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  • Censorship and Free Speech

Egypt: 10-year prison term for insulting President an outrageous assault on freedom of expression

The sentencing of a lawyer to 10 years in prison for a Facebook post exposes the abuse of Egypt’s new counterterrorism law to silence government critics, said Amnesty International. On 12 April a court in Alexandria sentenced lawyer Mohamed Ramadan to 10 years in prison, followed by five years under house arrest and a five year ban on using the internet. He was convicted on a series of vaguely worded national security charges including insulting the President, misusing social media platforms and incitement to violence under the country’s draconian counterterrorism law.

Date:
13 April 2017
  • News
  • United States of America
  • Death Penalty

USA: Arkansas must urgently halt ‘conveyor belt’ of executions

The US state of Arkansas must halt the execution of eight death row prisoners, seven of whom are due to be killed in an 11-day period this month, Amnesty International said today, highlighting legal concerns and the fact that two of the men facing death have serious mental disabilities. Arkansas has not put anyone to death for more than a decade, but plans to execute two men per day on 17, 20 and 24 April, and one man on 27 April, because its supply of the controversial execution drug midazolam will expire at the end of the month.

Date:
13 April 2017
  • News
  • Canada
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Alicia Keys and the Indigenous rights movement in Canada honoured with top Amnesty International award

Celebrated global music artist and activist Alicia Keys and the inspirational movement of Indigenous Peoples fighting for their rights in Canada have been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017, the human rights organization announced today. The award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Montréal, Canada, on May 27. Accepting the award recognizing the Indigenous rights movement of Canada will be six individuals representing the strength and diversity of the movement, which has bravely fought to end discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous families and communities.

Date:
13 April 2017
  • News
  • Lebanon

Lebanon: Why human rights matter in times of crisis

At a time of extreme contestation of what constitutes truth, and an era where “fake news” is almost celebrated, the rule of law based on real evidence is more essential than ever. International human rights law and humanitarian law are long-established standards and norms, and are critical to be able to distinguish right from wrong. Human rights give us a framework to interpret and describe why what we see is wrong.

Date:
12 April 2017
  • News
  • Thailand
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Thailand: Ban on critics shows brazen determination to silence dissent

Responding to a government warning that anyone who follows, contacts, or shares posts online with three prominent critics - historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, journalist and author Andrew MacGregor Marshall, and former diplomat Pavin Chachavalpongpun - will be prosecuted under the Computer Crimes Act, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said: “The Thai authorities have plunged to fresh depths in restricting people’s freedoms of expression.

Date:
12 April 2017
  • News
  • Americas
  • Women and Girls

Peru: Postponement of ruling on Acuña’s case, new attempt to block her work

The decision of the Peruvian Supreme Court to postpone the ruling on the case against human rights defender Máxima Acuña is the latest attempt by the authorities to obstruct her legitimate work to defend the environment, said Amnesty International. The Peruvian Supreme Court was due to issue a decision today on the spurious charges of land invasion against Máxima Acuña Atalaya. The ruling was postponed until 3 May after the tribunal informed that some of the judges had not had enough time to reach a decision.

Date:
12 April 2017
  • News
  • Russian Federation
  • Armed Conflict

USA/Russia: Diplomatic meeting must tackle deplorable human rights record at home and abroad

Though recent developments in Syria are bound to dominate US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first official visit to Moscow this week, he must also use the opportunity to highlight the dire human rights situation inside Russia, Amnesty International said today. Secretary Tillerson is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on 11-12 April. “Both the USA and Russia must accept their share of the blame for the international community’s failure to broker an end to the bloodbath in Syria, and in particular we urge both governments to use this week’s meeting to work towards an end to the longstanding paralysis of the UN Security Council,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow office.

Date:
11 April 2017
  • News
  • Death Penalty

The Death penalty in 2016: Facts and figures

Global figures At least 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries in 2016. In 2015 Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executions in 25 countries worldwide - a historical spike unmatched since 1989. Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan – in that order. China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a state secret; the global figure of at least 1,032 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.

Date:
11 April 2017
  • News
  • China
  • Death Penalty

Death Penalty: World’s biggest executioner China must come clean about ‘grotesque’ level of capital punishment

1,032 executions worldwide in 2016, down 37% from 2015 (1,634)        Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan join China as world’s top five executioners USA not among top five for first time since 2006, with lowest number of executions since 1991 China investigation discredits claims of openness Viet Nam state killing spree revealed   China's horrifying use of the death penalty remains one of the country’s deadly secrets, as the authorities continue to execute thousands of people each year, Amnesty International said in its 2016 global review of the death penalty published today.

Date:
11 April 2017
  • News
  • Uganda
  • Internet and Social Media

Uganda: Detention of feminist academic for criticizing president a travesty

A Ugandan university lecturer who criticized the President and his wife on Facebook must be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, after she was charged in court with insulting the President and violating his right to privacy under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011. Her prosecution violates Uganda’s obligations regarding the right to freedom of expression under the country’s Constitution, as well as regional and international human rights law.

Date:
10 April 2017
  • News
  • Egypt
  • Terrorism

Egypt: Authorities must address sectarian violence, not abuse emergency powers

Emergency measures included in a declaration of a state of emergency by President Abdelfattah al-Sissi in the aftermath of three deplorable church bombings in Egypt will do little to resolve the root causes of sectarian attacks against Copts in Egypt and are likely to lead to a further deterioration in human rights, Amnesty International said today. The Islamic State armed group (IS) claimed responsibility for the synchronized bombings in Tanta and another two in Alexandria which targeted Palm Sunday church services and left at least 44 dead.

Date:
10 April 2017
  • News
  • Americas
  • Detention

Venezuela: Excessive use of force towards protestors exacerbates humanitarian crisis

Amnesty International emphasizes once again the obligation of the Venezuelan state to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest of all people in the country. Yesterday, during protests organized by groups critical of the current government outside the Ombudsman’s office, security forces repressed protestors using tear gas and rubber bullets. As a result, there were reports of people injured and affected by the asphyxiating effects of the tear gas.

Date:
7 April 2017
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

‘They are throwing us on the street like dogs’ - Europe abandons the Roma in Italy

In the last weeks, ahead of International Roma Day tomorrow, EU leaders in Brussels have been paying great lip service to Roma, Europe’s largest and most disadvantaged minority. Yet, this morning, hundreds of Roma in Italy were forcibly evicted from the Gianturco informal settlement in Naples. Their eviction is an unfortunate reminder of the discrimination suffered by the Roma, and the refusal of the European Commission to take action.

Date:
7 April 2017
  • News
  • Iran
  • Detention

Iran: Fears grow for health of jailed journalist on hunger strike

Fears are growing for a jailed journalist and political activist whose health has deteriorated sharply after 30 days on hunger strike, said Amnesty International. Hengameh Shahidi, 41, who has a pre-existing heart condition, went on hunger strike on 9 March in protest at her arbitrary arrest that day. She is in a critical condition in Tehran’s Evin prison where she is being held in solitary confinement.

Date:
7 April 2017
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Hungary: Plan to brand NGOs has sombre echoes of Russia’s ‘foreign agents law’

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Hungary that receive foreign funding – even direct European Union support – risk being discredited and undermined by a draft law leaked to the media, said Amnesty International today. Proposals in the draft Law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad would force NGOs receiving more than 24k EUR per year to re-register as “civic organization funded from abroad” and to put this stigmatizing label on every publication.

Date:
7 April 2017
  • News
  • Syria
  • Armed Conflict

US attack on Syrian airbase: Commitment on Syrian refugees vital if Trump truly cares about civilians

In response to last night’s United States airstrikes against a Syrian army airbase in Homs, three days after a chemical weapons attack killed more than 80 civilians in Idleb province, Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said: “President Donald Trump said that the attack was prompted by concern for the lives of Syrian civilians, but his administration has shown callous disregard for Syrians attempting to flee for their lives.

Date:
7 April 2017