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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 11


No contact with abducted politician for months
On 17 July 2019, Libyan parliamentarian and prominent woman’s rights defender Siham Sergiwa was brutally abducted from her home in Benghazi by armed gunmen, after publicly criticising the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army’s military campaign to seize Tripoli. No contact has been made with her since her abduction more than three months ago, raising grave fears that she is at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.
Jailed satire performers face more charges
Five members of the Peacock Generation, a Thangyat or a satirical poetry troupe, have been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, after being detained for over six months, for their performance criticizing the military. They are facing further charges in different townships where they have also performed, including for livestreaming their performances. If found guilty of all charges, they face up to eight additional years in prison.
Professor facing prison on trumped up charges
Professor Muhammad Ismail, a prisoner of conscience charged with «hate speech» and «cyber terrorism», was denied bail on 4 November. If convicted, he will face up to seven years in prison. A vocal critic of the country’s armed forces and their treatment of his daughter, woman human rights defender Gulalai Ismail, he is also facing trumped up charges under Pakistan’s draconian anti-terror laws. The Ismail family has endured invasive surveillance, threats and intimidation since May 2019 – with their home raided multiple times. Detained solely for peacefully exercising his human right to freedom of expression, Professor Ismail must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Rights defender imprisoned and ill-treated
Human rights defender Server Mustafayev from Russian-occupied Crimea has been in detention since May 2018, under false terrorism-related charges. On 12 September he was transferred from Crimea to southwest Russia. He is awaiting further transfer from Krasnodar to Rostov-on-Don where he will face military court. His detention in shared four-square meter cell, with appalling sanitation, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment. He has been targeted solely for his human rights activism.
Gay man summoned by police and disappeared
Kasymberdi Garaev, a 24-year-old doctor, came out as gay in an online article published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Turkmen Service on 21 October. He spoke of his despair as same sex relations between men are a crime in Turkmenistan. He was summoned to a police station on 24 October and has not been heard of since. Meanwhile, the authorities have started a campaign to identify supposed LGBTI people.
Activist’s fate remains unknown
On 2 November 2019, Iraqi activist and medic Saba Mahdawi was abducted by armed and masked men at around 11:20 pm on her way home from Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Saba’s family has raised her case with the local authorities, but no progress has been made to date. The Iraqi police and other security personnel involved in the investigation confirmed to her family that her whereabouts remained unknown, with no additional information with regards to the perpetrators’ identity.
Journalists detained for doing their job
Four Iwacu journalists and their driver were arbitrarily arrested on 22 October in north-western Burundi, as they arrived to investigate reports of clashes between the security forces and an armed group in Bubanza province. Charged with undermining state security, the five remain in prison after the Council Chamber of the Bubanza Tribunal decided to keep them in detention on 31 October. They have appealed this decision.
Charges against activist must be dropped
The trial against Yana Antonova, a human rights defender from Krasnodar, southern Russia, started on 7 November. She has been targeted for her peaceful activism and charged under the «undesirable organisations» legislation. If convicted she will face up to six years in prison.
Kurdish activist arbitrarily detained
Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, aged 29, has been arbitrarily detained since her arrest in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, Iran, on 23 May 2019. She is charged with national security offences, in relation to her civil society work empowering marginalized members of Iran’s Kurdish minority.
Transgender rights march at risk of attack
Transgender rights activists in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv are planning to hold a march on 23 November to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. In 2018, the police failed to protect those participating in a similar march from attacks by violent groups advocating hatred and discrimination. This year, there is a serious risk of new attacks and the police must ensure people can safely exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression without discrimination.
Activist sentenced to 24 years in prison
Iranian women’s rights defender Saba Kordafshari, 21, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for her peaceful human rights work, including campaigning against Iran’s discriminatory forced veiling laws. If her verdict is upheld on appeal, she would be required to serve 15 years of her prison sentence. She is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
NGO shut down, staff at risk of attack
The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) was permanently shut down by the authorities on 5 November 2019, in response to their 2015 report «Preliminary Assessment of Radicalization in the Maldives» which allegedly contained «content slandering Islam and the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH)». Subject to a social media smear campaign by religious hardliners, staff and members of MDN have faced alarming threats of violence, rape and even death against them. The Maldivian Government must uphold its obligations under international human rights law and ensure that human rights defenders, activists and civil society organizations are able to freely carry out their activities without the threats of violence, prosecution and repression.
Hazardous air puts health of millions at risk
The air in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, is so toxic that people’s health and lives are in grave danger. Schools have been forced to shut down, respiratory illnesses are on the rise and people are having trouble breathing. On 13 November, the Air Quality Index in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, reached 556 – far exceeding the threshold for «hazardous» levels, which begins at 300. The Government of Pakistan is assessing the air quality using measures not in line with international standards and so, people are not adequately warned or equipped as to how to protect themselves from the smog. The government of Pakistan must act on its human rights obligations and take urgent action to protect people from the adverse consequences of poor air quality.
Human rights defender at risk of torture
Muhammad Idris Khattak, a Pakistani human rights defender and independent researcher, is feared to have been subjected to an enforced disappearance. No one has seen him since the evening of 13 November when he was taken by men in plain clothes on a motorway between Islamabad and Peshawar. His whereabouts and fate remain unknown to his family. Amnesty International fears that Khattak could be at risk of torture, ill-treatment or worse – as suffered by other victims of enforced disappearance in Pakistan. Khattak is also a patient of diabetes and needs daily medication.
Representative’s right to fair trial at risk
Juan Requesens, Venezuelan Representative in the National Assembly has been in pre-trial detention since his arbitrary detention on 7 August 2018. After 14 months, his trial hearing is scheduled for Monday 25 November 2019. The justice system in Venezuela constantly fails to comply with procedural time limits and the right to a fair trial without undue delays. Judges regularly postpone hearings without any valid excuse like when officers refuse to transfer defendants to their hearings, or because prosecutors do not show up before the court. We call for Juan Requesens to have a fair trial without undue delays.
Defender´s body found after 40 days missing
Authorities found the body of Arnulfo Cerón Soriano, indigenous human rights defender, on 20 November in a clandestine grave near the city of Tlapa, Guerrero state in western Mexico. Arnulfo was a member of the Popular Mountain Front and Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of the State of Guerrero (MOLPEG). He disappeared on 11 October on his way to a meeting in this city. Authorities must redouble their efforts to investigate his disappearance and death, holding those responsible to account, and ensure safety of Arnulfo´s family and organizations that support him.
NGO Director in administrative detention
Ubai Aboudi, NGO worker and education activist has been issued a four-month administrative detention order by the Israeli military commander of the West Bank. Ubai Aboudi has been detained since 13 November 2019, without charge or trial in Ofer prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Human rights defenders must be released
Nigerian authorities have continued to detain human rights defenders Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare at the Department of State Services in Abuja, and Agba Jalingo in Calabar prison, southern Nigeria, since their arrests in August. They are facing trumped-up charges of treason because they demanded government accountability. The maximum penalty for the offence of treason is the death penalty. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Free author Ahmet Altan
On 12 November, renowned Turkish author and former newspaper editor Ahmet Altan was detained after a court overturned the decision taken on 4 November to release him from over three years in detention. Ahmet Altan is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Abortion rights at risk in Slovakia
Slovak MPs are debating a bill that aims to further restrict access to abortion. If passed, it would require women seeking abortion care to fulfil a number of mandatory requirements that are not justified by medical reasons and would undermine women’s privacy, personal integrity, autonomy in decision-making about health care and will subject them to harmful stigma, humiliation and degrading treatment. The Slovak Parliament must urgently reject this bill.
Five activists in detention
Five pro-democracy activists, Alseny Farinta Camara, Moussa Sanoh, Boubacar Diallo, Thierno Seydi Ly and Thierno Oumar Barry, were arrested on 14 November 2019 in Kindia, western Guinea, and charged with participation in an unauthorised gathering. They are all members of pro-democracy coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC in French). Two of the activists require medical attention.
Viktar Paulau at risk of imminent execution
Viktar Paulau is at risk of imminent execution after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 12 November. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, without exception, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Thousands in need of urgent protection
2,250 Persons from indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in Bojayá, Chocó (western Colombia) are under siege by the guerrilla National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) and the paramilitary Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia) groups that are denying them access to food and basic healthcare services. On 17 November, the ombudsman's office reported that the armed groups threatened social leaders opposing their presence in the zone and were putting landmines around the few areas with phone coverage. We urge Colombian authorities to deploy a comprehensive protection plan to protect Bojaya’s communities rights.
Human rights organization threatened
Since the beginning of November, members of dhColombia have been surveilled by unknow men outside their homes and office. dhColombia is an advocacy organization that provides legal support to victims of human rights violations and searches accountability from prominent military members, public force and multinationals. On August a member of dhColombia faced communication espionage, theft of sensitive information and life threats. On 4 October, dhColombia requested protection measures from the National Protection Unit (UNP) without receiving a response yet. We are urging the UNP to grant dhColombia members the protection measures they requested.