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  • Campaigns
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Censorship and Free Speech

United Arab Emirates: Further information: Prison sentence and fine upheld for journalist: Tayseer Salman al-Najjar

The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), upheld the conviction and sentence of Tayseer Salman al-Najjar on 19 June. The Jordanian poet and journalist was arrested on 13 December 2015 and is serving a three-year prison sentence for comments he posted on Facebook that were “damaging [to] the reputation and prestige of the Emirati state”. He is a prisoner of conscience.

Date:
21 June 2017
Ref:
MDE 25/6553/2017
  • Research
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Prisoners of Conscience

United Arab Emirates (UAE): End the arbitrary imprisonment of prominent rights defender Ahmed Mansoor

The Martin Ennals Foundation and the ten human rights organizations that make up the jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA), today renewed their appeal to the government of the United Arab Emirates to release immediately and unconditionally Ahmed Mansoor, the last remaining human rights defender in the UAE who had previously been able to criticize the authorities publicly.

Date:
20 June 2017
Ref:
MDE 25/6552/2017
  • Campaigns
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Saudi Arabia: Further information: Sentence confirmed on Saudi Arabian writer: Nazeer al-Majed

Saudi Arabian writer Nazeer al-Majed was informed on 15 May that the Court of Appeal of the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh has upheld his seven-year prison sentence. Nazeer al-Majed has been detained since 18 January solely for having peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression. He is a prisoner of conscience.

Date:
16 June 2017
Ref:
MDE 23/6510/2017
  • Research
  • Thailand
  • Internet and Social Media

Thailand: Continuing Crackdown on Free Online Expression

Amnesty International is seriously concerned by continuing unrelenting measures by authorities in Thailand to suppress and penalise the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, including in online fora. On 9 June 2017, Thai courts passed verdicts in two criminal cases concerning the posting and sharing of materials that allegedly disparaged the monarchy. Earlier in the week, Thai authorities reportedly outlined imminent plans to require internet platforms to suppress content upon official request without prior judicial authorisation.

Date:
10 June 2017
Ref:
ASA 39/6480/2017
  • News
  • Internet and Social Media

Artificial Intelligence for good

Industry and academia are working towards the next generation of computers that can understand and learn from natural spoken language, full motion video, and more. Given how much the world is already changing, what can we expect from the next generation of Artificial Intelligence systems? How will these technologies affect the world?  Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty addresses the AI for Good Global Summit in ITU in Geneva on 7 June 2017 You have heard and you will hear a lot more in the course of these days about the amazing things that artificial intelligence could do in the future.

Date:
9 June 2017
  • Campaigns
  • Iran
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Iran: Further information: Iran: Women's rights activist in critical health: Atena Daemi

The health of Iranian women’s rights activist, Atena Daemi, has sharply deteriorated. After 46 days on hunger strike, she is critically ill and her body has started rejecting water. Despite doctors’ warnings, the authorities are still refusing to transfer her to a hospital outside prison for specialist medical care. She is a prisoner of conscience.

Date:
23 May 2017
Ref:
MDE 13/6322/2017
  • Campaigns
  • Uganda
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Uganda: Further information: University lecturer freed on conditional bail: Dr Stella Nyanzi

Dr Stella Nyanzi, an academic and feminist, has been released on conditional bail. She was arrested on 7 April and subsequently charged with insulting the president and violating his right to privacy. On 25 May, the Magistrate Court is expected to hear an application made by the state attorney to have a mental health examination done on Dr Stella Nyanzi.

Date:
22 May 2017
Ref:
AFR 59/6284/2017
  • Campaigns
  • Laos
  • Prisoners of Conscience

Laos: Further information: Three activists sentenced to prison in secret trial: Soukan Chaithad, Somphone Phimmasone and Lodkham Thammavong

According to sources, three Lao human rights activists, Soukan Chaithad, Somphone Phimmasone and Lodkham Thammavong, were sentenced to between 12 and 20 years’ in prison following a secret trial held in April 2017. Arrested in March 2016, and held incommunicado for over two months, they are prisoners of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.

Date:
17 May 2017
Ref:
ASA 26/6270/2017
  • News
  • Ethiopia
  • Internet and Social Media

Ethiopia: Terrorism verdict for Facebook posts is a shameful affront to freedom of expression

In response to news that former Ethiopian opposition spokesman Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of “encouragement of terrorism” in connection with his posts on Facebook, Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said: “Today’s verdict is a miscarriage of justice. It is yet another example of how the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation is used to target and destroy people who criticize the government.

Date:
16 May 2017
  • Research
  • Africa
  • Terrorism

Shut down for speaking out. Human rights defenders at risk in West and Central Africa

Human rights defenders have long played an essential role in standing up for freedom, opposing repression and promoting social justice across West and Central Africa. Yet rather than heralding these efforts to promote and defend universal civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, state authorities have far too often responded with hostility and an intolerance of dissent.

Date:
16 May 2017
Ref:
ACT 30/6170/2017
  • News
  • Russian Federation
  • Internet and Social Media

Russian YouTuber convicted of blasphemy after playing Pokémon Go in a church

Russian authorities have blatantly misused the criminal justice system, including draconian anti-extremist legislation, in a show trial against blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky, said Amnesty International today. A court in Yekaterinburg today gave the 22-year-old blogger a three-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence for “inciting hatred” and “offending believers’ feelings”. He was arrested in September 2016 for playing Pokémon Go in a cathedral in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.

Date:
11 May 2017
  • News
  • Uganda
  • Prisoners of Conscience

Uganda: Stella Nyanzi free but ludicrous charges must be dropped

Responding to news that outspoken feminist academic Stella Nyanzi has been released on bail after four weeks in prison, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said: “It is a great relief that Stella Nyanzi is no longer behind bars, as she should never have been arrested in the first place. The government’s attempt to prosecute her for speaking out for the rights of Uganda’s women and girls, is an affront to freedom of expression.

Date:
10 May 2017
  • Campaigns
  • Thailand
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Thailand: Lawyer and activists detained for Facebook post: Prawet Prapanukul, Danai, Wanchai and three others

Detained lawyer Prawet Prapanukul, Danai, Wanchai and three others were arrested by a joint military security force on 29 April and held in an unknown location for five days before Bangkok’s Criminal Court on 3 May remanded the six men to custody. They have been targeted in an ongoing crackdown on individuals sharing or expressing views critical of ruling authorities online. If convicted, they could face between 15 and 50 years’ imprisonment for sharing and commenting on Facebook.

Date:
10 May 2017
Ref:
ASA 39/6195/2017