Amnesty International today said it was deeply worried about the safety of victims of and witnesses to a shooting at a military blockade that took place in Tegucigalpa last night. The organization called on the Human Rights Prosecutor to urgently investigate the incident.
Amnesty International has learned that the de facto authorities in Honduras have stock piled 10,000 tear gas cans and other crowd control equipment, triggering fears of an increased risk of excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces around the presidential elections.
The Philippine government must urgently ensure that witnesses are protected following the massacre of at least 57 people in Maguindanao province and safeguard vital forensic evidence to ensure those responsible are brought to justice, said Amnesty International.
Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., a member of the powerful Ampatuan family that has dominated local politics in Maguindanao province in the country’s restive Mindanao region, is now under arrest and could face multiple murder charges. He has denied involvement.
“One of the major stumbling blocks to justice for human rights violations in the Philippines has been the intimidation of witnesses, at times accompanied by bribes or other inducements,” said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s deputy Asia-Pacific director.
(Bujumbura) – Burundian authorities should immediately retract an ordinance outlawing the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), an umbrella organization representing 146 Burundian civil society associations, said Amnesty International, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, and Human Rights Watch in a joint statement issued today. The government should also end threats and harassment against civil society activists, the groups said.
The Tunisian authorities must immediately release a well known government critic, journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, Amnesty International said today, and drop trumped up charges that could lead to his being imprisoned for up to five years.
Amnesty International today urged the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Huang Qi, a human rights defender who worked with the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and was sentenced today to three years’ imprisonment.
The Court said the conviction was based on two city level documents found in Huang Qi’s house and found him guilty of “unlawfully holding state secrets”. Several dozen police surrounded the courts this morning, and after negotiation only his wife and mother were allowed to enter. Several local women supporters who requested to enter the court to hear the sentence were beaten and injured. There was only a verbal announcement and no written verdict has given to the family. Huang Qi’s lawyers were not able to come from Beijing to attend due to the short notice. Huang Qi protested immediately and said he will appeal. The judge asked court police taken him away and not allowed him to speak.
Amnesty International condemns the killings of at least 21 civilians, including journalists and members of a politician’s family, in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao, the first reported killings linked to national elections to be held in May 2010.
A group of about 45 people were ambushed and abducted by about 100 armed men, according to reports. The military recovered the bodies of 13 women and eight men—some of them mutilated.