The majority of human rights abuses documented by Amnesty International are linked to guns. We’ve long recognized that their widespread availability creates a climate of fear and intensifies violence – involving countless numbers of people who have been tortured, killed, injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes.
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.
By Nerve Macaspac, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for the Philippines
Torture is illegal in the Philippines. Yet Philippine police and military continue to use torture to extract information or force an admission of guilt from individuals they arrest for alleged crimes.
Alfreda Disbarro was punched in her stomach and face by a senior police officer in Manila. Her eyes were poked and her head banged against the wall. The police accused her of being a drug pusher. This happened in October 2013 – four years after the country’s Anti-Torture Act was passed.
Take action to stop torture at amnestyusa.org/torture.
1. Torture is Mainly Used Against Terror Suspects and During War
Amnesty International research shows that torture and other ill-treatment continue to be an issue in many countries facing real or perceived national security threats, including terrorism.
By Federico Boratto, Amnesty International Activist
My name is Federico Boratto. I’d like to share my connection to Amnesty’s Stop Torture Campaign – a connection forged by someone who loved me enough to share their experience with me.
On the first day of my internship at Amnesty International USA, when I learned about the global Stop Torture Campaign I could immediately feel my heart beat faster. I knew that I needed to be part of it.
The global effort to stop torture is an incredibly powerful and important undertaking. When one can intellectually understand the true horror of torture, the urgency of Amnesty’s work becomes clear. But another more personal reason also had a strong impact on me.
This piece was originally published by Daily Nation. To watch and read the testimonies of other refugees torn away from their families during Usalama Watch, visit www.tamuka.org and follow #1FamilyKenya on social media.
By Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa.
Last month, 18-year-old Ayaan suddenly found herself at the head of her household. Her mother and father had been arrested in Nairobi as part of the counter-terrorism operation dubbed ‘Usalama Watch.’
They were detained in Kasarani stadium before being forcibly relocated to Kakuma refugee camp over 500 miles away, leaving Ayaan alone to look after her seven brothers and sisters – all under the age of 10.
Lives are always at stake when the death penalty is involved. But when the new el-Sisi government is preparing to execute 683 Egyptians, something even more is at stake: the future of the Egyptian judiciary.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court will formally rule on the initial 683 death sentences handed out in April in a case involving the death of a police officer in the August 2013 protests that followed the removal of President Muhamad Morsi. The sentence followed only by a matter of days a second, similar case in which 528 Egyptians were given the death penalty.
As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:
By Ensaf Haidar, Wife of Imprisoned Saudi Arabian Activist Raif Badawi
I still pursue that mirage…two years have passed and I am still faced with a scorching emptiness and a series of agonizing questions.
When will he be back, and in what condition? What will I put on, and how will I react? Should I hug him, kiss him, or should I cry?
By Darrell Cannon, Torture Survivor and Activist
My name is Darrell Cannon. I’m here to share the story of more than 100 people who were tortured by Chicago police under the command of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.
I am a survivor. And I need your help.
On Nov. 2, 1983, a contingent of police officers burst into my family’s apartment and arrested me for murder.
On the way to Chicago’s Area 2 headquarters, they warned me that they had “a scientific way of interrogating n******.”
They later drove me to a secluded location, where they forced a shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger over and over again, making me believe it was loaded each time. They pulled my pants down and shocked me with a cattle prod on my genitals.