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Torture

    December 08, 2015

    The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights convened a second inquiry on Amnesty International’s ‘Above The Law: Torture in the Police’ report launched in December 2014 following a resolution passed in January to respond to the evidence included in the report regarding widespread torture in the Philippine National Police.

    “Amnesty International welcomes this positive step by the Senate to convene these hearing towards ending the use of torture in the Philippines.Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s concern about the zero conviction rate on cases of torture, six years after the anti-torture law was passed, and the need to address the weakness within the Philippines justice system is reassuring,’ said Josef Roy Benedict, Amnesty International South East Asia Deputy Director for Campaigns.

    “However it is disappointing to hear that the Philippine National Police have yet to review Amnesty International’s report and recommendations a year after it was published. This raises serious questions about their willingness to address and eradicate torture within the police force,” he added.

    November 10, 2015

     The acquittal of a young woman who was tortured into confessing to the crime of extortion is long awaited good news but Mexico must ensure those responsible for the abuse she suffered face justice and that she receives reparation, said Amnesty International.

    “The fact that a young woman has been forced to spend two years in prison after being tortured to confess to a crime speaks volumes about the state of the Mexican judicial system,” said Erika-Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome Cristel’s acquittal, justice will not be done until those who sexually tortured her into confessing to a crime are put behind bars and a strong message is sent that torture is never acceptable.”
     
    Cristel Fabiola Piña Jasso, a 25-year old mother of two, was today acquitted by a court in Chihuahua, northern Mexico after spending two years in prison. The judge found there was not sufficient evidence against her and ordered a federal investigation into the torture she suffered.

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    October 23, 2015

    Released  23 October 2015, 00:01Hs Mexico (05:01 GMT)

    Mexico’s torture epidemic has reached new catastrophic levels with reports of asphyxiation, rape and other sexual abuse, electric shocks and beatings at the federal level more than doubling in the last year, said Amnesty International in a new report today as President Peña Nieto prepares to present a new Torture Bill to Congress.

    “A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine how Mexico’s torture crisis could have gotten any worse and then it just did while the government continues to turn a blind eye to a crisis of their own creation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The number of torture complaints filed at the federal level more than doubled between 2013 and 2014 – from 1,165 to 2,403, according to data from Mexico’s Federal Attorney General´s Office.

    The Federal Attorney General´s Office told Amnesty International that they have “no hard data” on any  charges issued in 2014 against those responsible.

    September 18, 2015

    Tarek Tito's brother Mahmoud Hussein has spent over a year in an Egyptian jail, simply for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt. On the anniversary of Mahmoud's 600th day in jail, Tarek writes his younger brother a letter.

    My little Mahmoud, 600 days have passed and you are not yet home.

    I can no longer stand your absence.  The bitterness of separation disrupts our small family. Mother makes your bed every morning while she hides her tears from us, and Father stares at your face in the photos that now cover his room. It’s as if he is getting to know you all over again. We miss your laughter and await your freedom with every sunrise.

    The day I almost lost my mind

    You have been detained for more than 600 days for wearing a t-shirt that said “Nation without Torture”. That was our dream following the 25 January Revolution – the dream of a country that respects and honours the human body and protects it from torture.

    September 15, 2015

    The Moroccan authorities must implement the UN body’s decision, protect Ali Aarrass from further abuse while he remains imprisoned, and ensure he has effective access to justice, Amnesty International said. Ali Aarrass went on hunger strike on 25 August in Salé II Local Prison near Morocco’s capital Rabat two years after the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) called on the Moroccan authorities to release him. He is severely weakened and struggles to stand, his family told Amnesty International.

    Ali Aarrass also entered the hunger strike to protest fresh improper treatment by the head guard in his prison block, significant delays in the investigation carried out by the judicial authorities into his torture allegations, as well as the lack of response by the Court of Cassation nearly three years after he appealed his conviction to Morocco’s supreme judicial authority.

    September 01, 2015

    The following statement was read by Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar's wife, as a press conference earlier today.

    I welcome today's announcement by the RCMP to lay criminal charges against Colonel George Salloum who was directly responsible for my torture while I was detained at the Palestinian Branch of the Syrian Military Intelligence.

    Since I launched my complaint in 2005, I gave the RCMP investigating team, during the many interviews I had with them, the information they needed to advance their investigation. This lengthy international investigation took the officers overseas to gather evidence. As a result, they were able to better understand the nature of interrogations in Syrian detention centers. Upon their return, the investigators were able to pass on their knowledge to other RCMP staff. 

    I believe this is vital for the RCMP to grasp given the increased urge to share information even with regimes who don't respect our understanding of basic human rights.

    September 01, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    One of the most unexpected and consequential phone calls I ever answered was back in September 2002.  A woman who introduced herself as Monia Mazigh was calling with a request for Amnesty International’s assistance.  Her husband Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, had disappeared in US custody while changing planes at JFK Airport in New York City on his way home from a family vacation in Tunisia. 

    Monia said to me, I do not know what accusations they are making against him.  All I demand is that they give him justice. 
     

    September 01, 2015

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have laid criminal charges today against a Syrian official for the torture of Canadian citizen Maher Arar almost 13 years ago.  It represents a tremendous advance in Mr. Arar’s longstanding quest for justice, truth and reparation for the grave human rights violations he experienced in 2002 and 2003.  It also sets a ground-breaking precedent – nationally and internationally – in the critical campaign to end the impunity that has long shielded torturers around the world.

    “Torture continues at such alarming rates worldwide because those responsible are rarely held to account for their heinous crimes,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “No matter where it occurs or who carries it out, all governments are obliged to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility for torture face justice.  But few ever do. Canada is taking a historic step in meeting that responsibility by seeking the arrest of a foreign official accused of committing torture in another country.”

    August 28, 2015

    The case of Salim al-Aradi, a dual Libyan-Canadian national who has been detained for a year without charge, highlights pervasive repression by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said Amnesty International.

    Salim al-Aradi has been in detention since 29 August 2014.  He was held in secret detention for several months after he was first arrested and is believed to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody. His health is said to be deteriorating rapidly and he has been denied access to adequate medical care.

    "The unlawful treatment of Salim al-Aradi demonstrates the extreme tactics the UAE authorities are resorting to in the name of protecting national security,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Locking someone up for an entire year without charge is grossly unjust and a very serious violation of their rights. Salim al-Aradi should either be immediately charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence or else released.”

    August 23, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs EAT   24 August 2015

    Beatings with iron bars and acid burns are among an array of torture techniques used by Burundian security forces to extract “confessions” and silence dissent, according to a new Amnesty International briefing published today.

    In a briefing titled “Just tell me what to confess to”: Torture and ill-treatment by Burundi’s police and intelligence service since April 2015, Amnesty International has documented chilling testimonies of victims of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of security forces. The briefing highlights a spike in the use of torture in Burundi since April 2015.  

    “The testimonies we received are as devastating as they are disturbing since torture and other ill-treatment are prohibited both by Burundi’s Constitution and by international and regional treaties Burundi is party to,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    August 10, 2015

    Today’s conditional release of Mazen Darwish, a human rights activist who had been jailed on trumped-up terrorism-related charges, ends the worst of a painful ordeal for him and his family over the past three and a half years, said Amnesty International.

    Mazen Darwish, Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), spent over three years in arbitrary detention after being arrested alongside a number of other colleagues during a raid on the office of the SCM by Air Force Intelligence personnel in Damascus in February 2012. Mazen Darwish is the last of the group to be released, two of his colleagues Hani al-Zitani and Hussein Gharir were conditionally released last month.

    July 09, 2015

    The Thai authorities must not return 50 ethnic Uighurs to China, where they are at risk of being tortured, forcibly disappeared and executed, and China must reveal the whereabouts of more than 100 already deported, said Amnesty International.

    This morning, the Thai authorities confirmed that they have deported to China some 109 Uighurs – the Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. They were part of a group detained for irregular entry into Thailand in March 2014.

    Since the 1980s, the Uighurs have been the target of systematic and extensive human rights violations by the Chinese authorities.

    “Thailand has violated international law by forcibly returning some 109 Uighurs to China. This is akin to sentencing them to the worst punishment imaginable. Time and time again we have seen Uighurs returned to China disappearing into a black hole, with some detained, tortured and in some cases, sentenced to death and executed,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director for East Asia at Amnesty International.

    July 03, 2015

    By Moses Akatugba, Nigeria (30 June 2015).

    June 24, 2015

     

     

     

     

     

    Moroccan human rights and political activists Wafae Charaf and Oussama Housne were sentenced to three-year and two-year prison terms respectively in 2014 for “falsely reporting” torture. They were also convicted of slandering Morocco’s police force and ordered to pay compensation, even though neither of them had accused the police. They are prisoners of conscience.

    Wafae Charaf said she was abducted after she went to a workers’ protest in Tangiers on 27 April 2014, by men who beat her for several hours and threatened her with further violence if she did not stop her activism.

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