http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/all/rss en Saudi Arabia: Scheduled beheading reflects authorities’ callous disregard to human rights http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-scheduled-beheading-reflects-authorities-callous-disregard-human-rights-2014-08-22 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia: Scheduled beheading reflects authorities’ callous disregard to human rights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">22 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The current surge in executions in Saudi Arabia is continuing unabated with another beheading scheduled for Monday 25 August, said Amnesty International today.</p><p>The planned beheading of Hajras al-Qurey will be the 23rd execution in the last three weeks -- although more could take place on Saturday and Sunday. Earlier this week the organisation called on the Kingdom to halt all executions after four members of the same family were beheaded for “receiving drugs”.</p><p>“The execution of people accused of petty crimes and on the basis of ‘confessions’ extracted through torture has become shamefully common in Saudi Arabia. It is absolutely shocking to witness the Kingdom’s authorities callous disregard to fundamental human rights,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</p><p>“The use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia is so far removed from any kind of legal parameters that it is almost hard to believe.”</p><p>Hajras al-Qurey, 53, was sentenced to death on 16 January 2013 in the south-eastern city of Najran on drug-trafficking charges. He was arrested, together with his son Muhammad, on 7 January 2012 at the al-Khadra border crossing with Yemen, when customs officers suspected they were carrying drugs in their car. Muhammad was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.</p><p>Both men claim they were tortured during their interrogation and were denied access to legal representation until their trial. Hajras al-Qurey’s lawyer complained that the only evidence used by the prosecution to sentence his client was the coerced ‘confessions’, but the court dismissed his complaint.</p><p>“That people are tortured into confessing to crimes, convicted in shameful trials without adequate legal support and then executed is a sickening indictment of the Kingdom’s state-sanctioned brutality,” said Said Boumedouha.</p><p>There has been a surge in executions in Saudi Arabia since the end of Ramadan on 28 July, with 22 executions between 4 August and 22 August, compared to 17 announced executions between January and July 2014.</p><p>On Monday 19 August, four men – two sets of brothers Hadi bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq and Awad bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq along with Mufrih bin Jaber Zayd al-Yami and Ali bin Jaber Zayd al-Yami – were beheaded.</p><p>They were reportedly tortured during interrogation, including with beatings and sleep deprivation, in order to extract false confessions. They were sentenced to death largely on the basis of these ‘confessions’.</p><p>Their families were told to stop appealing to human rights organizations to save their children from execution.</p><p>“It is clear that the authorities are more interested in threatening victims’ families to shut them up rather than putting an end to this grotesque phenomenon.”</p><p>Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.</p><p><strong>The Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia in 10 Shocking Facts</strong></p><ul><li>More than 2,000 people were executed in Saudi Arabia between 1985 and 2013.&nbsp;</li><li>At least 22 people were put to death between 4 and 22 August 2014 alone – more than one every day.&nbsp;</li><li>The death penalty in Saudi Arabia is used in violation of international human rights law and standards. Trials in capital cases are often held in secret and defendants rarely have access to lawyers.&nbsp;</li><li>People may be convicted solely on the basis of “confessions” obtained under torture, other ill-treatment or deception.&nbsp;</li><li>Non-lethal crimes including “adultery”, armed robbery, “apostasy”, drug-related offences, rape, “witchcraft” and “sorcery” are punishable by death.&nbsp;</li><li>Three people under 18 were executed in 2013, and so far in 2014 one has been sentenced to death, in blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.&nbsp;</li><li>In some cases, the relatives of those on death row are not notified of the executions in advance.</li><li>Foreign nationals represent a disproportionate number of those executed, largely because of inadequate legal representation and translation support. Almost half of the 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2013 were foreign nationals.</li><li>People with mental disabilities are not spared the death sentence.&nbsp;</li><li>Most executions are by beheading. Many take place in public. In some cases, decapitated bodies are left hanging in public squares as a “deterrent”.&nbsp;</li></ul><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The current surge in executions in Saudi Arabia is continuing unabated with another beheading scheduled for Monday 25 August, said Amnesty International today.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198653_Hajras_al-Qurey_.jpg?1408719281" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48969">Saudi Arabia</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> SaudiArabia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Saudi Arabia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="23.730041">23° 43' 48.1476" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="43.417969">43° 25' 4.6884" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia is so far removed from any kind of legal parameters that it is almost hard to believe.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-four-family-members-executed-hashish-possession-amid-disturbing-surge-executions-2">Saudi Arabia: Four relatives executed for hashish possession amid &#039;disturbing&#039; surge in executions</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News Story, 18 August 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/020/2014/en">Saudi Arabia: further informtation: Hajras al-Qurey days away from execution</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Urgent Action, 21 August 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Saudi Arabia Torture And Ill-treatment Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:47:45 +0000 Amnesty International 48970 at http://www.amnesty.org Gaza: Hamas must end summary executions as ‘informers’ face firing squad http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/hamas-must-end-summary-executions-informers-face-firing-squad-2014-08-22 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Gaza: Hamas must end summary executions as ‘informers’ face firing squad </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">22 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hamas must halt its campaign of summary executions of suspected collaborators, Amnesty International today said after at least 18 more Palestinians were put to death by firing squad for allegedly providing information to Israel.<br /><br />It brings the number of alleged informants executed in the past two days to 21, including several people arrested yesterday in relation to the killing of three senior Hamas commanders by Israeli forces.<br /><br />“This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.<br /><br />“Hamas must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty.”<br /><br />At least 11 people, including two women, were executed by firing squad today in al-Katiba prison yard in the west of Gaza City.<br /><br />Seven others were executed after Friday prayers outside the main mosque in Gaza City.<br /><br />A piece of paper nailed to the wall of the mosque said they provided the enemy with information about tunnels, houses and locations where rockets were held, which were then bombed causing the death of many Hamas fighters.<br /><br />“As a result the judgment of the revolutionary court was implemented,” the note read.<br /><br />The identities of those executed is not yet known as the victims had their heads covered. Their executioners in the firing squad were also masked.<br /><br />The Hamas-run website Al Rai warned that "the same punishment will be imposed soon on others". Treason is a capital offence under Palestinian law.<br /><br />Under Palestinian law, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, but the Hamas administration carries out executions without obtaining the president's approval.<br /><br />“To put people to death following summary and grossly unfair proceedings is clearly cruel and inhumane. Hamas must also remember that the right to a fair trial before a competent court remains in force during times of armed conflict,” said Anne FitzGerald.<br /><br />Israel killed three Hamas military commanders in an airstrike on a house in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, an attack which also left seven of the men’s family members and neighbours dead.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>At least 18 more Palestinians are put to death by firing squad for allegedly providing information to Israel.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198635_Three_top_Hamas_commanders_dead_in_Israeli_airstrikes (1)_0.jpg?1408725171" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48968">hamas</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Gaza </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.954493">31° 57' 16.1748" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="35.244141">35° 14' 38.9076" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Palestinian Authority Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:32:57 +0000 Amnesty International 48972 at http://www.amnesty.org ‘Public execution’ in football stadium shows Libya’s descent into lawlessness http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/public-execution-football-stadium-shows-libya-s-descent-lawlessness-2014-08-21 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> ‘Public execution’ in football stadium shows Libya’s descent into lawlessness </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">22 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country from descending into violence and lawlessness, Amnesty International said today. <br /><br />An amateur video published on social media sites shows the purported execution of an Egyptian man apparently organized by an armed group called the Shura Council of Islamic Youth in the eastern city of Derna.<br /><br />“This unlawful killing realizes the greatest fears of ordinary Libyans, who in parts of the country find themselves caught between ruthless armed groups and a failed state,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.<br /><br />“Such acts can only lead to further human rights abuses in Derna, where residents have no recourse to state institutions and therefore no means to seek justice or effective protection from abuses. <br /><br />“The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.”<br /><br />The video posted online shows the Egyptian victim, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, being brought blindfolded into the football ground in a pick-up truck. Masked men armed with rifles then force him to kneel on a stretcher.<br /><br />A statement read out prior to the killing accuses him of stabbing to death a Libyan man, Khalid al-Dirsi. It is stated that he admitted to murder and theft during interrogation by the Legitimate Committee for Dispute Resolution, a body apparently operating under the authority of the Shura Council of Islamic Youth.<br /><br />It is stated that the Committee ruled he is to be “executed” unless pardoned by the family of the victim. It appears from the video that the family refuses to grant pardon.<br /><br />An unmasked man wearing plain clothes, believed to be the brother of Khalid al-Dirsi, is then given a handgun. He is seen shooting Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed from behind, possibly in the head or neck. <br /><br />Amnesty International has also reviewed photographs of the incident posted on social media that show a large crowd of people watching the killing from the stadium’s benches.<br /><br />Amnesty International has confirmed with sources in Derna that the killing did take place on 19 August on the outskirts of the city. <br /><br />“This was an unlawful act of brutal revenge, not justice,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.<br /><br />“The Libyan authorities must do everything in their power to restore state institutions and the rule of law in Derna and elsewhere in the country.”<br /><br />The state has failed to assert its control of Derna since the end of Libya’s 2011 conflict. <br /><br />There has been no police or army presence since then, while the Derna Court of Appeals has been suspended since June 2013 following the assassination of a senior judge, amid repeated threats to judges by armed groups. <br /><br />Members of the judiciary have refused to report to work unless the state provides the necessary protection and security, which it has continuously failed to do. <br /><br />The security vacuum was exploited by various armed groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which effectively controls the city.<br /><br />Over the past two years security officials, politicians, religious figures and judges have been victims of targeted killings in Derna. These crimes have yet to be fully investigated. <br /><br />Numerous Islamist armed groups operating in the city appear to have taken advantage of the breakdown of the rule of law to assert their control in an apparent attempt to enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law (shari’a).<br /><br />Execution-style killings, such as the one depicted in the video, contravene the fundamental principles of humanity enshrined in international humanitarian law. &nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country descending into lawlessness.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198431_libya_execution (1).jpg?1408638018" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48945">Libya</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> libya </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="30.375245">30° 22' 30.882" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="19.775391">19° 46' 31.4076" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Groups Libya Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:23:14 +0000 Amnesty International 48954 at http://www.amnesty.org China: Death row inmate freed after six years of trials and appeals http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/china-death-row-inmate-freed-after-six-years-trials-and-appeals-2014-08-22 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> China: Death row inmate freed after six years of trials and appeals </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">22 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The rare acquittal of a death row prisoner in China, who had languished in prison through six years’ of appeals, is another reminder of the need to immediately end all executions and abolish the death penalty in the country, Amnesty International said.</p><p>Nian Bin, a former food stall owner, walked free today after a Fujian court acquitted him of "placing dangerous materials" due to insufficient evidence after he had lodged three appeals in six years.</p><p>“This rare acquittal is yet another vivid example of why the death penalty should be abolished, and the ever present risk of executing innocent people is just one of many compelling arguments against the death penalty,” said Anu Kultalahti, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.</p><p>“China’s justice system is deeply flawed and more needs to be done to promptly address the failures of this case, including allegations of torture. It’s appalling that Nian Bin and his family have had to suffer through six years with the threat of execution hanging over him despite the obvious lack of evidence in this case.”</p><p>Nian Bin was accused of poisoning his neighbours with rat poison, leading to the death of two children and injuries to four others, in Aoqian village in Pingtan County, Fujian province in July 2006. Nian Bin alleged that he was tortured into admitting the crime during police interrogation.</p><p>Since his first trial in February 2008, Nian Bin has gone through the trial of first instance, three appeals, the Supreme People’s Court’s review and three retrials, which were all ordered due to insufficient evidence.</p><p>In October 2010, the Supreme People’s Court ruled against the death penalty sentence during its review, citing insufficient evidence and ambiguous facts, and ordered a retrial. Despite this, the Fuzhou City Intermediate Court defied the Supreme People’s Court’s ruling and sentenced Nian Bin to death again during the second retrial in November 2011.</p><p>The Fujian Provincial High People’s Court heard the last retrial on 4 July 2013 and applied for extension of the retrial a few times until it delivered its verdict today, freeing Nian Bin.</p><p>“In this case, China’s system of Supreme People’s Court review of all death sentences eventually prevented a miscarriage of justice. But Nian Bin and his family would not have had to endure such a lengthy process of retrials and appeals if the Fuzhou court had seriously considered the higher courts’ repeated rulings that there was insufficient evidence against him,” Kultalahti said.</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>As of today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The use of the death penalty in China, which in 2013 continued to execute more people than the rest of the world put together, is shrouded in secrecy. Figures on the use of the death penalty are not released by the authorities. Death sentences are often imposed after unfair trials, using evidence extracted through torture and for non-lethal crimes, such as drug trafficking and economic offences, against international law and standards.</p><p>Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. Amnesty International calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The rare acquittal of a death row prisoner in China, who had languished in prison through six years’ of appeals, is another reminder of the need to immediately end all executions and abolish the death penalty in the country.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198480_CHINA-POLITICS-CONGRESS-JUSTICE-PRISON.jpg?1408709042" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48962">CHINA</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> China </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="39.918163">39° 55' 5.3868" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="102.304688">102° 18' 16.8768" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This rare acquittal is yet another vivid example of why the death penalty should be abolished, and the ever present risk of executing innocent people is just one of many compelling arguments against the death penalty. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Anu Kultalahti, Amnesty International’s China Researcher. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty China Death Penalty Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:04:49 +0000 Amnesty International 48964 at http://www.amnesty.org Q&A - South Sudan: A nation awash with arms http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/qa-south-sudan-nation-awash-arms-2014-08-21 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Q&amp;A - South Sudan: A nation awash with arms </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">21 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recent fighting in South Sudan’s Unity State between government troops and opposition forces has placed civilians at renewed risk and once again threatened the shaky cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January. Earlier this month members of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation to South Sudan reportedly expressed alarm that the warring parties are still acquiring arms. Here, Amnesty International’s Elizabeth Deng and Geoffrey L. Duke, of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms explain why an arms embargo should be a priority.<br /><br /><strong>Why does there need to be an arms embargo on South Sudan?<br /><br /></strong>South Sudan is awash with weapons and thousands of people have been killed as government and opposition forces commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave human rights violations and abuses. <br /><br />Since fighting began in December 2013, even those seeking refuge in hospitals and places of worship have been killed. One-and-a-half million people have been forced to flee their homes, including over 400,000 who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. <br /><br />Most of the fighting has involved small arms and light weapons, but a wide range of conventional arms and military equipment are in circulation. An arms embargo would help stop the flow of arms to government and opposition forces and play a role in preventing further atrocities.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>Where do these arms come from?<br /><br /></strong>Arms have flowed into South Sudan from many countries. Over the past few years, large shipments of conventional weapons and munitions were imported from Ukraine. Recently, Amnesty International confirmed that in June 2014, Chinese state-owned defence manufacturer NORINCO shipped over 1,000 tonnes of small arms and light weapons worth US$38 million to the Government of South Sudan. The shipment included rocket systems, thousands of automatic rifles and grenade launchers, 20,000 grenades, hundreds of pistols and machine guns, and several million rounds of ammunition.<br /><br />The Small Arms Survey (SAS) has also recently reported that opposition forces may have been receiving ammunition from Sudanese or outside groups since the conflict started. For example the SAS analysed ammunition used in the massacre of approximately 200 people at a mosque in Bentiu, Unity State, and found that some ammunition had markings indicating it was manufactured in Sudan in 2014, after the civil war broke out. <br /><br />Illicit small arms and ammunition trafficking into South Sudan and within the country by unauthorised groups is also a problem as is the diversion of weapons to unauthorised groups. This is compounded by high levels of corruption, mismanagement of official stocks and thefts.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>Doesn’t the government have the right to acquire weapons?<br /><br /></strong>Governments can lawfully sell, acquire and possess arms for law enforcement and national security purposes. But governments also have an obligation to respect international human rights and humanitarian law. We are calling for an arms embargo because the Government of South Sudan’s military has committed serious violations and additional weapons and munitions will likely be used to commit and facilitate further serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The arms embargo should remain until measures are in place to protect civilians from grave human rights abuses.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>Is there international support for an arms embargo?<br /><br /></strong>The United States suspended military assistance to South Sudan soon after the outbreak of violence in December 2013. The European Union has maintained an arms embargo that was first imposed on Sudan in 1994, and was extended to cover South Sudan in 2011. <br /><br />The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union, and the United Nations (UN) Security Council have all threatened sanctions on parties to the conflict should they fail to demonstrate commitment to peace negotiations. Such sanctions could include a comprehensive arms embargo. Any move in the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo, however, would require the support of China, which has been the major arms supplier to South Sudan as well as to Sudan over the past years.<br /><br />In May, the UN Security Council expressed concern at the threat to peace and security in South Sudan arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in South Sudan. In his July 2014 report to the UN Security Council on South Sudan, Secretary General Ban Ki Boon called on the parties to the conflict to “stop all mobilization, arms purchases and political activities aimed at strengthening one side against the other”.<br /><br /><strong>Why are you asking the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to call for an arms embargo?<br /><br /></strong>As the regional body leading the international response to the conflict, IGAD should issue a communiqué declaring an arms embargo on South Sudan by its member states. IGAD should then make a recommendation to the UN Security Council that it adopt a similar resolution declaring a comprehensive and mandatory arms embargo on South Sudan.<br /><br />Support for an arms embargo by IGAD member states, particularly by the countries bordering South Sudan, will be critical to ensuring wider political support for imposing the arms embargo and for its effective implementation. Neighbouring countries are also well placed to effectively monitor and provide information on the risks of and actual cross-border violations of an arms embargo once imposed.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>Do arms embargos work? Would an arms embargo be respected?<br /><br /></strong>Arms embargoes work if they have widespread political support and are well designed and implemented. The success of an arms embargo also depends on its comprehensiveness and the adoption of measures by relevant states for its effective implementation. &nbsp;<br /><br />Effective implementation of the embargo requires genuine commitment and consensus among governments of the region and key states within the international community, including China, which has supplied significant quantities of weapons to South Sudan this year. <br /><br />Effective implementation also requires specific measures to overcome particular challenges such as South Sudan’s long and porous borders. South Sudan is surrounded by six countries—Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These borders would provide both the government of South Sudan and opposition forces with a range of options for circumventing an arms embargo. <br /><br />South Sudan’s longest, particularly porous and difficult to secure border is with Sudan, a weapons manufacturer, known supplier of weapons to South Sudan and home to numerous armed groups and militias. <br /><br />It is also important to remember that arms embargoes usually take time to have an impact on the ground. South Sudan is already awash with arms and ammunition, probably enough to sustain the conflict for some time.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>South Sudan is awash with weapons and thousands of people have been killed as government and opposition forces commit grave human rights violations and abuses.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197384_South_Sudan_conflict_-_small_arms_proliferation (1)_0.jpg?1408639700" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48949">ssudan</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> sudan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="12.388294">12° 23' 17.8584" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="28.828125">28° 49' 41.25" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR65/010/2014/en">Question &amp; Answer: The call for an arms embargo against South Sudan</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Document, 21 August 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Military, Security And Police Equipment Arms control and human rights Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:52:38 +0000 Amnesty International 48951 at http://www.amnesty.org Mali: Children paying a high price in ongoing conflict http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/mali-children-still-paying-high-price-ongoing-conflict-2014-08-21 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mali: Children paying a high price in ongoing conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">21 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue, said Amnesty International in a short briefing published today.</p><p><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR37/001/2014/en%20"><em>Mali: All parties to the conflict must put an end to ongoing human rights violations</em></a> presents the findings of a research mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.</p><p>“Children have suffered throughout this conflict. A number of them as young as 16 have been recruited as child soldiers and those accused of being members of armed groups are being detained alongside adults without access to family or legal counsel,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.</p><p>The briefing highlights new cases of children arrested and accused of being members of armed groups and of the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition between mid-2013 and 2014. They are currently being held in detention alongside adults, in breach of Mali’s international human rights obligations as well as the memorandum of understanding between the Malian government and the United Nations.</p><p>Since the beginning of the conflict in January 2012, dozens of children have been recruited to fight by both pro-government militias and armed opposition groups. A number of children suspected of belonging to armed groups have been arrested by the Malian authorities and are now being held in detention in both the Bamako civil prison and the Bamako gendarmerie Camp I. They receive no access to lawyers in detention or family visits, due in part to the fact that they are being detained far from home.</p><p>The briefing, which brings together the findings of an Amnesty International research mission to Mali in June 2014 also uncovered evidence of deaths in custody and continuing violence perpetrated against civilians by armed groups.</p><p>Amnesty International investigated the May 2014 clashes in Kidal in the north of Mali, documenting the ongoing insecurity and continued targeting of civilians by armed opposition groups. They include the Azawad National Liberation Movement (Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad, MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (Haut conseil pour l'unité de l'Azawad, HCUA) and the Arab Movement of the Azawad (Mouvement arabe de l'Azawad, MAA).</p><p>The town has remained under the effective control of armed opposition groups since the conflict broke out. The government administration has not yet resumed and schools remain closed, while judicial bodies are not functioning.</p><p>Amnesty International’s delegation confirmed from multiple sources, including several eyewitnesses, the wilful killings committed by members of armed groups at the Governor’s office in Kidal where members of armed groups entered on 17 May and deliberately killed eight civilians, including six government officials.</p><p>Amnesty International is calling for prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of crimes under international law and for the suspected perpetrators to be brought to justice in fair trials.</p><p>“It is time for the Malian authorities to put an end to persistent human rights violations. Armed opposition groups controlling the north of the country should immediately stop abductions and wilful killings of civilians as well as hostage taking,” said Gaetan Mootoo.</p><p>“Children currently held in adult prisons must be transferred to government agencies or to organizations that will guarantee them the special protections required by international law.”</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198419_MALI-CONFLICT-POLITICS-VOTE.jpg?1408552981" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48927">Mali</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-ai-index-number"> <div class="field-label">Amnesty International Index Number:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> AFR37/001/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mali </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Mali</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="18.838714">18° 50' 19.3704" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-7.031250">7° 1' 52.5" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Children have suffered throughout this conflict. A number of them as young as 16 have been recruited as child soldiers and those accused of being members of armed groups are being detained alongside adults without access to family or legal counsel. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR37/001/2014/en">Mali: All parties to the conflict must put an end to ongoing human rights violations</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the Report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Children Mali Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:46:11 +0000 Amnesty International 48928 at http://www.amnesty.org Exploited in the southern sun http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/exploited-southern-sun-2014-08-21 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Exploited in the southern sun </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">21 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This feature was originally published in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/20/exploited_southern_sun_migrants_italy_union">Foreign Policy</a>.</em></p><p>FOGGIA, Italy — Clustered around abandoned farmhouses outside Foggia, deep in the rural heel of Italy, a campsite of wood and cardboard shanties has become home to more than 1,000 people. Despite the destitution, there's a cheery atmosphere here this summer evening. Afrobeat music booms through the air. An elderly man chops hunks of meat and fires up a grill, filling the air with the smell of spices and smoke.</p><p>The day's heat is still overwhelming, and many of the migrants living in the camp, Africans who work as field hands nearby, are coated in a dry dust. A number of them stop at the entrance to the defunct farm where their makeshift home is staged. They wash using its still-functioning irrigation system, which spews a dubious concoction of chemicals and water. Afterward, some of them cluster around a stall -- a laptop and scanner on a plastic table under the shade of an umbrella -- set up by local trade unionists.</p><p>The Ghetto di Foggia, as the campsite is called, is 15 miles from the nearest town. It has two bars, a restaurant, and even a discothèque, all fashioned out of wood and cardboard. Those amenities do little to soften the squalor, however: The camp's residents live in the shadow of an accumulating rubbish dump, and overflowing portable toilets provide a constant stench.</p><p>Most of those living here made a perilous journey across the Mediterranean, packed with hundreds of people on boats designed to accommodate no more than a dozen. (Illustrating the trip's dangers, earlier this summer, 45 people fleeing North Africa suffocated to death after being crushed in the hold of a fishing boat.)</p><p>The union is here to help people register for jobs, but many in this collection of refugees and migrants are without documents or have had their asylum applications rejected, so they can't work legally.</p><p>To survive, they work under the table, often for criminally low wages.Their employment is facilitated by a feared network of intermediaries, known as the Caporali, or "corporals."</p><p>Seydou, from West Africa, is one of those who could not convince the Italian asylum board he was really in danger back in his home country. He says he just spent 14 hours picking zucchini in temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit and that he was paid 15 euros for his trouble -- far below the 50 euro minimum daily wage, set by the government, for agriculture in Foggia. Local unions say that there are thousands of others like Seydou who work excessive hours for a pittance.</p><p>Seydou is at the bottom of the Italian food-production chain. His bosses -- the Caporali -- act as gang masters. Many of them are migrants themselves, but over the years since their arrival in Italy, they have established contacts among landowners and law enforcement and have managed to purchase vehicles. They charge other, recent migrants for transport to the fields where they work and take a sizable cut of Seydou's and others' pitifully low wages.</p><p>Migrants kowtow to the Caporali for fear of having their income cut off. "The Caporali are the kings of slaves," says Daniele Calamita, secretary-general of Foggia's agricultural union. "They control everything. They don't have to resort to violence when they dominate them [migrants] psychologically."</p><p>Calamita is an earnest socialist; he even has Che Guevara's face tattooed on his shoulder. The Caporali and unscrupulous employers, he explains, undermine labor laws that unions have worked hard to have the government put in place. "Often there is no contract, but if [the Caporali] need to show a contract, it will always show far lower than the real number of hours worked," Calamita says.</p><p>The union has been fighting an uphill struggle to ensure that migrants are paid fair wages and are able to live in decent conditions. They help with residence permits, lobbying the Italian authorities, and registering migrants on official government lists from which employers can select workers (that's why the stall is in the camp). But so far, Italian agriculture's voracious appetite for cheap labor has prevailed. Local media have reported that, as of Aug. 13, not a single worker had been selected from more than 1,000 registered on the Foggia list since the start of July. Employers balk at the prospect of paying taxes and social security if they take the legal route.</p><p>Whenever people -- especially migrants -- are desperate to work, employers and intermediaries are more than willing to take them on for far less than the mandatory minimum wage. And with millions of hectares of land to police, Italy's rural industries are among the hardest to regulate. Forbes reports that as much as 17 percent of Italy's GDP is accounted for by underground transactions, which are most common in the agricultural sector.</p><p>The Italian government has yet to make a concerted effort to eradicate the Caporali system. "The Caporali have existed in the agriculture industry for centuries," says Calamita.</p><p>"This might look like a migrant problem, but it is very much an Italian one."</p><p>UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, currently counts some 92,000 refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless persons in Italy. With thousands more streaming to Europe's southern shores as they flee conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, this "Italian problem" could become a full-blown crisis if left unchecked.</p><p>As the heat of the day finally begins to break, the workers drift away from the stall. Without government intervention -- cracking down on those profiting from the corrupt system and incentivizing employers to take workers from the official list -- the residents of Ghetto di Foggia are staying put. Seydou heads back to his shack to get some sleep, winding his way past the portable toilets and through trash strewn across his doorstep. Tomorrow he faces another long, hard day.</p><p>This feature was originally published in <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/20/exploited_southern_sun_migrants_italy_union">Foreign Policy</a>.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>After fleeing their homes and surviving a perilous Mediterranean crossing, African migrants in Italy are falling prey to labor gangs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198422_The_Ghetto_di_Foggia_Italy.jpg?1408616673" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48939">Foggia</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Italy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="43.262206">43° 15' 43.9416" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="12.260742">12° 15' 38.6712" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>To survive, they work under the table, often for criminally low wages.Their employment is facilitated by a feared network of intermediaries, known as the Caporali, or &quot;corporals.&quot;</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Business And Human Rights Italy Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:25:58 +0000 Amnesty International 48940 at http://www.amnesty.org Syria: ‘Beheading’ of US reporter a war crime that highlights ‘chilling’ risk to journalists http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/syria-beheading-us-reporter-war-crime-highlights-chilling-risk-journalists-2014-08-20 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria: ‘Beheading’ of US reporter a war crime that highlights ‘chilling’ risk </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">20 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The apparent execution-style killing by the Islamic State (IS) armed group of a US reporter who went missing in Syria constitutes a war crime and highlights the urgent need for all states with influence in the region to ensure other missing journalists are safely released, Amnesty International said today. &nbsp;<br /><br />A video published online by the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS) purports to show freelance reporter James Foley being beheaded, apparently in retaliation for US airstrikes against the IS in northern Iraq.<br /><br />“This shocking video, if genuine, is devastating for the loved ones of James Foley and chilling for the family, friends and colleagues of those journalists who are still missing in Syria and northern Iraq, feared captured by IS militants,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.<br /><br />“It is a war crime and both those who carried out the killing and those who ordered it must face justice.<br /><br />“It is imperative that all warring countries and others with interests in the region use all diplomatic means possible to ensure that no more journalists – or others carrying out their legitimate work in the area – are killed for doing their job.” <br /><br />In the video, titled ‘A Message to America’, a man identified as US journalist James Foley says he faces death due to the US government airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq.<br /><br />A masked militant identifying himself as an IS member says the US has been “at the forefront of aggression towards the Islamic State", before apparently beheading Foley.<br /><br />The militants also claim to be holding another US journalist, Steven Sotloff, and state that his life depends on US President Barack Obama’s next move.<br /><br />“The implication made in the video that journalists are being targeted in revenge for the US government’s involvement in Iraq is deeply alarming and increases fears that other hostages may be at heightened risk,” said Said Boumedouha.<br /><br />“Journalists, like all civilians, are bystanders in armed conflict and they must be protected from harm rather than singled out for brutal killings.”<br /><br />James Foley, 39, was abducted in Taftanaz in Idlib province, north-western Syria, on 22 November 2012. He had entered Syria many times in the months before his abduction to report on the conflict. <br /><br />His reports were published in various outlets, including the US online news site Global Post and Agence France-Presse (AFP).<br /><br />According to eyewitness accounts relayed to his family, James Foley was travelling in a car on his way to the Turkish border to leave Syria when he was stopped by unknown armed men in an unmarked car. <br /><br />On 21 January 2013, AFP said it delivered a letter to Syria’s Information Minister, Omran al-Zohabi, seeking assistance in finding James Foley. AFP said that the Minister promised to do all that was possible but that “conditions are difficult” in the region where he went missing. <br /><br />Foreign nationals, including journalists, staff of international organizations and religious figures, are among a wide range of individuals targeted by IS for abduction and arbitrary detention. <br /><br />Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of prominent Syrian human rights lawyer Abdullah al-Khalil, a long-term contact of the organization, who is believed to be held by IS after apparently being abducted outside his office in the north-eastern city of al-Raqqa in May 2013.<br /><br />IS forces have also targeted local people suspected of organizing protests and opposition to their rule, including community activists and members of local councils set up to provide services to residents following the withdrawal of Syrian government forces. <br /><br />People suspected of committing ordinary crimes, such as theft or murder, and others accused of committing religiously prohibited acts, such as zina (sex out of wedlock) and alcohol consumption, have likewise been targeted by the group. <br /><br />The IS has committed gross human rights abuses amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity in Sinjar, Mosul and other areas in northwestern Iraq since its advance there in June 2014.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The apparent execution-style killing by the Islamic State (IS) armed group of a US reporter who went missing in Syria constitutes a war crime.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198404_SYRIA-UNREST-KIDNAP-MEDIA-US (1).jpg?1408534966" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48915">foley</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="34.091336">34° 5' 28.8096" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="51.328125">51° 19' 41.25" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The implication made in the video that journalists are being targeted in revenge for the US government’s involvement in Iraq is deeply alarming and increases fears that other hostages may be at heightened risk.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Said Boumedouha </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/fears-safety-human-rights-lawyer-syria-2013-05-21">Fears for safety of human rights lawyer abducted in Syria</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News, 21 May 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Iraq Syria Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:21:54 +0000 Amnesty International 48919 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel: Human rights access to Gaza imperative amid renewed exchange of fire http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israel-human-rights-access-gaza-imperative-amid-renewed-exchange-fire-2014-08-19 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Israel: Human rights access to Gaza imperative amid renewed exchange of fire </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">19 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The resumption of Israeli air strikes and rocket fire from Gaza underscores the imperative need to grant human rights groups immediate access to monitor the situation, said Amnesty International today.<br /><br />Since the beginning of Israel’s military operation on 8 July 2014 in Gaza, Israeli authorities have denied repeated requests by Amnesty International to enter Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing. The organization also requested access from Egyptian authorities, who so far have not granted it.<br /><br />“The apparent resumption of Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire today is another reminder that our access to the Gaza Strip cannot wait. Valuable time has already been lost and it is essential that human rights organizations are now able to begin the vital job of examining allegations of war crimes,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.<br /><br />“The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll in the region has risen.” <br /><br />Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are set to issue a joint statement calling on the Israeli authorities to immediately allow human rights groups access to Gaza.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The resumption of Israeli air strikes and rocket fire from Gaza underscores the imperative need to grant human rights groups immediate access to monitor the situation.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198393_PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-GAZA-CONFLICT (1).jpg?1408466987" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48908">isOPT</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> gaza </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.729335">31° 43' 45.606" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.672852">34° 40' 22.2672" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Anne FitzGerald </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/mde15/024/2014/en">Israel: Provide Rights Groups Access to Gaza</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Public Statement, 20 August 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:59:29 +0000 Amnesty International 48909 at http://www.amnesty.org Nigeria: Destitute victims of forced eviction must be adequately compensated http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-destitute-victims-forced-eviction-must-be-adequately-compensated-2014-08-18 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nigeria: Destitute victims of forced eviction must be adequately compensated </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">19 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The World Bank endorsed the Lagos state government’s inadequate compensation package for thousands of people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement, Amnesty International said in a report published today. <br /><br />The report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR44/017/2014/en"><strong><em>At the mercy of the government</em></strong></a>, finds that the residents of Badia East whose homes were bulldozed on 23 February 2013, were not adequately compensated by the government for their losses and that the World Bank wrongly endorsed a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the Bank's own policy. <br /><br />“It is an outrage that a community, left destitute by the actions of the Lagos state government, has been denied an effective remedy by the same government and that the World Bank has been complicit in this matter,” said Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.<br /><br />“The bulldozing of hundreds of houses and businesses destroyed livelihoods and rendered thousands homeless. The subsequent failure to provide an effective remedy has only compounded victims’ misery pushing them deeper into poverty.” <br /><br />The informal settlement of Badia East in Lagos state was chosen to benefit from a World Bank-funded project which aimed to increase access to basic services such as drainage, through investment in infrastructure. However, the demolition of at least 266 structures that served as homes and businesses took place without genuine consultation or adequate and reasonable notice and with no remedy for the loss suffered. <br /><br />After mounting pressure the Lagos state government, in collaboration with the World Bank, agreed to develop and implement a retrospective Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Badia East residents in line with the World Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement. However, both the content of the RAP and the process by which it was prepared contravened international human rights standards and World Bank policy. <br /><br />The RAP failed to:</p><ul><li>provide options for adequate alternative housing or relocation to other sites;</li><li>ensure that affected people were offered the support needed to restore their livelihoods and standard of living;</li><li>ensure adequate compensation was given to those affected. Instead “financial assistance” which contained amounts unilaterally determined by the government and considered inadequate by affected people was offered. In addition, the Lagos state government reneged on an agreement reached between a committee it had established and community representatives on compensation. The World Bank knew this;</li><li>give adequate attention to addressing the needs of all disadvantaged groups.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>Despite these blatant failings the RAP was approved by the World Bank. The World Bank committed a further breach of its policy by failing to disclose a draft of the RAP before approval, exacerbating the challenges that affected people faced in engaging with the process. &nbsp; <br /><br />Although some affected people asked for a full inspection of the case by the World Bank’s Inspection Panel – a body that is supposed to be independent of the Bank’s management – this was refused and the Panel also endorsed the RAP. <br /><br />“The RAP – and the process by which it was developed - failed to adhere to human rights standards and has not addressed the terrible impact of the forced evictions suffered by the already vulnerable community of Badia East,” said Audrey Gaughran. <br /><br />“It is imperative that the government of Lagos state act immediately to ensure all those forcibly evicted from Badia East are fully compensated for their losses and those who cannot provide homes for themselves have access to adequate alternative housing.” <br /><br />“The World Bank must re-engage with the Lagos state government on this case in order to fulfil its duty of care to those affected by its failure to ensure compliance with human rights standards and its own policies.” <br /><br />“In addition the Nigerian government must impose a moratorium on mass evictions until it has adopted legislation to protect people from forced evictions, which are illegal under international law.” <br /><br /><strong>Background</strong> <br /><br />On 23 February 2013, thousands of residents of Badia East in Lagos state were rendered homeless when the Lagos state authorities, supported by the police, demolished homes and businesses in the community. <br /><br />In Badia East, none of the legal and procedural safeguards that are required under international human rights law and standards in relation to evictions was observed. There was no genuine consultation with the affected people to identify alternatives to eviction. The government failed to provide adequate notice, legal remedies, alternative housing for those unable to provide for themselves or compensation for the loss of property. The demolitions in Badia East constituted a forced eviction which violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a treaty to which Nigeria is a party. <br /><br />Under international human rights standards, all people, including those who live in informal settlements, are entitled to an effective remedy when their rights are violated. <br /><br />The right to adequate housing and security of the person and home are basic tenets of human rights law. <br /><br />In September 2013 the Lagos state government had negotiated with representatives of the victims of the Badia East forced eviction with a view to paying compensation. The World Bank monitored the development of a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) by the Lagos state government. <br /><br />In November 2013 the Lagos state government reduced the amount of compensation it had initially agreed to pay under the RAP. In December 2013 the Badia East community accepted the reduced offer of compensation with conditions. <br /><br />The conditions included the following: that the government makes an “upward review” of the compensation package in the future; that all structure owners be given the right of first refusal in the housing scheme the government wants to build on the land cleared; and that the RAP is implemented as soon as possible. <br /><br />The government rejected the community's conditional acceptance of the compensation offer and the community was left with the option of accepting the reduced compensation package unconditionally. <br /><br />On 30 September 2013, three affected people, acting on behalf of the larger Badia Community, filed a Request for Inspection with the Inspection Panel of the World Bank. The Inspection Panel is a complaints mechanism for people who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project to express their concerns and seek recourse. On 16 July 2014, despite being aware of the inadequacies of the RAP, the Panel decided not to register the Request. <br /><br />Badia East is one of many communities across Nigeria that have been torn apart by forced evictions in recent years.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The World Bank endorsed the Lagos state government’s inadequate compensation package for thousands of people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/nigferia.jpg?1408375239" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48890">lagos</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-ai-index-number"> <div class="field-label">Amnesty International Index Number:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> AFR44/017/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> nigeria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="4.830997">4° 49' 51.5892" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="6.767578">6° 46' 3.2808" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>It is imperative that the government of Lagos state act immediately to ensure all those forcibly evicted from Badia East are fully compensated.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Audrey Gaughran </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR44/017/2014/en">Nigeria: At the mercy of the government</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 19 August 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Slums Forced Eviction Nigeria Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:29:19 +0000 Amnesty International 48891 at http://www.amnesty.org India: Release of prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila 'welcome but long overdue' http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/india-release-prisoner-conscience-irom-sharmila-welcome-long-overdue-2014-08-19 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India: Release of prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila &#039;welcome but long overdue&#039; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">19 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>A Manipur court ruling directing the release of prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila because there were no grounds for charging her with attempted suicide is a legal and moral victory for the activist and her 13 year-long hunger strike, Amnesty International India said today. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>The Manipur East Sessions Court ruled that authorities had failed to establish that Irom Sharmila had intended to commit suicide, and stated that her protest was a ‘political demand through a lawful means’.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>“This welcome but long overdue judgement recognizes that Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike is a powerful protest for human rights and a peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression,” said Shailesh Rai, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>“Irom Sharmila should never have been arrested in the first place. All other charges against her of attempted suicide must be dropped and she must be immediately released. Authorities must instead pay attention to the issues this remarkable activist is raising.”&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>Irom Sharmila has been on a prolonged hunger strike for over 13 years, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). She was arrested by the Manipur police shortly after she began her hunger strike on 2 November 2000, and charged with attempting to commit suicide – a criminal offence under Indian law. In March 2013, a Delhi court also charged Sharmila with attempting to commit suicide in October 2006, when she staged a protest in Delhi for two days.</span><br /><br /><span>Irom Sharmila is being detained in the security ward of a hospital in Imphal, Manipur, where she is force-fed a diet of liquids through her nose. She has never been convicted for attempting to commit suicide. However, as the offence is punishable with imprisonment for up to one year, she has been regularly released after completing a year in judicial custody, only to be re-arrested shortly after as she continues her fast.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>Last year, over 18,000 people from across India supported an Amnesty International India campaign calling for the unconditional release of Irom Sharmila. India’s National Human Rights Commission also acknowledged that she was a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ who was being detained solely for the peaceful expression of her beliefs and called for the removal of restrictions imposed on access to her.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>Speaking to Amnesty International India in September 2013, Irom Sharmila, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, said, “My struggle is my message. I love my life very much and want to have the freedom to meet people and struggle for issues close to my heart.”</span><br /><br /><span>In February 2012, the Supreme Court of India observed in its ruling in the Ram Lila Maidan Incident versus Home Secretary, Union of India and Others case that a hunger strike is “a form of protest which has been accepted, both historically and legally in our constitutional jurisprudence.”&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>The British Medical Association, in a briefing to the World Medical Association, has clarified that, “[a] hunger strike is not equivalent to suicide. Individuals who embark on hunger strikes aim to achieve goals important to them but generally hope and intend to survive.” This position is embodied by the World Medical Association in its Malta Declaration on Hunger Strikers.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span>The AFSPA, which has been in force in parts of North-eastern India since 1958, and a virtually identical law in force in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990, provides sweeping powers to soldiers, including the power to shoot to kill in certain situations and to arrest people without warrants. The Act also provides virtual immunity from prosecution for security personnel, by mandating prior permission from the central government, which is almost never granted.</span><br /><br /><span>The AFSPA falls short of international human rights standards, including provisions of treaties to which India is a state party; and is inconsistent with India’s international legal obligations to respect and protect the right to life, liberty and security of person, to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, and to an effective remedy.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A Manipur court ruling directing the release of prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila because there were no grounds for charging her with attempted suicide is a legal and moral victory for the activist and her 13 year-long hunger strike, Amnesty International India said today. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/186683_Irom_Sharmila (1).jpg?1408458754" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48902">india</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> india </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="18.323240">18° 19' 23.664" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="77.343750">77° 20' 37.5" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike is a powerful protest for human rights and a peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Shailesh Rai </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> India Prisoners Of Conscience Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:33:16 +0000 Amnesty International 48903 at http://www.amnesty.org Saudi Arabia: Four relatives executed for hashish possession amid 'disturbing' surge in executions http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-four-family-members-executed-hashish-possession-amid-disturbing-surge-executions-2 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia: Four family members executed for hashish possession </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">18 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions, Amnesty International said after four members of the same family were executed today as part of a “disturbing” recent surge in the use of the death penalty in the country. <br /><br />The two sets of brothers from the same extended family were killed this morning in the south-eastern city of Najran after being convicted of “receiving large quantities of hashish”, reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture. <br /><br />It brings the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks to 17 - a rate of more than one execution per day. <br /><br />“The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing deterioration. The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.<br /><br />“The death penalty is always wrong, and it is against international law to use it in cases involving non-lethal crimes and where evidence used to convict the person is based on ‘confessions’ extracted as a result of torture.” &nbsp; <br /><br />The four relatives were put to death despite desperate last-minute efforts from family members to alert the world to their plight. <br /><br />Relatives of the men contacted Amnesty International on Thursday asking for help amid fears that the executions were imminent. &nbsp;<br /><br />The organization’s Saudi Arabia team responded seeking further information on the case, but within hours the team was informed that the family of the four men had received a phone call from Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior officials warning them to stop contacting Amnesty International.<br /><br />This morning, it was officially announced that the four men had been executed.<br /><br />“This apparent intimidation and surveillance of victims of human rights violations and activists adds another sinister layer to Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty. It is clear evidence that the authorities are willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent reports of gross human rights violations in the country from reaching the outside world,” said Said Boumedouha. &nbsp;<br /><br />“The family in this case deserves full disclosure as to why their loved ones’ allegations of torture were not investigated.” <br /><br />The four executed men – brothers Hadi bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq and Awad bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq along with brothers Mufrih bin Jaber Zayd al-Yami and Ali bin Jaber Zayd al-Yami – were arrested and detained by members of the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Investigations (known as al-Mabahith) on several occasions after their alleged offence in 2007.<br /><br />They were reportedly tortured during interrogation, including with beatings and sleep deprivation, in order to extract false confessions. <br /><br />They were referred to trial and sentenced to death largely on the basis of these ‘confessions’.<br /><br />There has been a surge in executions in Saudi Arabia since the end of Ramadan on 28 July, with 17 announced executions between 4 August and 18 August, compared to 17 confirmed executions between January and July 2014. <br /><br /><strong>Background<br /><br /></strong>Saudi Arabia is one of the top executioners in the world, with more than 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2013. <br /><br />In 2013, it executed at least 79 people, three of whom were under 18 at the time of the crimes for which they were put to death, in blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. So far in 2014, at least 34 people have been executed.<br /><br />Court proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall far short of international standards for fair trial. Trials in capital cases are often held in secret. Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by lawyers, and in many cases are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them.<br /><br />They may be convicted solely on the basis of “confessions” obtained under torture, other ill-treatment or deception. In some cases condemned prisoners’ families are not notified in advance of their execution.<br /><br />Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty to a wide range of offences that are not accepted as “most serious crimes” under international law and standards on the use of the death penalty. <br /><br />These include “adultery”, armed robbery, “apostasy”, drug-related offences, rape, “witchcraft” and “sorcery”. <br /><br />Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Executions bring the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks to 17 - a rate of more than one execution per day.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198371_4_men_executed_in_Saudi_Arabia (1).jpg?1408377113" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48894">saudi</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> saudiarabia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="19.647761">19° 38' 51.9396" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="53.437500">53° 26' 15" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This apparent intimidation and surveillance of victims of human rights violations adds another sinister layer to Saudi Arabia&#039;s use of the death penalty.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Said Boumedouha </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Saudi Arabia Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:23:34 +0000 Amnesty International 48895 at http://www.amnesty.org South Africa: Full accountability for the Marikana killings urgently needed http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-africa-full-accountability-marikana-killings-urgently-needed-2014-08-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Africa: Full accountability for the Marikana killings urgently needed </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>On the second anniversary of the catastrophic events in Marikana, justice for the victims and full accountability are still urgently needed, Amnesty International said today. All those involved in the unlawful decision to use lethal force must be held fully accountable and the disturbing pattern of obstruction of the investigations into the deaths must stop.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International believe that the police, acting on an unlawful decision, used unjustified lethal force against the miners, leaving 34 dead and more than 70 others injured. The police, possibly in collusion with others, also concealed and falsified evidence and attempted to mislead the judicial Commission of Inquiry into the deaths.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Two years after the Marikana shootings, the need for full co-operation with the inquiry and accountability for both the unlawful killings and the cover-up of these crimes is as urgent as ever,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Despite the scandalous attempted cover-up, which began immediately after the shootings and delayed the work of the Commission for at least a year, justice must be done.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In spite of the fact that bloodshed was foreseen by those who took the decision to use lethal force, adequate medical assistance was not on hand and the delay in getting paramedics to the scene is likely to have contributed to the suffering of the injured. Chillingly, four mortuary vans had been ordered by the police.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The decision to disarm, forcibly if necessary, and arrest the striking miners was taken on 15 August 2012 by the Provincial Commissioner and endorsed at an Extraordinary Meeting of the National Police Management Forum. The decision, which was not dependent on any escalation of threat to life, and the subsequent deployment of tactical units with firearms using live ammunition, including R5 assault rifles capable of automatic fire, had no basis in international or domestic law.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The “loss” of the minutes from this critical meeting is just one of a litany of incidents which suggest a systematic attempt by the police authorities, with possibly higher level involvement, to conceal or falsify evidence and to mislead the Commission. Other incidents include: tampering with the crime scene; withholding or delaying the submission of police weapons for ballistics testing; the withholding of police computer hard drives; and the provision of statements lacking in detail as well as evasive oral evidence by senior police officials and commanders.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Achieving full accountability in this case is not just vital for the victims of Marikana and their families, but is also essential to ensure the respect and protection of human rights in South Africa,” said Deprose Muchena.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The killings at Marikana were not a tragic accident but a completely avoidable outrage and until those responsible are brought to justice, the threat of a repetition of such unlawful killings will hang over South Africa.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Marikana Commission of Inquiry was appointed by President Jacob Zuma on 23 August 2012. It has the power to refer any matter concerning the conduct of specific persons to an appropriate law enforcement agency or other body for prosecution or further investigation.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Commission, which is chaired by a judge, commenced its work in October 2012 and has currently had its term extended until 30 September 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The police operation in Marikana on 16 August 2012 was intended to disarm, disperse and arrest those taking part in a strike and gathering deemed illegal at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Thirty-four miners were killed when the police opened fire and more than 70 others sustained serious injuries.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Commission is also looking into the circumstances of 10 other deaths which occurred in the preceding days. These include two Lonmin security guards and three Lonmin workers, all allegedly killed by the strikers. Two police officers and three striking miners also died during still unclarified circumstances on 13 August 2012.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The command decision to forcibly disarm the protesters was unrelated to any increased threat posed by the protesters at the specific time. The resulting further decision to deploy large numbers of police units with firearms and live ammunition was not triggered by any threat to life or the intention to protect or save any life. As such these actions were unlawful, including under domestic law obliging police officers to act within a framework of minimum force, and international law and standards, in particular the obligation to respect and protect life. Principle 9 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms allows for the use of firearms only in defence against imminent threat of death or serious injury and only when less extreme methods are insufficient.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In September 2013 the Commission released a statement 10 days after gaining access to police computer hard drives and previously unseen police documents which the police had claimed did not exist. It stated: "We have obtained documents which in our opinion demonstrate that the [police] version of the events at Marikana...is in material respects not the truth."&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On the second anniversary of the catastrophic events in Marikana, justice for the victims and full accountability are still urgently needed.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/189716_Marikana_South_Africa (1).jpg?1408123562" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48879">Marikana</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">South Africa</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-30.792811">30° 47' 34.1196" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="23.554688">23° 33' 16.8768" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Two years after the Marikana shootings, the need for full co-operation with the inquiry and accountability for both the unlawful killings and the cover-up of these crimes is as urgent as ever. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Sat, 16/08/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/08/15/we-still-have-no-justice-just-tears/"> ‘We still have no justice, just tears’</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 16 August 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Impunity Law Enforcement South Africa Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:24:54 +0000 Amnesty International 48880 at http://www.amnesty.org Dominican Republic: Killings at the hands of the police rise while reforms stall http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/dominican-republic-killings-hands-police-rise-while-reforms-stall-2014-08-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dominican Republic: Killings at the hands of the police rise while reforms stall </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress, said Amnesty International today.</p><p>The past six months have seen the number of people killed by the police rise by 13% compared with the year before, with 87 people dead between January and June this year, according to figures released by the National Observatory on Citizen Security (Observatorio de Seguridad ciudadana).</p><p>“Fourteen people a month are dying at the hands of the police in the Dominican Republic. Many of these killings seem to have been unlawful. Clearly the government needs to push harder for concrete action to stop these abuses once and for all,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.</p><p>“It’s a tragic state of affairs when the police, the very people tasked with protecting the human rights of citizens, are the ones committing such terrible crimes, further endangering public security in the country.”</p><p>Crime in the Dominican Republic is rife and public security is a major concern for the population. However, evidence shows that far from helping to tackle the problem, hard-line policing methods are contributing to escalating violence and crime.</p><p>News of the increase in police killings comes as President Danilo Medina celebrates the mid-point of his presidential term. Police reform was a key component of the President’s election manifesto, but two years into his presidency the reform has yet to start while allegations of unlawful killings and torture by the police continue to be rife.</p><p>Amongst those killed this year was Walder Sánchez. Although the official police line was that he died in a shoot-out on 30 May, witness testimony suggests Walder Sánchez was deliberately shot several times while unarmed. He was apparently in his bedroom with his pregnant girlfriend and begged the police not to shoot. During the operation, his landlady and girlfriend were also reportedly beaten by the police. An investigation into the incident has now been opened by the Attorney of Santo Domingo Province.</p><p>As well as allegations of unlawful killings, Amnesty International has also received numerous complaints of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the police.</p><p>In April, Luis Manuel Lember Matínez and Eduardo Luis Cruz were detained by the police after they refused to pay a bribe. Luis Manuel was shot in the leg before the two men were transferred to the police station where they were beaten severely. Luis Manuel claims he received electric shocks to his legs. Two days after their ordeal they were released. The police officers involved are now under investigation.</p><p>While some of the cases documented by Amnesty International are being investigated, others are merely covered up. There are numerous cases of police impunity on which Amnesty International has been campaigning for years. However the Office of the Prosecutor General has consistently remained silent in the face of all requests for information on these cases.</p><p>Legislation to reform the police has been waiting to be passed by Congress since May 2013. The failure to prioritize the bill and interests opposing reform have prevented the bill’s progress.</p><p>“Without the adoption of legislation aligned with human rights principles, it is very unlikely that we will ever see the national police working effectively to respect human rights,” said Erika Guevara.</p><p>“Two years ago we had great expectations for President Medina and his promises about police reform, but sadly the police continue to kill unlawfully and torture with impunity while the President’s much lauded bill sits stagnating in parliament.”</p><p>“There is no time to waste. President Medina still has the opportunity to fulfil his campaign promise to “do what has never been done”, namely to give the country the police force that it deserves.”</p><p>Amnesty International is now calling on the Dominican Republic to push these reforms through in order to overhaul the National Police force and to investigate and prosecute all those responsible for unlawful killings, torture, and other human rights violations.</p><p>Additional information&nbsp;</p><p>Data from the Observatory on Citizen Security (Observatorio de Seguridad ciudadana) shows killings at the hands of the police dropped in 2013, but has risen again in the first six months of 2014.</p><p>Over 700 people were killed by the police between 2011 and 2013, according to figures gathered by the Office of the Prosecutor General (Procuraduría General de la República.)&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/138559_National_Polica_patroling_in_the_streets_of_Santo_Domingo.jpg?1408023962" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48851">Dominican Republic</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> DominicanRepublic </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Dominican Republic</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="18.895893">18° 53' 45.2148" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-70.664063">70° 39' 50.6268" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Fourteen people a month are dying at the hands of the police in the Dominican Republic. Many of these killings seem to have been unlawful. Clearly the government needs to push harder for concrete action to stop these abuses once and for all.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/dominican-republic-political-will-key-achieving-changes-human-rights-2013-0">Dominican Republic: Political will is key to achieving changes in human rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Press release, 29 May 2013. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR27/002/2011">Shut up if you don&#039;t want to be killed: human rights violations by police in the Dominican Republic </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 25 October 2011. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Death In Custody Dominican Republic Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:49:32 +0000 Amnesty International 48852 at http://www.amnesty.org Morocco: Activists jailed for reporting torture must be released immediately http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/morocco-activists-jailed-reporting-torture-must-be-released-immediately-2014-08-14 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco: Activists jailed for reporting torture must be released immediately </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">14 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Two activists recently imprisoned after they reported they had been abducted and tortured must be released immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International said.</p><p>Human rights and political activist Wafae Charaf was sentenced to a year in prison and a 1000 MAD fine (approximately USD 120) on Tuesday for allegedly falsely reporting being abducted and tortured by unknown persons in April this year.</p><p>The court also ordered her to pay 50,000 MAD (approximately USD 6,000) in compensation to Morocco’s police force for slander, although she did not accuse them.</p><p>“No-one should be imprisoned for reporting torture and slander should not be a criminal offence. This conviction sends a chilling warning to anyone who has suffered torture, or any other ill-treatment, that they should keep quiet or risk ending up behind bars,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</p><p>Wafae Charaf, a 26-year old left-wing political activist and member of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH), reported being abducted and tortured by unknown men for several hours after attending a workers’ protest in the city of Tangiers on 27 April 2014. She said the men beat her and threatened her with further violence if she did not stop her activism.</p><p>Three days later, after obtaining a medical certificate from the local hospital documenting light injuries, she filed a complaint with judicial authorities, prompting the Tangiers judicial police and the National Brigade for the Judicial Police (BNPJ) to investigate her allegations.</p><p>But on 8 July, before the investigation was concluded, Wafae Charaf was arrested, detained and charged with falsely reporting an offence and slander under Articles 263, 264 and 445 of the Penal Code.</p><p>After more than a month in pre-trial detention, she was convicted on all counts. A defence lawyer stated that the court refused to summon key witnesses, and failed to disclose phone tapping evidence which was key to the conviction, raising concerns that Wafae Charaf may have been unfairly tried, having been unable to challenge this evidence. She is currently detained in Tangiers Local Prison.</p><p><strong>Second conviction</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Wafae Charaf’s sentencing came only weeks after a similar conviction against another activist.</p><p>On 23 July 2014, 22-year old Oussama Housne, also a member of AMDH in Casablanca, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for an alleged false torture report and slander. He was ordered to pay 100,000 MAD (approximately USD 12,000) in compensation to Morocco’s police force for slander. He is currently detained in Oukacha Local Prison in Casablanca.</p><p>He had reported being abducted and tortured by unknown individuals as he was leaving a protest in solidarity with detained activists on 2 May 2014. He said the men burned him with a heated metal rod and raped him with their fingers.</p><p>Three days later, human rights defenders from the local branch of the AMDH recorded a video of the activist describing the abuse to which he says he was subjected and posted it on YouTube, prompting the authorities to open an investigation led by the BNPJ.</p><p>On 1 June, the Crown Prosecutor closed the investigation and concluded that Housne had not been tortured and announced his intention to prosecute him. The activist was arrested the same day and charged for false reporting and slander under Articles 264 and 445 of the Penal Code.</p><p>Housne’s lawyer told Amnesty International that the court failed to summon key defence witnesses during the trial, raising concerns that he was unfairly convicted. Meanwhile, he was ordered to pay a high sum in compensation to Morocco’s police force, although his statements on Youtube only referred to unknown perpetrators.</p><p>The young man is also active within the 20 February peaceful protest movement that calls for greater respect for human rights, democratization, social justice and an end to corruption.</p><p>Both activists are appealing the convictions.</p><p>“These convictions will only strengthen the culture of impunity in Morocco. Torture will only be eradicated once victims can safely break the silence and perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Two activists recently imprisoned after they reported they had been abducted and tortured must be released immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International said.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198342_Wafae_Charaf.jpg?1408030645" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48855">Morocco</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Morocco</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.658057">31° 39' 29.0052" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-5.625000">5° 37' 30" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>No-one should be imprisoned for reporting torture and slander should not be a criminal offence. This conviction sends a chilling warning to anyone who has suffered torture, or any other ill-treatment, that they should keep quiet or risk ending up behind bars. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE29/005/2014/en">Morocco: Stop prosecution of torture complainants for ‘false reporting’</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Public Statement, 31 July 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Morocco Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:39:30 +0000 Amnesty International 48856 at http://www.amnesty.org Saudi Arabia: Outrageous sentence against Shi’a cleric shows disturbing pattern of harassment http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/sheikh-tawfiq-al-amr-sentenced-2014-08-14 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia: Outrageous sentence against Shi’a cleric part of a disturbing pattern </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">14 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The outrageous eight year prison sentence against a Shi’a cleric in Saudi Arabia for criticizing its leaders is the latest example of a disturbing pattern of harassment and discrimination against the country’s Shi’a community, said Amnesty International.</p><p>Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr, a Shi’a cleric in the al-Ahsa governorate, was sentenced to eight years in prison, followed by a 10-year travel ban, and barred from delivering religious sermons.</p><p>He was yesterday convicted by the Specialized Criminal Court on charges of defaming Saudi Arabia’s ruling system, ridiculing the mentality of its religious leaders, inciting sectarianism, calling for change and disobeying the ruler. The charges are in connection to a number of public speeches he has delivered since 2011.</p><p>“Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr is the latest Shi’a cleric to pay a very high price for refusing to be silenced,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</p><p>“Daring to peacefully criticize Saudi Arabia’s rulers is no reason to end up behind bars. He must be released immediately in connection with these charges.”</p><p>Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr was originally arrested in August 2011. He was due to be released in December 2012 but was instead sentenced to three years in prison when he refused to sign a pledge to stop delivering religious sermons.</p><p>This sentence was appealed by both Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr’s lawyers and the prosecution. The appeal judge reportedly asked for the sentence to be increased on two separate subsequent occasions. When the judge in charge of the case refused to do so, he was replaced by the one who handed down yesterday’s conviction.</p><p>“The conviction of Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr by a special security and counterterrorism court reveals the extent to which the Saudi Arabian judicial system is arbitrary and unfair. Had the cleric signed a pledge not to deliver religious sermons, he would have currently been a free man. Yet the authorities seemed concerned about one thing alone which is how to punish him harsher for not obeying them,” said Said Boumedoua.</p><p>Scores of Shi’a activists have been arrested, imprisoned and harassed across Saudi Arabia since 2011, mainly for calling for political reforms.</p><p>Many have been charged solely for participating in peaceful demonstrations and received harsh prison sentences ranging from eight to 25 years.</p><p>Between May and June 2014 at least five Shi’a were sentenced to death on trumped up charges related to their political activism. One of them was 17 years old at the time of the alleged offence. &nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The outrageous eight year prison sentence against a Shi’a cleric in Saudi Arabia for criticizing its leaders is the latest example of a disturbing pattern of harassment and discrimination against the country’s Shi’a community.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="300" height="226" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/138961_Shi_a_cleric_Sheikh_Tawfiq_Jaber_Ibrahim_al-_Amr.jpg?1408032341" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48857">Saudi Arabia</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> SaudiArabia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Saudi Arabia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="23.246393">23° 14' 47.0148" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="42.011719">42° 0' 42.1884" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Sheikh Tawfiq al-`Amr is the latest Shi’a cleric to pay a very high price for refusing to be silenced. Daring to peacefully criticize Saudi Arabia’s rulers is no reason to end up behind bars. He must be released immediately in connection with these charges. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Saudi Arabia Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:08:38 +0000 Amnesty International 48858 at http://www.amnesty.org USA: Urgently investigate policing methods after use of lethal force in Missouri http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-urgently-investigate-policing-methods-after-use-lethal-force-missouri-2014-08-14 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> USA: Urgently investigate policing methods after use of lethal force in Missouri </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">14 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>In addition to a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/August/14-ag-844.html">investigation</a> into allegations that police shot dead an unarmed teenager in Missouri, an investigation into the use of heavy-handed tactics to disperse a wave of protests in the wake of the shooting must be launched without delay, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“What is now urgently needed are thorough investigations, not further inflammation, of the incredibly tense situation in the aftermath of Michael Brown being shot dead,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Any police officer suspected of having committed unlawful acts must be held to account through effective investigation and, where warranted, prosecution.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Using excessive force to quell protests is unacceptable. Police in Ferguson must conform to the US Constitution and international standards on the use of force and firearms. Residents must be allowed to peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression and journalists must not be prevented from carrying out their work.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The call comes after police last night again used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration in Ferguson, the St Louis suburb where an unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown, was shot dead by a police officer on 9 August. According to media reports, police arrested at least 10 people during last night’s protest, as well as two journalists who were covering the story yesterday afternoon.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 13 August, Amnesty International USA <a href="http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/Letter_to_Ferguson_Police_Department.pdf">wrote to the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri</a> to express its deep concern over the shooting of Michael Brown and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets at a demonstration against his death on the evening of 11 August.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>International standards on the use of force and firearms require that police should apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force. The intentional lethal use of firearms is only permissible if strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In addition to a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into allegations that police shot dead an unarmed teenager in Missouri, an investigation into the use of heavy-handed tactics to disperse a wave of protests in the wake of the shooting must be launched without delay, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198343_Police_Fire_Tear_Gas_Clear_Streets_in_Ferguson (1).jpg?1408034330" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48859">Ferguson, Missouri</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United States</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="38.629584">38° 37' 46.5024" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-90.307617">90° 18' 27.4212" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=38.629584+-90.307617+%28%2C+%2C+%2C+%2C+us%29">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>What is now urgently needed are thorough investigations, not further inflammation, of the incredibly tense situation in the aftermath of Michael Brown being shot dead </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 14/08/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/Letter_to_Ferguson_Police_Department.pdf">Use of lethal force by Ferguson Police Department Officer</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Open letter, 13 August 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Discrimination Freedom Of Expression Law Enforcement Military, Security And Police Equipment USA Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:40:47 +0000 Amnesty International 48860 at http://www.amnesty.org Egypt: As judges recuse themselves in Morsi protest trial, fears of mass death sentences persist http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-fears-mass-death-sentences-persist-morsi-protest-trial-2014-08-12 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt: Fears of mass death sentences persist in Morsi protest trial </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">12 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>As news breaks that three judges have recused themselves from a mass court case in Egypt, Amnesty International remains concerned that show trials followed by mass death sentences are becoming a grim trade mark of Egyptian justice.&nbsp;</p><p><br />Three judges who made up a Court Panel which was due to hear the case against 494 people today, have recused themselves on account of objections raised by the defendants' lawyers. The Cairo Appeal Court will schedule another criminal court panel at a later date. The majority of the defendants could face the death sentence in what amounts to little more than a pantomime the organization warns. <br /><br />The trial was in relation to <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-security-forces-must-show-restraint-after-week-irresponsible-violence-2013-08-23">protests that took place on 16 and 17 August 2013, in Ramsis, Cairo</a> where at least 97 people died, most of them as a result of a reckless use of force by the security forces. Those charged include 12 minors, who were held in detention with adults, in direct contravention of Egyptian law.<br /><br />“This trial was set to be little more than a pantomime. In recent months Egyptian courts appear to have been handing out mass death sentences based on flimsy evidence and following deeply flawed proceedings. These show trials followed by mass death sentences are becoming Egypt’s grim trademark,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. <br /><br />More than 400 of the 494 defendants are charged with murder and attempted murder, offences that are normally punishable by death under Egyptian law. The remainder are charged with offences including destroying public property, protesting without authorisation, attacking security forces and hindering the work of national institutions. <br /><br />Among those on trial are 12 children including Ibrahim Halawa, an Egyptian Irish national, who was only 17 years old at the time of his arrest. He has since turned 18. Amnesty International has conducted a thorough examination of his case. <br /><br />He and his three sisters were among those arrested after taking refuge in a mosque. He was shot in his hand when the security forces stormed the building, but was not given access to medical care for his injury, and the only treatment he received was from a cellmate who happened to be a doctor. He was held in detention with adults contrary to Egypt’s Child Law which provides that children must be held in juvenile detention centres and be separated from adults. <br /><br />Amnesty International has concluded that Ibrahim Halawa is a Prisoner of Conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. The organization is calling for him to be released immediately and unconditionally, with all charges against him dropped. <br /><br />“Ibrahim’s case is just one of many cases of injustice being meted out in Egypt’s courts. It shows the government’s determination to flout its obligations under international law,” said Said Boumedouha. <br /><br />According to press reports, even the Grand Mufti, the most senior religious figure, last week refused to endorse death sentences against Muslim Brotherhood leaders saying there was not enough evidence to support the charges. The Mufti reportedly added that the charges by the prosecutor depended entirely on investigations and testimonies of national security officers. <br /><br />According to the case file for today’s case, seen by Amnesty International, there are 100 witnesses, most of whom are police officers or government officials. <br /><br />“All defendants must enjoy the right to a fair trial without recourse to death penalty. They must be tried in their presence in order to be able to hear and challenge the prosecution case and present a defence, in person or through a lawyer. They must be able to call witnesses on their behalf and to examine witnesses against them,” said Said Boumedouha.&nbsp;<br /><br /><br /><strong>Background&nbsp;<br /><br /></strong>The <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-security-forces-must-show-restraint-after-week-irresponsible-violence-2013-08-23">protests that took place on 16 and 17 August 2013, in Ramsis Cairo</a>, were held in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and had originally been peaceful. However, following clashes with the security forces, protestors had sought safety in the Al Fath mosque, which they locked themselves in overnight. The security forces shot tear gas into the mosque which led to the death by suffocation of at least one woman. <br /><br />There was an exchange of fire with the security forces, from the outer areas of the mosque which the security forces allege the protestors were involved in. Yet Amnesty International researchers who were present at the time, have said that there is no way the protestors could have shot at the security forces as they were all locked inside the inner part of the mosque.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As news breaks that three judges have recused themselves from a mass court case in Egypt, Amnesty International remains concerned that show trials followed by mass death sentences are becoming a grim trade mark of Egyptian justice.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198271_Egyptian_police_Morsi_supporters_locked_in_mosque_standoff (1).jpg?1407776965" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48816">Ramses Square violence Egypt</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Egypt</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="28.587416">28° 35' 14.6976" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="29.619141">29° 37' 8.9076" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This trial was set to be little more than a pantomime. In recent months Egyptian courts appear to have been handing out mass death sentences based on flimsy evidence and following deeply flawed proceedings. These show trials followed by mass death sentences are becoming Egypt’s grim trademark. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 12/08/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-detained-morsi-supporters-denied-their-rights-2013-09-12">Egypt: Detained Morsi supporters denied their rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 12 September 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-security-forces-must-show-restraint-after-week-irresponsible-violence-2013-08-23">Egypt: Security forces must show restraint after reckless policing of violent protest</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 23 August 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2013/08/21/a-week-of-violence-and-curfew/">A week of violence and curfew</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 21 August 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-s-disastrous-bloodshed-requires-urgent-impartial-investigations-2013-08-16">Egypt’s disastrous bloodshed requires urgent impartial investigation</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 16 August 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Egypt Freedom Of Expression Law Enforcement MENA unrest Military, Security And Police Equipment Prisoners Of Conscience Trials And Legal Systems Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:09:56 +0000 Amnesty International 48817 at http://www.amnesty.org Philippines: Arrest of General must break down wall of impunity for torture http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/philippines-arrest-general-must-break-down-wall-impunity-torture-2014-08-12 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philippines: Arrest of General must break down wall of impunity for torture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">12 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>This morning’s arrest of a General accused of abductions and torture in the Philippines is an encouraging sign that the authorities are finally tackling a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations by the security forces, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Retired Major General Jovito Palparan, 63, was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation and members of the armed forces at around 3am in the Santa Mesa area of the Philippines’ capital, Manila.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Often referred to as <em>Berdugo</em> (“the executioner” or “the butcher”) by human rights activists, he faces charges of kidnapping and illegal detention of university students in 2006. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s arrest of one of the Philippines’ most wanted alleged human rights violators must embolden the authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice military and law enforcement officials who have reportedly abused their power through involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions,” said Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is appalling that so many officials allegedly involved in human rights violations remain at large. General Palparan’s arrest brings hope that this is changing. He and others who are suspected of having committed human rights violations must be brought to justice in fair trials – the time has come to break down the wall of impunity, brick by brick.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>During his military career, General Palparan led a unit in the Central Luzon region which was notorious for alleged human rights violations. Under his command, many activists and suspected supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines were allegedly subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In December 2011, Bulacan Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant for General Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Jr., S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario for the abduction of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan on 26 June 2006, which reportedly occurred in a house in Hagonoy, Bulacan, just north of Manila.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Anotado and Osorio have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities, but Hilario remains at large.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Widespread use of torture</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has received numerous harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture and other cruel and inhuman practices by the Philippine security forces. The organization has been campaigning for years to end impunity for torture by military and law enforcement agencies in the Philippines.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Raymond Manalo, an escaped detainee, detailed the torture he and others allegedly endured after being abducted and held in secret by men under General Palparan’s command. In a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69-woEZWiz4">video interview with Amnesty International </a>in 2010, he described meeting the General while in a detention camp. After escaping, Raymond Manalo survived to accuse his tormentors in court, in a case that reached the Philippines’ Supreme Court. He also brought his case to the UN Committee against Torture.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Although it is rarely talked about, torture is endemic in the Philippines and is the country’s dark, open secret. Even though banned in national law, and while the country has signed up to international treaties on ending torture, this has often amounted to little more than paper promises,” said Rupert Abbott.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“All complaints of torture must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. The courts, the Department of Justice and government agencies mandated to ensure accountability for the abuse of power must be told that it is time to stop torture and hold torturers to account.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This morning’s arrest of a General accused of abductions and torture in the Philippines is an encouraging sign that the authorities are finally tackling a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations by the security forces, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198300_Fugitive_Philippine_general_arrested_after_more_than_two_years (1).jpg?1407857012" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48826">General Palparan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/video-escape-raymondo-manalo-">VIDEO: The escape of Raymondo Manalo</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Philippines</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.567535">14° 34' 3.126" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="121.036377">121° 2' 10.9572" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today’s arrest of one of the Philippines’ most wanted alleged human rights violators must embolden the authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice military and law enforcement officials who have reportedly abused their power through involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 12/08/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">Stop Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Global campaign - take action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/07/31/time-for-president-aquino-to-tackle-the-philippines-dirty-open-secret/">Time for President Aquino to tackle the Philippines’ dirty, open secret</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Op-ed, 31 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/torture-2014-stories-modern-horror-2014-05-29">Torture in 2014: Stories of modern horror</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feature, 29 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA35/002/2014/en">Philippines: Torture in the Philippines</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Briefing, 13 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/philippines-officers-secret-police-detention-cell-play-torture-roulette-inmates-2014-01-27">Philippines: Officers in secret police detention cell play ‘torture roulette’ with inmates</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 27 January 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Disappearances And Abductions Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Impunity Law Enforcement Philippines Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:28:50 +0000 Amnesty International 48828 at http://www.amnesty.org Philippines: Arrest of General must break down wall of impunity for torture http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/philippines-arrest-general-must-break-down-wall-impunity-torture-2014-08-12 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philippines: Arrest of General must break down wall of impunity for torture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">12 August 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>This morning’s arrest of a General accused of abductions and torture in the Philippines is an encouraging sign that the authorities are finally tackling a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations by the security forces, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Retired Major General Jovito Palparan, 63, was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation and members of the armed forces at around 3am in the Santa Mesa area of the Philippines’ capital, Manila.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Often referred to as <em>Berdugo</em> (“the executioner” or “the butcher”) by human rights activists, he faces charges of kidnapping and illegal detention of university students in 2006. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s arrest of one of the Philippines’ most wanted alleged human rights violators must embolden the authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice military and law enforcement officials who have reportedly abused their power through involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions,” said Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is appalling that so many officials allegedly involved in human rights violations remain at large. General Palparan’s arrest brings hope that this is changing. He and others who are suspected of having committed human rights violations must be brought to justice in fair trials – the time has come to break down the wall of impunity, brick by brick.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>During his military career, General Palparan led a unit in the Central Luzon region which was notorious for alleged human rights violations. Under his command, many activists and suspected supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines were allegedly subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In December 2011, Bulacan Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant for General Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Jr., S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario for the abduction of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan on 26 June 2006, which reportedly occurred in a house in Hagonoy, Bulacan, just north of Manila.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Anotado and Osorio have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities, but Hilario remains at large.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Widespread use of torture</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has received numerous harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture and other cruel and inhuman practices by the Philippine security forces. The organization has been campaigning for years to end impunity for torture by military and law enforcement agencies in the Philippines.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Raymond Manalo, an escaped detainee, detailed the torture he and others allegedly endured after being abducted and held in secret by men under General Palparan’s command. In a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69-woEZWiz4">video interview with Amnesty International </a>in 2010, he described meeting the General while in a detention camp. After escaping, Raymond Manalo survived to accuse his tormentors in court, in a case that reached the Philippines’ Supreme Court. He also brought his case to the UN Committee against Torture.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Although it is rarely talked about, torture is endemic in the Philippines and is the country’s dark, open secret. Even though banned in national law, and while the country has signed up to international treaties on ending torture, this has often amounted to little more than paper promises,” said Rupert Abbott.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“All complaints of torture must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. The courts, the Department of Justice and government agencies mandated to ensure accountability for the abuse of power must be told that it is time to stop torture and hold torturers to account.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This morning’s arrest of a General accused of abductions and torture in the Philippines is an encouraging sign that the authorities are finally tackling a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations by the security forces, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198300_Fugitive_Philippine_general_arrested_after_more_than_two_years (1).jpg?1407857012" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/48826">General Palparan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/video-escape-raymondo-manalo-">VIDEO: The escape of Raymondo Manalo</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Philippines</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.567535">14° 34' 3.126" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="121.036377">121° 2' 10.9572" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today’s arrest of one of the Philippines’ most wanted alleged human rights violators must embolden the authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice military and law enforcement officials who have reportedly abused their power through involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 12/08/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">Stop Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Global campaign - take action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/07/31/time-for-president-aquino-to-tackle-the-philippines-dirty-open-secret/">Time for President Aquino to tackle the Philippines’ dirty, open secret</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Op-ed, 31 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/torture-2014-stories-modern-horror-2014-05-29">Torture in 2014: Stories of modern horror</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feature, 29 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA35/002/2014/en">Philippines: Torture in the Philippines</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Briefing, 13 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/philippines-officers-secret-police-detention-cell-play-torture-roulette-inmates-2014-01-27">Philippines: Officers in secret police detention cell play ‘torture roulette’ with inmates</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 27 January 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Disappearances And Abductions Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Impunity Law Enforcement Philippines Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:28:50 +0000 Amnesty International 48828 at http://www.amnesty.org