Reggie Clemons Needs More Letters!

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This post is part of our Write for Rights series

Over 3,000 Belgian citizens have handwritten and mailed in letters appealing for at least a commutation in the death sentence of Reggie Clemons, an American who was sentenced to death in St. Louis, Missouri as an accomplice in a 1991 murder. Can YOU help that number grow even bigger, and prevent the execution of a man who has maintained his innocence for almost 20 years?

As part of this year’s Write-a-thon, Amnesty International have another chance to write for (and to) Reggie Clemons. His case illustrates many of the flaws that plague the Missouri capital punishment system—there was no physical evidence, and there were only two witnesses to the crime, both of whom offered self-serving testimony. Other disturbing factors include alleged police brutality, possible racial bias, prosecutorial misconduct, and (as seemingly always in death penalty cases) inadequate legal representation.  You can check out the Justice for Reggie campaign or our Reggie Clemons page for more information, including our May 2010 report.

The Governor of Missouri needs to know that executing Reggie Clemons would be a grave violation of human rights, and Reggie needs to know that he has our support as he continues to pursue justice in his case.

Reggie’s is one of 12 cases that need attention. You can help defend human rights in all these cases this December by signing up for the Write-a-thon. One letter can make a difference. With hundreds, or thousands of letters, we can make an even greater impact. Please take part in the Write-a-thon, and encourage others to do so as well.

Write a letter for human rights this December

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This post is part of our Write for Rights series

Right now, we’re almost halfway to our Write for Rights goal – 350,000 letters! But we need your help. Every letter pledged brings us closer to the tidal wave of letters that can save lives around the world.  That’s why it’s so important for you to make a pledge to Write for Rights this December!

Your words DO have power. They can bring freedom to prisoners of conscience. They can demand justice for survivors of torture. They can offer hope to human rights defenders at risk. Your words can save lives.

We’ve got the proof real success stories told by the people who’ve experienced horrific human rights abuses.

Just check out this video below from one of our previous Write-a-thon cases – Bu Dong Wei, a prisoner of conscience jailed for his activities as a member of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is banned in China.

Stories like this one are why each year more and more people across the world come together to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 by taking part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon – the world’s largest letter writing event. We write letters to demand that the rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. In doing so, we show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses and work to bring about real change in people’s lives.

Anybody can take action – whether you want to put on a public event in your community, hold a private event at home with friends and family, or simply write letters as an individual.  So please join today – pledge to Write for Rights.

Detention and Torture: Just Another Day in the Life of a Human Rights Defender in China

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This post is part of our Write for Rights series.

Mao Hengfeng

Mao Hengfeng

Mao Hengfeng has been repeatedly detained and tortured for her advocacy on behalf of women’s reproductive rights and the victims of forced evictions in China. Mao herself has been forcibly injected with drugs, fired by her employer, detained in a psychiatric hospital and beaten because of her choice to reproduce.  She has three daughters, which is a direct violation of China’s family-planning policy.

In March, she was sentenced to 18 months in “Re-education Through Labor” (RTL)  for participating in a peaceful protest in support of human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.  In July, she spoke out about the torture and inhumane treatment she experienced while in RTL. She displayed bruises from her frequent beatings and spoke about the unsanitary conditions of her detention, which have led to a skin infection.

Mao is featured along with 11 other cases of human rights abuses in the 2010 Global Write-a-thon. You can take action on behalf of Mao and other cases by signing up to write for rights as either an individual or as part of an event. Find an event near you!

Claire Lesikar, Campaign for Individuals at Risk, contributed to this post.

Write for Rights

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By Michael O’Reilly, Senior Campaign Director Individuals at Risk

This post is part of our Write for Rights series

When was the last time you wrote a letter?  Not emailed…but really wrote a letter.

What if I told you that writing a letter could help save a life?  We’ve got nearly 50 years of history that proves this fact.
It was a letter of passion written in 1961 by Amnesty’s founder, Peter Benenson, that ignited a movement that’s now more than 2.8 million strong.

Birtukan Mideksa © AI

It was a letter of solidarity sent by many, but for the cause of one, that just weeks ago helped lead to the release of Ethiopian prisoner of conscience and 2009 Write-a-thon case Birtukan Mideksa from life imprisonment.

It is a letter of thanks signed by a person who has experienced unthinkable human rights abuses that both warms our hearts and fuels our fire.

So it should be no surprise that it’s a letter of hope that I’m asking you to pledge to write now.

Join Write for Rights – the world’s largest letter writing event.

In the days surrounding Human Rights Day – December 10 – people from more than 50 countries will unite to write letters on behalf of those in danger of severe human rights abuses.

Our global network of activists, acting independently and in groups of various sizes, will then go to work sending truckloads-worth of letters and postcards to repressive governments and other officials responsible for neglecting human rights.

In the U.S., we will shine our light on 12 specific cases from around the world who are in need your support and solidarity, including:

·    Aung San Suu Kyi – democracy icon imprisoned in Myanmar for most of the past 21 years after winning elections by a landslide
·    Majid Tavakkoli – a student leader imprisoned in Iran for speaking at a peaceful demonstration marking Student Day.
·    Women of Atenco – beaten and raped by police and left without justice in Mexico.

Your words have power.  They can bring freedom.  They can deliver justice.  But most importantly, they can offer hope and let human rights defenders around the world know that they are not alone.

Thank you for standing up to Write for Rights!