Document - Worldwide Appeals: June 1999

June 1999 WORLDWIDE APPEALS


LIBYA/SAUDI ARABIA- FORCIBLE RETURN/TORTURE


Al-Sayyid Mohammad Shabou, a physiotherapist and graduate of Tripoli University, has spent about a year in Abu Salim Prison in Tripoli, Libya, reportedly without charge or trial. AI has received reports that he has been tortured while in detention.


Al-Sayyid Shabou and his wife, Manal Hussein, both born in Libya, had been granted refugee status in the United Kingdom in 1997. In January 1998 they travelled to Saudi Arabia on UN travel documents with their two children, Mohammad, aged five, and Ahmad, aged six. The family planned to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but in March 1998 all four were arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities.


In May or June 1998 they were forcibly returned to Libya, allegedly because of Al-Sayyid Shabou's Islamist opposition activities. Manal Hussein and her children were released after some four months in detention in Libya and they are now living with relatives in Tripoli.


+ Please write, calling for Al-Sayyid Mohammad Shabou to be released if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and given a prompt and fair trial. Also ask for a prompt and thorough investigation into the allegations of torture. Send your letters to: His Excellency Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi, Leader of the Revolution, Office of the Leader of the Revolution, Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahirya.


MYANMAR- PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE


Dr Saw Mra Aung, aged 81, has spent nine months in detention in a government "guest house" outside Yangon. He was arrested in September 1998, after being appointed chairman of a symbolic People's Assembly then being planned by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Some 220 NLD activists, including more than 60 members of parliament, were also arrested.


Dr Saw Mra Aung, a retired medical doctor, was elected to parliament in 1990 as the Chair of the Arakan League for Democracy, a deregistered organization that represents a Buddhist ethnic minority. He has never taken up his parliamentary seat; in the same elections the opposition NLD won more than 80 per cent of the seats and the military government has refused to convene the People's Assembly ever since.


AI believes that Dr Saw Mra Aung's detention is politically motivated and considers him a prisoner of conscience. AI is also particularly concerned about the state of Dr Saw Mra Aung's health, as he is elderly and reported to be losing weight.


+ Please write, calling for Dr Saw Mra Aung to be immediately and unconditionally released, and to be given immediate access to appropriate medical treatment. Send your letters to: Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman, State Peace and Development Council, c/o Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road, Yangon, Union of Myanmar.


TOGO- EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION*


Hundreds of people, including soldiers, were extrajudicially executed by the security forces during the presidential election campaign in June 1998 and after the results were announced. Their corpses were washed up on the beaches of Togo and neighbouring Benin. Some corpses were shackled and at least one victim wore an opposition armband.


One fisherman told an AI delegation which visited Togo and Benin in late 1998: "...when I was taking in my nets, I found a corpse among the fish; some corpses were shackled and others were wearing uniforms." This was confirmed by other fishermen, particularly in Grandpopo in Benin, who also reported that the bodies bore bullet wounds. Eyewitnesses told of unusual plane and helicopter movements, just before the bodies were recovered on the beaches. Former Togolese soldiers who had sought refuge in Benin recognized the characteristic sound of Buffalo aircraft used by the Togolese security forces.


Although the Togolese press reported the discovery of the bodies and certain gendarmerie posts were informed that bodies wearing handcuffs had been recovered, AI is not aware of any official investigations into the killings. Given a pattern over many years of extrajudicial executions, AI fears that these killings were of people suspected of being opponents of the government.


+ Please write, calling for thorough, prompt and independent investigations into these extrajudicial executions, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice and returning their bodies to their families. Send your letters to: Monsieur le Général Gnassingbé Eyadéma, Président de la République, Palais Présidentiel, Avenue de la Marina, Lomé, Togo (faxes: 00 228 21 1897) or at: http://www.republicoftogo.com/


*This appeal is part of a three-month campaign on Togo. For further information, see Togo: Rule of Terror (AI Index: AFR 57/01/99).

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