Document - Amnesty International News Service 277/94
NEWS SERVICE 277/94
TO: PRESS OFFICERSAI INDEX: NWS 11/277/94
FROM: IS PRESS OFFICEDISTR: SC/PO
DATE: 8 DECEMBER 1994 NO OF WORDS: 964
NEWS SERVICE ITEMS: EXTERNAL - EGYPT, CHINA
NOTE: See explanation below of these two news items just finalized last night.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELEASES
Egypt - 10 December - This is a recent news service just written by the Egypt/Libya research team, after they noticed that Human Rights Day falls upon the anniversary of the "disappearance" of a prominent Middle Eastern human rights activist. This release will be sent to Arabic media and selected international news agencies.
Afghanistan - 15 December - SEE NEWS SERVICES 275 AND 267
**Bosnia - CANCELLED** - SEE NEWS SERVICE 268
We are cancelling the news release to go with the SLA starting on 21 December. This is because the situation in Bosnia is so uncertain at the moment - whatever happens in the near future is unlikely to relate to the SLA report. We are watching the situation closely and will do a speedy reactive news item if AI concerns come up.
Sudan - 25 January - SEE NEWS SERVICES 275 AND 261
Turkey - 8 February - SEE NEWS SERVICE 261
Northern Iraq - 28 February - SEE NEWS SERVICE 266
TARGETED AND LIMITED NEWS RELEASES
China - 9 December - This news service has been produced for a lobbying effort currently underway in the United Kingdom. It will be targeted by the IS Press Office to Hong Kong and other Far East news correspondents. The document referred to in the news item, The imprisonment and harassment of Jesus Family members in Shandong province, was sent to sections in the last Weekly Mailing (26 November).
News Service 277/94
AI INDEX: MDE 12/WU 06/94
EMBARGOED FOR 10 DECEMBER 1994
EGYPT: ANNIVERSARY OF "DISAPPEARANCE" OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST COINCIDES WITH COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
One year ago today, a prominent human rights activist and outspoken critic of the Libyan government "disappeared" in Egypt and has not been heard of again.
As part of Amnesty International's commemoration of International Human Rights Day, the organization today asked the Egyptian Government to make public its investigation into the abduction of Mansur Kikhiya, a prominent Libyan lawyer who went missing on 10 December 1993 from al-Safir Hotel in Cairo.
Mansur Kikhiya was attending a conference held by the Arab Organization for Human Rights. The alarm was raised when he failed to arrive for a meeting with his brother.
Amnesty International fears that he may have been abducted by agents of the Libyan Government since he was the Secretary General of the National Libyan Alliance, the main Libyan opposition group. These fears increased when, two days later, the Libyan authorities publicly described opposition members abroad as "stray dogs" and called for their "annihilation."
"We are concerned that the outcome of the investigation into the 'disappearance' of Mansur Kikhiya has still not been made public," Amnesty International said.
"We have already asked the Egyptian authorities to make public the results of the investigation, as well as asking the Libyan Government for information about Mansur Kikhiya's whereabouts, but we have not had any reply from either government," the organization said.
Mansur Kikhiya dedicated much of his time to campaigning for human rights. He played an active role in the establishment of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, and is also a member of its Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Arab Lawyers' Union.
Between 1972 and 1974, Mansur Kikhiya served as Libya's Foreign Minister. In 1975 he was appointed Libya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, a post held until September 1980 when he resigned in protest against the torture and execution of political opponents by the Libyan Government. Married with two children, Mansur Kikhiya lived in France before his "disappearance".
Immediately following Mansur Kikhiya's "disappearance", the Egyptian authorities expressed concern over the incident and said that they would do all they could to ensure his safety. The Minister of the Interior, General Mohammad Hassan al-Alfy, stated: "Egypt is very concerned about Mansur Kikhiya's 'disappearance' and that the authorities have launched an investigation into the matter".
Amnesty International opposes the practice of enforced "disappearance" as a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as proclaimed by Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
"Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity," Amnesty International said. "It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this field."
News Service 277/94
AI Index: ASA 17/WU 14/94
EMBARGOED FOR 9 DECEMBER 1994
CHINA: PERSECUTION OF A PROTESTANT COMMUNITY
New information from Shandong province in China details how members of a protestant community have been detained, their village partly demolished and their property confiscated by police.
At least 31 members of the Jesus Family are reported to be currently serving prison terms of between three and 12 years for their peaceful religious activities. Many of those detained are women, 18 of whom have been subjected to cruel and degrading treatment while in police custody.
Amnesty International is calling for a full investigation into allegations that female members of the Jesus Family were subjected to cruel and degrading treatment while in police custody and for the authorities to investigate the circumstances of the police raids on the village community in June 1992.
Amnesty International is publishing a report, The imprisonment and harassment of Jesus Family members in Shandong province which calls on the government to release immediately and unconditionally all members of the Jesus Family currently detained.
Over 60 members were reported to have been detained following a police raid on their village in June 1992 during which a large part of the village was demolished or damaged and a large amount of property confiscated.
The community's leader, Zheng Yunsu, who is over 60, is currently serving a 12-year term of imprisonment at a large labour reform detachment in Tai'an city, Shandong province. His four sons Zheng Jipin, Zheng Jike, Zheng Jie and Zheng Jiyong received sentences of nine and five years' imprisonment and are believed to be serving their sentences working in coal mines in Shandong province.
Other members of the community received three-year terms of "reeducation through labour", an administrative punishment imposed by local government committees, without charge or trial, which involves detention in forced labour camps for up to three years.
Amnesty International has continued to receive reports about the harassment and repression of members of other religious groups in various parts of China during the past year. It has publicised such cases in separate documents.