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    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.

    March 09, 2018

    Two women human rights defenders jailed for defending women’s rights and opposing the death penalty are being subjected to escalating ill-treatment in Shahr-e Rey prison, a former industrial chicken farm in Varamin, a town on the outskirts of Tehran, Amnesty International revealed. The organization is calling for the women’s immediate and unconditional release.

    Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee are being held in unsanitary conditions in the quarantine section of the prison and their access to the outside world is being severely restricted. People detained in this section are given inadequate food and provided with salty water to drink. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who has been on hunger strike for 35 days, is in very poor health. In the past week, she was placed on IV fluids without her consent, and at times has been unable to move. She is suffering from severe cramping in her muscles, which the prison doctor has confirmed is a result of the hunger strike.

    February 23, 2018

    The Philippines authorities must immediately drop all charges and release prisoner of conscience Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of President Duterte who has been jailed on politically motivated drug charges, Amnesty International said ahead of the anniversary of her arrest.

    Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on 24 February 2017 on three separate spurious charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. In the lead up to her arrest, President Duterte and other supporters had led a vicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Senator and falsely tried to implicate her in the drug trade.

    "The charges against Senator Leila de Lima are pure fiction. She has been singled out and targeted for nothing but her courageous opposition to President Duterte's appalling policies. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience and urge the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    February 06, 2018

    In response to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturning the jail sentences for three prominent pro-democracy activists, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “The Court of Final Appeal has today corrected an injustice. The government’s vengeful pursuit of harsher sentences led to the trio being jailed and it is right this has now been overturned.

    “All politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing those promoting democracy in Hong Kong must be dropped. The government’s unyielding stance is having a chilling effect on the human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

    Background

    In August 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law between six and eight months in prison for their roles in a demonstration that helped spark the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. The trio were released on bail in October and November 2017 pending their appeal.

    January 31, 2018

    The Thai military government must end its far-reaching crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, Amnesty International said today as nine activists - including the first person arrested for protesting after the military coup in 2014 - are facing criminal proceedings.

    They join hundreds of people who have been harassed or jailed simply for speaking out peacefully against military government or its policies over the past three years. Just yesterday, authorities announced plans to charge a further seven activists with sedition for staging pro-democracy protests.

    "Thailand's military rulers are not only continuing to tie up hundreds of real or perceived critics with long-running criminal proceedings, but have escalated a crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent months. Authorities must honour their promise to lift the absurd and unjustifiable restrictions they have now been imposing for almost four years, ostensibly in the name of national security," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    January 29, 2018

    More than one million people from 194 countries have demanded the release of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç and the dropping of charges against him and 10 other human rights defenders as their trial resumes in Istanbul on 31 January.

    The 11 face trumped up “terrorism” charges in what can only be described as a politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey. If convicted they could face jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “With overwhelming evidence of his innocence and none of any wrongdoing Taner’s release is long overdue. The fact that he has spent almost eight months behind bars speaks volumes about Turkey’s flawed justice system and the government’s ruthless pursuit of those who stand up for human rights,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

    “Today’s hearing offers yet another opportunity to end this glaring miscarriage of justice allowing this principled and passionate human rights defender to return to his family and resume his vital work. The court must acquit Taner and the other 10 human rights defenders and end this farce once and for all.”

    January 26, 2018

    Reacting to today’s verdict sentencing two environmental activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature to prison for one year plus fines, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and Pacific Director, said:

    “This is a farcical sentence that must be overturned immediately. The two Mother Nature activists have done nothing but peacefully campaigned for the protection of Cambodia’s environment and should have never been charged in the first place. Instead of going after the messenger, the authorities should do more to curb the illegal trade in natural resources that Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy activists were trying to expose.

    “Today’s ruling is yet more evidence of the politicised nature of Cambodia’s courts. Far from seeking justice and fairness, they too often act as an arm of the government to harass, intimidate and imprison human rights activists.

    “The backslide on human rights in Cambodia over the past year has been alarming. Unless the world wakes up and acts to demand change, space for peaceful activism and expression will shrink further as the government tightens its grip ahead of elections due this July.”

    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.”

    Background

    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.

    December 07, 2017

    Following the decision today by the Bangkok Military Court to postpone a decision on whether to indict Sulak Sivaraksa, on charges of lèse majesté for comments he made about a battle in 1593, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “To prosecute a scholar for comments he made about a battle that took place more than four centuries ago would be patently absurd. This case is an ugly reminder of the Thai authorities’ increasing use of the lèse majesté law as a tool of suppression.

    “Aside from being an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and academic freedom, Sulak Sivaraksa’s case appears to be based on a wilful misinterpretation of the existing repressive law on lèse majesté. While it should doubtless be abandoned in its entirety, the law as it currently stands does not apply to historical members of the monarchy.

    “The Thai authorities must end their gross misuse of this law and immediately drop these ridiculous charges.”

    Background

    December 04, 2017

    States around the world are failing in their duty to effectively protect people who defend human rights, leading to an escalation in preventable killings and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization’s new report, Deadly but Preventable Attacks: Killings and Enforced Disappearances of Those who Defend Human Rights, highlights the growing risks faced by human rights defenders – people from all walks of life who work to promote and defend human rights.

    The report includes testimonies from friends, relatives and colleagues of human rights defenders, including environmentalists, LGBTIQ and women’s rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who have been killed or disappeared. Many described how victims’ pleas for protection had been repeatedly ignored by the authorities and how the attackers had evaded justice, fuelling a deadly cycle of impunity.

    October 31, 2017

    Israel’s decision to deny an Amnesty International USA staff member entry to the occupied West Bank, apparently as retaliation against the organization’s human rights work, is a dangerous indication of the Israeli authorities’ growing intolerance of critical voices, the organization said today.

    October 24, 2017
    Trumped up terror charges against the Istanbul 10 exposed Forensic analysis shows Amnesty Chair did not download Bylock Spokespeople available on the ground for trials on October 25 & 26

    Click here to follow the trial on Twitter

    Trumped up terror charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny, said Amnesty International as court proceedings begin in Istanbul and Izmir.

    The charges against them - carrying jail terms of up to 15 years and set out in two indictments to be heard in two separate trials – are entirely baseless.

    “From the moment of their detentions, it has been clear that these are politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

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