Not a Laughing Matter: Famed Comedian Supports Call for Release of Iranian Physicist

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Maz Jobrani, the popular Iranian-American comedian, usually makes people laugh. But now he has set mirth aside to send a serious message to the Iranian authorities: they should release noted physicist and prisoner of conscience Omid Kokabee, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence in Iran’s Evin Prison. In his video message, Mr. Jobrani notes that Omid Kokabee was sentenced to his long prison term after a grossly unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

End Saudi Arabia’s relentless crackdown on civil and political rights activists

Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and Dr Moahmmad al-Qahtani are founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). All 11 founding members are currently either imprisoned or on trial facing imprisonment.

Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and Dr Moahmmad al-Qahtani are founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). All 11 founding members are currently either imprisoned or on trial facing imprisonment.

By Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi, Amnesty International Saudi Arabia Country Specialist

It didn’t have to happen this way in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this decade, Saudi human rights activists saw promise for change, saw their efforts paying off.

Now they’re facing long prison sentences.

Eleven members of the prominent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) are either imprisoned or on trial, and the remaining silenced, for their peaceful activism. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

28 Distinguished Nobel Physics Laureates Support Imprisoned Colleague in Iran

Omid Kokabee

Omid Kokabee

This week marks the announcement of the 2014 Nobel prizes, recognizing the lifetime accomplishments of some of the world’s most extraordinary people. Twenty-eight of these eminent individuals—winners of the Nobel Physics Prize in years between 1972 and 2013—have signed letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader calling for the release of a brilliant young physicist and prisoner of conscience, Omid Kokabee, who is serving a ten-year sentence in one of Iran’s most miserable prisons. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Weekend of Resistance: Students Stand in Solidarity with Ferguson

MHC Ferguson Photo ActionBy Gerry Carolina, Northeast Regional representative for the National Youth Action Committee, and coordinator of Amnesty International, Mount Holyoke College

It’s been 2 months since the death of Michael Brown, and even in the face of heavy-handed  tactics by the police, peaceful protesters continue to march.

The community of Ferguson has called for a Weekend of Resistance from October 10-13, and Amnesty International Mount Holyoke College is answering in solidarity. 7 of us are driving from Western Massachusetts to Missouri this week, and our mission is to mobilize students to action, raise awareness, and build bridges between our students and the community of Ferguson. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Child migrants need protection, not prison

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Pratap Chatterjee, Executive director of CorpWatch and member of Amnesty International USA Board of Directors

Since the summer of 2013, there has been an unprecedented level of unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the border into the United States.  The number of apprehended children has already surpassed 66,000 from October 2013 through August 2014. This is more than twice as many children who were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol during the same period the year before. In response to this crisis, President Obama requested that Congress provide more than $2 billion in funding to control the surge of unaccompanied children at the border and the power to expedite deportations. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Dear Baku: Stop beating activist. Release her. Drop treason charge!

Leila Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy

Leila Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy

Arresting its loudest critic and charging her with “treason” doesn’t seem enough for Azerbaijani officials. Last week, peace activist and human rights defender

was beaten by Kurdakhany detention facility administration staff.

An April 2014 video shows Leyla Yunus confronting officials (in Russian) about not having been allowed to use the toilet during an unlawful detention for interrogation. Although officials eventually allowed her to use a toilet (with a male guard watching her), Leyla says she was not informed of charges against her.

Less than half a year later after the detention, Leyla (and soon her husband Arif Yunus) were arrested and given ridiculous charges of treason and tax evasion. Amnesty International considers both Prisoners of Conscience and calls on Baku to release them immediately and unconditionally (add your voice to our appeal).

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

It is past time for El Salvador to rescind its total abortion ban

El Salvador: Marlene was accused and charged with having an abortion after she had a miscarriage when she was 18 years old.

El Salvador: Marlene was accused and charged with having an abortion after she had a miscarriage when she was 18 years old.

I was on a plane coming back from Mexico when I first encountered the stories of children and young women in El Salvador suffering from the country’s universal criminalization of abortion, a law that is now more than a decade old. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Hong Kong: I have not seen anything like this in decades

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)

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

Tomorrow could mean life or death for Moses Akatugba

Moses Akatugba was 16 years old when he was arrested by the Nigerian police in 2005.

In the years that followed, he was beaten by the police, shot in the hand, and hung for hours at the police station. After 8 years of torture and ill treatment that led to a coerced confession of his involvement in a robbery, he was sentenced to death November 2013.

Moses’ case is sadly all too familiar in Nigeria, where a recent report by Amnesty International found the use of torture and ill-treatment to be rampant SEE THE REST OF THIS POST