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    May 29, 2014

    Pakistani authorities should immediately investigate the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s premier spy agency, over its alleged involvement in journalist attacks, said Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the abduction and killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

    “Failure to investigate such incidents thoroughly, impartially and transparently and to hold perpetrators accountable fosters a culture of impunity for attacks against independent media in Pakistan,” said David Griffiths, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    In an open letter, Amnesty International and 10 other human rights organizations called on the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to fulfil his promise to end the impunity enjoyed by individuals and groups who attack journalists.

    May 21, 2014

    The conviction of five men for the murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya marks only a small step towards justice. The process has left too many questions unanswered and full justice will not be served until those who ordered the crime are identified and face the courts, Amnesty International said.

    “The tragic murder of Anna Politkovskaya uncovered the incredible dangers faced by those trying to expose human rights abuses and corruption in Russia. Until justice is delivered on her case, all journalists and activists will be at risk,” said Sergei Nikitin, Head of Amnesty International’s office in Russia.

    “Authorities in Russia must demonstrate with concrete actions that they are trying to establish who wanted Anna Politkovskaya dead. Those who ordered her killing must be identified and face justice.”

    Late on Tuesday, a court in Moscow convicted five men for carrying out the 2006 murder of the journalist outside her apartment in the capital. It is still not known who ordered her killing.

    May 08, 2014

    The Chinese authorities are using trumped-up charges to target a prominent journalist who has been detained for disclosing state secrets, said Amnesty International.

    Gao Yu, 70, is accused of sharing a ‘secret’ document with editors of a foreign website in August last year, Chinese state media reported on Thursday.

    “Gao is the latest victim of China’s vaguely worded and arbitrary state secret laws which the authorities repeatedly use as a smokescreen to target activists,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Gao is an outspoken campaigner for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. The past week has seen several prominent activists arrested ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on 4 June.

    “The timing of Gao’s detention is highly dubious and raises serious questions as to the authorities’ true motives,” said Kultalahti.
    Gao’s friends became concerned for her whereabouts when she failed to turn up to an event to commemorate the Tiananmen crackdown. State media have since confirmed that she was detained on 24 April.

    May 07, 2014

    Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s authorities to quash the outrageous sentencing today of Raif Badawi in connection with an online forum for public debate he set up and accusations that he insulted Islam.

    Raif Badawi, co-founder of the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about US$266,631) by Jeddah’s Criminal Court.

    “The decision to sentence Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is outrageous. He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn his conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2014

    At least six media workers have been detained since the turn of the year as Myanmar authorities are stepping up a disturbing crackdown on freedom of expression and jailing new prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

    “The crackdown on free media in Myanmar is a deeply worrying attempt to silence dissenting views. It casts doubt on the government’s promises to improve respect for human rights,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “We are seeing a continuation of the practice of arresting and detaining human rights defenders and peaceful political activists – a hallmark of the country’s previous military government.”

    “Myanmar must immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience including the six media workers who have been detained this year. The authorities should scrap or amend draconian legislation that restricts the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

    March 13, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release the founder of a human rights website who has been detained following a police raid on his home, said Amnesty International.

    Huang Qi, founder of the website 64 Tianwang, was taken away by 11 police officers in Chengdu, in south west China, at around 3pm on Thursday. Police also seized computers, mobile phones and USB sticks.

    The detention is the latest in a series of raids in the past week against individuals that write for 64 Tianwang. All have been accused of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles”.

    William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International commented:

    “There now appears to be a concerted campaign of intimidation by the Chinese authorities against those associated with the 64 Tianwang website. Once again the authorities have shown their intent to stifle debate on human rights within China."

    “These are spurious charges against Huang Qi and others detained solely for their work for 64 Tianwang. They must be immediately released.”

    March 11, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release three citizen journalists detained since the weekend for highlighting a security crackdown in Beijing for the annual parliamentary session currently under way, said Amnesty International.

    Liu Xuehong, Xing Jian and Wang Jing, - who all write for the Chinese website 64 Tianwang - were taken away by police in separate raids in Beijing over the weekend.

    “Journalism is not a crime and these three activists should be released immediately,” said William Nee China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Their detention shows the disturbing lengths the authorities are willing to go to control the message during the National People’s Congress.”

    The three citizen journalists have been criminally detained on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. All had been reporting on the plight of petitioners near Tiananmen Square.

    Scores of petitioners are being prevented from protesting as part of a security crackdown during the National People’s Congress  China’s annual parliamentary session which began last Wednesday and runs for 10 days.

    In the submission prepared for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran in October-November 2014, Amnesty International noted the following concerns:
     

    Executions, including of juvenile offenders, carried out in violation of international standards for fair trial. Torture and other ill-treatment in detention centres continue to be committed with impunity, Violence against women and girls, Discrimination on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, ethnic identity or religious belief. Religious and ethnic minorities. Criminalization of Adult same-sex sexual conduct. Undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, affecting in particular human rights defenders, trade unionists, women’s rights activists, journalists and student activists, Control of universities, including by limiting academic freedoms.

    Read the full report here

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