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    September 07, 2020

    US authorities must drop all charges against Julian Assange relating to his publishing activities, and UK authorities must reject the related US extradition request, said Amnesty International today. Julian Assange’s extradition hearing resumes today and is expected to last several weeks.

    The hearing will decide on the Trump administration’s request for Julian Assange’s extradition to the US, where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years for publishing materials that document possible war crimes committed by the US military.

    “This hearing is the latest worrying salvo in a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression. If Julian Assange is prosecuted it could have a chilling effect on media freedom, leading publishers and journalists to self-censor in fear of retaliation,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

    “If Julian Assange is extradited it will have far reaching human rights implications, setting a chilling precedent for the protection of those who publish classified information in the public interest.”

    September 04, 2020

    In the new report, Dying before a judge: the arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and death of Rafael Acosta Arévalo, Amnesty International publishes new findings on the case that cast doubt on the official version of events and demonstrate Nicolás Maduro’s government’s deadly policy of repression to silence dissent.

    Rafael Acosta Arévalo, a retired captain in the Venezuelan Navy, disappeared in the town of Guatire in the state of Miranda on 21 June 2019. Amnesty International obtained 550 pages of the criminal case file from the investigation into two officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) attached to the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), who are accused of involvement in his death.

    September 02, 2020

    New analysis by Amnesty International has found that at least 7,000 health workers have died around the world after contracting COVID-19. At least 1,320 health workers are confirmed to have died in Mexico alone, the highest known figure for any country.

    Amnesty International also recorded high numbers of health worker deaths in the USA (1,077) and Brazil (634), where infection and death rates have been high throughout the pandemic, as well as alarming figures in South Africa (240) and India (573), where infection rates have soared in recent months.

    “For over seven thousand people to die while trying to save others is a crisis on a staggering scale. Every health worker has the right to be safe at work, and it is a scandal that so many are paying the ultimate price,” said Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International.

    “Many months into the pandemic, health workers are still dying at horrific rates in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and the USA, while the rapid spread of infections in South Africa and India show the need for all states to take action.

    September 02, 2020

    Following the public announcement of a decree issued by President Nicolás Maduro - not yet published - to pardon 110 people with ongoing criminal proceedings or convictions against them, Amnesty International celebrates the release of those who should never have been deprived of their freedom and urges the Venezuelan authorities to immediately and unconditionally implement this measure.

    "The policy of repression of the government of Nicolás Maduro has led to hundreds of arbitrary detentions of those who dare to question it. These releases should not be seen as an act of benevolence, but a first step towards reparation for the injustices and arbitrary actions committed in a society submerged in a deep human rights crisis," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    September 02, 2020

    A cross-party agreement by Denmark’s government and coalition parties to introduce consent-based rape legislation is a step towards a historic victory for human rights, said Amnesty International.

    Yesterday, after many years of campaigning by women’s rights and survivors’ groups, the government agreed to amend the Criminal Code to finally recognize in law that sex without consent is rape.

    “This is a historic victory, not just for the campaigners who have fought long and hard for this day, but for everyone in Denmark. A human rights-compliant consent law would position Denmark as an example for other countries in Europe that care about access to justice for rape survivors and true gender equality,” said Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Researcher, Anna Błuś.

    “The new legislation must recognize the simple truth that sex without consent is rape and make absolutely clear that physical violence is not required for the crime to be considered rape. Even in long-term relationships and marriages, consent can never be assumed.”

    September 01, 2020
    Widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care Hundreds subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges Death sentences issued based on torture-tainted “confessions”

    Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors,  a catalogue of shocking human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, against those detained in connection with the nationwide protests of November 2019, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today.

    August 31, 2020

    Amnesty International calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately end police violence and to investigate the gross human rights violations committed during the last three weeks, as peaceful protests against police brutality and the rule of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka grow. 

    “The Belarusian authorities have to date refused to engage in a dialogue with the protesters, nor, apparently, have they taken steps to investigate the massive human rights violations committed by the police during the first few days of the post-election protests,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International's Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  

    “According to our information not a single criminal case has been opened against police who brutally tortured hundreds of peaceful protesters. Yet, dozens of criminal cases have been launched against these protesters, often without any credible evidence of wrongdoing. Belarusians are peacefully demanding accountability to prevent this dangerous culture of impunity. 

    August 31, 2020

    Amnesty International is one of 390 organizations that have signed a statement today expressing concern about the situation facing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the decision announced by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States not to renew the mandate of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR.

    “In light of the worrying situation that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is going through, we join the call of 390 human rights organizations to respect its autonomy and independence. We consider it vital to respect the norms of due process, both for the renewal of the mandate of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, and to duly address the allegations of internal irregularities," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    August 29, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Today, the International Day of the Disappeared, marks 1,500 days since Burundi journalist Jean Bigirimana went missing, allegedly after being arrested by the country’s National Intelligence Service. Jean has not been seen or heard from since 22 July 2016, and his wife Godeberthe Hakizimana and two young sons are still waiting for answers.

    “More than four years after Jean Bigirimana’s enforced disappearance, the Burundian government’s failure to account for him is an affront to the principles of truth, justice and accountability,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    “The agony of Jean Bigirimana’s family is unimaginable. President Ndayishimiye’s government must end the practice of enforced disappearances immediately, and fully investigate and, where there is sufficient evidence of criminal responsibility, prosecute perpetrators of enforced disappearances. Families have the right to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.”

    August 27, 2020

    The Algerian authorities must immediately end an escalating campaign of media harassment which has recently seen two prominent journalists handed harsh prison sentences simply for expressing their views or for covering protests, said Amnesty International today.

    Since the Hirak protest movement, which is calling for radical political change in Algeria, started in February 2019, at least eight journalists have been imprisoned over their reporting or social media posts, often after being convicted on bogus charges such as “harming Algeria’s territorial integrity”, “insulting the president of the republic” or “inciting a gathering”. Several news websites well known for their critical stance towards the government are facing disruption to their accessibility via Algerian networks.

    “The Algerian authorities are willing to do whatever it takes to silence criticism. Journalists have recently been imprisoned for sharing videos, criticizing the president, and expressing support for protest movements,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    August 27, 2020

    In an announcement published today on the Twitter account of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, the country’s public prosecutor has ordered a review into the death sentences of three young men who were minors at the time of arrest and have been at imminent risk of execution. Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoun, three young Shi’a activists, were all arrested as children in 2012 and charged with offences relating to their participation in anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

    Responding to the news, Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, said:

    August 26, 2020

    Following reports indicating that two protestors were killed and one was injured during protests in Kenosha, WI, Amnesty International USA released the following statement from End Gun Violence campaign manager, Ernest Coverson. The protests come after local police shot and severely injured Jacob Blake as he tried to get into his car. 

    “Once more, we are witnessing why it is crucial for the United States to protect the rights of protestors who are exercising their right to hold peaceful public assemblies and to end gun violence. Simply put, it is the duty of law enforcement officers to protect those who’ve gathered to protest. While Wisconsin is an open carry state, law enforcement officers should ensure that armed private individuals are not endangering public safety or targeting peaceful protestors. 

    August 26, 2020

    The UN Human Rights Council must urgently convene a special session to address the human rights crisis in Belarus, where authorities have launched a full-scale crackdown following disputed presidential elections, Amnesty International and 15 other international and Belarusian NGOs said today in an open letter.  

    The letter also calls for the Council to establish an independent investigation into ongoing human rights violations. 

    August 24, 2020

    Angolan security forces tasked with implementing COVID-19 restrictions killed at least seven people between May and July 2020, according to a new investigation by Amnesty International and Angolan rights organization OMUNGA. The victims were all boys and young men, and the youngest victim was just 14 years old. The organizations believe the true death toll is likely to be much higher.

    Through interviews with friends and relatives of seven victims, as well as eyewitnesses, Amnesty International and OMUNGA have pieced together details about the killings. Angolan security forces have repeatedly used excessive and unlawful force when dealing with breaches of state of emergency regulations imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

    August 20, 2020

    Responding to the announcement that Belarus’s Prosecutor General has launched a criminal case against the Coordination Council, a new body formed by opposition leaders, Bruce Millar, Amnesty International’s Acting Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

    “Not content with arresting thousands of protesters, torturing detainees and beating up journalists and medics, the Belarusian authorities have now accused peaceful opposition leaders of being a threat to national security. This demonstrates just how far the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is willing to go to cling to power. If anything is threatening peace and security in Belarus it is the authorities’ violence against their own people.

    “This development has once again proved that there is no space in Belarus for any opinion that questions or criticizes President Lukashenka’s government. It has extinguished any remaining illusions that the authorities are interested in respecting human rights and the rule of law.

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