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    October 02, 2018

    Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand was executed early this morning in Urumieh central prison, West Azerbaijan province, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is a sickening demonstration of the Iranian authorities’ disregard for the principles of juvenile justice and international human rights law. Zeinab was just 17 years old at the time of her arrest. Her execution is profoundly unjust and shows the Iranian authorities’ contempt for the right of children to life. The fact that her death sentence followed a grossly unfair trial makes her execution even more outrageous.

    “Zeinab Sekaanvand said that, soon after she was married at 15, she sought help many times from the authorities about her violent husband and alleged that her brother-in-law had raped her repeatedly. Instead of investigating these allegations, however, the authorities consistently ignored her and failed to provide her with any support as a victim of domestic and sexual violence.

    October 01, 2018

    Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand is due to be executed on 2 October, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The Iranian authorities must urgently halt their plans to execute Zeinab Sekaanvand. She was arrested when she was just 17 years old and sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, whom she married at the age of 15. Not only was she a child at the time of the crime, she was subjected to a grossly unfair legal process.

    “She did not see a lawyer until her final trial session in 2014, when she retracted ‘confessions’ she had made when she had no access to legal representation. She also says that, following her arrest, she was tortured by male police officers through beatings all over her body.

    “The authorities must immediately quash Zeinab Sekaanvand’s conviction and grant her a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty, and in accordance with principles of juvenile justice.”

    September 30, 2018

    Monday’s planned demolition of a West Bank village and forcible transfer of its residents to make way for illegal Jewish settlements is a war crime that lays bare the Israeli government’s callous disregard for the Palestinians, Amnesty International said today.

    Some 180 residents of the Bedouin community of Khan-al Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, face being forcibly evicted and transferred by the Israeli army. The Israeli authorities have offered the villagers a choice of two possible destinations: a site near the former Jerusalem municipal garbage dump, near the village of Abu Dis, or a site in the vicinity of a sewage plant close to the city of Jericho.

    “After nearly a decade of trying to fight the injustice of this demolition, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar now approach the devastating day when they will see their home of generations torn down before their eyes,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 29, 2018

    Following the sentencing today of an Egyptian woman human rights defender, Amal Fathy, who has already spent 141 days in prison after being arbitrarily arrested for posting a Facebook video decrying sexual harassment and criticizing the Egyptian authorities for failing to protect women, to a two years suspended prison sentence with a bail of 20,000 EGP (1,120 USD) and a fine of 10,000 EGP (560 USD),  Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said:

    “Amal Fathy is now facing a disgraceful sentence simply for her courage to speak out against sexual harassment. This is an outrageous case of injustice, where the survivor is sentenced while the abuser remains at large. She is a human rights defender and sexual harassment survivor, who told her truth to the world and highlighted the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt. She is not a criminal and should not be punished for her bravery.

    September 28, 2018

    In light of the situation facing human rights defenders and journalists in Honduras, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “In recent weeks, several journalists and representatives of both international and Honduran human rights organizations have reported to Amnesty International the circulation of videos and statements on the internet discrediting them and stigmatizing their work, portraying them as threats to Honduran society.”

    “These sinister campaigns along with the silence of the Honduran authorities lead to a hostile environment for the defence of human rights and freedom of expression and allow more serious attacks against defenders and journalists to take place.”

    “Corporate sector representatives have also made stigmatizing statements about those who protest against energy projects, portraying environmental defenders as criminals and as opposed to development”.

    September 28, 2018

    Responding to the United Nations Human Rights Council vote to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), which has been investigating violations and abuses of international law committed by all sides in Yemen, Amnesty International’s Senior Advocate Kevin Whelan said:

    “Today’s vote sends a clear signal to all perpetrators of crimes under international law in Yemen that impunity is not an option. All parties to the conflict – including the Saudi and UAE-led coalition, the Yemeni government and the Huthi de facto authorities – must fully cooperate with the UN investigation team and help facilitate their work.

    “This renewal also sends a timely message of support to the Yemeni civilian population, today reeling perhaps more than ever before from the impact of these violations even as they brace themselves for new rounds of violence.”

    Background

    September 28, 2018

    Responding to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that his “only sin is extrajudicial killings” made during a speech at the presidential palace, later dismissed as “playful” by his spokesperson, Minar Pimple, Senior Director for Global Operations at Amnesty International, said:

    “This apparent admission by the President himself highlights the urgent need for international investigations into the thousands of killings and other human rights violations committed in the name of the government’s ‘war on drugs’, which has claimed the lives of thousands of mostly poor and marginalized people.

    “Duterte’s statement should be of interest to the ICC as it looks into complaints of crimes against humanity filed against him. Victims’ families and several groups, including Amnesty International, have found strong evidence supporting the call for an international probe. This ‘playful’ comment is a grotesque cruelty at best, and a damning indictment of his government’s murderous campaign at worst. This is no time to be ‘playful’: the killings have to stop.

    September 28, 2018

    Amnesty International considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities may be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

    September 28, 2018

    A new investigation by Amnesty International has revealed a shocking pattern of medical negligence in Bahrain’s prison system, where individuals with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis and sickle-cell anaemia are being denied specialist care and pain medication.

    The organization spoke to family members of 11 prisoners, held in various detention facilities around the country, and received credible reports of a health care system marred by negligence, delays and arbitrary exercise of authority.

    “The reports we heard from prisoners’ relatives paint a stark picture of medical negligence and intentional ill-treatment in Bahrain’s prisons. Although medical treatment is provided, it is far from adequate, and prisoners are frequently subjected to disruptions, delays and needless, petty cruelty,” said Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s GCC researcher.

    September 28, 2018

    Spokespeople available

    From tackling gender-based violence to promoting equality, children and young people from Peru will be taking action and calling for change at a high-level meeting focusing on child human right defenders in Geneva, Switzerland.

    As champions of youth rights, Yilda, 24, and Luis, 16, will be attending a general discussion for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on behalf of Amnesty International Peru.

    Yilda, 24, from Peru, has witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of gender-based violence. She was stalked and harassed by her ex-boyfriend for months and, despite speaking out, was ignored by authorities. Yet, she is still determined to make her voice heard.

    “I work on these issues because it’s empowering, and it helps me heal. I’ve met so many other girls who have experienced the same issues as me and I want to make sure they are supported and heard,” said Yilda. “There are many of us who want to see a change in our community. We deserve to have our voices heard and respected.”

    September 28, 2018

    Responding to a statement by Addis Ababa’s police commissioner Major General Degefe Bede that nearly 3,000 youths were arrested in the capital Addis Ababa over the weekend, and that 174 would be charged and 1,200 others would be detained at the Tolay Military Camp for a “rehabilitation education”, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “While the Ethiopian authorities have in recent months made a commendable attempt to empty the country’s prisons of arbitrary detainees, they must not fill them up again by arbitrarily arresting and detaining more people without charge. The government must renew its commitment to a new era of respecting and upholding human rights.

    “The majority of people were arrested for perceived offences which are not recognised criminal offences under international law, such as smoking shisha or consuming khat. They must be either charged with a recognizable criminal offence or released. Those arrested for taking part in protests on the recent ethnic clashes must all be released immediately and unconditionally.

    September 28, 2018

    A new investigation by Amnesty International has exposed how an engineering company involved in building 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure took advantage of Qatar’s notorious sponsorship system to exploit scores of migrant workers. The company, Mercury MENA, failed to pay its workers thousands of dollars in wages and work benefits, leaving them stranded and penniless in Qatar.

    The organization is calling for the Qatari government to ensure former employees of Mercury MENA receive the money they earned, and to fundamentally reform the “kafala” sponsorship system that has allowed numerous companies to exploit migrant workers, as documented by Amnesty International and others since 2013.

    September 27, 2018

    Today, 27 September, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution to address the unprecedented human rights crisis unfolding in Venezuela. Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, welcomed the resolution:

    “Venezuela is seeing one of the worst human rights crises the Americas has seen in decades. Millions of people are fleeing a country were violations to the rights of food, health, life and many other basic human rights are being perpetrated by state agents daily, with no hope for justice, truth and reparation for victims.”

    “In light of the gravity of the human rights situation in Venezuela and the lack of options for justice in the country, the recent decision by the Human Rights Council to address this dramatic situation and support the victims could not be more timely or necessary. Seeing a significant majority of Latin America and the Caribbean States supporting this resolution is also encouraging.”

    September 27, 2018

    Responding to the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution on Myanmar in Geneva today, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said:

    “Today’s resolution is an important step forward in the fight for accountability in Myanmar, making the prospect of justice possible for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities who have suffered atrocities at the hands of the country’s security forces.

    “While the UN Security Council remains bogged down by politics, the Human Rights Council has stepped up to the challenge with this serious and constructive approach to pave the way for justice. It sends a clear message of solidarity to the victims and survivors, as well as a stark warning to Myanmar’s military that their crimes will be punished.”
    China’s attempt to block the resolution was stopped – with 35 states voting to adopt, three voting against and seven abstaining.

    September 27, 2018

    Guinean and International Organizations Call for Trial to Take Place Without Delay

    No one has yet been tried for Guinea’s stadium massacre of September 28, in which at least 156 opposition supporters were killed and more than a hundred women were raped, five human rights organizations said today. The organizations are the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre (AVIPA), the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

     While the investigation has been completed since the end of 2017, it is imperative that the judges be appointed and a timetable be established. These are the conditions for this emblematic trial to open in 2019 and for the 13 defendants – three of whom have been detained beyond the legal limits – to finally be tried.

    On April 9, 2018, Justice Minister Cheick Sako set up a steering committee tasked with the practical organization of the trial. It should adopt a clear roadmap as soon as possible, in order to move ahead efficiently toward the trial.

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