URGENT: 528 Men Sentenced to Death in Mass Trial

Egyptian relatives of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi cry sitting outside the courthouse after the court ordered the execution of 529 Morsi supporters after only two hearings (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images).

Egyptian relatives of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi cry sitting outside the courthouse after the court ordered the execution of 529 Morsi supporters after only two hearings (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images).

An Egyptian court has shocked the world by issuing a mass death sentence to 528 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for their alleged role in a riot last July that turned violent.

This is the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case Amnesty International has seen in recent years.

This is not justice. It’s the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and it could be an attempt to wipe out political opposition. But the Egyptian authorities may yield to local and international pressure to overturn the convictions.

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Little Known Link Between Militarism and Violence Against Women

Faced with a spike in sexual violence against female protesters, Egyptian women are overcoming stigma and recounting painful testimonies to force silent authorities and a reticent society to confront “sexual terrorism” (Photo Credit: Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images).

Faced with a spike in sexual violence against female protesters, Egyptian women are overcoming stigma and recounting painful testimonies to force silent authorities and a reticent society to confront “sexual terrorism” (Photo Credit: Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images).

By Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA Co-Chair, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group

It took Miriam Isaura López Vargas several weeks to piece together what happened to her after she was tortured and raped by Mexican soldiers. On February 2, 2011, the 30-year-old mother of four had just dropped three of her children at school in the city of Ensenada, in northern Mexico, when two men wearing balaclavas forced her into a white van and took her away.

“They tortured me. They repeatedly put wet cloth over my face and poured water over it so I couldn’t breathe. They gave me electric shocks,” she explained.

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Peace in the Home and Peace in the World: Help End Violence Against Women!

By Tarah Demant, Co-Chair of Amnesty International USA Women’s Rights Co-Group

A life free from violence is a fundamental human right, yet daily, women and girls are targeted specifically because of their sex or gender, and violence in communities often affects women disproportionately. Violence against women is a global epidemic; no country or community is immune.

Violence against women is used as a tool of discrimination, control, and intimidation, and it restricts women’s choices and increases their vulnerability to further injustices. 1 in 3 women will be raped, beaten, or abused in her lifetime, yet violence against women affects us all. Consider the following cases:

  • In Sudan, women can be can be stopped by the police, arrested, jailed, and even sentenced to public flogging for nothing more than wearing pants or leaving her hair uncovered.
  • In Egypt, women protesters have faced harassment and assault while Egypt’s political leaders have remained silence about the rampant sexual violence and discrimination.
  • In Syria, more than 2 million people have fled the armed crisis, and now tens of thousands of women and girl refugees in Jordan risk further violence simply because they have no safe access to a toilet.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, often ranked the worst place in the world to be a woman, women human rights defenders provide grassroots assistance to civilians, yet they themselves face intimidation, attack, rape, and sexual violence for their efforts.
  • In Bangladesh, women human rights defenders work for the rights of indigenous people throughout the country, yet 17 years after the disappearance of a high-profile Pahari activist, her family and community still waits for justice.
  • In Honduras, women human rights defenders are threatened with sexual violence for championing human rights throughout the country.
  • In Mexico, Miriam López Vargas and hundreds of other women wait for justice after torture and rape by Mexican soldiers.

What these cases have in common is a global culture of discrimination and violence against women as well as impunity for those who commit gender-based violence. And this year’s theme: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women highlights the relationship between heightened militarism and communal and interpersonal violence.

Despite a culture of violence and discrimination women around the world are raising their voices against violence and discrimination, demanding their basic human rights, and standing against intimidation and fear. Today, what unites women internationally is their vulnerability to the denial and violation of their fundamental human rights, and their dedicated efforts to claim those rights.

You can join them this 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence as we join activists worldwide from Nov. 25 – Dec. 10 to help end violence against women. This year, we’re highlighting the seven cases above – in each instance, you can learn more, take action, and stand with women demanding their rights!

Imagine a world without violence against women. Join us this 16 Days to make that vision a reality.

Egypt’s Human Rights Abuses: Made in USA?

gyptian security forces have used tear gas to disperse protesters (Photo Credit: Muhammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Egyptian security forces have used tear gas to disperse protesters (Photo Credit: Muhammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

It’s time to ensure that Egyptian human rights violations don’t come labeled “Made in the USA.”

On Oct. 9, the U.S. government announced that the U.S. was suspending millions of dollars in military aid to the Egypt. That was good news, but it’s not enough.

The White House decision fell short of the kind of systematic review necessary to bring public transparency to U.S. arms sales to Egypt and stronger protections against U.S. weapons being used in human rights violations.

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5 Steps That Offer the Best Hope For Egypt’s Future

A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi stands among the bodies of dead pro-Morsi protesters on the floor of the Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi stands among the bodies of dead pro-Morsi protesters on the floor of the Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

Egyptian security forces can’t break old habits, and now the spirit of the 2011 Uprisings is in disarray.

For the third day in a row, security forces have attacked supporters for deposed President Mohamad Morsi, some of whom are armed and have fired back. Health officials put the death toll on Wednesday at 525, but that number has surely gone higher in the two days since.

The military has imposed a State of Emergency, inspiring memories of the abuses under the Mubarak regime facilitated by the special laws of a 30-year State of Emergency.

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BREAKING: Pro-Morsi Demonstration Dispersed in Cairo, Amnesty Researchers On the Ground

An unknown number of pro-Morsi protesters were killed in Egypt's capital today as Egyptian Security Forces undertook a planned operation to clear Morsi supporters from two sit-in demonstrations in Cairo where they have camped for over one month (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

An unknown number of pro-Morsi protesters were killed in Cairo today as security forces undertook a planned operation to clear Morsi supporters from two sit-in demonstrations  (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

Promises by the authorities to use lethal methods only as a last resort to disperse protesters appear to have been broken. All too often in the past, Egyptian security forces have used excessive force against demonstrators with catastrophic consequences.

Amnesty International working on the ground to verify any abuses that may have been carried out after a pro-Morsi sit-in was dispersed in Cairo today. We also stress Egyptian security forces must take urgent steps to avoid further bloodshed.

Access to the main hospital in the area near the sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya is also reported to be restricted.

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During This Critical Time, Egypt Cannot Repeat Recent Mistakes

By Nicholas Piachaud, Egypt campaigner, Amnesty International

In Egypt, the army seems to be leading a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Soldiers seem to have killed dozens of protesters supporting the post-president Mohammad Morsi. This is a human rights crisis, which stretches all across Egypt. And much of this current political violence could have been better contained if the security forces had put plans in place to control it.

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