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
By Harry Belafonte, artist and activist
All my life I have used my art to fight for social justice. So when I see freedom of expression under serious attack, I must act.
That is why I stand with Amnesty International today in demanding justice for courageous Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar “Zunar” Ulhaque, who is facing decades in prison for political Tweets he sent in February.
Join me. Urge the Malaysian government to immediately drop the charges against Zunar.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST