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International Justice

    July 29, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomed the release of six political activists, but called on the Malaysian authorities to free thousands of other detainees held under preventive detention laws.

    Socialist Party MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and five party officers were held without charge for over a month under Emergency Public Order and Prevention of Crime Ordinance (EO), which allows for indefinite detention without charge or trial.  

    All six were travelling to an event related to a widely publicized demonstration on electoral reform in Malaysia when police arrested them.

    The activists, known as the E06, were released from Jinjang police station today, following daily protests by local NGOs and international solidarity groups against their arbitrary detention.

    "While the release of these six activists is welcome news, Malaysia should immediately release the thousands of people arbitrarily detained under this grossly unfair law," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

    July 29, 2011

    Iran must release two US nationals held for the past two years apparently for political reasons, Amnesty International said today, ahead of a fresh hearing in their case on 31 July.

    The hearing comes two years to the day after Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both aged 29, were arrested while hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area. The exact circumstances of their arrest remain unclear, but the Iranian authorities have charged them with espionage and illegal entry.

    A third US citizen arrested with the men, Sarah Shourd, was released last September on bail equivalent to US$500,000.

    “The Iranian authorities have held these men for two years, subjecting them to legal proceedings that fall far short of international fair trial standards,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “The parody of justice must end here – by now it seems clear that the Iranian authorities have no legal basis for continuing to hold these US nationals, so they must be released and allowed to leave the country.”

    July 26, 2011

    Amnesty International sends its condolences to the victims and their families of these terrible events.

    The organization expresses solidarity with the people of Norway as they try to move on from the bombing and shootings carried out in Norway on 22 July 2011 that took the lives of more than 70 people.

    Amnesty International’s 3 million supporters are at one with the Norwegian people, standing together for an open and diverse society where people are able to express their opinions peacefully.  

    These atrocities have come as a shock to the entire world and the international community is appalled by the flagrant disregard for human life shown by the perpetrator of these crimes, Amnesty International said.  

    Times like these test a nation but the organization has every belief that the Norwegian authorities will ensure that the human rights of the victims, including the families of those who were killed, are fully respected, and that the person or persons responsible are brought to justice in fair proceedings.

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236

    July 25, 2011

    The Nigerian authorities must immediately put a stop to unlawful killings by security forces, Amnesty International said today after at least 23 people were killed by police following a bomb blast on Saturday in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

    The bomb, allegedly set off by the Islamist group Boko Haram, went off in the Budum market in central Maiduguri and injured three soldiers. According to reports received by Amnesty International, the Nigerian Joint Military Task Force (JTF) responded by shooting and killing a number of people, apparently at random, before burning down the market.

    “President Goodluck Jonathan must get a grip on the Nigerian armed forces and immediately prevent them from carrying out further human rights violations and unlawful killings,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    “The government must now investigate these heinous crimes and put on trial those found to be responsible for the killings. Allowing troops to go on the rampage will not bring to justice those who carry out these terrible bomb attacks on civilians,” he said.

    July 22, 2011

    Gambia must act to improve the deteriorating human rights situation across the country, Amnesty International said in a campaign document released today.

    Climate of Fear Continues: Enforced disappearances, killings and torture in Gambia details how cases of enforced disappearances are yet to be resolved after several years, those involved in unlawful killings have not been identified and brought to justice, and torture is still widely used by the security forces.

    “President Jammeh marks July 22 each year as ‘Freedom Day’ and yet Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by a government that ruthlessly quashes all forms of dissent,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.

    “Instead of celebrating ‘Freedom Day’, the Gambian authorities must act to end human rights abuses and the culture of fear.”

    July 21, 2011

    The Malawian authorities must immediately launch an independent investigation into the deaths of at least eight people shot by security forces during demonstrations that erupted into violence in the northern city of Mzuzu, Amnesty International said today.

    At least 44 other people, including six children, are being treated for gunshot wounds at Mzuzu Central Hospital following Wednesday’s unrest.  Among the injured children are three 13 year-olds, two girls and a boy.

    The army has reportedly been deployed in the capital Lilongwe, amid continued violence in townships surrounding the city.

    “The Malawian authorities must immediately launch an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into their use of firearms resulting in these killings,” said Erwin var der Borght, Amnesty International’s Director for Africa.

    “When the police use firearms, they must minimize injury, and respect human life. If there’s reasonable suspicion that they have shot people arbitrarily, the suspects must be brought to justice in a fair trial,”  he added.  

    July 19, 2011

    Ten years after the Genoa G8 demonstrations, few investigations or prosecutions have taken place and the Italian authorities have still not publicly condemned and apologized for the ill treatment of protesters, Amnesty International said today, as it called on Italy to strengthen measures against arbitrary and abusive use of force by police.

    “Victims and their families deserve an apology,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Program Director.

    “Italy has never conducted an independent, thorough and effective inquiry into the policing of the July 2001 demonstrations. As a result, 10 years on, the brutality meted out on the streets of Genoa has gone largely unpunished.”

    Over 200,000 people took part in anti-globalization demonstrations in Genoa during the 2001 G8 summit.

    Although the vast majority protested peacefully, some demonstrations involved violence, resulting in significant casualties and extensive property damage.

    By the end of the summit, protester Carlo Giuliani had been shot dead by a law enforcement officer, and several hundred people had been injured in clashes with police.

    July 19, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged Sudanese authorities to ensure that a UN worker being held in South Darfur is not subjected to torture and is given immediate access to his family and any needed medical care.

    Idris Yousef Abdelrahman, a civil affairs officer from the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) based in Nyala, was charged on 12 July with “undermining the constitutional system” and “waging war against the state”. Both crimes are punishable by death under Sudanese law.

    He had gone missing in late April after being called to a meeting with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which on 10 May confirmed his detention. NISS detainees have frequently reported being tortured and ill-treated.

    “For more than two months, the Sudanese intelligence agency has held Idris Yousef Abdelrahman without giving him access to his family or medical treatment, and there is a legitimate concern he is at risk of torture,” said Erwin Van Der Borght, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director.

    July 15, 2011

    Kenya and the international community must take further steps to address the needs of Somali refugees, Amnesty International said today, as Kenyan authorities agreed to extend a refugee camp in the north-eastern town of Dadaab.

    Some 1,300 refugees are crossing into Kenya daily from Somalia, fleeing conflict and the region’s worst drought in 60 years. The Kenyan authorities announced on Thursday that the Ifo II camp, which will accommodate up to 80,000 people, will open within 10 days.

    “While Kenya’s decision to open the camp extension will temporarily ease overcrowding in the Dadaab camps, it needs to be followed up with a swift agreement on opening another camp“, said Benedict Goderiaux, Amnesty International’s Somalia researcher.

    “Kenya bears the lion's share of responsibility worldwide for hosting Somali refugees.  The international community should not only support the humanitarian response to the current crisis, it must also step in to provide lasting solutions to Somali refugees in Kenya. ” she added.

    The new camp is an extension of Ifo, one of three refugee camps in Dadaab.

    July 15, 2011

    The recent repression in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrates that a wide range of arms used by military, security and police forces, must be covered under the scope of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Amnesty International said today.

    The latest draft of the terms of a global Arms Trade Treaty, due for completion in 2012, emerged from talks between UN member states in New York yesterday.

    Amnesty International warns that if certain types of security and police equipment such as non-military firearms, riot guns, crowd control vehicles, shotgun ammunition and tear gas are not clearly covered by the Treaty, many governments will not prevent such arms being supplied and used for serious violations of human rights.

    The international community has widely recognised that conventional weapons, munitions and armaments are often used for internal repression as well as armed conflict, most recently by imposing arms embargos against certain governments in the Middle East.  

    July 15, 2011

    In this document Amnesty International reaffirms the importance of addressing the question of remedies and reparation for victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law in a systematic and thorough way at the national and international levels. Amnesty International continues to rigorously advocate for the full realization by States of victims’ rights as set out in the existing and comprehensive legal frameworks.

    July 14, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomes the decision by the Mexican Supreme Court to remove alleged human rights violations committed by the armed forces from military jurisdiction. The decision represents an historic step in the struggle to limit the jurisdiction of the military courts and to guarantee victims of abuses the right to an effective remedy.

    It also sets an important precedent with regard to the obligation to comply with judgments handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court) and international human rights treaties.

    Amnesty International urges the Mexican State authorities, as well as the Attorney-General’s Office, to accept this decision and conduct the necessary investigations into reports of human rights violations committed – both in the past and currently – by the armed forces.

    Over recent months the organization has documented several cases of enforced disappearance with regard to which no investigations to clarify the facts have been carried out by either the military or civilian authorities.

    July 14, 2011

    The Russian authorities have made little attempt to effectively investigate possible involvement by local officials in the July 2009 murder of the prominent human rights advocate Natalia Estemirova, Human Rights Watch, Civil Rights Defenders, Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today, on the second anniversary of her death.

    The organizations, citing a new independent report detailing severe problems with the government’s inquiry, reiterated their call for a thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation and the prosecution of those responsible.

    “Two years after Estemirova’s murder, there are more questions than answers about the circumstances surrounding her killing,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Russian authorities need to deliver justice in Estemirova’s case to demonstrate their sincerity about protecting human rights in Chechnya and throughout the North Caucasus.”

    July 14, 2011

    A Chilean judge is turning the historic case of a priest tortured on board a Pinochet-era 'torture ship' into a travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today, after the dropping of charges against most of those implicated in his death.

    Tomorrow is the hearing of a fresh appeal launched by the family of Father Michael Woodward against the presiding judge’s recent decisions, including the absolving of 19 out of 29 former naval and police officials initially indicted.

    The Catholic priest and dual British-Chilean national is believed to have died following torture aboard the naval vessel Esmeralda in 1973, which served as an interrogation centre for scores of prisoners that year.

    The boat still serves as a naval training vessel and a ‘roving ambassador’ for the Chilean government. 

    “This judge is turning Michael Woodward’s case into a travesty of justice,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas.

    “The throwing out and watering down of charges for crimes under international law, even after reported admissions of guilt by some of those under investigation, is an utter disgrace.”

    July 08, 2011

    In reaction to news that Pakistan authorities ordered 1,000 extra troops into Karachi with instructions to "shoot on sight" armed men involved in the recent sectarian violence, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said:

    "By granting security forces the power to 'shoot on sight' the Pakistani government is effectively declaring Karachi a war zone."

    "Given the Pakistani army's record of human rights violations and impunity, such licence given to the security forces, in a volatile situation, can only be a recipe for disaster, encouraging lawlessness, further violence and killings.  

    "In granting these powers the authorities contravene international human rights standards and send the message that their own security forces are above the law.

    "The violence in Karachi is increasingly alarming. But Pakistan’s authorities must work to restore public order, safety and trust in Karachi society by upholding human rights for all, and through proper use of the law to ensure justice and accountability for all victims of targeted violence. Adding to the violence is not a solution,” said Sam Zarifi.


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