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Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder: “It was clear she was going to get killed”

By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International The armed men who burst into the house of Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on 3 March had a simple plan: find her, kill her, and leave. What they didn’t expect, however, is for Gustavo Castro, a human rights activist working with Friends of the Earth Mexico and a close friend of Berta’s, to be in the next room. “I was working on a presentation when I heard a loud bang,” said Gustavo, who is now in Mexico.

Date:
6 May 2016
  • News
  • Africa
  • Torture and other ill-treatment

Malawi: Authorities must put end to killing spree of people with albinism

Malawian authorities must take immediate action to stop the ritual killings of people with albinism following the discovery of two more mutilated bodies in the past week, Amnesty International said today. Details were uncovered yesterday of the killing of a 30-year-old woman with albinism, Jenifer Namusyo, who was found dead on 30 April hours after she was stabbed in the back, abdomen and elbow, with her breasts and eyes removed.

Date:
5 May 2016
  • News
  • Asia and The Pacific
  • War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Bangladesh: Halt imminent execution after Supreme Court upholds death sentence

The Bangladeshi authorities should halt the imminent execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami and impose a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty International said after the country’s Supreme Court rejected his final appeal today. Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014.

Date:
5 May 2016
  • News
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Killings and Disappearances

Iraq: Security challenges do not give carte blanche to commit human rights violations

The daily security threats that plague the lives of Iraqi civilians must not open the door to more human rights violations, Amnesty International warned today at the end of a six-day trip to Baghdad and Erbil headed by the organization’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty. Both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government promised to investigate a string of abuses by their respective militias and security forces.

Date:
5 May 2016
  • News
  • Iran

Iran: Overdue release of artist must be followed by freedom for other prisoners of conscience

The release of Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani yesterday is a long-overdue step towards righting the injustice against her and must be followed by the immediate and unconditional release of other peaceful artists and activists who remain behind bars, Amnesty International said today. “Atena Farghadani’s release represents a legal and moral victory for her and encourages the efforts of activists worldwide to campaign for the release of other prisoners of conscience in Iran, as well as for reforms to the unjust laws used to put them behind bars in the first place,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

Date:
4 May 2016
  • News
  • Asia and The Pacific
  • Detention

Pakistan: Investigation crucial after Karachi political activist tortured and killed in custody

Pakistani authorities must carry out an independent, thorough and transparent inquiry into the torture and death of political activist Aftab Ahmad while he was in the custody of the Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of the Pakistan Army, Amnesty International said today. The call comes after the Director-General of the Rangers, Maj. Gen. Bilal Akber, admitted that Aftab Ahmad was tortured in custody and ordered an internal investigation into the circumstances of his death.

Date:
4 May 2016
  • News
  • Togo
  • Detention

Togo: Authorities have failed to live up to their commitments and human rights situation has stagnated

Togo’s human rights situation has stagnated and the authorities have failed to live up to the commitments made to the international community five years ago, Amnesty International said in a report published today, as President Faure Gnassingbé marks his 11 years in power. The report “Togo: Human rights – A long way to go” shows that the authorities have ignored or only partially implemented several of the recommendations made to Togo in the previous Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2011.

Date:
4 May 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Torture and other ill-treatment

Mexico: Trial of woman tortured to confess murder comes to a close

A woman who was tortured for 15 hours to confess to a crime and has been languishing in prison for nearly four years must be released without delay, said Amnesty International ahead of a key decision on the case. Yecenia Armenta Graciano was arrested in July 2012 by local police officers in the northern state of Sinaloa. She was raped, asphyxiated and hung from her feet upside down until she was forced to confess to murdering her husband.

Date:
4 May 2016
  • News
  • Africa
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Musician Angélique Kidjo and African youth activists honoured with Amnesty International award

World-renowned musician Angélique Kidjo and three inspirational African youth activist movements have been declared this year’s joint winners of the prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2016, the organization said today. The award will be shared between Benin-born artist Angélique Kidjo, one of world’s most successful African singer-songwriters, and the activist groups Y’en a marre from Senegal, le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from DRC.

Date:
4 May 2016
  • News
  • Syria
  • War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Syria: UN Security Council must step up pressure to end attacks on hospitals as hundreds killed in Aleppo

The UN Security Council should impose targeted sanctions on all those carrying out deliberate attacks on hospitals and other war crimes, said Amnesty International as it released harrowing testimony revealing how hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed by intensified Syrian government air strikes since 21 April. The organization interviewed doctors and activists in Aleppo including several who were in the al-Quds civilian hospital when it was attacked on 27 April by the Syrian government.

Date:
3 May 2016
  • News
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Unfair Trials

Qatar: Upholding torture-tainted convictions exposes “deep flaws” in justice system

The convictions of three Filipino nationals on charges of espionage were yesterday upheld by Qatar’s Court of Cassation. The Court upheld one life term and two sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment. James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle and North Africa programme, said:  “The court’s decision to uphold the convictions of these three men, after an unfair trial in which the authorities totally failed to investigate credible allegations of torture, is the latest demonstration of the deep flaws in Qatar’s criminal justice system, particularly as regards its treatment of migrant workers”.

Date:
3 May 2016
  • News
  • Iraq
  • Detention

Iraq: More than 1,000 detained in shocking conditions at Anbar counter-terrorism centres

More than 1,000 detainees, including some as young as 15, are being held without charge in horrendous conditions at makeshift holding centres in Anbar governorate, west of Baghdad, said Amnesty International today. A delegation led by the organization’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, gained access on 30 April to a centre run by Anbar’s counter-terrorism agency (Mukafahat al-Irhab) in Ameriyat al-Fallujah, where 683 male detainees are held without charge.

Date:
3 May 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Killings and Disappearances

Honduras: Lack of transparency in handling of Indigenous leader’s murder puts enquiry in jeopardy

The arrest of four suspects in the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras raise a number of questions on how the investigation is being handled, said Amnesty International today after Berta’s relatives claimed authorities have kept them in the dark regarding any developments in the case. “The blatant lack of transparency in the investigation into Berta Cáceres’ tragic murder, including the fact that her family has been systematically kept in the dark regarding any developments and the refusal to question high ranking officials is putting the whole investigation in jeopardy,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Date:
2 May 2016
  • News
  • Africa
  • Killings and Disappearances

Chad: Light must be shed on the fate of missing people

The Chadian authorities must clarify the fate of several members of the security and defense forces presumed “missing” after apparently voting against the party in power, and order an independent inquiry into the ill-treatment suffered by others, Amnesty International and the Chadian Human Rights League (LTDH) today declared. According to media reports, more than 40 members of the defense and security forces have been missing since 9 April, the day of the presidential election.

Date:
29 April 2016
  • News
  • Africa
  • Justice Systems

Lesotho: Court ruling to allow ongoing detention of soldiers raises further questions about fair trial

A court ruling that allows the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to continue to keep 16 soldiers detained raises further serious concerns about their ability to have a fair trial, Amnesty International said today, following a decision announced by the Lesotho Court of Appeal. The Appeals Court turned down a request by the soldiers to be placed under “open arrest”, a form of military bail, after they challenged their ongoing detention under “closed arrest” since May and June 2015.

Date:
29 April 2016
  • News
  • North Korea
  • Detention

North Korea: U.S. Citizen Hard Labour Sentence Shrouded in Secrecy

The government of North Korea must immediately disclose all details in the court case of U. S. citizen Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour for “spying,” in what appears to be yet another politically motivated decision, said Amnesty International today. Kim, a 62-year-old who was born in South Korea, is the latest foreigner to be sentenced to hard labour. “The timing of this sentence, amid increasing international tension, calls into question the motivation behind the proceedings.

Date:
29 April 2016