Document - Weekly Update Service 10/92 (includes two additions)

AI Index: NWS 11/10/92

Distr: SC/PO

No. of words: 1599


Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 8DJ

United Kingdom



DATE: 12 MARCH 1992


Contained in this weekly update are external items on Algeria, Cyprus and

the IS database.


Please note - because of absences in the IS press office at a time when we

are short-staffed anyway, we expect that there will be no news releases

embargoed for the following weeks: 3 June, 17 June and 24 June 1992.

Yugoslavia - 19 March 1992 (New information)

Targeted news release/weekly update to accompany new document on torture

and deliberate and arbitrary killings. The document has been posted out to

section press officers individually and the news release will follow

shortly - the IS press office will be sending this out only to a very

limited list of media contacts and expect you will want to do the same.

CSCE - 23 March 1992 (Europe and North America only)

News release to accompany Finnish Section press conference on the day

before the start of the Helsinki meeting of the Conference on Security and

Co-operation in Europe. The IS press office will be mailing this news

release only to European contacts, and Frank Johansson (Finnish Section

press officer) will be making it available for the conference. European and

North American press officers can use their own judgement about how they

wish to deal with it. More information is contained in an internal item in

Weekly Update NWS 11/08/92.

India - 25 March 1992

An international news release and questions and answers to go with a

publication for the campaign against rape, torture and deaths in custody.

The news release has been sent to you, the Q and A will arrive fairly

shortly. A launch is planned for London.

As well as the news release and document, the IS press office will be

sending out the text of the Focus article on India, due to appear in

April's International Newsletter, to most media contacts.

Togo - 8 April 1992

A document and targeted news release about impunity are scheduled for 8

April 1992, to coincide with the anniversary of a massacre on 10 April


Sudan - 15 April

A document is expected to be ready for 1 April weekly mailing. It will be

accompanied by a news item, either a news release or a weekly update which

the IS press office will be sending out to press contacts in Africa and the

Middle East. More details when they are confirmed.

Turkey - 7 May

A document on increasing extrajudicial executions in Turkey, accompanied by

a news release.

China (Tibet) - 20 May 1992

A document and news release to go with a small-scale campaign. More

information when we get it.


South Africa - date now possibly 13 May (New information)

The research team is planning a document, but as yet cannot give a definite

date. It will have an international news release and probably a questions

and answers - the date has still not been fixed, although it is now

possibly 13 May.

Pakistan - possibly 28 May (New information)

A document and targeted news release on arrests in Sind. The date is still

provisional, depending on whether the document can be finalised to tie in

with printing schedules.

Israel/Lebanon - possibly 29 April (New information)

News release to accompany first detailed report on treatment and conditions

of detainees in Khiam prison, south Lebanon.

Weekly Update NWS 11/10/92

2. MDE 28/WU 03/92 EXTERNAL

12 March 1992


An Amnesty International representative is visiting Algeria this month for

the first time since a State of Emergency was declared on 9 February 1992.

She will be inquiring into matters relevant to the protection of human

rights within Amnesty International's mandate.

Amnesty International's representative, a staff member at the

organization's International Secretariat, will be meeting representatives

of non-governmental organizations and others involved in the promotion and

protection if human rights and will be seeking information about the

current human rights situation in Algeria. In particular, she will be

making inquires into the workings of the State of Emergency, incidents in

which people have been shot dead by security forces and the recent arrests

of members of Islamic groups. The delegate will also inquire into the use

of internment camps to detain opponents of the government.

In accordance with its normal policy, Amnesty International's

representative will not be authorized to make public statements about the

content of discussions on Algeria during the visit. Upon her return, she

will report to Amnesty International's International Executive Committee.

Anyone requiring further information about Amnesty International's work in

Algeria should contact the press office at Amnesty International's

International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ, telephone

(44) (71) 413 5810.

Weekly Update NWS 11/10/92

3. EUR 17/WU 01/92 EXTERNAL

12 March 1992


The following item has been used as an 'Advice to editors', AI-Index: EUR

17/01/92, which the research team has mailed to press in Cyprus only - it

will not arrive until late next week. We will fax it to the Anatolian News

Agency only on Wednesday 18 March - if you wish to use it for any press

work, please wait until then so that the media in Cyprus have received it.




Amnesty International has condemned the jailing of conscientious objector

Sideris Georgiou Isidorou on 2 March, less than two months after the House

of Representatives passed new legislation on conscientious objection.

Nicosia Military Court sentenced Siderios Georgiou Isidorou, a 35-

year-old Jehovah's Witness, to four months' imprisonment after he refused

on religious grounds to perform reservist exercises. Amnesty International

considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling on the Cypriot

authorities to release him immediately.

"We are particularly concerned that the jailing of Sideris Georgiou

Isidorou comes so soon after the passing of the new legislation" Amnesty

International said. The new legislation is due to come into force later

this year.

Soon after the legislation was passed the worldwide human rights

organization wrote to members of the Cypriot Government involved in the

issue. It welcomed the recognition for the first time in Cypriot law of

the right to have conscientious objections to military service but

expressed its regret that the provisions of the new legislation do not

meet international standards in a number of respects:

The 42-month alternative service it offers does not appear to be

completely civilian in character and under civilian control, which would

make it unacceptable to most conscientious objectors. Its very length,

compared to that of 26 months for military service, is clearly intended as

a punishment, taking into account the fact that conscientious objectors

have also to perform alternative service for the equivalent of each

reservist exercise. The United Nations, the Council of Europe and the

European Parliament have all stated that alternative service should not be

of a punitive nature.

In addition, the legislation appears only to recognize conscientious

objectors on religious grounds. Amnesty International believes that

conscientious objection should also be open to conscientious objectors on

ethical, moral, humanitarian, philosophical, political or similar grounds.

Finally, Amnesty International expressed its concern that the right for

people to switch to alternative service if they develop conscientious

objections after joining the armed forces would be suspended during periods

of emergency or general mobilization under the new legislation.

Amnesty International pointed out that it would consider as prisoners

of conscience any people who were jailed for refusing to perform

alternative service which does not meet the international standards. It

concluded by saying, "We sincerely hope that this legislation is the start

of a process towards granting conscientious objectors in Cyprus their full

rights in accordance with the standards laid down by the European

Parliament, Council of Europe and the United Nations."

Amnesty International is concerned that a further three men, Panikos

Makri, Aristos Aristidou and Filippos Filippou, all of them Jehovah's

Witnesses, will be tried during March and April for their conscientious


Weekly Update NWS 11/10/92

4. DOC 10/WU 01/92 EXTERNAL

12 March 1992


The following is principally for your information. However, if you have

contacts in NGOs please let them know about our database on the GeoNet

system and if you can think of other ways of advertising our database it

would be most useful. GeoNet is widely used by other NGOs. If anyone needs

to find out more about GeoNet, the contact address is:

Manchester Host

30 Naples Street


M4 4DB


TEL: (44)-61-839-4212




The International Secretariat of Amnesty International has for the first

time made its database of external materials available on a public

electronic mail network.

The network used is GeoNet which is accessible to subscribers in 40

countries around the world. Amnesty International's database, AIDOC, is

available to GeoNet users through an organization called the Manchester


To carry out searches on Amnesty International's database, GeoNet

users log into the Host system using their personal computer and a

telephone link, and then they have access to a full list of Amnesty

International's external documents from 1988 onwards.

The AIDOC database includes the index number, title, keywords and, in

many cases, short summaries of all documents published by the International

Secretariat of Amnesty International. The documents listed are AI

publications, circulars, news releases and urgent actions, along with

articles from the Amnesty International Newsletter and Amnesty

International Annual Report entries. These can be searched through by

country and topic.

Copies of the full text of all documents described on the AIDOC

database can be obtained from the offices of the Amnesty International

sections, and a current address list of all sections is included on the


Users accessing AI bibliographic information through AIDOC will have

to pay 25p per minute whilst connected to the database.


Due to new information received today, a weekly update item about

Yugoslavia has been delayed - it will be sent to you on Monday. I have

mailed a document, (EUR 48/13/92: "Yugoslavia: Further reports of torture

and deliberate and arbitrary killings in war zones" - EMBARGOED FOR 001 HRS

GMT, THURSDAY 19 MARCH), to you which goes with the above-mentioned weekly

update item. The IS press office will be sending the item as an 'Advice to

Editors' with the document to a selected number of news agencies.

Apologies for the delay.

AI Index: NWS 11/10/92 ADD

Distr: SC/PO

No. of words: 1268


Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 8DJ

United Kingdom



DATE: 13 MARCH 1992


Contained in this addition to the weekly update are external items on

Brazil and Azerbaydzhan.

1. AMR 19/WU 1/92 EXTERNAL

13 March 1992


On 29 February 1992 an Appeal Court in Brazil ordered a retrial of Darli

Alves da Silva, one of the men convicted of the December 1988 murder of the

rubber tapper union leader Francisco 'Chico' Mendes.

Rubber tapper union leader and grassroots environmentalist Chico

Mendes was assassinated on 22 December 1988. Local, state and federal

authorities moved quickly to investigate the crime and make arrests, amidst

intense international pressure and publicity. Investigations focused on

the Alves family, which had been repeatedly accused of acts of violence

against rural workers in three states. Family head Darli Alves da Silva and

sons Darci Alves and Oloci Alves were arrested and other members of the

family were investigated but not apprehended.

After many delays, legal manoeuvres and postponements, Darli Alves da

Silva and Darci Alves were tried for the murder of Chico Mendes on 12 to 15

December 1990. They were each convicted and sentenced to 19 years'

imprisonment. Darli Alves' conviction marked the first time that a

Brazilian court had convicted a landowner for ordering the murder of a

rural trade unionist.

The sentence was appealed by defence lawyers who claimed the trial

was prejudiced by "external pressures" that amounted to an international

campaign against landowners. On 29 February the Appeal Court of the state

of Acre reportedly ruled, by a two-to-one vote, that there was insufficient

evidence to convict Darli Alves da Silva and ordered a retrial. The

conviction of Darli Alves da Silva's son, Darci Alves, accused of having

fired the shots that killed Chico Mendes, was upheld.

Prosecution lawyers stated they would appeal to the Supreme Court

against the Appeal Court's decision. They pointed out that the original

trial was conducted according to international standards for fair trial and

that the evidence against Darli Alves da Silva, including the testimony of

several witnesses, was conclusive. The local prosecutor-general has

requested that Darli Alves da Silva remains in custody pending the result

of the appeal.

An aide to Brazil's Environment Secretary José Lutzenberger was

quoted as saying that "this shows that jail is just for poor people who

steal chickens. Very few landowners even end up there and those who do,

don't stay long." According to press reports a spokesman at the

Presidential Palace in Brasilia declined to comment on the ruling, saying

only: "Under the laws of Brazil, the defendant has the right of appeal."

Amnesty International believes that the outcome of this trial and the

manner in which judicial proceedings are conducted are of paramount

importance for the protection of human rights in Acre and in rural areas

throughout Brazil. In hundreds of other cases in which rural trade union

leaders have been murdered in Brazil, the perpetrators have not been

brought to justice. According to figures from the Comissao Pastoral da

Terra (CPT), Pastoral Land Commission, 41 people were killed in incidents

related to land disputes in 1991. By the end of the year no one had been

convicted for those crimes. Amnesty International has pointed out that the

persistent failure of the authorities to identify those responsible for

such abuses and bring them to justice helps to create a climate of impunity

that encourages further violations of human rights.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the case closely.

Weekly Update NWS 11/10/92 ADD

2. EUR 55/WU 01/92 EXTERNAL

13 March 1992


Amnesty International is appealing to all those associated with the

conflict in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh to ensure that

international humanitarian and human rights principles are observed in the

region. The organization deplores the suffering brought about by abuses

committed in the context of the armed conflict there.

As a human rights organization with a limited mandate Amnesty

International is specifically concerned about reports from conflict zones

of extrajudicial executions and other deliberate and arbitrary killings of

unarmed civilians, and of the torture or ill-treatment of people detained

in connection with the fighting. The information available indicates that

all sides to the conflict have been involved in such violations, and

Amnesty International calls on all sides to protect non-combatants from all

acts of reprisal and violence and to treat prisoners in their custody

humanely. International human rights standards provide that the right to

life and the right to be free from torture and ill-treatment must always be

protected. The Geneva Conventions of 1949, applicable to all governments

and opposition groups, provide that in situations of armed conflict, people

taking no active part in the hostilities should always be protected from

abuses including murder, torture and hostage-taking.

Recent reports of concern to Amnesty International include

allegations that scores of non-combatants of Azeri origin were killed near

the town of Khodzhali at the end of February, and that Armenian non-

combatants died when a civilian helicopter was shot down on 3 March. Those

who died near Khodzhali were said to have included women and children, and

to have been killed deliberately and arbitrarily by Armenian paramilitary

forces while attempting to leave the scene of fighting. Some bodies

recovered were reportedly mutilated. Other Azeri non-combatants from

Khodzhali allege they were taken hostage briefly before being exchanged for

Armenian prisoners, and that while in the custody of Armenians they were

beaten and otherwise ill-treated.

The helicopter which crashed is said to have been a civilian Mi-26

aircraft, crewed by military personnel but carrying 43 non-combatant

Armenians attempting to leave Nagorno-Karabakh. It was reportedly brought

down over the Kalbadzhar district of Azerbaydzhan by a heat-seeking missile

fired by Azeri forces, with the loss of some 17 lives. Several people said

to be non-combatant survivors of the crash have stated that the passengers

and craft were civilian, and that the helicopter was deliberately fired on.

Amnesty International takes no position on territorial disputes. It

is also aware of the often contradictory nature of allegations from

Nagorno-Karabakh, and the difficulty of verifying them. However,

allegations that non-combatants have been deliberately and arbitrarily

killed, and ill-treated while in custody, have come from a number of

different sources and are consistent as to the nature of the violations


Amnesty International expressed its concern to Soviet and

Azerbaydzhani officials last year over allegations that unarmed civilians

had been killed deliberately without warning or attempts to apprehend them,

and that prisoners had been ill-treated and tortured, during a security

operation by Soviet troops and Azerbaydzhani special police in April and

May 1991. In the light of further incidents the organization is currently

appealing to the Presidents of both Armenia and Azerbaydzhan to exert all

influence they are able to bring to bear on the situation in order to

ensure the observance of international humanitarian and human rights

principles in Nagorno-Karabakh.

AI Index: NWS 11/10/92 ADD2

Distr: SC/PO

No. of words: 437


Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 8DJ

United Kingdom



DATE: 16 MARCH 1992


Contained in this addition to the weekly update is an external item on

Yugoslavia (see previous addition for further details).

1. EUR 48/WU 03/92 EXTERNAL

16 March 1992



AI has called on the federal, Serbian and Croatian authorities to

investigate all reports of extrajudicial executions or deliberate and

arbitrary killings of unarmed civilians or captured combatants, as well as

reports of the ill-treatment of prisoners detained in connection with the

conflict and to bring those responsible for abuses to justice.

In a new document, the human rights organization provides information

about abuses committed in the period between October 1991 and February

1992, including the killing of Croatian civilians by Serbian paramilitaries

operating with, or in the wake of, the Yugoslav National Army (JNA). In one

such incident captured Croatian villagers were used to clear a minefield,

as a result of which 17 died. Amnesty International is also concerned about

reports of the arbitrary arrest, killing or "disappearance" of members of

the Serbian minority in Croatia by members of the Croatian security forces

or Croatian paramilitaries. Amnesty International has also received

accounts of the torture or ill-treatment of prisoners captured by the

parties to the conflict. These include accounts by doctors who were among

several thousand prisoners, including civilians, captured by the JNA after

the fall of Vukovar on 18 November 1991 and held in Sremska Mitrovica

prison and in two improvised camps near Zrenjanin in the Vojvodina. The

organization has also received reports of the torture and ill-treatment of

prisoners detained by the Croatian authorities in Zadar, Gospic and Zagreb.

Amnesty International has urged all those involved in the conflict to

ensure that international humanitarian standards are upheld and human

rights protected. The organization has urged all parties to treat prisoners

humanely and to release all those who have neither used nor advocated

violence, and who have not been charged with a recognizably criminal


On 3 January 1992 a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire came into

force, which has significantly reduced armed conflict in Croatia. Amnesty

International welcomes the fact that the United Nations peace-keeping

force, shortly to arrive in Croatia, will include United Nations civilian

police monitors who will monitor the work of local police forces and be

responsible for investigating any complaints of discrimination or other

abuses of human rights and of reporting any confirmed cases to the Chief of

the United Nations Force in Croatia.

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