Document - Amnesty International News, January 2001. Vol.31, No.1.
January 2001, Vol.31,
PLEASE NOTE: The symbol ø
WWAis actually an i without
the dot at the top. ð is a g with an upside down roof on the top of
THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
Ridwan* was just 14 years old
when his father was taken away by the Indonesian special command
forces, Kopassus, in March 1991. While searching for his father
over the next three days, Ridwan estimates he saw 20
''Each day we would hear of
more bodies – we would go immediately to see if it was my father –
we would find them on the side of the road, in plantations and in
other places,'' he said.
On the third day, they found
his father's body in a plantation. He had been shot in the head and
there was a 15cm nail through his skull. His arms and legs had been
cut and his hands were swollen from having been tied up. When
Kopassus troops came to their home a week later seeking documents,
they threw Ridwan to the ground and smashed his hand with a stone
for trying to help his mother who only spoke Acehnese.
Ridwan and his family are
among thousands of people in the province of Aceh, North Sumatra,
who have suffered terrible human rights violations during the
course of counter-insurgency operations by the Indonesian security
forces against the pro-independence armed opposition group, Gerakan
Aceh Merdeka (GAM), the Free Aceh Movement. Several thousand
civilians are believed to have been unlawfully killed between 1989
Although recent government
initiatives to investigate past human rights violations have raised
hopes that impunity may finally be tackled, the cycle of violence
continues. A whole generation of young Acehnese has been affected.
Thousands of children whose parents have been killed or have
''disappeared'' continue to be obstructed in their attempt to find
out the fate of their loved ones now, and even risk becoming
victims themselves. Saiful* was 13 years old when his father
''disappeared''. His uncle was arrested soon after and has been
missing ever since. Eight years later, in November 1999, Saiful's
older brother was taken by the military. Saiful decided he must
find out the fate of his family – but has been accused of being a
GAM member and threatened with death himself.
Women also continue to suffer
serious violations, including rape and other forms of torture.
Several women and girls were reportedly raped or sexually assaulted
when men in military uniforms entered their house in Matangkuli,
North Aceh, on 7 March 2000 during an operation by security forces
to track down suspected GAM members. Although investigations have
been carried out into the incident, no one has yet been brought to
Those who seek to highlight
human rights abuses and assist the victims are also targeted.
Humanitarian workers, human rights defenders and other political
activists have been killed, arrested, tortured and have
''disappeared''. On 2 September 2000, the body of Jafar Siddiq
Hamzah, a human rights activist with the US-based International
Forum for Aceh (IFA), was discovered dumped in a ravine with four
others, around one month after he had gone missing in Medan, North
Sumatra. His body was reportedly bound in barbed wire and bore
marks of torture. Both the security forces and GAM have denied
responsibility for his death. A police investigation has so far
failed to identify the perpetrators.
Amnesty International (AI)
has consistently called for an end to the violence against
civilians and has urged effective systems of accountability be set
up. In November 2000, the organization launched three reports to
highlight the desperate human rights situations for women, children
and human rights activists: Indonesia: Activists at risk in Aceh
(AI Index: ASA 21/61/00); Indonesia: The impact of impunity on
women in Aceh (AI Index: ASA 21/60/00); and Indonesia: A cycle of
violence for Aceh's children (AI Index: ASA 21/59/00).
AI holds two-day workshop on
the role of the media in protecting human rights
Journalists and media
representatives from across Lebanon took part in a two-day workshop
– the first event to be organized by AI's Middle East regional
office in Beirut.
The workshop, run in
collaboration with UNESCO's regional office, focused on ''the role
of the media in protecting human rights''. The formal opening was
attended by more than 150 people, including human rights activists
and prominent members of Lebanese society. Journalists,
representatives of the country's media institutions, media
departments at universities and human rights associations all
attended the event, which took place on 19 and 20 October
Workshop panel discussions
examined the important role of the media in increasing human rights
awareness and fighting all kinds of discrimination against women.
The second day of the workshop was devoted to training sessions led
by prominent Lebanese journalists and university professors of
journalism. More than 30 young journalists took part in the
The main recommendations that
arose from the workshop included:
1) practical suggestions
encouraging the media to adopt a more analytical and positive
approach, such as highlighting the implications and effects of
human rights issues and violations rather than just reporting
2) examining the obstacles
journalists face both inside and outside their institutions: their
need for a proper legal framework, as well as support from civil
society, to protect them in their work and provide them with better
access to information concerning human rights issues;
3) strengthening ties and
networking between the media and civil society
The workshop, which was
followed by an exhibition of the launch of AI's international
campaign against torture, enjoyed extensive coverage by the
Lebanese print and electronic media.
Human rights abuses
Amnesty International noted
in its report, Bahrain: Human rights developments and Amnesty
International's continuing concerns, launched in November 2000,
that there have been many positive developments in the human rights
field in Bahrain. Human rights violations are being reported on a
lesser scale than in previous years. Hundreds of political
prisoners have been released and Bahrain has ratified the UN
Convention against Torture without reservation. A human rights
committee has been set up and there are greater margins for freedom
of expression, including discussion of women's rights.
However, the laws that
facilitated past abuses remain in force. Anti-government protesters
or suspected political opponents are still routinely at risk of
arrest by the authorities. Several hundred prisoners are detained
without charge or trial, including five prisoners of conscience who
have been in detention since January 1996. The State Security Court
continues to pass sentences after grossly unfair trials.
Although systematic torture
has decreased in recent years, the practices of beating on the
soles of the feet (falaqa) and suspension by the limbs continue to
The deaths in custody of a
number of people, including some who were detained after the
anti-government protests of December 1994, are not known to have
been investigated. Every year suspected opponents and their
families who have spent time abroad are denied entry to the
country. Independent human rights organizations and other similar
groups are not allowed to function. In October 2000, a request by a
group of people, including lawyers, to set up an independent human
rights organization was refused.
Twenty-seven inmates at a
rehabilitation camp killed in vicious attack
Twenty-seven Tamil men aged
between 14 and 23 were killed when the rehabilitation camp in which
they were held was attacked by hundreds of local villagers. Among
those killed were several former child soldiers of the armed
opposition group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who had
been arrested or had surrendered to the security forces.
The attack, by members of the
largely Sinhalese community at Bindunewewa in central Sri Lanka,
happened on 25 October 2000 amid tension in the camp over various
issues, including delays in the release of inmates and receipt of
correspondence. Some sources said the attack was provoked by
posters that appeared a couple of days earlier urging the closure
of the rehabilitation camp.
AI wrote an open letter to
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga calling for a full and
impartial inquiry into the killings. The organization also urged a
thorough review of the detention regime for those people held under
the Prevention of Terrorism Act and emergency regulations, which it
believes was a key contributing factor in this incident.
According to AI's
information, the police personnel deployed at the camp were at the
very least negligent in their duty to protect the inmates. There
have also been allegations that some of these police officers may
have incited villagers to violence. Sri Lanka's National Human
Rights Commission, in an interim report submitted to the President
on 1 November, stated that ''it is clear that the police officers,
approximately 60 in number, have been guilty of a grave dereliction
of duty in not taking any effective action to prevent the acts of
violence.'' As of late November, 13 officers of the nearby
Bandarawela police station and two army personnel who had been
running the rehabilitation camp were being held in detention but
had not been charged. Twenty-two civilians were also held on
suspicion of involvement, including three trainee teachers from a
nearby college who were identified by survivors as among the
AI has noted the President's
swift condemnation of the attack, and the granting of compensation
to the injured and the relatives of those killed. In late November,
there were reports that the government was due to appoint an
independent commission of inquiry, but at the time of writing, no
such commission had yet been constituted.
Alleged rape and sexual abuse
Zeynep Avcø was reportedly
tortured, including being raped and sexually abused, while held in
incommunicado detention. The alleged perpetrators have still not
The 21-year-old Kurdish woman
was arrested in Izmir on 24 November 1996 on suspicion of being a
member of the illegal armed opposition group Kurdistan Workers'
She was reportedly held by
the anti-terror branch at Izmir police headquarters until 3
December before being transferred to the same branch in Istanbul,
spending a total of up to 25 days in incommunicado detention. The
maximum period for detention in police custody then permitted by
the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code was 15 days.
Zeynep Avcø said that during
her detention at Izmir police headquarters she was given electric
shocks repeatedly over several hours; a truncheon was inserted into
her anus and she was forced to sit on it until she bled; and one
officer, believed to be of a high rank, then raped her.
A formal complaint was
submitted by Zeynep Avcø's lawyer in May 1997, but the Izmir
prosecutor decided not to investigate the charges because he was
told it was impossible to get medical verification of her claims.
When her case, which is still ongoing, went to the European Court
of Human Rights the Turkish authorities reportedly tried to tarnish
her reputation by alluding to previous sexual
Zeynep Avcø, who has been in
Gebze prison since her arrest and still awaits the outcome of her
trial, began receiving psychological therapy in March 1999, though
she stopped after three sessions because security officers insisted
on being present. In November 1999, she was diagnosed as suffering
from chronic post traumatic stress disorder.
+Please write, calling for a
full and impartial investigation into Zeynep Avcø's allegations of
torture and ill-treatment. Send appeals to: Professor Hikmet Sami
Türk, Minister of Justice, Adalet Bakanø, Adalet Bakanløðø, 06659
Human rights defenders
Angel Quintero and Claudia
Patricia Monsalve, two human rights defenders, ''disappeared'' in
Medellín, Antioquia department, on 6 October 2000, barely a month
after AI condemned death threats made against them. Their
whereabouts are unknown and there is grave concern for their
safety. Witnesses say that they were abducted by two gunmen on a
motorcycle and a group of men in a pick-up truck.
Angel Quintero has faced
continuous threats as a result of his work with the human rights
organization, Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
(ASFADDES), Association of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared,
on the ''disappearances'' of members of his wife's family. Claudia
Monsalve has been working with ASFADDES to find out what happened
to her brother, a university student who ''disappeared'' in 1995.
In recent months ASFADDES workers and other human rights defenders
in Medellín have increasingly been threatened with death and
several have left the region in fear of their lives. Despite
national and international condemnation, the authorities have taken
no decisive action to find out who issued these threats. ASFADDES
members all over Colombia have suffered continuous threats and
harassment, as well as killings and ''disappearances'' by the
security forces and their paramilitary allies.
+Please write, calling for a
full and impartial investigation and urging the authorities to
intensify the search for Angel Quintero and Claudia Patricia
Monsalve and to take immediate action to protect human rights
defenders in Medellín. Send letters to: Presidente Andrés Pastrana
Arango, Presidente de la República, Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8
no. 7/26, Bogotá, Colombia (fax: +57 1 2867434/287 7938/2842186/289
Prisoners of conscience
sentenced after unfair trials
Opposition leader Alpha Condé
and 10 other prisoners of conscience were given prison sentences in
September 2000 after an unfair trial.
Alpha Condé, president of the
Rassemblement pour la Guinée (RPG), Guinean People's Rally, was
arrested on 15 December 1998 – a day after he had been placed third
in presidential elections.
He was later charged, along
with 47 others, on counts including illegal use of armed force and
attacking the state's authority and territorial
Alpha Condé was sentenced to
five years' imprisonment after a five-month trial. Nine defendants
received prison sentences of between 18 months and three years; one
defendant received a one year suspended sentence. Thirty-three
defendants were acquitted and four others were sentenced in
absentia to 10 years' imprisonment.
There were serious pre-trial
irregularities, including failure to observe the time-limit for
police custody, denial of family visits in detention and access to
case files for defence lawyers. Some defendants complained of being
regularly tortured to extract false confessions and implicate Alpha
The trial singularly failed
to meet the majority of international standards of fair trial. The
defendants were tried before a special court, whose members were
appointed by the Head of State and which does not allow any
appeals. Defence lawyers consistently raised objections regarding
the irregularities, and collectively withdrew when the court
rejected them. State lawyers were subsequently assigned to the case
by the court, against the wishes of the defendants.
+Please write, in French if
possible, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of
Alpha Condé and the other prisoners of conscience and for all
allegations of torture to be investigated. Send appeals to: Son
Excellence le Général de Brigade, Lansana Conté, Président de la
République et Chef du gouvernement, Présidence de la République,
Conakry, Guinea (fax: +224 41 16 73); and to: Son Excellence,
Monsieur Abou Camara, Ministre de la Justice, Ministère de la
Justice, Conakry, Guinea (fax: +224 41 16 17).
Child soldiers at
Children recruited into the
armed forces in the United Kingdom (UK) face the real risk of being
deployed into battle as well as being vulnerable to bullying and
ill-treatment by fellow soldiers and their superiors.
Two 17-year-old soldiers and
one 18-year-old on the day of his birthday died in the Falklands
War. About 200 under-18s were sent to the Gulf war, and two of them
died. Under-18s were deployed during the Kosovo crisis. In April
1999, the media reported that the youngest tank driver, a
17-year-old, was ''ready for battle'' in Macedonia.
In May 2000 a 17-year-old
rifleman was found not guilty of desertion after he argued that he
had been systematically bullied, including from his superiors. He
had been dragged out of his room, forced to strip and to sing with
others jeering at his genitals. In 1998 a sergeant was sentenced to
seven years' imprisonment for the rape of a 17-year-old recruit
during her first weeks of training.
Training exercises can also
be lethally dangerous. In March 2000 a 17-year-old was shot and
killed, allegedly because of a mix-up of live and blank ammunition.
In October 1998 a 16-year-old died during a river-crossing
Recruitment and deployment
put at risk the right to life and the physical and mental integrity
The Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of
children in armed conflict sets out to limit any deployment of
under-18s into combat. But this has been undermined by the UK's
declaration in September 2000 that even if it ratifies the Optional
Protocol, there would be circumstances in which it would send
children into the battlefield.
AI urges the UK to ratify the
Optional Protocol promptly without any reservation and to stop the
recruitment of children. The country should not rely on school
leavers to tackle its armed forces' recruitment and retention
In November 2000 AI called on
the UK government to stop its policy of recruiting under-18s and
deploying them into armed conflict situations, as it launched a new
report, United Kingdom: U-18s: Report on the recruitment and
deployment of child soldiers (AI Index: EUR 45/57/00).
A major step towards ending
In a major step towards
ending impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses, the UN
Security Council decided in August 2000 to establish a Special
Court to prosecute those most responsible for crimes against
humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international
humanitarian law. Since the internal armed conflict began in 1991,
thousands of civilians have been deliberately and arbitrarily
killed or had limbs hacked off. Women and girls have been
systematically raped and thousands of children have been forced to
A peace agreement between the
government and the armed opposition Revolutionary United Front
(RUF), signed in July 1999, provided a total amnesty to those
responsible for these atrocities. Although the UN added a
disclaimer that the amnesty did not apply to crimes under
international law, it remained unclear how the perpetrators of such
crimes would be brought to justice.
Killings, rape, abductions
and recruitment of children into both rebel and government-allied
forces increased from May 2000 when rebel forces captured UN
peace-keeping forces and hostilities resumed. Implementation of the
peace agreement collapsed and RUF leader Foday Sankoh, who had been
given a government position, was arrested. The government asked the
UN for assistance to establish a special court to try leading RUF
AI made recommendations to
the UN for ensuring a credible, effective and fair mechanism to
achieve justice for the victims of human rights abuses. It insisted
that no individual or party to the conflict should be singled out
for prosecution to the exclusion of others.
Commenting on the draft
Statute of the Special Court in November 2000, AI called in
particular for the Court to try crimes committed throughout the
conflict, for any recruitment of children, whether forced or
voluntary, to be defined as a crime, and for adequate and sustained
funding for the Court.
Momentum for establishing the
Special Court must be maintained and the necessary political,
financial and practical support provided. It is also essential,
however, that Sierra Leone's judicial system, all but destroyed
during the conflict, be rebuilt and strengthened so that it can
eventually assume responsibility for bringing perpetrators of human
rights abuses to justice.
PLEASE NOTE: Turkish name
in the list of on-going WWAs -EÕber Ya—murdereli.
Õis an s with a cedilla at
the bottom;—is a g with an upside down
roof on the top of it.
Just over two years ago, a
group of students from Belgrade University made a decision that
would unexpectedly transform their country. Concerned by the
increasing dominance of the government over the country's
universities, they agreed they wanted to see greater democracy
returned to Yugoslavia and decided to campaign for free and fair
So Otpor – meaning resistance
– was born. It was to be an organization that would carry out its
mission peacefully, delivering the message through street drama,
concerts and publicity. Their symbol would be a clenched fist to
signify strength and unity. There would be no leaders and any
decisions would be made by consensus, both to ensure that everyone
took responsibility for Otpor's actions and to confuse the
What sprung from youthful
idealism and determination in October 1998 eventually inspired
60,000 activists and half a million supporters. On 27 September
2000, Otpor's founders finally achieved their dream – the country
had said 'no' to the government of Slobodan Miloševiƒ and demanded
''We succeeded because a lot
of people accepted our idea that something had to change,''
explained 23-year-old Sonja Papak, of Otpor, when she took part in
a student speakers' tour of British universities last November for
''We were getting attacked a
lot by the police – for organizing concerts and street demos,
selling tickets and putting up posters – and I think a lot of
people got angry with it. Our parents and our friends were saying,
'why are they attacking our children when they are only wearing a
t-shirt with a clenched fist on it?'
''On one occasion the police
came to our offices and took everything away, including 600
t-shirts and computers. So we informed the media that we would be
replacing everything. A lot of media came to our offices and so did
the police who then took away all the boxes – only this time the
boxes were empty.
''It was because of actions
like these that many people wanted to join us. We were showing that
we weren't afraid of the regime so people were saying, 'well, if
the children are not afraid then why should we be'.''
However, by spring 2000 Otpor
activists were increasingly becoming targets of police violence.
AI's Yugoslavia researcher Kim Burton said: ''AI became concerned
about the number of students being harassed. The number of arrests
increased from 10 to 20 cases a month to as many as 400. Towards
the end there were up to 50 a day.''
Aca Radic, aged 23, was
carrying out Otpor activities in his home town of Vladicin Han in
southern Serbia when he was arrested and tortured by the
He and five friends had been
putting up Otpor's ''He's finished'' stickers over existing posters
of Miloševiƒ when they were caught by police. They were asked to go
to the police station the next day, which they did. After filling
in the required forms, they were about to leave when a group of
drunk police officers confronted them. It was the start of a
four-hour nightmare for the activists. They were forced to squat in
a painful position for half an hour; three had their feet bound and
beaten; another was beaten until his head was bloody and swollen
and he lay unconscious on the floor.
At one point, Aca was asked
to write a statement. ''These police officers came in with a stick,
and a third one with a rope. They said they could do what they
wanted with us; and even threatened to drop us at the Kosovo
border. One officer started to make a noose from the rope. He swore
horribly all the time, and then brought the noose forward towards
my neck and laughed. I started to lose breath. I could feel the
pressure in my head and thought my eyes would pop out.''
Pretending to write his
statement, Aca was in fact sending out text messages on a mobile
phone. Not long after, as many as 400 friends and family arrived at
the police station to demand their release.
Although Otpor fulfilled its
initial aim, its work has not ended. Its new symbol is a bulldozer
''to signify the rebuilding of a state after 10 years of decay,''
explained Sonja. They are also working to overturn impunity. ''We
want to find out the truth of what happened over the last 10 years.
We have asked people to bring information about what has happened
to them, so we can take it to the lawyers.''
Just before the end of 2000,
three policemen from Vladicin Han, including police chief Major
Radivoje Stamenkovic, were put on trial charged with beating up Aca
and the other five activists.
Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, whose
whereabouts remained unknown for 10 months, was finally released
from unacknowledged detention on 7 July 2000. AI received reliable
information indicating that for the majority of the time Bishnu
Pukar Shrestha was held incommunicado within the Armed Forces
Section of the Police Training Centre at Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, an
unofficial place of detention.
Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, a
secondary-school teacher and human rights activist, ''disappeared''
on 2 September 1999, after witnesses saw him being grabbed by six
men while getting off a bus.
Appeals on behalf of Bishnu
Pukar Shrestha were sent to the Nepal government authorities by
members of parliament, the diplomatic community and local and
international human rights organizations, as well as members of
In a letter to AI dated 6
August 2000, Bishnu Pukar Shrestha wrote: ''I owe for the
tremendous job performed by you, the Secretary General, the staff
and officials of Amnesty International for my release. I would like
to extend my cordial thanks to all of them who [were] involved to
bring me out of the mouth of death...''
Thanks to all who sent
Arsen Arutyunyan and danis
Arsen Arutyunyan and Danis
Sirazhev have had their death sentences commuted. The two singers,
in a well-known Uzbek pop group, were transferred from their death
cell in a prison in Tashkent to a prison colony in the town of
Andizhan in May 2000.
They were charged with the
April 1998 murder of Laylo Aliyeva, a singer and, on 3 November
1999, were sentenced to death. Although they had originally
confessed to the killing, Arsen Arutyunyan later claimed that his
confession had been extracted under duress.
Arsen Arutyunyan's sister
wrote: ''Had it not been for the work of your organization, your
approaches to the media, your persistent work, we couldn't have
hoped for a good outcome. When I first turned to you, my whole
family and I were desperate and, to tell the truth, didn't think
that anything or anybody could help. But the miracle came true, a
miracle worked not by God, but by people.''
Thanks to all who sent
Dilfuza Numonova, a
21-year-old trainee jeweller, has had her death sentence commuted.
She was given 15 years' imprisonment by the Presidium of the
Supreme Court of Tajikistan on 25 July 2000. It is believed she
will be moved from Dushanbe City Prison to the women's prison in
the town of Khodzhand where she will be able to receive regular
family visits and medical treatment.
AI and the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had been pressing the
Tajik authorities not to execute Dilfuza Numonova.
She had been sentenced to
death in January 2000, after a reportedly unfair trial, for the
November 1999 shooting of her lover. She consistently maintained
her innocence, saying she had confessed under duress.
Thanks to everyone who sent
Roman Sidelnikov and oleg
Prisoners of conscience Roman
Sidelnikov and Oleg Voronin have been released under an amnesty.
Another prisoner of conscience, Kurban Zakirov, is believed to be
still in prison.
Both men had refused to
perform military service on the grounds that, as Jehovah's
Witnesses, their faith did not permit them to bear arms or swear
allegiance to the Turkmen army.
Kurban Zakirov, aged 19, was
first arrested in January 1999 while discussing the bible with
fellow Jehovah's Witnesses in a private home. He was held in
custody for 30 days for participating in an illegal religious
meeting. Shortly after his release he was told to collect his
call-up papers. He refused and, on 23 April 1999, he was imprisoned
for two years.
+Please continue writing,
calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Kurban
Zakirov and urging the Turkmen authorities to introduce a civilian
alternative to compulsory military service. Send appeals to:
President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurad Atayevich Niyazov, 744000 g.
Ashgabat, Apparat Prezidenta, Prezidentu Turkmenistana NIYAZOVU
S.A., Turkmenistan (fax: + 993 12 or 7 3632, then 35 51
Hundreds of political
Hundreds of political
prisoners were released in November 2000 following an amnesty
issued by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to mark the 30th
anniversary of his late father coming to power.
According to the press, some
600 people belonging to different unauthorized political parties,
including the Party for Communist Action (PCA), the Muslim
Brotherhood, and the Communist Party Political Bureau (CPPB) are to
benefit from the amnesty. AI knows of 125 so far.
These releases are
significant because it is the first time the authorities have
acknowledged the presence of political detainees and the fact they
belong to different political organizations.
One of the released prisoners
of conscience, the poet and journalist Faraj Birqdar (pictured
above) told AI that they had been aware of the organization's
campaign on behalf of the Syrian political prisoners. He said it
boosted morale in prison to hear news of AI's work.
please keep sending
Despite some good news from
our Worldwide Appeals 2000, those on the list below have seen very
little or no change to their situation. They remain in detention
after unfair trials; they have ''disappeared''; they are sentenced
to death; their cases continue to be ignored by the authorities.
Please keep sending your appeals.
To see further updates to all
our worldwide appeals over the coming year, go to:
Thet Win Aung
Abel Acha Apong, Chrispus
Kenebie, John Kudi, Jack Njenta and Arrey Etchu Wilson
Khaled 'Abd al-Latif, Samir
Abd al-Nabi Abd al-Magid, Abd al-Aziz Sa'ad and 26
Julio González and Everardo
de Jesús Puerta
Mariano Oyono Ndong and
Antonio Engonga Bibang Equatorial Guinea, February
Juan Raúl Garza
Menase Erary, Maksimus Bunay
and Willem Manimnwarba Indonesia, May
Burkino Faso, June
Alexander Obando Reyes
Ma Khin Khin Leh
Jairo Bedoya Hoyos
Wael Talab Nassar
Rafael Mubarakshin and
Polvonnazar Khodzhayev Uzbekistan, September
Brahim Laghzal, Cheikh Khaya
and Laarbi Massoudi Morocco/Western Sahara, October
José Alfredo Quino and María
Anwar Ibrahim and Sukma
Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja Malaysia, November
Lenido Lumanog, Rameses de
Jesus, Joel de Jesus, Cesar Fortuna and Augusto Santos Philippines,
Irene Fernandez, a Malaysian
human rights defender, has been on trial since 1996 for writing a
report about torture and ill-treatment in camps for detained
migrants. She has made more than 250 court appearances in what is
now Malaysia's longest-ever trial and has been featured in many AI
actions. She sent this message in October 2000 to AI members who
campaigned on her behalf:
''I would like to express my
deepest thanks to Amnesty International and want you to know how
much your work makes a difference. Even though the charges against
me have not been dropped, your efforts have given me strength to
continue. You have also given strength to the migrant workers and
victims of abuse, some of whom have opened the many letters and
cards received at Tenaganita's office. Even the witnesses
testifying at my trial express their appreciation when they see the
letters in my office. I also received many bracelets from children
in Canada; I have given some of them to the families of
ex-detainees in Bangladesh. They were so excited to receive
campaigning has helped to raise consciousness of human rights
violations in Malaysia. It has created awareness and brought
changes within ourselves, among migrant workers and the wider
community. Since my trial began, more and more Malaysians have
started talking about freedom of expression, something which never
happened before. Global support is so important, especially now
during Amnesty International's campaign against torture. Please
keep up the good work.''
Survivors of torture from
around the world spoke of their experiences during a global rolling
launch of AI's campaign against torture.
The 24-hour launch consisted
of dozens of events that started in Tokyo and moved west through
Nairobi, Beirut, Paris, London and Buenos Aires. The aim was to
send out the message that torture is a ''worldwide
Two former torture victims
from Tibet spoke of their ordeal at the hands of the Chinese during
the launch in Tokyo. Francois Bizot, a writer who was a former
detainee of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, attended the Paris event
and former prisoner of conscience Alfredo Bravo was present at
Writers, pop stars and
government ministers also showed their support. Chilean MP, Isabel
Allende, attended a press conference in Buenos Aires; the Malawi
Deputy Police Commissioner, the Uganda Prisons' Commissioner and
the Sudanese women's NGO coordinator were at the Nairobi launch;
and AI Ireland's use of the well-known Irish pop band, The Corrs,
attracted a lot of media attention.
The campaign's distinctive
logo, the use of torture free zone (TFZ) tape, the state-of-the-art
website and a series of reports being published throughout the next
year have helped to give the campaign a real impetus and captured
the imagination of AI sections and members throughout the
AI Nepal organized a huge
bike rally, in which motorcyclists visited every police station
around the country seeking a commitment to stop torture and asking
police officers to put up TFZ stickers. In New Zealand, Prime
Minister Helen Clark signed a statement against torture and agreed
to make the whole country a torture free zone.
Music concerts were organized
by AI Mexico and AI Paraguay; AI Chile held a cycling event; AI
Peru, AI Norway and AI Sweden held events for children.
TFZ tape was used to wrap
significant buildings in Yemen, Morocco, Thailand, Ghana and
Turkey. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Sir Nigel Rodley,
spoke at AI Poland's annual general meeting and members of AI
Nigeria were thrilled by the number of police who attended their
launch and pledged to fight against torture.