America Isn’t Itself When It’s Afraid

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By Ali Albassam

“Never make an emotional decision.” That’s sound advice for any individual facing a dilemma. That same advice should also extend to entire countries, and to governments. Perhaps it explains why so many historical human rights abuses have taken place when a country’s population is fearful.

Many people have become addicted to the 24-hour news cycle, which can amplify fears by sensationalizing threats. This makes the world feel smaller and makes danger seemingly closer than it really is. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Jeffrey Wood is Scheduled for Execution on August 24th, but he Didn’t Commit Murder

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As death sentences and executions dwindle around the country and most states are abandoning the death penalty, a few states are determined to keep executions rolling. Top of the list is Texas, the state that’s now gearing up to execute a man who never killed anyone.

Jeffrey Wood is scheduled for execution on August 24th, but he didn’t commit murder. He was waiting in a car while Daniel Reneau committed a robbery and, ultimately, killed Kriss Keeran. Reneau was executed in 2002, but according to the “law of parties,” Wood is considered equally culpable simply for sitting in the car outside. The law of parties has only been invoked for execution ten times, and five of those were in Texas. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Manning Faces Charges for Attempting to Take Her Life

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The news was hard to take when I first learned of it on 7 July – Chelsea Manning, who publicly stood up and took responsibility for releasing materials she felt would demonstrate the atrocities of war to the world, had attempted to take her own life nearly two days prior. Having witnessed how she sat in Court each day during her military trial, back stiff as a board, in front of media, M.P.s and observers as expert witnesses spoke about her struggles and her desire to present as a woman; knowing that she continued to struggle against the military as it refused to recognize her as such – my mind swirled back and forth between concern and sorrow as I realized that she finally reached a breaking point. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Fighting the Demonization of Ordinary American Muslims—Like Me

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By Ali Albassam, Security with Human Rights volunteer

Newt Gingrich recently proposed that American Muslims be tested and questioned on their religious beliefs—and face deportation.

Gingrich told Fox News:

“The first step is you have to ask them the questions. The second step is you have to monitor what they’re doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques.”

Gingrich’s comments are the latest in this trend: After horrific terrorism attacks, pundits take to cable news to offer discriminatory, anti-Muslim proposals and rhetoric. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

3 Ways Saudi Arabia Is Abusing Human Rights – and How They’re Getting Away With It

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Amnesty International is calling for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council – here’s why.

1. Crackdown on activists

Saudi Arabia has continued a sweeping crackdown on human rights activists. All of the country’s prominent and independent human rights defenders have been imprisoned, threatened into silence or have fled the country. More and more have been sentenced to years in prison under the country’s 2014 counter-terror law. Among the many people imprisoned is Raif Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair. Scores more were jailed under the law after unfair trials in 2015 and 2016, including human rights defenders Dr Abdulkareem al-Khoder, Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid, Issa al-Hamid and Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, all founding members of the now disbanded independent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Help Me Free My Father, Leonard Peltier

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Leonard Peltier at Leavenworth.6/92 ©Jeffry Scott

By Kathy Peltier, Daughter of Leonard Peltier

Today, fathers across the U.S. will be celebrated, spending time with their loved ones and enjoying time with their children.

But for me, Father’s Day is an empty day.

My father is , a prominent member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). His name is synonymous with the struggle for Native rights and he has been behind bars for over 40 years—my whole life.

With my father’s health failing, it would mean everything to me if he’d get to spend a little of his life with me—even a week with him would be incredible.

Help bring my father home: Tell President Obama to grant Leonard Peltier clemency. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Happy Pride!

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It’s June, and June means that we’re entering the heart of Pride season here in the United States. Around the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies are coming together to celebrate Pride.

At Amnesty International, we’ve launched our 2016 Pride Toolkit to help members and supporters take action at Pride events to promote LGBT human rights. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Foster v. Chatman Ruling Reverses Death Sentence on the Basis of Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection

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In a significant ruling from the Supreme Court yesterday, the Court reversed the conviction and death sentence of a Georgia man on the basis that prosecutors intentionally discriminated by excluding blacks from the jury. Timothy Foster, an 18-year old black man, was convicted by an all-white jury in 1987 of murdering an elderly white woman. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Call on U.S. Congress to Lift Embargo Against Cuba

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HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 20:  U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive at Jose Marti International Airport on Airforce One for a 48-hour visit on March 20, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.   Mr. Obama's visit is the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting president, the last one being Calvin Coolidge.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Matt Kennis, AIUSA Board of Directors

President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba in March marked a key turning point in U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. The president’s visit follows a series of efforts made by the Clinton and Obama Administrations to remove sanctions against Cuba. Although strides have been made to strengthen diplomatic relations, the economic embargo against Cuba still stands and continues to undermine human rights in Cuba. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST