By Maya Delany, Amnesty USA Student Activist Coordinator for Western Massachusetts
Last December, I arrived at my student group’s annual Write for Rights AmnesTEA event and was greeted by dim lighting, steaming beverages, and our group members sitting in a circle writing letters. I poured myself some tea, read summaries of each case, and started writing a letter to the King of Saudi Arabia about Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for simply expressing his opinions.
Last year’s Write for Rights, with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide writing a record-breaking 3 million letters and email actions SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Moses Akatugba
My name is Moses Akatugba. For 10 years I was on death row in Nigeria. I was arrested, tortured and imprisoned when I was just 16 years old. I was sentenced to death.
Police officers beat me with machetes and batons. The pain I went through was unimaginable.
This May, my execution was halted and I walked free. Your Write for Rights letters saved my life. Thank you. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
I don’t know about you, but I hate writing. My hand cramps, I get ink everywhere and my penmanship is illegible. However, despite all that, every December 10th on International Human Rights Day, I sit down and write letters as part of Amnesty’s annual global Write for Rights campaign. Why? Because in my 10 years with Amnesty International, I know that letters can literally save lives.
For example, one of last year’s Write for Rights cases was Moses Akatugba. He was tortured in Nigeria as a teenager into confessing to stealing three cell phones, and then sentenced to death. Earlier this year, he was pardoned and walked free. He said, SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
In the days surrounding Human Rights Day on December 10, I will be writing letters to people around the world – most of whom I have never met. As my messages begin to arrive in places like Chicago, Brasilia, Tel Aviv and Beijing, they will be joined by hundreds and thousands more. Together, we will speak with one voice to demand justice, cry for change and inspire hope. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Few people know about the plight of Guantánamo detainee Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi, but they should. That’s why Amnesty International included his case in Write #4Rights, a special period of global activism from December 5th to 16th marking International Human Rights Day on December 10th.
Almerfedi is a Yemeni national who has been held in U.S. military custody at Guantánamo Bay for over nine years: