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    January 16, 2017

    Released 00.01 GMT 16 January 2017

    The Nigerian authorities must immediately comply with a High Court order and release the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife from detention, said Amnesty International.

    El-Zakzaky, and his wife Malama Zeenah Ibraheem, have been in detention without charge for more than a year following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian military in which soldiers slaughtered hundreds of men, women and children. The authorities claim he is being held in “protective custody”.

    “The 45 day deadline given for their release expires today. If the government deliberately disregards the orders of its own courts, it will demonstrate a flagrant – and dangerous – contempt for the rule of law,” said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    “El-Zakzaky is being unlawfully detained. This might be part of a wider effort to cover up the gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in December 2015 that left hundreds dead.”

    January 14, 2017

    The most recent wave of arrests of leaders and members of an opposition party point to a systematic pattern of abuses against those who dare to express an opinion contrary to that of the government, Amnesty International said today.

    Between January 11 and 12, MP Gilber Caro, member of the opposition political party Voluntad Popular, along with council members Roniel Farias, Jorge Gonzalez and political activists Stacy Escalona and Irwin Roca, were deprived of liberty after high level authorities who linked these leaders with Lilian Tintori, wife of the prisoner of conscience Leopoldo López, publicly accused them of carrying out "terrorist activities".

    "It looks like the government of President Maduro continues with its witch hunt against anyone who dares to voice an opinion contrary to his policies. The use of absurd conspiratorial arguments to justify irregular detentions demonstrates Venezuela's lack of commitment to the promotion and protection of the basic human rights of all people in the country," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Director of Amnesty International for the Americas.

    January 13, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    The Pardon Snowden campaign delivers signatures to White House; prominent supporters call for President Obama to pardon whistleblower before Jan. 20

    (New York) - Today the Pardon Snowden campaign delivered more than 1 million signatures to President Barack Obama, urging him to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden before he leaves office on January 20. The signatures delivered to the White House, totaling 1,101,252 in number, were collected by the campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Demand Progress and CREDO Action.

    “People from all over the world have come together to show their support for Edward Snowden and thank him for the public service he performed in standing up for their human rights. Edward Snowden is a hero, not a traitor, and that he remains in limbo years after sparking such an important global debate about surveillance and privacy is a gross injustice. He deserves better than a life in exile,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    January 13, 2017

    Released 05:01 GMT/ 00:01 EST Friday 13 January 2017

    Iran should immediately halt the execution of 12 men convicted of drug offences, scheduled for 14 January in Karaj Central Prison, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The human rights organizations expressed concern that, despite repeated government promises, Iran has not made any tangible progress in reducing its alarming execution rate.

    January 12, 2017

    In response to the killing on 10 January 2017 of Madalitso Pensulo, a 19-year-old man with albinism in Mlonda Village under the Sabwe Traditional Authority in Thyolo District, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

    “Malawian authorities must promptly and thoroughly investigate the horrific killing of Madalitso Pensulo, and take immediate steps to address the poor policing and failures in the criminal justice system which have led to a climate of impunity for crimes against people with albinism.

    “Police and other law enforcement officials should step up their efforts and promptly bring the suspected perpetrator, who is known by the Mlonda Village community, before a competent court of law in a fair trial. The message must be sent that attacks on people with albinism will not be tolerated.

    January 11, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    In response to the announcement that Dylann Roof was sentenced to death after being convicted in the killing of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA issued the following statement:

    “We have seen over the course of Dylann Roof’s trial and sentencing the horrific suffering he inflicted and the disgusting racial animus that motivated his actions. However, sentencing him to death is not justice. The death penalty is an ineffective punishment that strips all individuals of their human rights, and has itself embodied racism in the criminal justice system. It will not heal the deep racial wounds that continue to wreak violence in our nation.”

    For more than two decades, death sentences and executions have steadily declined in the United States because the punishment is costly, ineffective, and unjust. 2015 saw the fewest executions of any year since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976. Today’s sentence is a step in the wrong direction, away from human rights and true justice.

    January 11, 2017

    Released 11 January 2017 00.01 GMT

    Individuals suspected of committing war crimes including killing and rape during the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) are evading investigation and arrest, and in some cases live side by side with their victims, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    The organization is calling for major investment to rebuild the country’s justice system and establish the Special Criminal Court (SCC) to help bring perpetrators to account.

    “Thousands of victims of human rights abuses across CAR are still waiting for justice to be served, while individuals who have committed horrific crimes like murder and rape roam free. This is impunity on a staggering scale, and it is undermining efforts to rebuild CAR and create a sustainable peace,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher. 

    January 10, 2017

    Released 22 December 2016, 18:00 UTC

    On 21 December, officers from the National Police force forced their way into the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar and Achuar Centres facilities in Morona Santiago and arrested their leader Agustín Wachapá.

    His arrest comes in addition to a series of acts of violence, harassment and pressure from the state authorities towards members of the Shuar Indigenous Peoples’ community due to their opposition to a copper mining project in Morona Santiago.

    Along with the arrest of the defender Agustín Wachapá, on 20 December the Ministry of the Interior filed a complaint against the local organization Ecological Action Corporation (Corporación Acción Ecológica) accusing them of acts of violence after they published information on their social networks about the possible environmental impacts which mining activities in the zone would have and also highlighting the possible human rights violations which the project would involve.

    January 10, 2017

    Saudi Arabia’s authorities have begun the year with an intensified crackdown against human rights activists dealing another heavy blow to the last vestiges of the country’s embattled civil society, said Amnesty International.

    A string of activists have been detained or appeared in court in recent weeks in connection with their peaceful human rights work signalling that the authorities plan to continue with their ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent. Among those affected is an activist who faced charges for providing information to Amnesty International.

    “The latest string of arrests has sparked fears that 2017 will be yet another dark year for human rights in Saudi Arabia, as the authorities continue with their attempts to crush any semblance of a human rights movement in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional office. 

    January 07, 2017

    Released 8 January 2017 00.01GMT

    One thousand days after the chilling abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, the Nigerian government must redouble its efforts to ensure the release of the girls, and all other victims of mass abduction, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on Boko Haram to put an end to the girls’ suffering and immediately release them and all other civilians they are currently holding.

    “This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals – many of whom are also children – who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country. These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop,” said Makmid Kamara, Acting Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria. 

    January 05, 2017
    Militias allied to the Iraqi government have access to arms from at least 16 countries Recent arms transfers have fuelled enforced disappearances, abductions, torture, summary killings, and deliberate destruction of civilian property Iraq is the world’s sixth-largest importer of heavy weaponry

    Paramilitary militias nominally operating as part of the Iraqi armed forces in the fight against the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) are using arms from Iraqi military stockpiles, provided by the USA, Europe, Russia and Iran, to commit war crimes, revenge attacks and other atrocities said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    Field research and detailed expert analysis of photographic and video evidence since June 2014 has found that these paramilitary militias have benefited from transfers of arms manufactured in at least 16 countries, which include tanks and artillery as well as a wide range of small arms.

    January 04, 2017

    The conviction of an Israeli soldier who shot dead a Palestinian man involved in a knife attack in Hebron as he lay wounded on the ground offers a small glimmer of hope amid the rampant impunity for unlawful killings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International today.

    The soldier, Elor Azaria, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, one of two Palestinians believed to have been involved in the stabbing of an Israeli soldier on 24 March 2016 in Hebron, after a military court ruled that his actions violated the Israeli army’s rules of engagement.

    “Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    January 04, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must immediately transfer Arash Sadeghi, an imprisoned human rights defender who ended his 71-day hunger strike yesterday, to hospital so that he can receive the urgent specialized medical care he requires, Amnesty International said today.

    Arash Sadeghi went on hunger strike in October 2016 in protest at the imprisonment of his wife, the writer and human rights defender Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who was jailed for writing a fictional story about stoning. After a global outcry, she was eventually released on temporary prison leave yesterday.

    Arash Sadeghi was due to be transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to a hospital last night. However, reliably informed sources told Amnesty International that the prison authorities have refused to transfer him.

    January 03, 2017

    The armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for Monday’s bombings, that targeted civilians in the predominantly Shi’a neighborhood of Sadr city, Baghdad. In response, Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.said:

    “The systematic targeting of civilians in busy neighborhoods during day time, shows the Islamic State’s appalling disregard for human life and an intent to harm and terrorize a civilian population. By claiming responsibility for these horrific attacks, the Islamic State is boasting of committing war crimes.

    “Such deliberate attacks on civilians can never be justified and constitute a clear violation of international humanitarian law. They must be stopped immediately and those behind the attacks must be brought to justice.”

    According to media reports, the multiple bombings left at least 35 people dead and more than sixty injured, with one targeting a busy market in the heart of Sadr city, another targeting the nearby car park of Al-Kindi hospital and the third exploding near the Jawader hospital.

    December 23, 2016

    Following the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of a resolution calling on Israel to cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York, said:

    “At the close of a shameful year for the Security Council, where divisions repeatedly blocked the adoption of key resolutions to protect the most vulnerable, today’s decision to finally pass a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements is a welcome step.

    “This is the first time in almost four decades that such a resolution has been passed. During this time, settlements not only continued to be built, but at an accelerated pace.

    “The resolution includes a crucial demand that the Israeli authorities immediately halt all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such activities constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, constitute a war crime.

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