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Torture

    July 10, 2014

    On the morning of 27 May, Hanna, was sitting in her flat in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, when there was a knock on the door. As her boyfriend Feodor lifted the latch, seven armed men wearing balaclavas and camouflaged fatigues barged through. They said they were from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), the pro-Russian separatist group which had recently seized power in the city.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    This was the start of a terrifying six day ordeal for the 30 year old pro-Ukrainian activist. She had been involved in demonstrations providing medical help and first aid to protesters injured in clashes.

    July 05, 2014

    The Congolese authorities and the International Criminal Court (ICC) must do everything in their power to ensure that three men due to be returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this weekend do not face the death penalty, torture or other serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International believes the three former ICC witnesses face a real risk of persecution and reprisals in the DRC because of the testimony they submitted to the ICC accusing President Kabila of involvement in serious crimes.

    “Amnesty International has protested against the return of these detained witnesses and calls on the ICC and the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that all necessary protective measures are in place when they arrive in Kinshasa,” said Evie Francq, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the DRC.

    “The ICC has a duty to monitor the wellbeing of these men when they return home and to ensure the local authorities live up to their promises to protect the men from human rights violations. The Congolese justice system must cooperate,” said Evie Francq.

    July 03, 2014

    •        At least 16,000 detained and at least 80 deaths in custody recorded in past year
    •        Torture and other ill-treatment in detention continues unabated
    •        Fair trial standards routinely flouted 

    A surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and harrowing incidents of torture and deaths in police custody recorded by Amnesty International provide strong evidence of the sharp deterioration in human rights in Egypt in the year since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted. 

    June 25, 2014

    The stench of rotting flesh coming from the tiny, cramped cell overpowered him. This was the smell of torture.

    As soon he set one foot inside the small room at a police detention centre in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Forensic Doctor Duarte Vieira was shocked. He had never seen anything as bad – and he had seen plenty.

    Amongst the 45 men, women and children held in a space originally built for six people, he saw a man with a rotting bullet wound on his foot. And then another. And a third one.

    The wound on the ankle of a fourth man had gone untreated for so long that his foot was literally decomposing; attached to the leg by a thread of skin.

    Dr. Vieira immediately knew this was a form of torture used to punish prisoners.

    “I never thought I was going to see anything like that in a living human being. People were shot on their feet before being interrogated as a way of showing them what to expect next,” he told Amnesty International.

    June 05, 2014

    Allegations aired last night in a documentary by Irish state broadcaster RTÉ that the UK Government sanctioned the use of torture in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and failed to disclose relevant evidence to the European Court of Human Rights, underline the failure to deliver a comprehensive mechanism to deal with the past, said Amnesty International.

    In 1971, Ireland took the first inter-state case to come before the European Court on Human Rights, alleging Britain had breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The use of torture during internment was central to that case which became known as the “hooded men” case.

    The documentary, The Torture Files, was based on investigations carried out by Northern Irish human rights NGO the Pat Finucane Centre and RTÉ. It further alleges that the UK Government did not disclose relevant evidence to the European Court of Human Rights in its defence of the case.

    May 22, 2014

    Dozens of civilians have been subjected to enforced disappearance and held for months in secret detention at an Egyptian military camp, where they are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment to make them confess to crimes, according to shocking new evidence gathered by Amnesty International.

    Egyptian lawyers and activists have a list of at least 30 civilians who are reportedly being held in secret at Al Azouly prison inside Al Galaa Military Camp in Ismailia, 130km north-east of Cairo. Former detainees there have told Amnesty International that many more – possibly up to 400 – could be held in the three-storey prison block. The detainees have not been charged or referred to prosecutors or courts, and have had no access to their lawyers or families.

    “These are practices associated with the darkest hours of military and Mubarak’s rule. Egypt’s military cannot run roughshod over detainees’ rights like this,” said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    May 15, 2014

    The pain of torture is unbearable. I never thought I would be alive till this day. The pain I went through in the hands of the officers was unimaginable. In my whole life, I have never been subjected to such inhuman treatment. –Moses Akatugba, February 2014

    On November 27, 2005, Moses Akatugba, then only 16 years old, was awaiting the results of his secondary schools exams when he was arrested by the Nigerian army and charged with stealing three cell phones and various other communication-related items.

    Moses describes being shot in the hand and soldiers beating him on the head and back during his arrest. He was initially held at the army barracks, where he said soldiers showed him a corpse and when he was unable to identify the dead man, he was beaten.

    After being transferred to Epkan police station in Delta State he suffered further torture and ill-treatment. Moses told one human rights defender that the police severely beat him with machetes and batons, tied and hanged him for several hours in interrogation rooms, and used pliers to pull out his finger and toe nails in order to force him to sign two confessions.

    May 13, 2014

    by Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International
     

    “I am here to ask for your help,” said Claudia Medina when I met her in Mexico earlier this year. “I’m going to report a crime of torture.”

    Her words touched me, because I knew what Claudia had been through. At 3am on 7 August 2012, marines broke into the home she shared with her husband and three children. They tied her hands and blindfolded her, put her in a pick-up truck and took her to a naval base in Veracruz City. They accused her of being a member of a powerful and violent criminal gang, which she flatly denied.

    May 12, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 13 May 2014

    * Amnesty International has reported on torture or other ill-treatment in 141 countries over the past five years
    * New global survey of more than 21,000 people in 21 countries across every continent reveals fear of torture exists in all these countries
    * Nearly half of respondents fear torture if taken into custody
    * More than 80% want strong laws to protect them from torture
    * More than a third believe torture can be justified

     

          AT A GLANCE

    May 12, 2014

    Belgian-Moroccan citizen Ali Aarrass remains in prison in Morocco, serving a 12 year sentence for illegal use of weapons and participation in a group intending to commit acts of terrorism. The only evidence against him was a confession obtained through torture.

    Ali Aarrass continues to experience some ill-treatment and harassment in detention. International support has played a role in helping to improve his detention conditions.

    Send a message of solidarity to Ali Aarrass in prison. Your messages let Ali Aarrass know that he is not alone, and they let prison officials know that he is not alone.

    May 09, 2014

    Dilorom Abdukadirova is serving an 18-year sentence in Tashkent Women’s Prison after an unfair trial. She was tortured and ill-treated in pre-trial detention. Her family fears she may still be at risk.

    In May 2005, Dilorom Abdukadirova joined in a mass demonstration in Babur Square in the centre of Andizhan. The protesters hoped the president would meet with them and listen to their concerns about the economy. They were greeted instead by security forces using live ammunition. Hundreds were killed. Dilorom was among 500 protesters who managed to escape from the square and flee to Kyrgyzstan on foot. Eventually she was granted asylum in Australia in 2006.

    The Uzbekistani authorities assured Dilorom and her family that nothing would happen if she returned home. In January 2010, she set off to reunite with her husband and children. However, she was immediately detained upon arrival at Tashkent airport because she did not have a valid exit permit in her passport. She was questioned for four days and released after being charged with “illegal exit” from Uzbekistan.

    May 09, 2014

    Alfreda Disbarro from Quezon City, Philippines was at an internet café near her house in the early evening of October 3, 2013. Police stopped her and accused her of drug dealing. She denied this and emptied her pockets voluntarily, revealing just a mobile phone and a five-peso coin.

    The police then pointed a gun at her, punched her in the chest, handcuffed her and took her to police headquarters. Officers tortured her to force her to confess to the crime and she was in such pain that she could not eat for days and had difficulty breathing and kept vomiting.

    She was taken to the Barangay Hall of Barangay San Antonio the following day, where she was told to sign a blank sheet of paper, and photographed with three one-hundred-dollar bills and a sachet of drugs produced by the policy. Alfreda protested her innocence.

    Alfreda went before the Prosecutor on October 8, charged with the sale and possession of illegal drugs but was not asked about what the police had done to her.

    April 15, 2014

    A globally admired artistic duo has created 30 limited edition “Freedom Candles” which will shortly be auctioned on eBay in support of Amnesty International's work in promoting human rights. A short film showcasing the candles has been released.

    Mark Landwher & Sven Waschk— known as ‘coarse’— are renowned for their striking and meticulous vinyl sculptures. This is the first time that the duo has turned its attention to the subject of human rights. Coarse’s attention to craft brings out the emotion of the people involved and the issues, causing the viewer to empathize with the situation on a more personal level.

    When each candle is burned, the wax sculpture depicting the injustice burns away to reveal a new bronze figure inside—symbolizing the positive change that human rights activism can help to effect.

    April 11, 2014

    (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In response to the disclosure by McClatchy Media of information about the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and interrogation, Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security & Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

    "This is a game changer. The debate about torture should be over once and for all. President Obama should immediately declassify the entire report so that safeguards can be put in place to ensure that the U.S. government does not use torture again.

    "The U.S. should, among other steps, withdraw its reservations to the Convention Against Torture and revise the Army Field Manual on Interrogation. Furthermore, international law requires accountability for the crime of torture, including remedy for victims and prosecutions where warranted."

    April 03, 2014

    The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has voted for a degree of transparency on the now long-festering injustices associated with the secret detention program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

    Given the systematic failure of the US authorities to declassify and disclose anything like the full truth about the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs, any transparency on them is a step in the right direction.

    The SSCI has voted to submit for declassification the summary and findings of its review of the secret detention program, authorized by former President George W. Bush in September 2001 and ended by President Barack Obama in 2009.

    But publication of the SSCI summary and findings – hopefully without redactions – will be just one small step. The administration and Congress must do far more to ensure accountability for past violations and their non-recurrence in the future. For a start, the full SSCI report – and the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs themselves – should be declassified.

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