“I Did Not Feel Alone, I Knew People Believed in Me”

Azerbaijani youth activist Jabbar Savalan was released from prison in December 2011 (Photo Credit: IRFS).

Azerbaijani youth activist Jabbar Savalan was released from prison in December 2011 (Photo Credit: IRFS).

Azerbaijani youth activist Jabbar Savalan could hardly believe his eyes the first time guards at the prison brought him a bag full of letters.

They mostly came from people he had never met before, from countries he had never visited. They were all telling him to keep strong and that they were putting pressure on authorities in Azerbaijan to release him.

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Warning: Helping Your Own People? You Will Be Considered a “Foreign Agent”

By Valentina Cherevatenko, head of a Russian non-governmental organization (NGO) which is being sued under the so-called “foreign agents law.” The law, enacted by the Russian authorities late last year, requires any NGO receiving foreign funding and engaging in what it defines very loosely as “political activity” to register as an “organization performing the functions of a foreign agent.”

Earlier this year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our NGO – the Women of the Don Alliance – in southern Russia’s Rostov region.

For 20 years, we have focused on the promotion of human rights and peace through non-violent means. It came as a shock to us when in March this year, our offices were raided by a host of authorities – the prosecution office, the tax office, the police, the security services, the fire brigade and the financial auditors. Ostensibly, they wanted to check on our activities in connection with the “foreign agents law.”

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HAPPENING NOW: Pussy Riot Member Rumored to Have Been Transferred to Siberian Prison

Nadya had publically complained of threats she received from prison officials (Photo Credit: Maksim Blinov/AFP/Getty Images).

Nadya had publically complained of threats she received from prison officials (Photo Credit: Maksim Blinov/AFP/Getty Images).

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova is rumored to have been transferred to a prison colony in Siberia. But we can’t know for sure because Russian authorities refuse to disclose her whereabouts.

If these reports are true, transferring her to a prison colony thousands of miles from Moscow would make it impossible for her family and lawyers to see her. This would be a grave violation of her human rights and Russia’s own laws.

It’s especially concerning because Nadya had publicly complained of threats she received from prison officials. We fear she may now be being punished for this and for speaking out against deplorable prison conditions.

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Tweet Hakan Yaman the Birthday Gift He Deserves: Justice

What Hakan Yaman most wants for his birthday – what he most deserves – is justice from the state that has so tragically failed him. Today, you can help him get it with a birthday greeting through twitter.

Yaman, the father of two,  is one of the thousands of victims of shocking police violence which Amnesty has described in its new report on the suppression of freedom in Turkey during the Gezi protests. Yaman, himself, was not even a protester, but simply returning home from work during the course of the protests. Mistaken for a protester, he was attacked by police who beat him, and dragged him on top of a street fire.  Before leaving him, one police officer gouged one of his eyes out.

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5 Things You Need To Know About the Gezi Protests

At least eight thousand injured, at least five confirmed deaths (with strong evidence linking at least three of these deaths to police abuse), many thousands detained.

As this powerful video produced by Amnesty International shows, the human cost of the Turkish government’s decision to suppress peaceful protests this past summer was immense.

In a major report issued today, Amnesty International has given compelling and comprehensive documentation of these events, providing detailed evidence of Turkish authorities suppression of freedom of assembly and expression.

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4 Quick Ways to Take Further Action on Turkish Abuses

A riot police fires tear gas at demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo Credit: Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

A riot police fires tear gas at demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo Credit: Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

In Turkey, police violence against peaceful protestors continues. It is time for the world community to make its condemnation clear, not only through words, but through action. In this, Turkey’s most important ally, the United States, should take the lead.

In June and July, the world was galvanized by scenes of police violence against peaceful protestors in Turkey. Turkish police rained more than a hundred thousand tear gas canisters on its own citizens as they exercised their basic rights of freedom of expression and assembly. Hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals across the globe raised their voices against the abuses.

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Our Response to President Vladimir Putin’s New York Times Op-Ed

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Photo Credit: Mikhail Kireev/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images).

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Photo Credit: Mikhail Kireev/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images).

In his New York Times opinion piece regarding Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin argues against the recently proposed U.S. military strike on Syria. Amnesty International neither condemns nor condones armed intervention in Syria. However, some of President Putin’s arguments obscure Russia’s own role in blocking a resolution to the human rights crisis in Syria.

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