About Jasmine Heiss

Jasmine Heiss is a Campaigner with Amnesty International USA's Individuals and Communities at Risk program. She advocates on behalf of the prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders, communities and other individuals who are at the heart of Amnesty International's work. Prior to joining Amnesty International USA, Jasmine worked on the ground in Argentina and Peru and studied in India. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago and is fluent in English and Spanish.
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Beaten, Arrested & Facing a Decade Behind Bars

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On March 10, 2015 hundreds of student protestors were at a standstill near the city of Letpadan in Myanmar.

They had reached the eighth day of a standoff between largely peaceful activists marching for academic freedom, and the police forces who were blocking their path when, suddenly, things came to a head. Police began beating students violently, including those who had fallen to the ground. Some tried to flee, and hundreds were arrested. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Albert Woodfox Is Finally Free

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On February 19, 2016, Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox walked free, 44 years after he was first put into solitary confinement.

He was the United States’ longest serving prisoner held in isolation. Nearly every day for more than half of his life, Albert Woodfox woke up in a cell the size of a parking space, surrounded by concrete and steel.

Today, for the first time in more than four decades, he will be able to walk outside and look up into the sky. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

From Albert Woodfox to Kalief Browder: The Devastation of Solitary Confinement

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A cell in the Closed Cell Restricted (isolation) unit in Angola prison in Louisiana. (Credit: Louisiana State Archives)

A cell in the isolation unit in Angola prison in Louisiana. (Credit: Louisiana State Archives)

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has specifically condemned Woodfox’s treatment as torture and called on the United States to eliminate the use of prolonged isolation. Albert’s case has returned to the spotlight in the past month because he is no longer a convicted man – a federal judge ordered his unconditional release in early June, two years after his conviction had been overturned for a third time (a last-minute appeal kept him behind bars).

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Meet Jasmine at the AGM: Campaigner for Individuals at Risk

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Photo by Yue Wu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Leading up to our 2015 human rights conference in Brooklyn, NY, March 20-22, we are highlighting six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement! Read all six in our “Meet me at the AGM” blog series.

NAME: ­­­­­­Jasmine Heiss

I WORK FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA AS: Senior Campaigner, Individuals at Risk Program

IN THAT ROLE I:

  • Strategize, power-map, and creatively deconstruct injustice
  • Build project-plans, relationships and coalitions
  • Influence private and public actors to defend and uphold human rights
  • Work directly with my human rights heroes

HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
I grew up in Northern Michigan in a house run off of solar and wind with gravity-fed (COLD!) water, and intensely idealistic parents. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

10 Appalling Attacks on Human Rights and 1 Powerful Way You Can Help

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MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty

11 THOUSAND PEOPLE are victims of gun violence in the United States, each year. On January 29, 2013, fifteen year old Hadiya Pendleton became yet another tragic example of the human toll of gun violence. She died after being shot in the back in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on Chicago’s South Side. Write a letter to President Obama to honor Hadiya’s memory and call for passage of the Youth PROMISE Act.

10 YEARS and a thousand lashes – the price of blogging for Saudi Arabian Activist Raif Badawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

“You were my voice when I had none” – Two million letters for justice

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W4RBIRTUKANIn the days surrounding Human Rights Day on December 10, I will be writing letters to people around the world – most of whom I have never met. As my messages begin to arrive in places like Chicago, Brasilia, Tel Aviv and Beijing, they will be joined by hundreds and thousands more. Together, we will speak with one voice to demand justice, cry for change and inspire hope. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Start Now: 6 Ways You Can Help #StopTorture

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More than one hundred men and women of color were tortured by Chicago police commander Jon Burge between 1972 and 1991 – and they are still calling for justice.

As Amnesty International’s Stop Torture Campaign gains momentum across the globe, their stories make it clear that, as U.S. based activists, our work must begin in our own backyard. Decades of brutality tore apart Chicago torture survivors’ families and communities and they have been denied the reparations needed to make them whole.

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Introducing Amnesty’s New Global Campaign Against Torture

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Darrell Cannon was tortured by three Chicago Police Department detectives at a remote site on Chicago’s South Side. Over course of a day, they pressed a cattle prod to his testicles and put it into his mouth. The officers attempted to lift him off the ground by handcuffs secured behind his back, contorting his upper body. They repeatedly made him believe that they had loaded a shotgun and rammed in into his mouth, breaking his tooth.

“These are all things they enjoyed doing,” Darrell Cannon told Amnesty International, his voice cracking.

He spent 24 years in prison on the basis of a coerced confession that was tortured out of him – ten of those years suffering further degradation in solitary confinement at Tamms Supermax prison.

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42 Years of Injustice: When Will Louisiana Wake Up?

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Right now, a man named Albert Woodfox is sitting in a concrete and steel cage in a prison near the northernmost edge of the State of Louisiana. His cell is barely the size of a parking space, and he leaves it for a scant hour each day. When Albert awoke yesterday morning, it was to begin the first day of his forty-second year in solitary confinement.

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