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    October 15, 2019

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.

    In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.

    “We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.

    “We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.

    October 15, 2019

    In response to the Trump Administration’s continued assault on the U.S. refugee resettlement program, 18 leaders from the nation’s leading faith and human rights organizations, as well as a former State Department official, were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of the first ever act of civil disobedience in the name of refugee resettlement. Those 18 arrested represented the 18,000 refugee cap set by the Trump administration - the lowest in the history of the resettlement program.

    Those arrested were joined by supporters holding 95 photographs of refugees, a nod to the historic average refugee cap of 95,000 per year. The arrests came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today meets with Members of Congress to consult over the historically low cap.

    Prior to being taken into custody by Capitol Police, a number of the arrested issued the following statements:

    October 15, 2019

    On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police issued a revised section 14 order saying demonstrators protesting in London after 21:00 BST could be arrested.

    Allan Hogarth, Head of Advocacy and Programmes at Amnesty International UK, said:

    “Imposing a blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protests is an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Under UK and international human rights law, the Government has an obligation to facilitate the exercise of these rights. 

    “The majority of those protesting have been doing so peacefully, removing and prosecuting activists for engaging in non-violent direct action to raise their voice is deeply worrying. Overly harsh and disproportionate charges will have a chilling effect on rights.

    “This is a heavy-handed and unacceptable move by the Metropolitan Police. Certain disruption to ordinary life for protesting is natural, and it needs to be tolerated. The police must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting and ensure that the voices of those demanding action on tackling the climate crisis are allowed to be heard.”

    October 15, 2019

    Spokespeople available to take media interviews

    Responding to Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo’s announcement that the government is planning to introduce the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “It is outrageous that instead of the Ugandan government taking urgent steps to decriminalize gay sex, they want gay people executed. This is going to fire-up more hatred in an already homophobic environment.

    “This is an example of how Uganda’s politicians are stoking dangerous intolerance and bias against LGBTI people. Uganda’s MPs must resoundingly reject any plan to legalize this kind of bigotry and witch hunting of anyone who is perceived as being different.”

    On 5 October, Brian Wassa, a gay paralegal succumbed to brain hemorrhage after been hacked in the head by unknown persons the previous day at his home in Kampala.

    October 11, 2019

    Malaysia must start to fulfil its promise to abolish the death penalty in forthcoming legislation by ending its use for drug-related offences and eliminating the mandatory death sentence, Amnesty International said today, as it launches a new report to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

    The report, Fatally flawed: Why Malaysia must abolish the death penalty, reveals the use of torture and other ill-treatment to obtain “confessions”, inadequate access to legal assistance, an opaque pardons process and other serious violations of the right to a fair trial that have put people at risk of execution.

    The report also highlights how 73% of those on death row – 930 people – have been sentenced to death for drug-related offences in contravention of international human rights law. Almost half are foreign nationals – including nearly nine out of ten women. More than half of them (478) are foreign nationals.

    October 11, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Responding to the announcement that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “This award recognizes the critical work Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has done to initiate human rights reforms in Ethiopia after decades of widespread repression.

    October 10, 2019

    The torture in custody of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and activist who rose to fame during the 2011 uprising, as well as the mistreatment of his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, are chilling illustrations of the ruthless tactics the Egyptian authorities are prepared to use to silence critics, said Amnesty International today.

    Following his arrest on 29 September during the authorities’ latest crackdown, Alaa Abdel Fattah was transferred to Egypt’s notorious Tora maximum security prison 2, known as al-Aqrab 2 - where prison officers blindfolded him, stripped him of his clothing, beat and kicked him repeatedly, and subjected him to threats and verbal abuse.

    One police officer told him prison was “made for people like you”, adding that he would be in prison for the rest of his life. A National Security Agency officer warned he would face further torture if he reported the abuse.

    October 08, 2019
    National coalition urges leaders to address women’s rights, gender equality

    With gender issues largely absent from last night’s federal leaders’ debate, a new video ad is urging all candidates to finally speak up on women’s rights and gender equality.

    Up for Debate, a national alliance of women’s rights and gender equality advocates, posted the short ad online Monday night, just as the six federal party leaders took to the stage for the English debate.

    The alliance has also invited the Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic, Bloc and Green parties to participate in a separate televised debate on women’s rights and gender equality. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party leader Elizabeth May have committed to participate. Up for Debate has not yet received a firm commitment from the Bloc Quebecois, the Conservatives or the Liberals.

    “It’s been 35 years since federal party leaders debated women’s rights and gender equality,” states the ad, referring to the 1984 federal leaders’ debate on women’s issues.

    October 07, 2019

    Justin Trudeau

    Leader

    Liberal Party of Canada

     

    Andrew Scheer

    Leader

    Conservative Party of Canada

     

    Jagmeet Singh

    Leader

    New Democratic Party

     

    Yves-François Blanchet

    Leader

    Bloc Québécois

     

    Elizabeth May

    Leader

    Green Party of Canada

     

    Maxime Bernier

    Leader

    People’s Party of Canada

     

    September 30, 2019

    Dear Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Scheer, Mr. Singh, M. Blanchet, Ms. May and Mr. Bernier,

    RE: Seeking commitment to establish public inquiry into case of Hassan Diab

    We are writing to seek your party’s public commitment to support the establishment of a public inquiry into the case of Dr. Hassan Diab. 

    October 04, 2019
    Spokespeople available for interview

    A witness hearing examining Shell’s role in the execution of nine men in Nigeria in the 1990s is a key opportunity to hold the oil giant to account over its alleged complicity in human rights abuses, Amnesty International said.

    The Kiobel v Shell case resumes at The Hague on 8 October and will for the first time hear accounts from individuals who accuse Shell of offering them bribes to give fake testimonies that led to the ‘Ogoni Nine’ – who included Esther Kiobel’s husband – being sentenced to death and executed.   

    October 04, 2019

    The Hong Kong government announced in a press conference today that it will invoke a colonial-era law, the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, in order to ban face coverings at public gatherings. The law also grants the Hong Kong government sweeping powers relating to detention and to restriction of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.  

    Joshua Rosenzweig, Head of Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Office, said: 

    “This is yet another attempt by the Hong Kong government to deter protesters, who have so far been undaunted by unnecessary and excessive use of force and the threat of prosecution, from exercising their rights.

    “It is thanks to the climate of fear Hong Kong authorities have created that protesters feel the need to wear masks in the first place. This ban is especially worrying in a context where protesters fear arbitrary arrest, surveillance and the indiscriminate use of tear gas and other projectiles.  

    October 03, 2019

    In response to the operation by the Civil Police and the Rio de Janeiro Public Prosecutor’s Office that resulted in the arrest of four people and a warrant being issued against former Military Police Ronnie Lessa, who is already in prison accused of carrying out the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Silva, Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, said:

    “We are struck by the existence of a network of people involved in the killing of a human rights defender such as Marielle Franco, who worked for the common good, to benefit the citizens of Rio de Janeiro. We continue to follow the development of the investigations and remain deeply concerned about the delay in identifying who ordered the crime. We hope that everyone involved in the killing will be identified and brought to justice.”

    October 01, 2019

    Authorities in Cyprus have finally allowed Ahmed H, a Syrian man unjustly convicted in Hungary in a blatant misuse of terrorism-related charges, to return to his family today. Responding to the news that Ahmed - who had been jailed in Hungary in 2015, would return home, Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Director of Amnesty International Greece, said: 

    “After four long years of separation Ahmed has finally been reunited with his family, just in time for his elder daughter’s tenth birthday. His return home to Cyprus is an overwhelming relief for the family, but he should never have been prosecuted, let alone convicted on those trumped up charges in the first place.” 

    “Ahmed’s wish to bring his Syrian family to safety was what led him to be in Hungary in 2015. It is a scandal that the Hungarian government kept him away from his wife and children for so long, but after Cyprus did the right thing, today we celebrate that they are now reunited.” 

    October 01, 2019

    In response to the shooting of a protester by police in Hong Kong during demonstrations marking China’s National Day, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said:

    “The shooting of a protester marks an alarming development in the Hong Kong police’s response to protests. The Hong Kong authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the sequence of events that left a teenager fighting for his life in hospital. Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury and only as a last resort. 

    “We are urging the Hong Kong authorities to urgently review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk.” 

    Amnesty International analyzed videos of the shooting and pinpointed the location as Hau Tei Square in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan area. In a short video statement the Hong Kong Police Force defended the shooting by stating that the officer felt his life was under threat: 

    September 30, 2019

    Spokespeople available for interviews

    One year since the extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi citizens are honouring Khashoggi’s legacy by pursuing the fight for their inalienable right to freely express themselves, despite the authorities’ continuing crackdown and the absence of any meaningful signal to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, Amnesty International said today.

    “Any talk of assuming responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing is meaningless if not met with the immediate and unconditional release of dozens of individuals who continue to languish in prison, and who continue to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, solely for having expressed their opinion in a peaceful manner,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

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