Photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was arrested on Wednesday 14 August 2013 as he was taking pictures of the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in in August 2013. He is one of dozens of Egyptian journalists arrested since former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on 3 July 2013.
By Geoffrey Mock, Middle East Country Specialist
The future of Egypt is now behind bars. A generation of young Egyptians – activists, artists, journalists, lawyers and others – who embodied the promise of Tahrir Square and who offer a creative vision of a new Egyptian society – has been shut down and silenced because of their beliefs. Mass protests have given away to mass arrests.
One of the more than 16,000 people caught up in these arrests is Mahmoud Abu Zeid, a young Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name Shawkan. In August 2013, he was taking photos of a peaceful sit-in when security forces moved in violently. In contemporary Egypt, that act of taking photos is a crime, one that now could potentially have him facing the death penalty.
This is how Shawkan later described that day: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
One year ago today, the initial arrests were made of a group of activists in Angola’s capital of Luanda. Dubbed the #Angola17, their crime was meeting to read a book and discuss non-violent methods to promote political change, primarily how to urge the government to expand civil and human rights. However, the Angolan government saw this as a threat, prosecuted them and convicted them to prison sentences ranging from 2 to 8 years. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and their daughter Gabriella.
By Kaitlyn O’Shaughnessy
At any one time, there are around 10 million people in prison worldwide. Of these, an estimated 3.2 million haven’t yet had a trial. International human rights law prohibits arbitrary detention—detention that occurs for no legitimate reason or without legal process—and requires fair and independent public hearings to determine rights and obligations related to criminal charges.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines every individual’s right to be free from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, while Article 10 enshrines an individual’s right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal when faced with criminal charges.
A recent uptick in arrests of dual nationals by Iranian authorities serves as a reminder that constant vigilance is required to ensure freedom from arbitrary detention and fair trial rights are respected worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Ezat Taheri, mother of prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri
Iranian spiritual teacher and prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has been in pre-trial solitary confinement for five years, and has launched over a dozen hunger strikes in protest at his detention. His mother Ezat tells us of her long fight for his release:
The day my son was arrested, every single cell inside my body was trembling with fear. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Phyoe Phyoe Aung (right) outside court, 8 April 2016. Credit: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images
Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who was detained in Myanmar after helping to organize largely peaceful student protests, has finally been released more than one year on.
Amnesty supporters across the world wrote more than 394,000 letters, emails, tweets and more for Phyoe Phyoe Aung during Write for Rights, our global letter-writing marathon. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
On March 10, 2015 hundreds of student protestors were at a standstill near the city of Letpadan in Myanmar.
They had reached the eighth day of a standoff between largely peaceful activists marching for academic freedom, and the police forces who were blocking their path when, suddenly, things came to a head. Police began beating students violently, including those who had fallen to the ground. Some tried to flee, and hundreds were arrested. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Mahienour El-Massry, Prisoner of Conscience in Egypt
This is the fifth year of the Revolution… I almost cannot believe that five years have passed since the chants of “the people want to bring down the system” and “Bread… Freedom… Social Justice… Human Dignity” … Maybe this is because even in my cell I am filled with dreams of freedom and with hope. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
One year after Raif Badawi was publicly flogged, he and many other activists across Saudi Arabia urgently need your support.
A year after the international outcry over his public flogging, Raif Badawi and dozens of activists remain in prison and at risk of cruel punishments in Saudi Arabia. More and more are being sentenced under a harsh counter-terrorism law, while Saudi Arabia’s allies shamelessly back the Kingdom’s repression in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror’. Join the fight back today – here are six ways you can demand action from Saudi Arabia. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Amnesty International campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience – people who have been jailed because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, provided that they have neither used nor advocated violence.
In 2015, YOU helped put the pressure on 18 cases to ensure the release of many journalists and activists. The list below is reflective of how we can work together to create positive change in the lives of others. Thank you for all your support – together, we are standing up for people risking everything to speak out. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Viachaslau “Slava” Bortnik, chair of the Eurasia Coordination Group at Amnesty International USA
Leyla Yunus, one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent human rights defenders and former prisoner of conscience was freed on December 9. The Baku Court of Appeals changed her sentence with a conditional release due to her deteriorated health. The court placed her on probation for the next five years and maintained her guilty verdict, widely denounced as political retaliation for her work. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST