The veneer of progress is wearing thin in Myanmar. A year ago, the President of Myanmar, Thein Sein, promised to release all prisoners of conscience. Earlier this year, to mark Myanmar’s Independence Day, the President ordered the release of thousands of prisoners. Now one year on from the promise to release all prisoners of conscience, the promise remains unfulfilled. Even more troubling is the fact that the government is arresting more prisoners of conscience.
By Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA Deputy Executive Director of Campaigns and Programs
Great news! After constant campaigning and unwavering support on the part of more than a million Amnesty activists like you, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death because of her religious beliefs, is free and arrived in Italy with her family yesterday.
Somewhere in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak must be smiling, knowing that three years after his downfall, he has won after all.
After three decades of muzzling civil society, of harassing, detaining and torturing political activists, scholars, journalists, lawyers, doctors and regular citizens of all stripes, Mubarak never was able to accomplish what the new regime has achieved in a matter of months.
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.”
By Haitham Ghoniem, Egyptian Human Rights Activist and Researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
It was in the first week of this April, before noon prayers, when the doorbell rang. My mother saw a muscular man dressed in a white shirt and trousers standing at the door. She was too scared to open it, especially as he looked like a military man.
He rang the bell several times. When no one answered, he asked our neighbor if someone named Haitham Ghoniem lived here. He questioned her about my whereabouts. Then he proceeded to scour the entire building.
My mother called and warned me not to come home ever again.
In a lightning-fast trial, the same Egyptian judge who originally sentenced 528 Egyptians to death ordered 683 more to be executed – including the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This new verdict is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences Amnesty has recently seen anywhere in the world.
In the past couple of weeks, Viet Nam has released 3 prominent prisoners of conscience: Nguyen Tien Trung, Vi Duc Hoi and Cu Huy Ha Vu.
The release of the 3 prisoners seems, at first glance, to be a step in the right direction for human rights. But, is this Viet Nam playing the old “shell game?”
Even by the standard of low expectations set for a trip described as fencing-mending, President Obama’s public silence on Saudi Arabian human rights spoke loudly today.
There was no open mention of the Saudi crackdown on peaceful political activists, a crackdown that brands anyone who speaks out a criminal and sends them to jail. There was no clear support for religious minority groups who are standing strong for their right to practice religion.
There was public silence on the rights of women, even as Saudi women themselves are taking to the roads on Saturday to defy the world’s only ban on women driving.
By Said Haddadi, Amnesty International Iraq Researcher
Osama Jamal Abdallah Mahdi, a 32-year-old father of two, has now spent more than two years on death row in Iraq for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
His uncle is now his only hope. From his home in Wichita, Kansas more than 6,000 miles away, Musadik Mahdi is spearheading a campaign for his nephew’s release.
The Iraqi-born engineer has contacted Congressmen, diplomats, the media and NGOs, including Amnesty International, in an attempt to get Osama’s conviction overturned. And time is running out – Musadik fears that Osama could be dragged to the gallows any day now.