Document - Weekly Update Service 13/92 (includes addition)
AI Index: NWS 11/13/92
No. of words: 960
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 8DJ
TO: PRESS OFFICERS
FROM: PRESS AND PUBLICATIONS
DATE: 2 APRIL 1992
WEEKLY UPDATE SERVICE 13/92
Contained in this weekly update is an external for response item on
1. NEWS INITIATIVES - INTERNAL
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.
Togo - 8 April 1992 (New Information)
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
1991. The news release has been sent to you.
Sudan - 15 April (New Information)
A document and news release, which the IS press office will be sending out
to press contacts in the UK, Africa and the Middle East. The news release
has now been sent to you.
Israel/Lebanon - 7 May
News release to accompany first detailed report on treatment and conditions
of detainees in Khiam prison, south Lebanon.
Burundi - 13 May (New Information)
Targeted news release with short document, following recent mission to
China (Tibet) - 20 May 1992
A document and news release to go with a small-scale campaign.
Pakistan - 28 May
A document and targeted news release on arrests in Sind.
Annual Report - 9 July (New Information)
Thank you for your quick responses to our query about the embargo date. All
responses were positive, so 9 July is the confirmed embargo date.
POSSIBLE NEWS INITIATIVES, STILL TO BE CONFIRMED
South Africa - date now possibly 10 June (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 quite
likely to be 10 June.
Turkey (New Information)
The planned news release on Turkey has been cancelled. A document on past
abuses is planned, and weekly update items will keep you up-to-date with
NOTE RE: INDIA LAUNCH
It would be really useful for us to compile an analysis of the media
coverage of the India Campaign Launch. Please could you assess how good
the media coverage was in your country and detail what coverage you think
was most important. In particular we are interested in finding out which
images from the ENR were used - to improve future ENRs.
Weekly Update NWS 11/13/92
2. MDE 30/WU 02/92 EXTERNAL FOR RESPONSE
2 April 1992
The Tunisian government has issued a press statement to the international
media, expressing willingness to co-operate with AI but also making several
inaccurate claims about our recent report. This weekly update item answers
the government's statements.
If any of the media in your countries have carried the Tunisian
government's statement and you feel the report has been misrepresented, you
may send this item to them in response. However, we obviously don't want
media to run the story unless they have already done so, so don't send the
item out except in response. Many thanks for your help on this one.
TUNISIA: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WELCOMES COOPERATION, RESPONDS TO GOVERNMENT
Amnesty International today wrote to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
welcoming the Tunisian government's statement on 30 March that it "stands
ready to continue working with Amnesty International to ensure that all
allegations of human rights abuses in Tunisia are accurately, thoroughly
and fairly investigated". The organization repeated its offer to send a
delegation to Tunisia to discuss the human rights concerns addressed in its
recent report, Tunisia: Incommunicado detention and torture, and Amnesty
International's recommendations towards redressing these violations.
In the letter Amnesty International reminded the President that the
concerns described in the report had been raised repeatedly in letters and
discussions with members of the Tunisian Government over the past year.
They were placed on the public record after the Tunisian Government
continued to reject the overwhelming evidence of the systematic use of
prolonged incommunicado detention and torture in Tunisia.
The organization expressed its regret that the Tunisian Government's
press release, rather than addressing Amnesty International's
recommendations, attempted to cast doubt on the findings of the report. In
fact, the press release made a number of incorrect references to AI's
The Tunisian Government's news release denies that Abdellatif Tlili
was ever arrested and states that Monji Jouini was not under arrest at the
time he says he was tortured. However, the evidence available to Amnesty
International indicates that Abdellatif Tlili was arrested on 21 November
1991 and severely tortured before being released without charge on 1
January 1991 and that Monji Jouini was arrested on 19 December 1991 and
subsequently tortured, as alleged in his statement.
The Tunisian press release states that: "Najib Laamari was not killed
under torture". Amnesty International has not in fact raised the case of
Najib Laamari in any public statement. Following its normal practice, the
organization sought clarification from the Tunisian Government after
receiving reports that Najib Laamari had died in detention. However, his
case was not included in Amnesty International's recent report on human
rights violations in Tunisia. Nor has Amnesty International ever stated
that Ajmi Lourimi "was blinded by torture", as suggested in the Tunisian
Government's press release. In April and June 1991, Amnesty International
made urgent appeals to the Tunisian Government after receiving information
that Ajmi Lourimi had been tortured while held in prolonged incommunicado
detention without charge or trial - from 5 April until 13 May 1991 - but
Amnesty International's letter to President Ben Ali ends by asking
the Tunisian President about any action taken by the Tunisian Government to
carry out further investigations into the death of Faisal Barakat in the
light of the sworn statement by a British Professor of Forensic Medicine
given to the Tunisian ambassador in London on 3 March.
AI Index: NWS 11/13/92 ADD
No. of words: 825
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 8DJ
TO: PRESS OFFICERS
FROM: PRESS AND PUBLICATIONS
DATE: 3 APRIL 1992
ADDITION TO WEEKLY UPDATE SERVICE 13/92
Contained in this addition to the weekly update are external items on Ghana
and the Isle of Man.
1. AFR 28/WU 01/92 EXTERNAL
3 April 1992
Please note that the case of Jacob Yidana is featured in the Worldwide
Appeals section of the April 1992 Newsletter which was printed and
distributed before his release. Please do not feature his case in section
newsletters and halt all letter-writing actions on this case, where
possible; ensure that the case is not used for future appeals.
GHANA: 2 PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE AND 15 OTHER POLITICAL PRISONERS RELEASED
Amnesty International welcomes the release of two prisoners of conscience,
Major Courage Quarshigah and Jacob Yidana, by Ghana's ruling Provisional
National Defence Council on 20 March 1992, together with 15 other political
prisoners. However, the organization remains concerned that other
political detainees continue to be held without charge or trial. Amnesty
International considers that all such detainees should be brought to trial
promptly on recognizably criminal charges or released.
Major Courage Quarshigah had been detained without charge or trial
since September 1989 together with at least eight other prisoners, four of
whom, Edward Akakpo, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulai Yusif, Joy Cudjoe and Simon
Sablah, have not been released and remain in detention. They were accused
of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government, but the authorities
have failed to produce evidence to substantiate this accusation or to bring
them to court.
Amnesty International had been campaigning on the case of Jacob
Yidana for many years. A former Chief Superintendent of Police, he was
sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for his alleged involvement in a
coup attempt in November 1982, and transferred to administrative detention
in July 1988. The use of administrative detention, to prevent his release
at the end of his prison sentence, strongly suggested that the motive for
his imprisonment was political. It has been alleged that his trial was
unfair and that the real reason for his conviction was that he led an
investigation into the murder of three judges and a retired army officer in
June 1982 which implicated members of the government.
Other political prisoners released included Andrew Kwame Pianim, an
economist, businessman and former chief executive of the Cocoa Marketing
Board. He was convicted in August 1983 of preparing to overthrow the
government in connection with the November 1982 coup attempt, and was
sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment. However, there appeared to be
inadequate evidence to justify his conviction and he was not allowed to
appeal against his sentence.
Also released was Bombardier Mustapha Mohamed, one of Ghana's longest
held political prisoners, detained without charge or trial since December
1982. Other members of the armed forces were also released, including
Corporal Stanley Okyere and three others who had been held without charge
or trial since 1983.
Amnesty International had highlighted these and other cases in a
report published in December 1991, in which it expressed concern at the
continued use of political imprisonment and detention without trial to
silence critics and opponents of the government in Ghana. Many political
prisoners have been detained incommunicado and some, particularly those
arrested and accused of subversion in the early and mid-1980s, were
reportedly tortured and ill-treated.
Amnesty International urges the Ghanaian government to take steps to
ensure that all remaining political detainees are released if they are not
to be given fair trial without further delay on recognizably criminal
charges. At the very least, all such detainees' cases should be the subject
of a full judicial review, with the detainees being informed of the
specific reasons for their detention and an adequate opportunity to
challenge their detention, including through the provision of full rights
of legal advice and representation. Amnesty International is also urging
the government to repeal the laws which allow unlimited detention without
charge or trial.
Weekly Update NWS 11/13/92 ADD
2. EUR 45/WU 03/92 EXTERNAL
3 April 1992
ISLE OF MAN/UNITED KINGDOM: PARLIAMENT VOTES TO LEGALIZE HOMOSEXUALITY
The Isle of Man parliament, the House of Keys, has voted to legalize
homosexuality after a debate on the issue on 31 March. The approved
amendments to the Sexual Offences Bill will decriminalize homosexual acts
in private between consenting men over 21. Previously, the law allowed for
the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of consenting male adults engaging
in homosexual acts in private, with sentences ranging from two years to
In February, Amnesty International sent delegates on a fact-finding
visit to the island to investigate existing legislation on homosexuality,
and to discuss the matter with authorities. The organization wrote to the
Chief Minister of the Isle of Man urging the House of Keys and the
government to ensure that the island's legislation governing sexual
offences will no longer permit the imprisonment of people for consensual
homosexual acts between men in private, who would be considered by the
organization to be prisoners of conscience.