Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Egypt: Human Rights lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim missing for 16 days despite court release

September 21, 2018

Human Rights lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim [Twitter]

Despite an Egyptian court releasing Ezzat Ghoneim over two weeks ago the human rights lawyer and director of the NGO Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms has been missing for 16 days.

Ghoneim’s ordeal began in March this year when State Security Prosecution issued a 15-day detention order against him pending further investigations into undisclosed charges. He was subsequently detained at Tora prison for six months.

The recent court order stipulated he should be released on the condition that he report to the police station every day. According to normal practice detainees are transferred from prison to the police station where they undergo various bureaucratic procedures before being released after a maximum of six days.

However, six days ago Ghoneim’s wife went to the police station where she had been visiting her husband every day. They told her he had been released but his family can’t find him anywhere. It is believed that he is being held incommunicado within state custody.

Read: Egyptian court frees Mubarak’s sons on bail in share-dealing case

Fears are growing that the lawyer of Um Zubeida, the woman who spoke to the BBC about the forced disappearance of her daughter, has met the same fate. Azuz Mahbouh was released under condition at the same time as Ghoneim but is also missing.

Disappearing detainees beyond their release is a common tactic used by Egyptian police to further punish activists and lawyers because they can’t stop court orders.





Saudi Arabia/Canada: Outrageous ongoing detention of women’s rights defenders reaches 100 days

August 23, 2018

Image result for samar badawi

The ongoing arbitrary detention of several women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is outrageous, Amnesty International said today, as three prominent activists reach 100 days of being held without charge.

Since May, at least 12 leading human rights activists in Saudi Arabia have been detained without charge. Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were all imprisoned on 15 May and today (23 August) marks 100 days since their detention.

“It is absolutely outrageous that so many brave human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are still being held without charge – apparently for simply speaking out against injustice,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns.

“They have been detained without charge and with no legal representation for more than three months. This must not go on any longer. The world cannot carry on looking the other way as this relentless persecution of those who stand up for human rights in Saudi Arabia continues.”

To mark the 100 day anniversary, Amnesty International is today mobilising its supporters worldwide to stand with the detained human rights defenders. As part of the campaign, Amnesty International supporters are gathering in multiple cities around the world to protest outside of Saudi Arabian embassies. They will be putting pressure on the Saudi Arabian authorities, as well as their own governments, to take action to secure the release of the women human rights defenders and all prisoners of conscience who have been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef have faced accusations in state-aligned media which include forming a “cell” and posing a threat to state security for their “contact with foreign entities with the aim of undermining the country’s stability and social fabric”. Amnesty International understands that the three women may be charged and tried by the country’s notorious counter-terror court, which has been used in other instances to try human rights defenders and deliver harsh prison sentences.

Earlier this month, two more prominent women human rights activists – Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada – were also detained. Others detained recently include women’s rights activists Nouf Abdulaziz and Maya’a al-Zahrani, and activists who have previously been persecuted for their human rights work, such as Mohammed al-Bajadi and Khalid al-Omeir. Hatoon al-Fassi, a prominent women’s rights activist and academic was also reportedly detained a few days after Saudi Arabia lifted the driving ban in June.

So far, a total of 12 human rights defenders have been detained: eight women and four men. The crackdown began shortly before Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving in the country. Many of the activists detained campaigned for the right to drive and the end of the repressive male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia for many years.








https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-2018/sept-2018-gazette.pdf#page=19 (at page 16)


https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1935 (ARABIC)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2018/08/22/01003-20180822ARTFIG00232-la-militante-saoudienne-israa-al-ghomgham-risque-la-decapitation.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/08/17/les-valeurs-des-lumieres-n-appartiennent-pas-qu-a-l-homme-blanc_5343245_3232.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20180823/451413919665/ai-denuncia-que-tres-activistas-saudies-llevan-100-dias-en-prision-sin-cargos.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/saudi-arabien-israa-al-ghamgham-droht-die-enthauptung-a-1224434.html (DEUTSCH)

https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2018/08/arabia-saudita-busca-pena-de-morte-para-cinco-ativistas-de-direitos-humanos.shtml (PORTUGUES)

https://www.ilpost.it/2018/08/23/attivista-politica-arabia-saudita-rischia-pena-di-morte/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/saoedi-arabie-eist-doodstraf-tegen-vijf-activisten-onder-wie-een-vrouw~b742c553/ (NEDERLANDS)

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Turkey/AI: Amnesty Chair to be released after more than a year behind bars

August 15, 2018

Honorary Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç

Following a decision by a court in Istanbul to release the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç , after more than fourteen months behind bars, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General said:

“We are overjoyed at this news. It has taken us more than a year of campaigning and struggle to get here, but it appears that Taner will finally be freed. Whilst we rejoice at this decision, our celebrations will only truly begin when he is safely back at home in the arms of his wife and daughters.

“But beneath the smiles of joy and relief there will be sorrow, anger and a steely determination. Sorrow for all the things Taner has missed during his cruel incarceration. Anger that the baseless charges against him and the Istanbul 10 have not been dropped. And determination to continue our fight for human rights in Turkey and for the release of all other human rights defenders who have been unjustly jailed in the vicious crackdown.

“Today we take a moment to celebrate, but tomorrow our struggle will continue, re-energized by the example set by Taner himself – a man who knows the importance of human rights and is willing to dedicate his life to defending them.”











http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1056340/Buyukada_davasi_sanigi_Taner_Kilic_in_tahliyesine_karar_verildi.html (TURKCE)

https://ilerihaber.org/icerik/taner-kilic-icin-tahliye-karari-88733.html (TURKCE)

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/tuerkei-tuerkisches-gericht-ordnet-freilassung-von-amnesty-ehrenvorsitzendem-an-1.4093785 (TURKCE)

http://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-tribunal-turco-pone-libertad-director-amnistia-internacional-pais-20180815160903.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2018/08/15/news/amnesty_ordinato_il_rilascio_della_nostra_presidente_in_turchia_kilic_-204187147/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.dw.com/tr/taner-k%C4%B1l%C4%B1%C3%A7-hakk%C4%B1nda-tahliye-karar%C4%B1/a-45095438 (DEUTSCHE)

https://www.amnesty.nl/actueel/oud-voorzitter-amnesty-turkije-komt-vrij (NEERLANDS)

https://saint-brieuc.maville.com/actu/actudet_-un-tribunal-ordonne-la-liberation-du-president-d-amnesty-en-turquie-selon-l-ong_54135-3509832_actu.Htm (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taner_Kili%C3%A7 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.cmjornal.pt/mundo/detalhe/tribunal-da-turquia-ordena-libertacao-de-ativista-dos-direitos-humanos (PORTUGUES)


Image result for Taner Kilic

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Poland/AI: Poland’s Reluctant Hero

August 10, 2018


Next week, the head of Poland’s Supreme Court, Chief Justice Malgorzata Gersdorf, will go to work as usual, but her week is likely to be anything but normal.

Today, rules came into force that simplify the election of her replacement. This could effectively mean that her fob key might no longer work, her name plate would no longer be on her office door and she would be forced to clear out her desk.

If this is the case, it will represent the latest chapter in battle for control over Poland’s judiciary which has been raging for many months: a battle in which Justice Gersdorf has become a reluctant figurehead.

Judge Gersdorf was catapulted into the spotlight last month, after she defied a new law that reduced the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. Nearly 30 Supreme Court judges were forced to retire, but, describing the changes as a ” purge of the Supreme Court conducted under the guise of retirement reform”, Judge Gersdorf turned up to work anyway. She was swept into the court house by a sea of supporters chanting “we are with you”, and has been coming into work ever since.

The European Commission launched legal proceedings to assess whether the reforms breached EU law, but in order to speed the purge over the Supreme Court, the government pushed through a further judicial amendment. This amendment, which reduced number of justices who needed to be present when a new Supreme Court President is elected, came into effect at midnight.

Judge Gersdorf has been one of the main targets of the government’s campaign against judges since 2016, when she first expressed her concerns over the future of the rule of law in Poland. She has been repeatedly attacked in the pro-government media and, in March 2017, a group of 50 MPs from the governing Law and Justice party requested that the Constitutional Court examine the legality of her appointment.

There is something particularly alarming about the erosion of the Supreme Court’s independence in Poland. Through its latest “reform”, the government has effectively put all arms of the judiciary – including the Constitutional Tribunal, National Council of the judiciary and common courts – under political control.








South Sudan: Detention and Disappearance of Peter Biak Ajak | Letter

August 6, 2018

Your Excellency

Re: Detention and Disappearance of Peter Biak Ajak

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers, students and academics who campaign internationally for advocacy rights, advocates in danger, and on rule of law issues. We also engage in legal research and education about international human rights law. I am a lawyer and a partner of a law firm in Canada, Cohen Highley LLP, and I am writing to you to ask that you intervene with respect to proceedings involving the above named individual.

On July 28, 2018 Mr. Peter Biar Ajak, prominent academic and activist and chair of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, was arrested by the National Security Service (NSS) at the Juba International Airport as he was preparing to travel to Awiel for a youth forum he organized. Amnesty International reports that this arrears is believed to be linked to the youth forum. Mr. Ajak was presented with an arrest warrant bearing a date that was one week old. He has since been held at the NSS headquarters in JUBA with no access to a lawyer. Mr. Ajak has not been brought before a court and the reason for his detention is unclear.

We urge the authorities of South Sudan to do the following:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Peter Biar Ajak;




Saudi Arabia/Canada: Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador after criticism of arrest of women’s rights activists

August 6, 2018

‘Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs’

Saudi Arabia has given the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom 24 hours to leave after Ottawa criticised the arrest of women’s rights activists in the ultra-conservative country.

The Saudi foreign ministry also said it was freezing “all new business” between the two states and had withdrawn its own ambassador.

“Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs,” it declared in an extraordinary statement on Sunday night.

The spat comes after Canada’s diplomatic department tweeted about the detention of two more activists in the Middle Eastern country on Friday, the latest in a crackdown which began in May.

“Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi,” it posted. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”

Ms Badawi, arrested last week, is a lawyer and sister to blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison in 2012 for criticising clerics. His wife Ensaf Haidar and three children now live in Quebec.

Her whereabouts, and those of Nassima al-Sadah, are currently unknown. Several other prominent female activists remain in prison near Jeddah, where no charges have been brought against them.


















http://www.france24.com/fr/20180806-riyad-expulse-ambassadeur-canada-critiques-droits-lhomme-badawi-arabie-saoudite (FRANCAIS)

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1116070/larrestation-de-samar-badawi-suscite-des-reactions (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/petitions/liberte-pour-3-defenseures-en-arabie-saoudite (FRANCAIS – SIGNEZ LA PETITION!)

https://www.derstandard.de/story/2000084863817/samar-badawi-eine-frau-kaempft-gegen-die-verhaeltnisse (DEUTSCH)

https://www.dw.com/de/schwester-von-raif-badawi-in-saudi-arabien-festgenommen/a-44919296 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.ilpost.it/2018/08/06/arabia-saudita-canada-samar-badawi/ (ITALIANO)

https://veja.abril.com.br/mundo/arabia-saudita-expulsa-diplomata-canadense-e-convoca-enviado-a-ottawa/ (PORTUGUES)

Russia: Lawyer who leaked prison torture video flees Russia amid threats

July 24, 2018

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a video footage received from Biryukova showing the torture of an inmate named Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl.

Irina Biryukova, a lawyer with Public Verdict representing Evgeny Makarov, Moscow, 2018.

Irina Biryukova, the lawyer working for the human rights group “Public Verdict” who turned over prison torture footage to Novaya Gazeta last week, has fled Russia after receiving threats.

The organization says she also appealed to Russian law enforcement agencies, asking for state protection for herself and her family. In her letter to Federal Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, Biryukova said several of the guards who appear in the torture video have threatened to take revenge against her for outing them to the public, according to Meduza.

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a video footage received from Biryukova showing the torture of an inmate named Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl. The footage was recorded in June 2017.

Though prison officials and local investigators refused to prosecute or punish the guards following earlier complaints, almost immediately after Novaya Gazeta published the video, federal investigators opened a criminal case under Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code: abuse of authority using violence.