My husband's place is not in prison

egypt-blog-300This post was written by Shaimaa, the wife of Write-a-thon case, Musaad Suliman Hassan Hussein (known by his pen name Musaad Abu Fagr), who has been in administrative detention in Egypt since February 2008.

Two years have passed since my husband Musaad Abu Fagr was arrested. For my daughter Ranad and I, every day that passes feels like 10 years.

Ranad was three years old when my husband was arrested. She used to sleep after he kissed her goodnight and wake up after a kiss from him. He used to drive her to school every day.

Ranad is now five years old. Even though I try to play this role as her mother, Ranad misses her father’s presence in her life. What hurts me is that her father used to do a lot of things for her; he used to play with her and take her to the playground or the sports club.

She always repeats his words, and when she goes to bed, Ranad sends kisses to her father and when she wakes up she asks: “Did Musaad get my kisses?”

Everything she does proves how much she misses her father. When we go to visit Musaad in prison, she does not leave his lap. She touches his face with her little hands, looks at him and asks: “When will you come back with us?”

This question hurts me and her father a lot because she is a child entitled to enjoy having both her parents with her. She wishes that her father is always with her, just like her friends. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Write-a-Thon Series: Birtukan Mideksa

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

© AI Birtukan Mideksa

© AI Birtukan Mideksa

Birtukan Mideksa, an opposition party leader, is serving a life sentence in Kaliti Prison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She was previously arrested in November 2005 after the Coalition for Unity and Democracy party, of which she was a leader, disputed the results of local and parliamentary elections.

Post-election demonstrations turned violent – security forces shot dead 187 people and wounded 765 others, while at least six police officers were also killed. Birtukan Mideksa was charged with treason among other charges, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Local elders working with detainees negotiated a process which led to a pardon by Ethiopian authorities. Birtukan Mideksa and others were released in June 2007 after serving more than 18 months in prison. The exact terms of the pardon remain unclear.

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Write-a-Thon Series: Alisher Karamatov and Azam Farmonov

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

© AI   - Alisher Karamatov

© AI - Alisher Karamatov

Human rights defenders Alisher Karamatov (aged 41), and Azam Farmonov (aged 30), were detained on 29 April 2006 as they defended the rights of local farmers who had accused district farming officials of extortion and corruption. They were allegedly tortured, charged with extortion and subjected to an unfair trial where they were denied adequate legal representation. Alisher and Azam are regional heads of the independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. They said that after they started investigating the farmers’ allegations and confronted local officials with their findings, some of the farmers were coerced, including through physical intimidation, into claiming that Farmonov and Karamatov had pressured farmers to accuse the local officials of wrongdoing.

© AI  -Azam Farmonov

© AI -Azam Farmonov

Authorities gave no prior notice of the start of the men’s trial in June 2006, and their legal representative had just four days to prepare the defense. The men were sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for extortion under Article 165 of the Uzbekistan Criminal Code. Amnesty International considers the two men to be prisoners of conscience who were, in truth, jailed on account of their human rights activism.

There have been recent serious concerns for the health of Alisher Karamatov, who has been treated for tuberculosis in Sangorodok, a prison hospital facility near Tashkent, since October 2008. He had been subjected to torture, beatings and humiliation by prison guards since 2007 while held at Karshi prison camp and had lost nearly half his body weight. Azam Farmonov continues to be held at Yaslik prison.

Help us demand the immediate release if these two prisoners of conscience by participating in Amnesty International’s campaign Global Write-a-thon 2009.

Write-a-Thon Series: Musaad Abu Fagr

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

© AI         Musaad Abu Fagr

© AI Musaad Abu Fagr

A State of Emergency has existed in Egypt since 1981 following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, but these days the greatest emergency in Egypt is the state of civil society.  Writers, scholars, intellectuals, political opponents and a range of non-governmental organizations are all under attack by the government.

But novelist Musaad Suliman Hassan Hussein, known by his pen name Musaad Abu Fagr, refuses to be muzzled. His courage in face of government oppression offers American activists an answer as to how to promote human rights in the Middle East at a time of declining American influence.

Musaad Abu Fagr was arrested in December 2007 following demonstrations in Sinai against government plans to demolish thousands of homes near the border with the Gaza Strip. A movement founded by Musaad Abu Fagr and other political activists in Sinai, Wedna Na’ish (We Want to Live), led the demonstrations. He was accused of “inciting others to protest,” “resisting the authorities,” and “assaulting public officers during the exercise of their duties.” During the July and December 2007 demonstrations, several thousand protesters clashed with the security forces.

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Write-a-Thon Series: Rita Mahato

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

©AI

©AI

Threatened with rape, death, and kidnapping, Rita Mahato has courageously continued her work to stop violence against women in Nepal. A health counselor at the Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) in Bastipur Village Development Committee, Mahato has been repeatedly harassed by men from the village who tell her that an uneducated woman should not be doing a man’s job and that men can suppress women.

Mahato has been an adviser to women who have suffered from violence and ensures that their cases are reported and filed, as they often have not been by the local police.  In June 2007, dozens of men came to WOREC to threaten its staff and force them to evacuate the village within five days.  Later that month, villagers threw bricks at the building and then at the workers when they came out to protest.

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Write-a-Thon Series: Shi Tao

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

Four years ago, Chinese journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His crime? Sending an e-mail.

©AI         Shi Tao

©AI Shi Tao

In April 2004, Shi Tao e-mailed a pro-democracy Web site in the United States about a government regulation ordering the country’s media outlets to down play the upcoming 15th anniversary of the military crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square.  Authorities arrested him seven months later, charging him with “providing state secrets to foreign entities.”

China has a history of cracking down on freedom of expression through restricting journalism. It has implemented broad censorship of the Internet. Authorities used information provided by the host of Shi Tao’s e-mail account, Yahoo!, to convict him in April 2005.

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Write-a-Thon Series: Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

©AI        Le Thi Cong Nhan

©AI Le Thi Cong Nhan

Vietnamese human rights lawyers Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai were arrested on March 6, 2007 for “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” and sentenced to four and five years’ imprisonment respectively for their activism and education efforts. Although the sentences have since each been reduced by one year, the two will be subject to several more years’ house arrest upon their release. Meanwhile, the human rights situation remains grave in Vietnam, which has silenced activists through surveillance, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention and imprisonment.

©AI                  Nguyen Van Dai

©AI Nguyen Van Dai

The two lawyers together spoke through Radio Free Asia and Voice of America to publicize the deficiency of human rights in their country. Nguyen Van Dai has represented some dissidents in court and founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam, which seeks to document abuses. Le Thi Cong Nhan joined this committee and was also the spokeswoman of the Vietnam Progression Party, a pro-democracy group formed in 2006. They have both been supporters of Bloc 8406, an online petition for democracy and freedom in Vietnam.

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Write-a-thon Series: Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini © Private

Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini © Private

Despite having been cleared for release more than four years ago, twenty-six-year-old Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini remains detained in Guántanamo. Odaini was sent to the detention center at the U.S Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba in March 2002 along with fourteen other Yemeni nationals, all of whom were turned over by Pakistani police. In June 2005, U.S. authorities declared Odani suitable for release from Guantánamo. Yemeni authorities are prepared to take him back, however he continues to be detained without reason. He has not been interrogated for nearly two years and the reason for his continued detention is unclear.

Participate in this year’s Amnesty International annual Global Write-a-thon and help free Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini by writing a letter on his behalf to the Commander of the Joint Task Force Guantánamo. Be one of the thousands of individuals asking why Odaini and fellow detainees remain detained despite being cleared for release. By putting pressure on the Commander now, we hope to help release Odaini and fellow Yemenis and enable them to go back to Yemen. Writing a letter could not only help Mr. Odaini but the other detainees currently being unlawfully held in Guantánamo.

By Morgan Brescia, AIUSA Campaign for Individuals at Risk

Write-a-Thon Series: Mansour Ossanlu

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

Mansour Ossanlu

Mansour Ossanlu

Trade Unionist Mansour Ossanlu, age 49, is the leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Syndica Sherkat-e Vahed). He has been peacefully working to obtain better conditions for workers in Iran and to end discriminatory laws and practices that curtail workers’ rights in Iran. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “acts against national security” and “propaganda against the system.” He had been previously arrested and detained several times for his peaceful labor activism and severely beaten in custody, causing damage to his retinas. He is currently serving his term in a prison for violent criminals and has been mistreated by staff and other inmates. He suffers from several severe health problems, but has not received necessary medical treatment.

Mansour Ossanlu is one of Amnesty International’s 10 priority cases who you can help free by participating in our Global Write-a-thon running from December 5-13. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience who is being detained on vaguely worded charges in order to halt his efforts to build strong trades unions capable of defending the human rights of workers.

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Write-a-thon Series: The Women of Atenco

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/

© Private

© Private

You’ve read before on this blog about the women of Atenco, who were arrested without explanation during a police operation in response to protests by a local peasant organization in San Salvador Atenco, in Mexico State. Dozens of them were subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence by the police officers who arrested them.

In the case of one of the women, Bárbara Italia Méndez, police officers pulled her hair, beat her, and forced her into a state police vehicle with her shirt pulled over her head. She was made to lie on top of other detainees, and during the journey to the prison, police officers sexually assaulted her repeatedly.

 

More than three years later, these brave survivors are still waiting for justice. None of the officials responsible for their abuse have been held accountable. One of the women was able to identify her attacker, and he was tried on the watered-down charge of “libidinous acts” and sentenced to time served plus a small fine. He appealed the ruling, and was acquitted, thus avoiding even that weak punishment.

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