That Time When Solitary Confinement Was Not Considered “Solitary Confinement”

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It has been more than three years now, but I can still remember the awestruck feeling I had in January 2013 while observing Chelsea Manning’s court-martial proceedings for the unauthorized disclosure of classified military documents to Wikileaks. This thought kept pouring through my mind as I sat intently listening to Col. Lind as she read her decision: “How is solitary confinement not ‘solitary confinement’?”

On 18 May, Amnesty International, with the help of attorneys from Keker & Van Nest, LLP, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in support of Chelsea Manning’s appeal of her sentence. While Manning’s attorneys are raising several points on appeal, Amnesty International’s brief focused on the conditions of her pre-trial detention, arguing that Judge Lind erred when finding that Manning was not subject to prolonged solitary confinement that amounted to pre-trial punishment in violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

4 in 5 People Worldwide Say: ‘We Welcome Refugees’

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When Amnesty asked more than 27,000 people across 27 countries if they would welcome refugees, the response was incredible: 4 in 5 people replied with a resounding “yes, we will”!

All over the world, people are watching in horror as the global refugee crisis goes from bad to worse. Our survey shows that while many governments still claim they simply can’t find room for refugees, their citizens feel the opposite way.

The UK and Australian governments are probably more out of touch than any other leaders globally: an astonishing 87% of British people and 85% of Australians are ready to invite refugees into their countries, communities – even their own homes. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Renowned Physicist in Danger of Dying if Returned to Prison in Iran

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Kokabee nineIt didn’t have to be this way. A promising young physicist, beloved by his colleagues, lies in a hospital bed with just one kidney left. The other was removed because cancer had spread to the point where it was no longer salvageable. If he had only been permitted to get the treatment he needed earlier, he might still have his kidney today. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

IDAHOT 2016: LGBT Human Rights Around The World

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Today, May 17, Amnesty International celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. This IDAHOT, Amnesty International condemns the ongoing discrimination, violence, and denial of fundamental human rights faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people around the world. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Sri Lanka Poetry Competition: “And the winners are….!”

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Last fall, I told you about “Silenced Shadows” – a poetry competition that Amnesty was launching in Sri Lanka on the theme of enforced disappearances. Sri Lanka has experienced at least 80,000 cases of enforced disappearances over the past 30 years. The vast majority are still unaccounted for and the perpetrators remain unpunished. The agony of the families of the disappeared – not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead, or what condition they’re in if they are still alive – continues unabated to this day. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Russia: Stop the Foul Play

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By Viachaslau “Slava” Bortnik, Chair of Eurasia Coordination Group at Amnesty International USA.

The World Ice Hockey Championship is taking place in Russia from May 6-22. It is ironic that the championship started on the day of the fourth anniversary of the Bolotnaya Square events.

On May 6, 2012, tens of thousands of people marched through the center of Moscow and sought to gather in Bolotnaya Square in protest of the disputed results of the election in which Vladimir Putin had been re-elected Russia’s President. Most never got that far. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

It is Time for Leonard Peltier to be Freed

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Amnesty has serious concerns about the fairness of Leonard Peltier's (above) trial (Photo Credit: Taro Yamasaki).

“Only one thing’s sadder than remembering you were once free, and that’s forgetting you were once free.” –Leonard Peltier

This weekend I made the 850 mile trip from the Nation’s Capitol to the sprawling Coleman Federal Correction Complex in Wildwood Florida to visit a man who has been in Federal custody for more than half of his life – Leonard Peltier. As I wound my way past barbed wire and concrete, the words above weighed heavy on my mind. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder: “It was clear she was going to get killed”

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Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International

The armed men who burst into the house of Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on 3 March had a simple plan: find her, kill her, and leave.

What they didn’t expect, however, is for Gustavo Castro, a human rights activist working with Friends of the Earth Mexico and a close friend of Berta’s, to be in the next room. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Jailed in El Salvador after losing their pregnancies

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26 Nov 2014, San Salvador, El Salvador --- (141126) -- SAN SALVADOR, Nov. 26, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Women of different feminist organizations take part in a march asking for the freedom of 17 women accused of abortion, on the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, Nov. 25, 2014. United Nations figures showed that 35 percent of the women and children in the world suffer from physical or sexual violence throughout their life. And in some countries and regions, the figure goes up --- Image by © [e]LUIS GALDAMEZ/Xinhua Press/Corbis

(Xinhua Press/Corbis)

For many of us around the world, Mother’s Day falls on May 8th this year, which also marks Teodora’s 36th birthday. Teodora has spent eight years in prison, and will spend yet another birthday and another Mother’s Day, which comes just two days after ours, without her family. 

Amnesty campaigner Karen Javorski takes us inside one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons to meet Teodora del Carmen Vásquez and María Teresa Rivera, women jailed after pregnancy complications.

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“I will never stop” – a mother’s campaign to free her son in Iran

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By Ezat Taheri, mother of prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri

Iranian spiritual teacher and prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has been in pre-trial solitary confinement for five years, and has launched over a dozen hunger strikes in protest at his detention. His mother Ezat tells us of her long fight for his release:

The day my son was arrested, every single cell inside my body was trembling with fear. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST