The Russian authorities must immediately release Chechen torture survivor Murad Amriev, and under no circumstances place his life at further risk by handing him over to the Chechen authorities, Amnesty International said today.
Having tried to flee to Belarus earlier this week, Murad Amriev was arrested and unlawfully handed back to Russian police officers early this morning. He is currently in custody in an unknown location in Russia, stoking fears about his fate.
“The story of Murad Amriev reads like a thriller, but it is real and his life is at stake. He was ‘handed over’ to the Russian authorities early this morning in what amounts to an unlawful rendition after he attempted to seek asylum in Belarus. Under no circumstances should the federal authorities of Russia deliver him into the hands of Chechen law enforcement officers, which could put him at risk of torture or death,” said Heather McGill, Russia Researcher at Amnesty International.
The Tunisian government must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by accepting recommendations on combating torture, ending discrimination and protecting women and girls from sexual and gender based violence, said Amnesty International.
The Tunisian government received recommendations from more than 50 states at the country’s third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council today.
Tunisia has made some progress on opening up political and civil space and some legislative reforms have been introduced, the security sector has remained largely unchanged and in recent years there has been a resurgence of violations committed with impunity,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.
Following today’s suspension of more than a dozen police officers and the announcement of an internal investigation into revelations that 12 people were detained illegally in a cramped “secret jail cell” in Manila on drugs-related charges, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
Mexico’s new General Law on Torture is a welcome step forward to tackle the country´s human rights crisis. Authorities must now ensure all those responsible for these heinous crimes under international law face justice, Amnesty International said today.
Mexican Congress today finally passed the General Law on Torture which was promised over two years ago by the Mexican president after a national public outcry following massive human rights violations in the case of 43 disappeared students. The Mexican Senate today approved a final version which had been debated by both chambers of Congress.
“Unless the Mexican authorities make a real effort to ensure all those responsible for the thousands of cases of torture reported every year across the country are brought to justice, this law will be nothing but words on paper. We must not allow this to continue to be the case,” said Tania Reneaum, Director at Amnesty International Mexico.
Torture is a widespread practice in Mexico. People are routinely tortured in an attempt to force them to sign false “confessions”.
A call for appeals to improve the General Law on Torture was sent to the Urgent Action Network on January 16th 2017.
On 19 April the lower house of Mexican congress approved their version of the General Law on Torture and sent it back to the Senate for final approval before it becomes law. This final version is an improvement of the earlier draft, and all of the four regressive articles Amnesty International was concerned about have been improved upon.
A General Law on Torture was drafted during 2015 and 2016 and presented in the Senate due to pressure from civil society given the widespread problem of torture in Mexico. This law will replace the existing federal and state laws on the issue and apply nationwide.
Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Ammar al Baluchi's story shows the ways in which the US has tried to cover their brutal, extensive use of torture.
Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.
In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated "black sites". Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture similar to water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; forced nudity, and beatings that have resulted in a painful traumatic brain injury.
Panel discussion at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 March
Governments must close loopholes in international trade law that allow the sale and export of equipment used to torture detainees, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation will urge at a panel event at the UN Human Rights Council on 3 March.
Every year law enforcement officials in many countries around the world use abusive equipment – such as electric shock devices, spiked batons, and leg irons – to subject detainees to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. In addition, equipment with a legitimate law enforcement use, like ordinary handcuffs, tear gas or Tasers, are routinely and systematically abused.
“After years of campaigning by Amnesty International and Omega, the European Union did the right thing by introducing robust restrictions on the sale, brokering and promotion of tools of torture,” said Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
Following the Trump administration’s appointment of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:
“Reports that Gina Haspel directed the alleged CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand, at a time when detainees held there were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance, as well as a possible role in the destruction of evidence of such crimes under international law, raise extremely serious concerns.”
“This announcement comes on the heels of President Trump’s recent vocal support for torture, and means all indicators are flashing red.
“These allegations are serious and must be subject to close scrutiny. No one should be appointed to a position where they could interfere in the investigation of or facilitate the concealment crimes under international law.
“With all the Trump administration’s talk of ‘extreme vetting’, they must not fail to vet public officials for their ability to uphold the US constitution and international law.
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety
269 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8
January 30, 2017
Dear Minister Goodale,
We are writing to you about the urgent need for Canada to revise the Ministerial Directives on torture issued by the previous government to conform to the unconditional ban on torture in international law.
Doing so now would send an important signal to Canadians and to the international community that Canada will under no circumstances use information from a foreign country that was likely obtained under torture, or share information that could likely lead to an individual being tortured.
As you know, in 2011 the government introduced a ministerial directive that allows, under exceptional circumstances, for information garnered under torture by a foreign country to be transmitted to and used by Canadian security agencies. The same directive also provided guidelines for instances when Canadian agencies could share information with countries that are know to engage in human rights abuses, even if doing so would likely result in torture.
The Sri Lankan authorities must take decisive action to stop torture and other ill-treatment, investigate complaints, and hold perpetrators accountable, Amnesty International said today following the publication of the concluding observations by the UN Committee against Torture on Sri Lanka.
“If the Sri Lankan authorities are serious about breaking with the harrowing legacy of the country’s decades-long conflict, it must end impunity for torture and other acts of ill-treatment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
“Sri Lanka has taken important and positive steps. However, we also share the UN Committee against Torture’s alarm over Sri Lanka’s failure to prevent these crimes by the security forces and their concern that torture and other ill-treatment continue to take place. Impunity persists for perpetrators, as well as for those who have committed enforced disappearances, and deaths in custody and the use of coerced confessions continue to be reported.”
Lingering shadow of the conflict
Released 21:01 GMT 4 December 2016
Under the military’s dominance, the Pacific island nation of Fiji has seen an ingrained culture of torture take root among its security forces, a new Amnesty International report says today.
Famed for white-sand beaches and sweeping views of turquoise water, Fiji is known as a holiday destination. But over a decade since the 2006 coup, the military remains in control of key institutions, including the police, with a militarization of the justice system that allows torture and other ill-treatment to go unpunished.
The new Amnesty International report, Beating Justice: How Fiji’s Security Forces Get Away with Torture details how uniformed officials on Fiji’s islands have inflicted severe beatings, rape and other sexual violence, attacks by police dogs, shootings and other forms of torture and ill-treatment or punishment in violation international law.
Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful street protester convicted for participation in “unauthorized” assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture, Amnesty International said today. Ildar Dadin’s letter from prison was published by Meduza online newspaper on Tuesday.
“Ildar Dadin’s allegations of beatings, humiliation and rape threats are shocking, but unfortunately they are just the latest in a string of credible reports indicating that torture and other ill treatment are being widely used in the Russian penal system with impunity, with the aim of silencing any form of dissent,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia.
“We are urging Russian authorities to end the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill treatment and investigate Ildar Dadin’s appalling allegations. They must also immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, and provide him with full remedy for the injustice done to him. No one should be in jail for peacefully expressing their opinion.”
The European Parliament should vote in favour of measures strengthening the European Union’s landmark regulation combatting the trade in equipment that can be used to torture, ill-treat or execute people, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation (Omega).
Final amendments to the torture trade Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 accepted by the EU Council will be debated and voted on by the full European Parliament plenary on Tuesday 4 October.
“The global market is rife with sinister equipment like leg chains and spiked batons which can easily be turned into tools of torture. Introducing tighter EU restrictions on the sale, brokering and promotion of these devices will bring us a step closer to eradicating this shameful trade,” said Ara Marcen Naval, Advocate Advisor for Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
“For too long companies have been able to profit from human suffering. This vote is an opportunity for the EU to send the message that it will not tolerate torture.”