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    May 06, 2019

    Responding to news that the Polish authorities detained an activist, Elżbieta Podlesna for several hours, on suspicion of offending religious beliefs, Amnesty International’s Regional Europe Researcher, Barbora Cernusakova, said:

    “We are extremely concerned to hear that Elżbieta Podlesna, a Polish human rights activist, was arrested and detained for several hours on spurious charges today upon her return to Poland from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with Amnesty International.

    Elżbieta is suspected of "offending religious beliefs", after the police claimed that they found copies of a posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo around head and shoulders in the colours of the LGBTQ flag in her house when they raided it. The image had been posted around the town of Płock at the end of April.

    May 06, 2019

    Amnesty International sent an open letter to the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay today in response to their recent statement on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.

    In the letter, Amnesty International affirmed that the system must be safeguarded and that it deeply regrets that the governments of the aforementioned countries want to make the operation of the inter-American regional mechanism subservient to their own interests, in a way that threatens the rights of victims of human rights violations.

    “From Puerto Rico to Honduras and Venezuela, last week we witnessed with alarm the repressive responses to the demands of citizens who express themselves through protest. All countries in the region have to remember that they have a shared obligation to protect human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Responding to the Uganda Communications Commission’s decision to order 13 radio and TV stations to suspend their news editors, producers and heads of programming, over “incitement” and “misrepresenting information”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Sarah Jackson, said:

    “This order from Uganda’s communications commission represents a blatant attack on press freedom and a lamentable tendency towards state censorship. The Ugandan authorities must immediately rescind this decision and end the harassment and intimidation of journalists and media houses. Journalists must be allowed to freely do their job.”

    Background

    May 02, 2019

    Ahead of World Press Freedom Day and more than a year since the Nicaraguan government launched its strategy of repression against the protests that began on 18 April 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is deplorable that the Nicaraguan authorities continue to repress the press and violate its right to inform. In recent years, courageous journalists and media workers have faced attacks while covering protests and have been harassed and persecuted for doing their job and exercising their right to freedom of expression. Some, such as Lucía Pineda and Miguel Mora of the independent 100% Noticias channel, have been detained and are still in prison. More than 70 journalists and media workers have been forced to leave the country.”

    May 02, 2019

    At least four people have been killed, more than 200 injured and 205 arrested during state repression of protests across Venezuela since 30 April, Amnesty International has confirmed.

    “The security forces under the command of Nicolás Maduro and the armed civilian groups that support him insist on repressing the protests by people demanding a way out of the serious political and human rights crisis that has plagued the country for several years,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The crimes under international law that they are committing add further weight to the already bulging dossier to be investigated under international justice systems. Maduro must put an immediate end to his policy of repression.”

    Amnesty International has been documenting the grave human rights violations and crimes under international law that have taken place in Venezuela since the crisis worsened in January 2019. The organization has documented extrajudicial executions, unlawful use of lethal force, arbitrary mass arrests and ill-treatment of people who speak out against Maduro’s government.

    May 02, 2019

    Spokespeople available for interview

    To commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Amnesty International will be launching a campaign with Dawn.com, showcasing the consequences on the news if press freedom is curtailed in the country.

    The campaign will be launched at 0900 (Pakistan Standard Time) on 3 May, 2019.

    The Dawn News website will temporarily blur out the homepage when logged onto for the duration of 15 hours to indicate that without press freedom, the truth can often disappear.

    “Over the past year, there has been a noticeable increase in attacks on the right to freedom of expression in Pakistan. We have seen this in the form of regular columnists being refused publication, increased self-censorship and the heightened scrutiny of the editorial policies of many media outlets,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    May 01, 2019

    Professor Füsun Üstel, renowned for her academic work on citizenship and nationalism, is expected to start her 15 month prison sentence within the next few days. Professor Üstel is the first academic to go to prison simply for signing the peace petition headlined “We will not be party to this crime”. Hundreds of other “Academics for Peace” are on trial accused of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organization’ and risk imprisonment. In 124 cases, prosecutors or courts have requested the permission of the Minister of Justice for the signatories to be tried also under Article 301 of the penal code that criminalizes ‘denigrating the Turkish nation’.

    May 01, 2019

    Authorities in Arkhangelsk Oblast (north-western Russia) have clamped down on peaceful protest against the construction of a dumping site with arrests, bans and heavy fines.

    On 7 April 2019, activists protesting against a landfill site construction project in the locality called Shyes planned a rally at Lenin Square in the centre of the regional capital Arkhangelsk. Regional authorities banned the protest claiming that a sports event was scheduled on that day at the square. They proposed a venue in a remote part of the city far from traffic or official buildings. The protest rally still took place in the original location and thousands of Arkhangelsk residents peacefully marched through the city centre. Police were present but did not intervene. No sporting event took place there at the time.

    May 01, 2019

    Following the announcement of Julian Assange’s arrest, and request for extradition to the United States, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:

    “Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial due to his work with Wikileaks.

    “We are aware of allegations of rape and other sexual violence against Julian Assange, which should be properly investigated in a way that respects the rights of both the complainants and the accused and be brought to justice if there is sufficient evidence against him. If the Swedish government decides to pursue an extradition of Mr. Assange from the UK, they must also uphold the principle of non-refoulement and  not extradite or otherwise send him on to the USA.

    May 01, 2019
    UN Experts Report Says ‘Highly Probable’ Security Service Killed Dong, Aggrey

    South Sudanese authorities should promptly undertake an independent and effective investigation into the apparent extrajudicial execution of two outspoken critics of the government, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. Previously unidentified assailants snatched Dong Samuel Luak, a prominent South Sudanese lawyer and human rights activist, and Aggrey Ezbon Idri, a member of the political opposition, from the streets of Nairobi, Kenya in January 2017.

    May 01, 2019

    The District Court of The Hague today issued an interim ruling in the case brought by Esther Kiobel and three other women with regard to Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military. It ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, that the court does have jurisdiction of the case and that this should not be time barred.

    The court also ruled that Shell should hand over some confidential internal documents to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that they would have the opportunity to examine witnesses.

    Mark Dummett, Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights, said:

    “This decision marks a vital step towards justice for Esther and the other plaintiffs. It also sets an important precedent for other victims around the world who are seeking to hold powerful corporations to account, and who struggle to access justice.

    “We salute Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. It’s only because of their courage and persistence that we’ve got this far.

    April 29, 2019

    The Ecuadorian authorities’ capacity and will to adequately and effectively provide protection and conduct criminal investigations into the attacks and threats against Amazonian Women’s environmental defenders is placing their lives at risk, as well as those of others who are protecting the Amazon from political and economic interests linked to large-scale extractive projects on Indigenous territories, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    ‘They will not stop us’ Ecuador: Justice and protection for Amazonian Women, defenders of the land, territory and environment exposes the failings of the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office when responding to a series of attacks and death threats recorded in 2018 against Patricia Gualinga, Nema Grefa, Salomé Aranda and Margoth Escobar. The four women are members of Amazonian Women, a collective comprising dozens of Ecuadorian women defending the Amazonian environment and Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

    April 29, 2019

    The Iranian authorities have flogged and secretly executed two boys under the age of 18, Amnesty International has learned, displaying an utter disdain for international law and the rights of children.

    Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, two cousins, were executed on 25 April in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, southern Iran. Both were arrested aged 15 and convicted on multiple rape charges following an unfair trial.

    According to information received by Amnesty International, the teenagers were unaware that they had been sentenced to death until shortly before their executions and bore lash marks on their bodies, indicating that they had been flogged before their deaths. Their families and lawyers were not informed about the executions in advance and were shocked to learn of the news.

    April 28, 2019

    An Amnesty International investigation has exposed sexual violence against children and women by security agents and inmates at two high-security prison facilities in Borno State, Nigeria.

    The harrowing violations took place at Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison and Giwa Barracks, where thousands of civilians arrested due to claimed links to the Boko Haram armed group are being held. Amnesty’s research also found that scores of children are being unlawfully detained alongside adults in Maiduguri prison.

    “This is another sad and disturbing case of human rights violations against civilians caught up in the Boko Haram crisis in Northeast Nigeria,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.

    “It is inexcusable that children are subjected to such vile treatment under government care, and likewise it is intolerable that women are once again bearing the brunt of abuse by the Nigerian security forces that are meant to protect them.”

    Children detained and abused at Maiduguri Prison

    April 28, 2019

    A Dutch court will this week (Wednesday 1 May) rule on an historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people.

    Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region in the 1990s.

    “This decision will hopefully mark an important step towards justice for the Ogoni Nine,” said Mark Dummett, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    “These women believe their husbands would still be alive today were it not for Shell’s relentless pursuit of profit, which encouraged the Nigerian government’s bloody crackdown on protesters even when it knew the human cost.

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