prisoner of conscience
“Muhammad Bekzhanov has languished in jail for 17 long years. His prison sentence was handed down after an unfair trial and severe torture, and arbitrarily extended as the authorities have not forgiven Bekzhanov’s political activism. At the time of his release, Bekzhanov was one of the world’s longest prison-held journalists,” - said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.
Muhammad was arrested in 1999 after being accused of involvement in a series of terrorist attacks committed in Tashkent in February of the same year. However, he had faced harassment by the authorities in connection with his role as the editor of the banned newspaper Erk and for being the brother of Muhammad Salih, the leader of the opposition People's Movement of Uzbekistan.
By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada English Branch. Originally published in the Globe and Mail.
When Dr. Homa Hoodfar was arrested in Iran 100 days ago, the circumstances and motivation behind her unfounded and illegal imprisonment were far from clear. While much of that uncertainty remains, what is clear is that she has endured more than three months of grave human rights violations. Her plight resonates with wider concerns Amnesty International has recently documented in Iran, including a broad crackdown against perceived feminists and routine attacks on prisoners’ health.
It all adds up a grim human rights reality for Dr. Hoodfar. One hundred days into her nightmare, efforts to secure her immediate and unconditional release must be escalated even further.
By William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International. On twitter @williamnee
26 years have passed since the tragic days in 1989 when thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters were brutally repressed in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
But even though the tanks have long left the city’s infamous square, President Xi Jinping, appears as determined to quash anyone perceived as challenging the Communist Party’s hegemony.
When President Xi took office in late 2012, he declared power would be put “in a cage”, but it is the independently minded academics, journalists, lawyers, and rights activists that have been thrown in jail.
We are witnessing one of the darkest periods for freedom of expression in China since the bloodshed of 1989.
On 10 February 2015 Malaysia’s Federal Court, the highest court in the country, upheld the decision of an appeal court to overturn opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal on long-standing ‘sodomy’ charges, which date back to 2008, and sentenced him to five years in prison.
Amnesty International believes this is a deplorable judgment, and the latest chapter in the Malaysian authorities’ relentless attempts to silence government critics. This oppressive ruling will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country. The ‘sodomy’ charges against Anwar Ibrahim have always been politically motivated, and he should be released immediately.
Anwar Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience – jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. Anwar Ibrahim stated that he is innocent of the charge; that it is the result of a political conspiracy to stop his political career - and that he will never surrender.