“Thank You”: A Message from Newly Released Prisoner of Conscience Nabeel Rajab

Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab spent two years in prison because of his activity on Twitter (Photo Credit: Hussain Albahrani/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images).

Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab spent two years in prison because of his activity on Twitter (Photo Credit: Hussain Albahrani/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images).

By Nabeel Rajab, Bahraini Human Rights Activist Jailed for Calling for Anti-Government Protests

I am Nabeel Rajab. I have just been released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for my peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

I’m one of many human rights defenders in Bahrain and the region who are being targeted, attacked, arrested and imprisoned. I was imprisoned on the basis of fabricated charges of “illegal practices, inciting illegal assemblies, and organizing unlicensed demonstrations through Twitter and other social networking sites.”

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Have You Seen What’s Happening in Thailand?

Protester raise three fingers representing liberty, brotherhood and equality during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok (Photo Credit: Piti A Sahakorn/LightRocket via Getty Images).

Protester raise three fingers representing liberty, brotherhood and equality during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok (Photo Credit: Piti A Sahakorn/LightRocket via Getty Images).

By Claudia Vandermade, Amnesty USA Southeast Asia Co-Group Chair and Action Network Coordinator

Despite the sunny resorts and hot weather, current events in Thailand are far from a Thai Spring.

The Thai military declared martial law on May 20. A military junta, calling itself the National Council on Peace and Order (NCPO), led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, announced on May 22 that it was taking over the administration of the country. Thai Winter descends.

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Amnesty Goes On the Ground as Repression Worsens in Turkey

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

On the first anniversary of the Gezi Protests and their brutal suppression in Turkey, central Istanbul resembled nothing so much as a city under occupation. Public transportation into the city center was cancelled. Ferry service from the Asian to the European side of the metropolis was ended by the late afternoon. You could leave, but you couldn’t come back.

This is the image of the new Turkey, where dissent is stifled with overwhelming force and massive police presence.

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Turkey’s Dreadful Response to the Soma Mining Disaster

Relatives of a miner mourn beside his grave following the Soma mining disaster, on May 17, 2014 in Soma, Turkey (Photo Credit: Halit Onur Sandal/Getty Images).

Relatives of a miner mourn beside his grave following the Soma mining disaster, on May 17, 2014 in Soma, Turkey (Photo Credit: Halit Onur Sandal/Getty Images).

Last week’s mining disaster in Turkey represented more than simply an industrial accident, but raised very real human rights concerns. The government’s response in the last week, however, have only heightened these concerns.

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3 Reasons Amnesty is Concerned About Turkey’s Mining Disaster

Relatives of the victims of the coal mine fire in Turkey check lists of the dead miners. An explosion and fire followed an electrical fault killed at least 232 miners and injured many others (Photo Credit: Cem Oksuz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Relatives of the victims of the coal mine fire in Turkey check lists of the dead miners. An explosion and fire followed an electrical fault killed at least 232 miners and injured many others (Photo Credit: Cem Oksuz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

The mining disaster in Soma, a small town in Western Turkey, is, by any standards, a shocking tragedy. Amnesty International, in a statement issued today, makes clear, however, that this tragedy could have been averted.

Although the total number killed is unlikely to be determined for some time, at least two hundred are confirmed dead already.

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Do You Know What Happened in Tiananmen Square in the Spring of 1989?

On April 27, 1989, 200,000 students marched from Peking University to Tiananmen Square (Photo Credit: PBS News).

On April 27, 1989, 200,000 students marched from Peking University to Tiananmen Square (Photo Credit: PBS News).

In April 1989, former general secretary and chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Yaobang died of a heart attack. Hu advocated for political and economic reforms while in office.

He was forced to resign for taking a soft attitude towards the student protests in 1986. His death brought on the gathering of university students in large numbers in Beijing calling for affirmation of Hu’s view on democracy and freedom.

Within days, the student gatherings transformed into pro-democracy protests demanding freedom of the press and an end to corruption. Their demands drew wide public support. Workers and ordinary citizens joined in. Peaceful demonstrations took place in Beijing and throughout China.

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Introducing a Different Type of Social Media Campaign to Help Prisoners of Conscience in Belarus


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

By Viachaslau ‘Slava’ Bortnik, Amnesty USA’s Country Specialist for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine

On May 9, the opening day of the Ice Hockey World Championship, the U.S. will play with Belarus in Minsk.

It is very rarely that Belarus holds an event of such large scale, and one would think that it would be in the interest of a country with such a notorious human rights record to provide a safe and comfortable environment for foreign guests and native hockey fans.

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What’s Behind Turkey’s Crackdown on the May 1 Protests?

Turkish riot police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day demonstration on May 1, (Photo Credit: Burak Kara/Getty Images).

Turkish riot police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day demonstration on May 1, (Photo Credit: Burak Kara/Getty Images).

A History of Protest

For decades, May Day celebrations in Turkey have been an important litmus test of the government’s tolerance for freedom of expression and assembly. At the center of this history have been demonstrations in Taksim Square, arguably the “hub” of modern Istanbul and, where, in 1977, dozens of protesters were killed in what has been termed the “Taksim Square Massacre.”

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