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    May 01, 2018

    Ahead of the scheduled execution on Thursday of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a 22-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death in January for “taking up arms against the state” after a grossly unfair trial and amid serious torture allegations, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “Ramin Hossein Panahi’s case has been a breathtaking miscarriage of justice from start to finish. After appearing at his trial reportedly bearing torture marks on his body he was convicted in less than an hour.

    “During the investigation period he was denied access to both his lawyer and his family, as well as to any details of the evidence against him. In a complete mockery of the judicial process, intelligence officials also repeatedly pressured him to make a televised ‘confession’ in exchange for the quashing of his death sentence. His refusal to submit to this pressure has seen him languishing in solitary confinement.

    April 30, 2018
    Bulldozing, road construction, mass rubbish dumping and new burial plots used to compromise and destroy mass graves Iranian authorities deliberately eradicating vital forensic evidence that could hamper the rights to truth, justice and reparations At least 4,000-5,000 people secretly buried in mass graves after bloody 1988 massacre

    New evidence including satellite imagery, photo and video analysis show that the Iranian authorities are deliberately destroying suspected or confirmed mass grave sites associated with the 1988 massacre in which thousands of prisoners detained for political reasons were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed, according to a report released by Amnesty International and Justice for Iran today.

    April 27, 2018

    Israel is carrying out a murderous assault against protesting Palestinians, with its armed forces killing and maiming demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to them, Amnesty International revealed today, based on its latest research, as the “Great March of Return” protests continued in the Gaza Strip.

    The Israeli military has killed 35 Palestinians and injured more than 5,500 others – some with what appear to be deliberately inflicted life-changing injuries – during the weekly Friday protests that began on 30 March.

    Amnesty International has renewed its call on governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel following the country’s disproportionate response to mass demonstrations along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.

    April 26, 2018

    An AI USA Press Release

     

    Ahead of the April 30 deadline for the Defense Department to comment on President Trump’s January order to allow the prison at Guantanamo Bay to remain open, Daphne Eviatar, Director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “Each day that this administration keeps the prison at Guantanamo open is an affront to human life. The unlawful detentions of those currently there must not be permitted to continue. No more prisoners should be transferred there, all those cleared for transfer should be transferred out immediately, and those remaining should either have their day in federal court, or be released.

    “The detainees are aging, many are sick and some are suffering from both the mental and physical effects of US torture, after being detained indefinitely for well over a decade, with no clear end in sight.

    "Secretary Mattis may not have the power to eliminate this stain on U.S. history , but he can and must recommend that the shameful practice of indefinite detention at Guantanamo cease.”

     

    April 26, 2018

    Authorities in Peru and Paraguay are using vicious smear campaigns, forced evictions and unfounded criminal charges against land and environmental activists who dare to speak out about human rights issues, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    “Those who bravely stand up to defend their land and the environment are frequently targeted because of their work. These attacks have a devastating impact on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as that of their families and communities,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities in Peru and Paraguay must immediately stop misusing their criminal justice systems to persecute human rights defenders, obstruct their work and scare them into staying silent. Instead of criminalizing people for defending their land and natural resources, both States must take timely and effective measures to protect them.”

    April 26, 2018

    A video in which detained Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng says he would never dismiss his own chosen lawyers was released by his family on Thursday. Filmed prior to his detention, the video contradicts police claims that Yu Wensheng willingly dismissed his lawyers. Responding to the developments, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “The video strongly suggests that Yu Wensheng has been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention to force him to dismiss the lawyers hired by his family. The notion that Yu Wensheng, a human rights lawyer who has been tortured in detention before, would voluntarily dismiss his lawyers beggars belief.

    “The government should immediately grant Yu Wensheng access to lawyers of his or his family’s choosing. Yu Wensheng’s right to receive a fair trial is seriously undermined by the fact that he has been detained for more than three months without access to a lawyer of his choice.”

    Background

    April 25, 2018

    A sustained and escalating crackdown curtailed the vital work of human rights defenders in Turkey and left swathes of society in a state of constant fear, a new report from Amnesty International has revealed.

    The report, Weathering the storm: Defending human rights in Turkey’s climate of fear, reveals how few areas of Turkey’s once vibrant independent civil society have been left untouched by the ongoing state of emergency.  A nationwide crackdown has resulted in mass arrests and dismissals, the hollowing out of the legal system and the silencing of human rights defenders through threats, harassment and imprisonment.

    “Whilst the jailing of journalists and activists may have hit the headlines, the profound impact that Turkey’s crackdown has had on wider society is harder to quantify but it is no less real,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik.

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the sentencing of Hisham Genina, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation in Egypt, to five years in prison on charges of “publishing false information for harming national security”, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim said:

    “The arrest, military trial and outrageous five-year sentence for Hisham Genina is another example of the shameless silencing of anyone who is critical of the Egyptian authorities. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Hisham Genina. His continued imprisonment for his criticism of the recent election process is a reprehensible violation of his right to freedom of expression.

    “It is now becoming clear that the Egyptian authorities’ recent crackdown on freedom of expression shows no sign of abating. The persecution of those who dare to speak up in Egypt is quickly becoming a hallmark of al-Sisi’s new term in office.”

    Background

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “While the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries” is welcome, there is still deep cause for concern.

    “Israel is still conducting what it calls “voluntary” deportations, though in reality there is nothing voluntary about them. Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers agree to them under pressure. Israel remains under the obligation not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations, or where they would not be protected against such transfer.

    “Amnesty International will keep monitoring Israel’s deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers closely.”

     

    +++++++

    April 24, 2018

    At least 2,000 Afghans who fled to Turkey to escape conflict and the worst excesses of the Taliban are in detention and at imminent risk of being forced back to danger, Amnesty International said today. The Turkish authorities appear to be ramping up a deportation spree that has seen 7,100 Afghans rounded up and returned to Afghanistan since early April.

    The Turkish authorities told Amnesty International that all these returns are voluntary, and that the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has periodic access to places of detention. However, in telephone interviews with detainees in the Düziçi container camp in southern Turkey, where at least 2,000 Afghans are believed to be held, Amnesty International heard how detainees have been pressured to sign documents written in Turkish, which they are unable to understand.

    April 24, 2018

    Malagasy authorities must ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of two demonstrators in Antananarivo and perpetrators must be brought to book, Amnesty International said today. The investigation’s report should be made public. Members of the security forces present at the scene and suspected to be responsible should be suspended pending the investigation and if there is relevant admissible evidence, brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards of fairness. Victims and relatives must be provided with access to effective remedies and adequate reparations, including compensation.

    Malagasy security forces opened fire on protesters on 21 April 2018, causing the deaths of two people. The protesters were demonstrating against the new electoral laws which were voted early April, ahead of the elections planed for the end of the year, as they believe they favour the party in power and could block out their candidates from running in the upcoming presidential elections.

    April 23, 2018

    Trinidad and Tobago must guarantee and protect the rights of all asylum seekers and refugees, said Amnesty International in an open letter to Prime Minister Keith Rowley today, following the deportation of 82 people from Venezuela on 21 April.

    “Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing an unprecedented human crisis in their country. They need a life jacket, not to be sent back to a country where they may face torture or other grave human rights violations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that the group included registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status.

    Mass deportations are prohibited under international law, as is the violation of the principles of non-penalization, non-refoulement, and confidentiality, and the rights to due process and judicial protection.

    April 23, 2018

     

    As the UN’s expert on violence against women prepares to deliver preliminary conclusions from a 12-day official visit to Canada, a coalition of legal experts, Indigenous peoples’ organizations and women's human rights organizations are warning that continued government failure to address the systemic bias in Canada’s justice system, and the profound social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, is fuelling the crisis of murders and disappearances.

    April 23, 2018

    El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly must seize the historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion before the current legislative cycle closes at the end of April, said Amnesty International today.

    “Having wasted several opportunities to decriminalize abortion in recent weeks, El Salvador’s lawmakers must act now to pass this landmark reform, which would save the lives of countless women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The horrendous total ban on abortion violates the right to life, health and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, impacting half of the country’s population. Failure to end this injustice would be a devastating step backwards for human rights in El Salvador.”

    El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is currently banned under all circumstances. At least 23 women remain in prison for pregnancy-related complications in the context of the total abortion ban.

    April 23, 2018

    Responding to the passing of an asylum and immigration bill that will tighten asylum rules, Cécile Coudriou, President of Amnesty International France, declares:

    “This bill, and the discussions around its text, fails to address the difficulties faced by migrants and asylum seekers in France and the need to fully respect their rights. Those drafting this bill missed numerous opportunities including putting an end to the detention of children and providing dignified protection for those fleeing war or persecution.

    “The majority of parliamentarians were aware that the ‘offence of solidarity’ could be wrongfully used to prosecute people providing voluntary assistance to asylum seekers. Yet the final draft of the bill remains unaligned with international law.

    “The new list of immunities and the conditions for not being prosecuted leaves the sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of activists, citizens and organizations that act to protect human rights.

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