Tweet to Free Jabbar Savalan

Remember how everyone sent birthday cards to prisoner of conscience Jabbar Savalan when he turned 20 in September? We’ve continued campaigning for his release, and the cards were intended to remind him that although he is in prison serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on trumped-up charges to punish him for his peaceful anti-government activities (using Facebook to call for protests against the Azerbaijani government), he is not alone.

Well, tomorrow (October 18th) Azerbaijan celebrates its own 20th birthday, of independence from the former Soviet Union, so we’re stepping up with a new action to remind the authorities they can’t suppress peaceful protest through bogus charges and jail sentences. We know from our Twitter action for Eynulla Fatullayev that we can have an impact in Azerbaijan and our messages will be read.

So today we’re starting a global twitter action with several other Amnesty sections calling for Jabbar Savalan’s release. Send a message to the President of Azerbaijan – @presidentaz on Twitter. Here are some sample messages for you to use:

 I’m calling on @presidentaz to release #Jabbar Savalan, locked up in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

@presidentaz, Please release 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, arrested for using #facebook to call for peaceful protest in #Azerbaijan!

Then please send this tweet to share our twitter action with your contacts:

Join @amnesty in calling for the release of 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, jailed in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

Don’t have a Twitter account? Why not join Twitter and give our action a try? You’ll also find it’s a great way to keep up-to-date with our campaign work!

Alternatively, you could share the message above on President Aliyev’s public Facebook page. Copy the text from the sample tweets above and add it as a comment to his latest update.

For more detail on Jabbar’s case, and to keep up to date with new actions in the campaign for his freedom, visit or join the Free Jabbar Savalan page on Facebook.

Student Activist Spends Birthday Behind Bars in Azerbaijan

Jabbar Savalan

Jabbar Savalan behind bars after making a comment critical of the government on Facebook

Back in February, we told you about 19-year-old Jabbar Savalan, a student activist from Azerbaijan who had been arrested after he posted on Facebook calling for protests against the government.

In May, Jabbar Savalan was convicted on bogus charges and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

This Sunday, September 4th 2011 Jabbar will turn 20 years old in prison. On his birthday we want Jabbar to know that he has the support of people all over the world.

Send him birthday cards showing your solidarity or post a birthday greeting on our Facebook page that we’ll deliver to Jabbar.  Let Jabbar know that he’s not alone and that we’re taking action to ensure he won’t have to spend another birthday behind bars.

You can also send a message to the President of Azerbaijan urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Jabbar from prison.

Join the “Free Jabbar Savalan” Facebook page

Stand with Aung San Suu Kyi on her 65th Birthday!

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi, © Chris Robinson

As Myanmar prepares for its upcoming elections, a sense of concern and tension is in the air. Many fear that there will once again be political unrest, resulting in widespread arrests from election-related crackdowns. Moreover, contributing to the anxiety is the anticipated release of democracy leader and co-founder of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has endured unofficial detention and has been held under house arrest for about 15 years in Yangon.

Will you be among those calling for justice in Myanmar on Friday?  On June 18th, Amnesty International and other NGOs will be holding a demonstration and panel discussion in New York to commemorate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday. Activists will also participate in a procession to the Permanent Mission of the Union of Myanmar to deliver 65 yellow roses in honor of Suu Kyi’s 65th birthday.  Amnesty International members, the Burmese community, and other activists will be calling for her release, as well as for the over 2,100 political prisoners of Myanmar.

Can’t make it to the demonstration in New York? You can still support Amnesty’s efforts by joining our “Stand with Suu Kyi” photo action.

Stand with us as we stand with Suu Kyi and the more than 2,100 political prisoners in Myanmar!

Another Birthday in Prison

Saturday marks the 41st birthday of Chinese journalist and poet Shi Tao. It will be the fifth birthday he celebrates in prison. He is serving serving a 10-year prison term for sending an e-mail summarizing a memo advising journalists on how to handle the 15th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananman Square crackdown.

Chinese authorities have not lessened their restrictions on Internet freedom since Shi Tao was arrested on November 24, 2004. This was particularly apparent on the days immediately before and after June 4 of this year, the 20th anniversary of the Tiananman Square crackdown. The government blocked foreign news Web sites like CNN and the BBC and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook in anticipation of the day. Controls over other media outlets, including newspapers and magazines, have also intensified in recent years.

While prison conditions have improved slightly for Shi Tao in the past two years, freedom may still be as much as five years away. An appeal to review Shi Tao’s case was rejected last year. His mother’s request for medical parole for Shi Tao–because of a stomach condition that has worsened as a result of a poor prison diet–was also rejected. Don’t let Shi Tao spend any more birthdays in jail!

Fathi el-Jahmi May Not Live to See His Next Birthday

Fathi el-Jahmi © Private

Fathi el-Jahmi © Private

Earlier this month, prisoner of conscience Fathi el-Jahmi turned another year older inside prison walls in Libya. He was arrested in 2002 after calling for political reform and free speech at a conference in Tripoli, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Due to international support, he was released early in March 2004. Unfortunately, only weeks later, after repeating his call for democracy and political reform, he was detained yet again and has been in prison ever since. He suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and his health continues to deteriorate.

There’s a letter circulating in Congress right now, sponsored by Congressmen Frank Wolf and Mark Kirk, calling on the Libyan government to immediately release Fathi el-Jahmi and allow him to pursue medical care outside of Libya, according to his wishes. This letter really is our best chance at influencing the Lybian government, and Fathi el-Jahmi’s best chance at living to see another birthday—but so far not enough Members of Congress have signed on. Please take action!