Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Torture

    May 31, 2018

    The European Court of Human Rights has found that Romania and Lithuania violated the human rights of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, with their complicity in the ill-treatment of the pair while they were held in US secret detention facilities in the two countries. 

    The judgments are a key milestone in holding European governments accountable for their involvement in illegal CIA activities in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

    “The US could not have operated the rendition and secret detention programme without its European allies. Today’s landmark rulings break the conspiracy of silence that has surrounded the presence of these secret sites in Lithuania and Romania, and publicly underlines European governments’ widespread complicity,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    “The rulings are an important milestone of accountability for victims of these flagrantly illegal practices.”

    May 28, 2018
    Saeed Malekpour

    By: Nazila Nik

    On June 5, web programmer Saeed Malekpour will turn 43 behind bars in Iran. This will be the 10th birthday he has spent in Evin Prison. He was 33 when arrested and has now spent almost a decade in prison.  Almost a decade. Let it sink in for a minute: A decade without even a single day of furlough.

    Saeed Malekpour was an ordinary immigrant in Canada. He came here, just like thousands of others. Just like me.

    In 2008 he was a permanent resident of Canada, in the prime of his life, with a seemingly bright future in front of him. Then he went back to Iran to see his dying father. It was not the first time that he had travelled back to Iran. But this time, unlike others, he was arrested on street and taken for questioning. That was the beginning of a surreal nightmare that still haunts Saeed and his family a decade later.

    May 28, 2018

    The continued appalling treatment of Gehad el-Haddad in the notorious al-Aqrab prison is cruel, inhuman and unacceptable, said Amnesty International today, in response to fresh information that prison authorities have confiscated his wheelchair and other belongings and moved him back to solitary confinement after spending a month in Liman Tora prison awaiting medical treatment which he did not receive.

    “Amnesty International is deeply concerned about Gehad el-Haddad’s deteriorating health and the abusive conditions in which he is being held. The inhumane conditions Gehad has been subjected to since his detention in 2013, including prolonged solitary confinement, have resulted in much of his ongoing suffering, pain and the need for a wheelchair. When he arrived in prison he was a healthy man in his early 30’s. Now he can’t move to perform ablutions or use the bathroom without help,” Said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty international.

    May 11, 2018

    More than a hundred Sudanese nationals arrested in Niger are at risk of serious abuses including unlawful detention in harsh conditions, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, often for the purpose of extortion, after they were deported back to Libya last week, said Amnesty International.

    The group of around 145 people - including women and children – had fled Libya because of the brutal conditions they endured there, and had been living in a displacement camp in the Nigerien city of Agadez where they hoped to claim asylum.

    On 2 May authorities in Niger rounded them up, packed them onto trucks and drove back towards the Libya border. Authorities confirmed the deportation, saying it had been carried out because the groups were not ‘’refugees but possible members of armed groups’’ in Libya, and therefore threatened the security of the country.

    “By forcibly sending back these people to Libya, authorities in Niger are violating the very principle of asylum and refugee protection,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    April 26, 2018

    A video in which detained Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng says he would never dismiss his own chosen lawyers was released by his family on Thursday. Filmed prior to his detention, the video contradicts police claims that Yu Wensheng willingly dismissed his lawyers. Responding to the developments, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “The video strongly suggests that Yu Wensheng has been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention to force him to dismiss the lawyers hired by his family. The notion that Yu Wensheng, a human rights lawyer who has been tortured in detention before, would voluntarily dismiss his lawyers beggars belief.

    “The government should immediately grant Yu Wensheng access to lawyers of his or his family’s choosing. Yu Wensheng’s right to receive a fair trial is seriously undermined by the fact that he has been detained for more than three months without access to a lawyer of his choice.”

    Background

    March 20, 2018

    European Court of Human Rights maintains its 1978 judgement

    “This is a very disappointing outcome, for the men and their families” - Grainne Teggart

    Amnesty International is disappointed at the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling refusing to revise its 1978 conclusion that the treatment to which the United Kingdom subjected the 14 ‘hooded men’ in Northern Ireland did not amount to torture. It is important to note that today’s Court ruling is not a statement that the ‘five techniques’ do not constitute torture as it is legally defined today.

    In its 1978 landmark Ireland v UK judgement, in a case taken against the UK by the Irish Government, the Court had found that the UK violated the men’s rights to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, but that the treatment the men suffered did not amount to torture.

    Today, the Court found that the information known to the UK Government at the time about the long-term effects of the ill-treatment, which the Irish Government brought to Court’s attention in this revision request, would not have decisively impacted on the Court back in 1978.

    January 18, 2018

    Amnesty International is outraged by reports that Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a man convicted of theft. The amputation, which was conducted by guillotine, took place yesterday in the central prison in Mashhad city in north-eastern Razavi Khorasan province, according to the state-sponsored newspaper Khorasan News.

    According to Khorasan News, the 34-year-old man, referred to as A. Kh., was transferred to a medical centre immediately after the punishment was carried out. He was sentenced to hand amputation six years ago for stealing livestock and other valuables from several villages in the province. The sentence was then upheld by the Khorasan Criminal Court of Appeal.

    “Meting out such unspeakably cruel punishments is not justice and serves to highlight the Iranian authorities’ complete disregard for human dignity. There is no place for such brutality in a robust criminal justice system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    January 03, 2018
    Responding to an announcement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that all political prisoners will be released and a notorious detention centre closed, Fisseha Tekle, Ethiopia Researcher at Amnesty International, said:

    “Today’s announcement could signal the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia. For prisoners who have spent years incarcerated on politically motivated and trumped-up charges, this is long overdue.   “Most have been detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, and should never have been in jail in the first place. We are calling on the Ethiopian authorities to implement today’s decision as quickly as possible by immediately and unconditionally releasing them. The authorities should also repeal or substantially amend the repressive laws under which they were imprisoned, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.  
    October 24, 2017

    Prisoners in Russia endure inhumane conditions, often for weeks on end, as they are transported thousands of miles in cramped, windowless trains to corrective colonies in distant parts of the country, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    Prisoner transportation in Russia: Travelling into the unknown documents the cruel and degrading conditions that both male and female prisoners continue to endure under practices inherited from the Soviet past.

    “Convicted prisoners are packed into tiny spaces on trains with no ventilation, no natural light, little water, and infrequent access to toilets. At the end of journeys that can last well over a month, they finally arrive at their destination, thousands of miles away from their families,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “It’s time the Russian authorities finally rid themselves of the legacy of the GULAG. They must end these practices and ensure that prisoners are transported in conditions which comply with international law and standards.”

    September 25, 2017

    The new Ministerial Directions announced today by the Minister of Public Safety to avoid complicity of Canadian law enforcement and intelligence authorities in torture and other mistreatment by foreign entities are a significant improvement on the previous Directives issued in 2011. However, loopholes and lack of clarity in some areas may still leave the door open to complicity in abuses and the tacit promotion of torture at the hands of foreign officials, warns Amnesty International Canada. 

    “The revised Ministerial Directions are a welcome advance on earlier versions which had taken a reckless and unlawful approach to Canada’s international obligation to prohibit and criminalize torture and had been criticized by the UN Committee against Torture.  In particular, it is welcome news that Canada will no longer share with or request information from other states if that gives rise to a substantial risk of torture,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.  

    September 20, 2017

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.

    It may not have grabbed headlines but it was nonetheless long overdue good news from Mexico!

    The CNDH, the Mexican government’s human rights commission, issued an important public statement on September 10, calling for action by authorities to ensure justice for Angel Amílcar Colón, the indigenous Garifuna human rights defender who was tortured and unjustly imprisoned for 5 long years.

    In September 2014, our Secretary General Alex Neve visited Angel in jail and blogged about his grace, dignity and inspiring commitment to justice, despite the horrendous abuses he was suffering.

    Amnesty International named Angel a prisoner of conscience and began campaigning for his release with the legal team at Mexico’s Centro Prodh human rights centre.

    We were thrilled when our joint efforts successfully won Angel his freedom in October 2014.

    August 22, 2017
    Erkin Musaev, a former Uzbekistani government official and UN employee, who was tortured and then wrongly imprisoned by the authorities, has written a letter of thanks to Amnesty International following his early release from prison last week.

    Erkin Musaev was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2007 after a series of grossly unfair trials – he was accused of spying for an unnamed NATO member-state and of misusing UN funds. His conviction was based on a confession he was forced to sign after security service officers threatened his family.

    Outraged at the injustice of his detention without a fair trial thousands of Amnesty International supporters sent 427,000 messages of solidarity for Erkin Musaev, demanding his release as part of Write for Rights 2014.

    Now free, he has written a letter offering his personal thanks to Amnesty International activists who spoke up for him:

    August 18, 2017

    By Aubrey Harris, Amnesty Canada's Coordinator for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Follow Aubrey on Twitter @AmnestyCanadaDP

    The fact that torture occurred in Guantanamo Bay is not news. Not only did former president Barack Obama state it bluntly as “we tortured some people,” even former vice-president Dick Cheney implied it in his “dark side” quote justifying some forms of torture. International law, however, is explicit in it. The International Convention Against Torture makes clear that any statement extracted as the product of torture cannot be used except as proof that the torture occurred.

    Efforts to present the public perception of torture as “acceptable” exist not only in the tough-guy films of Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino, but most explicitly in the propaganda film “Zero Dark Thirty.” For the first 25 minutes of the film, a man is portrayed being tortured by operatives at CIA black sites in order to obtain information to find Osama bin Laden.

    August 11, 2017

    At least 66 people detained over mass protests in Morocco’s northern Rif region have reported suffering torture and other ill-treatment in custody including being heavily beaten, suffocated, stripped naked, threatened with rape and insulted by police, sometimes to force them to “confess”, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on Morocco’s authorities to ensure a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into their claims, and for any “confessions” extracted under duress to be excluded from trial proceedings. One protester is also under investigation for “falsely reporting” that police tortured him.

    “These protesters took to the streets calling for social justice and better services, yet have faced torture and other ill-treatment, in the form of brutal beatings, rape threats, insults and other abuse. It is vital that the authorities thoroughly investigate these claims and that those behind this reprehensible abuse are brought to justice,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director for Amnesty International.

    July 20, 2017
    Detainees subjected to severe beatings, agonising stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death Widespread torture at 20 sites, including four military bases, two facilities run by intelligence services, a private residence and a school Calls for US and other international partners to investigate their military personnel’s possible knowledge of torture at one base

    Hundreds of people in Cameroon accused of supporting Boko Haram, often without evidence, are being brutally tortured by security forces, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Using dozens of testimonies, corroborated with satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence, the report ‘Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: human rights violations and war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram’ documents 101 cases of incommunicado detention and torture between 2013 and 2017, at over 20 different sites.

    Pages

    Subscribe to Torture
    rights