The Malaysian government has no sense of humor – and that’s dangerous

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By Zunar, via The Washington Post

I’m a cartoonist in a country where cartooning can be a crime. Under my pen name, Zunar, I expose corruption and abuses of power by the Malaysian government. As it happens, I have a good deal of material to work with. For instance, Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently facing questions about a $700 million “donation” made to his personal bank account.

Last February, police raided my home in the middle of the night and hauled me off to jail. I was handcuffed for eight hours and thrown into a cell with all the other criminal suspects. I managed to avoid telling my cellmates what I was in for: using Twitter. Continue reading

Read the full piece published by The Washington Post here

How Art Can be a Catalyst for Change

On December 12th, 2015, New Orleans was the site of a special, one-day exhibit, Art for Rights, bringing together more than a dozen artists from around the world to highlight 12 of the most troubling human rights cases we face today. In honor of International Human Rights Day, and in conjunction with Amnesty’s annual Write for Rights campaign, each canvas told a bold story about injustice, persecution, and also courage. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

On Your Birthday, You Are Not Forgotten

Azam Farmonov is a member of the unregistered independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) from Sirdaria region, he was arbitrarily detained in the city of Gulistan. Azam Farmonov is the head of the HRSU Sirdaria regional branch. Alisher Karamatov is the head of the HRSU Mirzaabad district branch, he had been defending the rights of local farmers who had accused some district farming officials of malpractice, extortion and corruption. For further information see: EUR 04/001/2007

This week, Azam Farmonov, a prisoner of conscience in Uzbekistan, is spending his 37th birthday in prison. Azam has spent the last ten years jailed for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Please join Amnesty International in wishing Azam a happy birthday and declaring your support and solidarity with him. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Executions of Juvenile Offenders in Iran Are an Affront to the World’s Conscience

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In a very rare piece of good news in an otherwise bleak landscape, Iranian authorities recently postponed the scheduled execution of juvenile offender Salar Shadizadi at the eleventh hour. He was to be hanged on November 28 for a killing that occurred when Mr. Shadizadi was just 15 years old.

Iran is one of the very few countries in the world that continues to execute juveniles. At least four juvenile offenders — including one female — have been executed already in Iran in 2015. This is a blatant violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has ratified; Article 37 of the Convention states: “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

My Husband is in Prison for Supporting Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

Samar Badawi, wife of imprisoned Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, and their daughter Joud. Samar is also the sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

Samar Badawi, wife of imprisoned Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, and their daughter Joud.

Samar Badawi’s husband is Waleed Abu al-Khair, a prominent human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia. Waleed is in prison, serving a 15-year sentence for speaking out about human rights.

Take action now to demand Waleed’s release

Words are not enough for me to express how proud I am of my husband. How deeply proud I am of the man who believed in me and my cause when I was imprisoned. As my lawyer, he defended me and never left me alone to face those who unjustly attempted to impose their patriarchal authority over me just because I am a woman who dared to speak up. Everyone turned their backs on me except for my husband who remained by my side until he had helped achieve justice for my cause.

He has always been my rock whenever I felt weak, he was my strength and my source of motivation and inspiration. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

How has Albert Woodfox Survived 40 Years in Solitary Confinement?

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By Kristin Hulaas Sunde, Global Content Producer at Amnesty International

Albert Woodfox has spent the last 40 years alone in a tiny US prison cell. His old friend Robert King – who was also imprisoned for decades in the notorious Angola prison – tells us how Albert’s political courage and global support are keeping him going, despite the pain and isolation.

“Angola was considered the bloodiest prison in America. There was slave-like labour – people worked 17 hours a day for two and a half cents an hour. There was a lot of raping going on – the prison guards sold the younger inmates [into sexual slavery].” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

One Letter Can Change a Life. Millions Can Start a Human Rights Movement

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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

Will you stand with Teodora?

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Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, one of 12 cases in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign this fall, has been in prison since 2008 because she suffered a still-birth.  

Teodora still has 23 more years to serve out of a 30-year prison sentence, which is supported by El Salvador’s draconian abortion law. El Salvador has a total ban on abortion, meaning that abortion is illegal even if a woman’s or girl’s life or health is at risk, if the fetus is not viable, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Beaten up for Being in Love

Costas and his refugee partner were brutally beaten during a homophobic and racist attack on 23 August 2014. The couple were sitting on a bench in a square in central Athens when a group of 12-15 young men wearing black shirts violently attacked them. Costas says that the men threw a bucket of filthy water on them, and then punched and kicked him for more than 10 minutes. The attackers then overturned a trash bin over Costas' head, and broke his leg in three places above the ankle, leaving him in need of surgery and months of recovery. No perpetrators have been punished, and no suspects have been identified.Costas and his refugee partner were brutally beaten during a homophobic and racist attack on 23 August 2014. The couple were sitting on a bench in a square in central Athens when a group of 12-15 young men wearing black shirts violently attacked them. Costas says that the men threw a bucket of filthy water on them, and then punched and kicked him for more than 10 minutes. The attackers then overturned a trash bin over Costas' head, and broke his leg in three places above the ankle, leaving him in need of surgery and months of recovery. No perpetrators have been punished, and no suspects have been identified.

By Costas

In August 2014, Costas and his partner were badly beaten up by thugs in a violent homophobic and racist attack in central Athens.

We had met a couple of months previously at Athens Pride, and we had decided to move in together. We lived in a small studio in central Athens. One day in late August, we went to buy some things from the shop, and I suggested spending some time outside instead of going back home. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

“Simple, honest, kind”: My Wife, the Jailed Student Activist

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By Lin Htet Naing, husband of activist & prisoner of conscience Phyoe Phyoe Aung

In March, Phyoe Phyoe Aung was locked up for helping to organize a student protest in Myanmar. After eight months in hiding, husband Lin Htet Naing was also arrested in November. Before his arrest, he told us about his partner and their fight for justice.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST