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).
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
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.
In 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
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.
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.
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.
She saved lives. So why does Russia want to punish Elena Klimova?
Because she created a safe space for LGBTI teens in a country rife with homophobia.
Elena is a journalist and founder of Children 404, a popular online resource that supports LGBTI teens in Russia. It’s a space for teenagers to share their stories, get support and obtain advice from experienced psychologists.
Elena’s Children 404 has prevented teenagers from committing suicide and running away from home. She’s easing their isolation and making their world a little better, right?
Not according to Russian authorities. Russian authorities are going to absurd lengths to punish people and defenders of LGBTI human rights. They want to shut Children 404 down, and have charged Elena with “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”
This could be the end of Albert Woodfox’s 40-year plus prison nightmare, if you act now.
On Tuesday morning, Jan. 7, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hold a hearing to determine Albert’s fate.
Will they finally act on the 2013 ruling that overturned his conviction and set him free, or shut the door and send him back to another unthinkable year in solitary confinement?