s climate of fear, reveals how few areas of Turkey’s once vibrant independent civil society have been left untouched by the ongoing state of emergency.  A nationwide crackdown has resulted in mass arrests and dismissals, the hollowing out of the legal system and the silencing of human rights defenders through threats, harassment and imprisonment.

    “Whilst the jailing of journalists and activists may have hit the headlines, the profound impact that Turkey’s crackdown has had on wider society is harder to quantify but it is no less real,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik.

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the sentencing of Hisham Genina, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation in Egypt, to five years in prison on charges of “publishing false information for harming national security”, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim said:

    “The arrest, military trial and outrageous five-year sentence for Hisham Genina is another example of the shameless silencing of anyone who is critical of the Egyptian authorities. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Hisham Genina. His continued imprisonment for his criticism of the recent election process is a reprehensible violation of his right to freedom of expression.

    “It is now becoming clear that the Egyptian authorities’ recent crackdown on freedom of expression shows no sign of abating. The persecution of those who dare to speak up in Egypt is quickly becoming a hallmark of al-Sisi’s new term in office.”

    Background

    April 19, 2018

    The Senegalese authorities must protect the right to peaceful protest and ensure the security forces refrain from using excessive force as anti-government demonstrations are planned today in the capital Dakar, Amnesty International said.

    Activists and opposition parties are due to hold a demonstration outside Parliament against proposed changes to the Electoral Code and Constitution that, if passed, would require all candidates standing in next year’s presidential election to collect the signatures of one per cent of the registered voters in seven regions of the country before being validated. The authorities announced that the protest had been unauthorized on several grounds including a 2011 decree banning all assemblies in the city centre areas.

    “Peaceful opposition protests in Senegal have previously been arbitrarily banned and met with unnecessary, excessive force by the police.

    The authorities must remember that peaceful protest and freedom of expression are human rights that must be respected,” said François Patuel, Amnesty International West Africa researcher. 

    April 17, 2018

    Responding to a violent crackdown by Nigerian police on members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) protesting the detention of their leader in Abuja, Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “This was a needless resort to violence by Nigerian police against a group of unarmed protestors. The IMN members gathered in Abuja were perfectly within their rights in demanding the release of their leader from a detention described by a federal court as both unlawful and unconstitutional.

    “Although there were reports that stones were thrown by some protestors, there is no excuse for the use of live bullets, water cannon and tear gas. These were highly reckless tactics that could easily have resulted in fatalities. Nigerian authorities must adhere to the rule of law and respect the right to peaceful protest when policing these events.

    April 11, 2018

    Following news that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has released at least 56 opposition activists after they spent up to 84 days in arbitrary detention for protesting against the escalating cost of food and healthcare, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “We welcome the news of their release, but there is no place to treat the release of arbitrarily detained activists as a gift from the government. These detentions should never have happened at all in the first place and the government does not deserve congratulations.

    “For close to three months, the lives, families and livelihoods of each of the detainees had come to a standstill - just because they peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression.

    “The Sudanese authorities should ensure that all those still arbitrarily detained are released and no such detentions should happen in the future. Sudan should further ensure that torture and all other forms of ill-treatment also do not happen. Several of these detainees were subjected to ill-treatment in detention.”



    Background

    April 11, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is calling on the BC government to avoid unjustified criminalization of individuals defying an injunction against protests in the proximity of two worksites on the proposed route of Kinder-Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

    According to media reports, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck has called on the BC Attorney General to take over prosecution of pipeline protesters.

    Individuals arrested for allegedly defying the current injunction currently face prosecution as a civil action. Justice Affleck, who issued the injunction against the protests, has reportedly called for criminal prosecution.

    “We share Justice Affleck’s concerns that an important public policy issue -- how to respond to individuals who deliberately violate the protest injunction – should not be determined solely by whether or not a private corporation pursues enforcement. However, unnecessary criminalization of protesters is quite simply not the answer,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

    April 09, 2018

    In the wake of the apparent victory of President Orban's party, Fidesz, in Hungary’s general election, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “Whilst the climate may be hostile, we are steadfast in our resolve. We will resist the rollback of human rights in Hungary for, and with, all the people and groups who fight for everybody’s rights and freedoms.

    “We will continue to push back against attempts to stoke hostility towards refugees and migrants and will continue to speak up for groups that support and defend them. We will not be cowed by those who attempt to muzzle Hungary’s critical voices and to create an atmosphere of fear.

    “The legitimate work of organisations defending rights in Hungary is more vital now than it has ever been, and we are more committed than ever in our resolve to stand with them.”

     

    To arrange an interview on the ground contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    March 28, 2018

    Responding to eyewitness accounts of journalists and demonstrators being subjected to physical and verbal attacks by security forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq where there have been widespread anti-austerity protests since Sunday, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Eyewitnesses we’ve interviewed, including a teacher and a journalist, have described scenes of chaos in Erbil and Dohuk as Kurdish security forces and armed individuals in civilian clothes used violence to disperse peaceful protests.

    “Peaceful demonstrators have been beaten up and insulted. Journalists using cameras or mobile phones to document the protests have been attacked. This is totally unacceptable and a blatant attempt to clamp down on dissent.

    “The Kurdish authorities must immediately put an end to the beating, harassment and intimidation of demonstrators and journalists. They have a duty to ensure that everyone can exercise their right to peaceful protest without interference.”

    Background

    March 28, 2018

    Reacting to the Kenyan authorities’ refusal to let pro-opposition lawyer Miguna Miguna into the country to participate in a judicial proceeding concerning him; and to police beating journalists who turned out to cover Miguna’s return to Kenya at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton said:

    “The way Miguna was treated showed blatant disregard for his human rights, after the High Court ordered that he be allowed to re-enter the country. The Kenyan government must also respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and allow journalists to freely report on the case without harassment, intimidation or attacks.

    March 21, 2018
    New Amnesty campaign launches as Apple chief executive Tim Cook co-chairs business forum in Beijing Millions of Chinese iCloud users face huge new privacy risks after data transfer to joint venture Campaign’s Orwellian theme a nod to Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ TV advert

    Amnesty International is launching a new social media campaign targeting Apple over its betrayal of millions of Chinese iCloud users by recklessly making their personal data vulnerable to the arbitrary scrutiny of the Chinese government.

    In a nod to Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ advert, the campaign takes an Orwellian theme with the line “All Apple users are equal but some are less equal than others”. It launches as the tech company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, touches down in Beijing to co-chair a prestigious business forum.

    “Tim Cook is not being upfront with Apple’s Chinese users when insisting that their private data will always be secure. Apple’s pursuit of profits has left Chinese iCloud users facing huge new privacy risks,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    March 20, 2018

    Following long-awaited landmark rulings today by the European Court of Human Rights which found that journalist Mehmet Altan and columnist Şahin Alpay’s rights to liberty and security, and freedom of expression, had been violated, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “Today’s rulings are a resounding vindication for these two journalists and a damning indictment of Turkey’s justice system. That Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay were kept in jail on pre-trial detention for almost 20 months is not only unjust but also unlawful.

    “This ruling cements what was already common knowledge: that they – like more than one hundred other journalists in Turkey - were imprisoned simply for doing their important journalistic work.

    “Starting with Mehmet Altan, the doors of Turkey’s prisons must now be flung open allowing journalists, activists and human rights defenders including Amnesty International’s chair, Taner Kılıç, to walk free.”

    Background

    March 13, 2018

    In response to reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by current CIA director Mike Pompeo – who will in turn be replaced by current CIA deputy director Gina Haspel -- Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “Both Pompeo and Haspel have deeply alarming records when it comes to human rights. Before they assume positions that could have repercussions for human rights around the world, they should be given utmost scrutiny by the Senate in the confirmation process.

    “Pompeo has previously voiced his support for interrogation tactics like waterboarding and there are reports that Haspel directed a CIA ‘black site’ at a time when detainees were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance. She may also have had a role in the destruction of evidence of such crimes under international law.

    March 13, 2018

    The Iranian authorities should end their cruel campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of detainees who have died in detention under suspicious circumstances, Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Human Rights Watch and Justice for Iran said today. The human rights organizations expressed concerns that the bereaved families are facing reprisals for seeking truth and justice and renewed their calls on the authorities to establish an independent commission of inquiry and invite the UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit. The authorities should ensure that if there is sufficient evidence of unlawful deaths in detention, the perpetrators responsible will be prosecuted and punished.

    The authorities should also immediately lift the travel ban against Maryam Mombeini, the wife of Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami who died in detention in early 2018, and allow her to reunite with her family in Canada.

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