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  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Thailand: Drop charges against Amnesty International Thailand Chair and others

Responding to the news on 26 July 2016 that three leading human rights defenders in Thailand -- including a current and former chair of Amnesty International Thailand --  have been formally charged with “computer crimes” and “criminal defamation” for publishing a report on torture committed by the country’s security forces, Amnesty International said: “The Thai authorities must immediately drop all charges against Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina, and Porpen Khongkaconkiet.

Date:
26 July 2016
  • News
  • Thailand
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Thailand: Amnesty International Thailand’s Chair and other activists face jail for exposing torture

The Thai authorities must immediately drop the criminal investigation against three of the country’s most prominent human rights activists, including the chair of Amnesty International Thailand, who could be charged today for documenting and publishing a report about torture by Thai security forces, the organization warned. Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina, and Porpen Khongkaconkiet, who was appointed Chair of the Amnesty International Thailand board last month, face the prospect of five years behind bars and a fine of US $4,800 if found guilty on charges of “criminal defamation” and “computer crimes”.

Date:
26 July 2016
  • News
  • Yemen
  • Armed Conflict

Yemen: Peace talks must prioritize getting aid to desperate civilians

Restrictions on the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to civilians in Yemen are exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis and endangering lives, said Amnesty International calling on all parties to the conflict to allow full and unfettered access to organizations providing crucial supplies. A delegation from the organization visited Huthi-controlled parts of Yemen in May 2016 and spoke to 11 local and international humanitarian aid organizations who described unlawful restrictions on aid by both Huthi and Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces.

Date:
26 July 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Turkey: Arrest warrants for 42 journalists a brazen attack on press freedom

Responding to news that Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists, Amnesty International issued the following quote: “This is the latest alarming development in what is increasingly becoming a brazen purge based on political affiliation,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe. “By rounding up journalists the government is failing to make a distinction between criminal acts and legitimate criticism.

Date:
25 July 2016
  • News
  • Congo
  • Unlawful Detention

Congo Brazzaville: Opposition leader sentenced to two years of prison

“Sentencing Paulin Makaya to two years in prison simply for taking part in a protest is yet another clear example of how freedom of expression has been restricted and opposition muzzled in Congo,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy regional director for West and Central Africa. “Amnesty International considers Paulin Makaya as a prisoner of conscience who should never have been arrested in the first place, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Date:
25 July 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Refugees

UN: Narrow national self-interest must not scupper Ban Ki-moon’s initiative to end refugee crisis

UN talks under way to agree a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018 Just one week left before game-changing proposal is locked in ahead of September Summit A strong outcome would give fresh hope to 20 million refugees worldwide States risk historic failure by sacrificing refugees’ rights for national self-interest With just under a week to go, a group of unlikely bedfellows including Australia, China, Egypt, India, Russia, Pakistan and the UK, among others, risk bulldozing through the only worldwide effort under way to provide concrete action to deal with the global refugee crisis affecting 20 million people, warned Amnesty International today.

Date:
25 July 2016
  • News
  • Turkey
  • Detention

Turkey: Independent monitors must be allowed to access detainees amid torture allegations

Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres in the country. The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centres and courthouses.

Date:
24 July 2016
  • News
  • Turkey
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Turkey Could Be Taking A Big Step Backwards In Human Rights

Please note this article first appeared on Time. com here. It’s rush hour on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge. Queues of cars jostle for position, the noise of horns fills the air, a young man selling Turkish flags weaves through the traffic carrying dozens of fluttering pieces of fabric; red and emblazoned with the country’s striking crescent and star. Looking at the bustling scene, it’s difficult to believe that just a week ago, this same bridge was the scene of bloody carnage.

Date:
22 July 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Turkey: State of emergency must not roll back human rights

President Erdogan’s announcement of the imposition of a state of emergency must not pave the way for a roll-back in human rights or be used as a pretext to further clamp down on freedom of expression and protections against arbitrary detention and torture, said Amnesty International today. Following a meeting of the National Security Council and the Turkish cabinet late Wednesday night, President Erdogan announced that the government will impose a state of emergency for at least three months.

Date:
21 July 2016
  • News
  • Libya
  • Armed Conflict

Libya: Lives of captives trapped under fire in Benghazi in danger

Airstrikes by the Libyan National Army are endangering the lives of scores of detainees who are being held captive in Benghazi, said Amnesty International. The organization raised the alarm as new video evidence emerged showing three men who were among an estimated 130 people abducted by the armed group Ansar al-Sharia from a military prison in Benghazi in October 2014. In the video, the first time they’ve been seen since they went missing, the men call for an end to the airstrikes which they say have injured several people and are putting lives at risk.

Date:
21 July 2016
  • News
  • Asia and The Pacific
  • Demonstrations

Hong Kong: Guilty verdicts against student leaders latest blow for freedom of expression

The Hong Kong authorities’ prosecution of three pro-democracy student leaders sends a chilling warning for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the city, Amnesty International said today, after Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law were found guilty for their roles in events that triggered 2014’s Umbrella Movement. The city’s Eastern Magistrates’ Court found Joshua Wong and Alex Chow guilty of “taking part in an unlawful assembly”.

Date:
21 July 2016
  • News
  • Ukraine
  • Armed Conflict

Ukraine: Torture and Secret Detention on Both Sides of the Conflict Line

Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary and sometimes secret detention and torturing them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today. The report “‘You Don’t Exist. ’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine,” is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers, and other sources.

Date:
21 July 2016
  • News
  • Gambia
  • Unlawful Detention

Gambia: Prison sentences for opposition leaders continues downward spiral for human rights

The conviction of opposition leader Ousainou Darboe and 18 other peaceful protestors highlights the continuing downward spiral for human rights in Gambia, Amnesty International said today. Following a court decision this afternoon, 19 people including the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) have been sentenced to three years imprisonment. They were found guilty on six counts relating to participating in unauthorised protests on 16 April 2016 in the outskirts of the capital Banjul.

Date:
20 July 2016
  • News
  • Syria
  • Armed Groups

Syria: Video showing beheading of boy further evidence of abuses by armed groups

A video showing the beheading of a boy by an armed opposition group in northern Syria is the latest abhorrent signal that some such groups are carrying out serious abuses with impunity, said Amnesty International. The video, believed to be filmed near Aleppo, shows a man standing on the back of a truck carrying out an execution-style killing of a boy. “This horrific video showing the beheading of a boy suggests some members of armed groups have truly plumbed the depths of depravity.

Date:
20 July 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Ukraine: Car bomb killing of journalist despicable attack on freedom of expression

This morning’s killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet by a car bomb in central Kyiv is a reprehensible act that has sent a shockwave for freedom of expression in Ukraine, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said. Pavel Sheremet, who writes for the country’s top internet news site Ukrayinska Pravda, was driving to work when his car exploded at 7. 45 a. m. “This attack on a journalist is a heinous crime and the ultimate violation of the freedom to expression.

Date:
20 July 2016
  • News
  • Turkey
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Turkey: Media purge threatens freedom of expression

As the sweeping crackdown in Turkey following a failed coup continues, Amnesty International fears that purges are being extended to censor media houses and journalists, including those critical of government policy. “We are witnessing a crackdown of exceptional proportions in Turkey at the moment. While it is understandable, and legitimate, that the government wishes to investigate and punish those responsible for this bloody coup attempt, they must abide by the rule of law and respect freedom of expression,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher.

Date:
20 July 2016