By Chiara Sangiorgio, Death Penalty Researcher at Amnesty International
The numbers behind our latest overview of the global use of the death penalty, released today, tell a chilling story: 607 people were executed in 22 countries and at least 2,466 men and women were sentenced to death in 55 countries in 2014 alone.
But, alarming as they are, the figures paint a partial picture of the true extent to which people are hanged, shot or given the lethal injection across the world.
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Anyone arrested on suspicion of criminal activity in the Philippines risks being tortured or ill-treated in police custody. Many victims are children and almost all are from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Nerve Macaspac, Country Specialist for the Philippines, Amnesty International USA
Torture not only remains prevalent in the country but has also become a form of entertainment for its police.
In January 2014, Amnesty International revealed the discovery of a secret torture cell in a police intelligence facility in Laguna, Philippines. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Over two dozen people were arrested in raids against media critical of Turkish president. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A wave of arrests Sunday morning shook Turkey and made headline news throughout the world. The arrests, which are part of a broad campaign against the Gülen Movement, were hardly a surprise. A twitter user had leaked information about it some days in advance, it was preceded by some typically fire-breathing speeches by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office issued a press release before the arrests were made. In total 27 people were arrested, including a number of journalists and media figures.
Along with other human rights organizations, Amnesty has called on Turkish authorities to release those arrested yesterday unless authorities can produce “credible evidence that they have committed a recognizably criminal offense.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam
By Huong Nguyen, AIUSA Country Specialist on Viet Nam
How did you spend your last birthday? Did you do something fun to celebrate?
On November 29, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, a Vietnamese prisoner of conscience, had to spend his 5th consecutive birthday in prison.
Thuc was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment followed by five years’ house arrest on 20 January 2010 for blogging about political and economic issues in Viet Nam. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, 22-year-old Liao Minyue, tells their story.
My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary Chinese woman with a kind heart.
We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.
But one night, everything changed. My mom was moonlighting as a street vendor in the evenings to supplement her monthly income of RMB 800 (130 US Dollars) as an iron and steel plant worker. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Victory! Following the sentencing of Brishna’s rapist, Afghan authorities have now committed to ensuring Brishna’s protection.
In May 2014, Brishna, a 10-year-old girl from Kunduz province, was raped by a local mullah. She was able to receive medical treatment and protection thanks to the assistance of the organization Women for Afghan Women, but members of her family and community threatened to kill her and “dump her in the river” simply because she was a victim of this crime. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain releases in the US on November 7th.
My name is Ravi Kumar, director and co-writer of the film Bhopal-A Prayer For Rain. I want you to take a second and imagine what your life would be like today if your parents not only died in an industrial disaster that could have been avoided, but those responsible had evaded punishment for 30 years.
What is an impossible thought for me, is a horrifying reality for the families of more than 20,000 women, men, and children who have died following the 1984 toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Pro-democracy protesters put their hands up in the air in front of the police in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014. Police fired tear gas as tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. (Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
By Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong.
The streets of Hong Kong are hard to recognize these days. The exhilarating energy filling the city’s main roads, crowded with hopeful protesters, is something I have not seen since I was a young student back in 1989, when we took to the streets in solidarity with the Tiananmen protesters.
But not even then had so many people taken to the streets in Hong Kong – nor had the police’s response been so brutal. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Afghan relatives of civilian victims of the country’s conflict examine the Amnesty International report detailing those killed by U.S. forces in the country at a press conference in Kabul on August 11, 2014. The families of thousands of civilians killed by American forces in Afghanistan have been left without justice or compensation. (Photo credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)
By Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director
In the early hours of September 16, 2012, a group of women from different villages in Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province set out to collect firewood.
As they stopped to drink water by a small spring, a number of U.S. military planes appeared in the sky and started dropping bombs. Seven of the women were killed and another seven injured, four of them seriously. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Sombath Somphone’s wife, Ng Shui Meng, handles a ‘missing person’ poster of her husband at Saoban, a store selling Lao Village handicrafts that she established with her husband. (Photo credit: Gilles Sabrie/LightRocket via Getty Images)
By Claudia Vandermade, Southeast Asia Co-Group Chair and Action Network Coordinator
It’s always in the eyes. When we meet with the families of the disappeared there are a range of messages in the eyes – from fear to loss to sorrow – but also an occasional flicker of hope. Dr. Ng Shui-Meng came to Washington, D.C. recently and expressed all these feelings plus one other – determination.
Ng Shui-Meng is demanding an explanation for the December 15, 2012, disappearance of her husband Sombath Somphone from a police checkpoint in the Laotian capital of Vientiane.
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