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Across Ukraine, marches marking International Women’s Day, on 8 March, were marred by violence against peaceful demonstrators. Far-right groups physically attacked and have threatened with further violence women’s rights activists taking part in the event. The local police say that they are unable to offer protection from far-right groups.
48 people including families and children, who came to Mexico looking for protection, are at risk of being deported to possible persecution or grave human rights violations in their countries due to unusual failures in the procedures of Mexico´s refugee agency and migration authority.
Yukpa indigenous people that crossed to Colombia are facing eviction and threat of being sent back to Venezuela violating their rights as a binational population. The Colombian State is denying their right to remain in the country and their rights as Indigenous Peoples.
One year ago on 20 March 2017, prominent Emirati human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansoor, was arrested at his home. His whereabouts remain unverified despite a February mission by Irish lawyers to Abu Dhabi to find him. He remains without access to a lawyer. He is a prisoner of conscience.
Further information: Two men given the death penalty in Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab (Ali al-Arab) and Ahmad al-Malali
On 31 January, the Fourth High Criminal Court in Bahrain sentenced Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab and Ahmad al-Malali to death, convicting them on charges including “forming and joining a “terrorist” group”. According to information received by Amnesty International, Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab was tortured upon transfer to Jaw prison.
Youth activists Grâce Tshiuza, Mino Bompomi, Cedric Kalonji and Carbone Beni remain in arbitrary detention and have yet to be brought to court since their arrest on 30 December 2017 while mobilizing the public to participate in a peaceful protest. The authorities have been reluctant to share information on what they are accused of. They are being held by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR).
Ho Duy Hai was sentenced to death in December 2018 after being convicted of plundering property and murder. In 2015, the Committee on Judicial Affairs of the National Assembly urged for review of his case after it found that the conviction was the result of serious procedural errors in his proceedings. On 7 December 2017, the Chief of Long An’s Procuracy pushed for acceleration of his execution in a televised speech.
A Swedish doctor has been denied access to Gui Minhai according to a statement released by the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Hong Kong bookseller is urgently in need of medical care, and it remains unclear whether he has access to a lawyer of his choosing or if his family members have been able to visit him since he was again detained in January 2018.
The execution of Hishamrudin Bin Mohd has been scheduled for 16 March, a week after Singapore’s first known execution of 2018 took place. The Singaporean man was convicted of, and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for, drug-related offences in 2016. He maintains his innocence of the crime.
Further information: Prosecutor calls for death penalty in mass trials: Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”)
On 3 March, the prosecutor in the “Rabaa dispersal” case called for Mahmoud Abu Zeid, also known as “Shawkan”, and the other 738 defendants in the case to be sentenced to death. The next hearing in the case at the Cairo Criminal Court will take place on 17 March.
The pre-trial detention of Oyub Titiev, a prisoner of conscience and head of Russian human rights group Memorial, has been extended for a further two months, until 9 May. There has also been an increase in the number of attacks on Memorial offices and its employees, which are widely believed to be connected to the ongoing persecution of Oyub Titiev. Amnesty International believes this is part of a concerted, politically motivated attempt by the authorities to intimidate and silence human rights defenders in Russia.
Astrid (14) and her father, Arturo (49), have been detained at the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania, since 20 February. They are seeking asylum because they fear returning to their home country of Guatemala as Indigenous K’iche. Astrid also fears returning because as a female, she may be subject to gender-based and sexual violence and other serious harm. They must be released pending the result of their asylum claim.
23-year old Belarusian activist, Dzmitry Paliyenka, is serving a two-year prison sentence for peacefully opposing restrictions on cyclists. He is being exposed to conditions that exacerbate his asthma and denied medical treatment for an untreated wound. He is a prisoner of conscience.
Alleged land traffickers harass and threaten members of the Save Chaparrí Defense Front of the Chaparrí Ecological Reserve in Peru. The members of the Front fear for their safety.
The fate and whereabouts of Gilber Caro, imprisoned in Venezuela for political reasons, have been unknown since the early hours of 2 March. Gilber Caro has been arbitrarily detained since 11 January 2017. He is being unlawfully tried before a military court despite being a civilian and Member of Parliament.
Upendra Nayak, a 65 year old lawyer who defends the rights of indigenous Adivasi people, was arrested by the Odisha state police in eastern India on 20 February 2018 for his alleged links with Maoist armed groups, in relation to cases registered by the police over eight years ago. Upendra Nayak faces charges including ‘sedition’ under the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the draconian anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Approximately 20 relatives of Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur journalist living abroad, have been detained and are at risk of torture. Based in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China, her family members are all thought to have been targeted due to Gulchehra Hoja’s work.
The State of Alabama called off the execution of Doyle Hamm late on 22 February after the lethal injection team was unable to find an accessible vein over the course of two and a half hours. The governor should now commute his death sentence.
18-year old student Taibeh Abbasi is at imminent risk of being deported to Afghanistan, a country she has never been to. Despite the rise in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Norway has declared Kabul safe for returns. Should Taibeh Abbasi be deported to war-torn Afghanistan, she would be at serious risk of human rights violations.
The US authorities are preparing for possible detainee transfers to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. President Trump has ordered the Secretary of Defense to make policy recommendations by 30 April. The last detainee transfer to the base was in 2008.
Young Iranian human rights defenders Shima Babaee, who is campaigning against compulsory veiling, and her husband Dariush Zand are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Both have been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison, without access to family and lawyer following their arrest by the Ministry of Intelligence on 1 February in connection with their peaceful human rights work. They are prisoners of conscience.
Alain Didah Kemba, spokesperson of the Chadian youth movement IYINA, was arrested on 19 February for allegedly attempting to burn a tire on the street. He is being detained at the Police Headquarters without charge. Alain has reported that he was beaten on his legs and the soles of his feet during an interrogation and his lawyer says he can barely stand on his feet as a result.
The execution of 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo could be carried out any moment following the completion of the trial for the final two other cult members who turned themselves in after 17 years on the run.
Environmental activist Heri Budiawan, known as Budi Pego, was sentenced to 10 months in prison on 24 January 2018 for “crimes against state security. ” The first conviction under a provision which criminalises spreading communist ideology since the downfall of Soeharto in 1998, it sets a dangerous precedent for other activists. Heri Budiawan is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Individuals assumed to be transgender women by the North Aceh Police Force were arbitrary arrested, deeply humiliated and tortured on 27 January. Although released without charge the next day, the individuals remain deeply traumatized, with some having lost their jobs and others being forced to flee due to concerns for their safety.
Aslan Yandiev was detained by the Slovakian authorities on 20 January 2011, shortly before the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation submitted a request for his extradition. He is now at risk of imminent extradition to Russia following the Minister of Justice’s decision on 7 February to authorise it. If extradited to Russia, Aslan Yandiev would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Kamran Yousuf has been charged with several criminal offences including ‘waging war against the government of India’. The charges are based on the allegation that he only covered violent protests in Kashmir rather than other ‘developmental activities’. In pre-trial detention for over five months, he faces life imprisonment if convicted.
At least 22 members of the Ethiopian Oromo community have been killed or wounded by military officers in two separate incidents.
On 12 February, the Supreme Military Court postponed the verdict of six men appealing their death sentence to 26 February. If their appeal is rejected, the men could be executed at any time.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Pro-democracy activists arbitrarily detained: Rachel Pilipili, Francois Kahombo Hangi, Justin Mutabesha, Benjamin Kamuntu, Parfait Muhani
Pro-democracy activists Rachel Pilipili, Francois Kahombo Hangi, Justin Mutabesha, Benjamin Kamuntu and Parfait Muhani have been in arbitrary detention since 21 January. They have alleged that they were beaten in the first five days of their detention by security officers. The five were arrested during a peaceful demonstration in Goma.
At least 140 opposition party members, human rights defenders, students and women rights activists were arrested and detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) between 6 January and 10 February. This is in connection with sporadic protests around Sudan over the rise in the cost of food and medicines. Their whereabouts are unknown.
Peaceful protesters in Thailand are at risk of arrest and up to eight years’ imprisonment as authorities seek to silence calls for authorities not to delay promised elections.
Xu Youchen is facing imminent execution after the Henan Provincial Higher People’s Court rejected his appeal and upheld his conviction and death sentence. The Supreme People’s Court will review the case and if it approves the lower court’s decision he will be executed. In his appeal, Xu Youchen has testified to being tortured to “confess” to the crime.
Sam Sokha, a UNHCR recognised refugee, was arrested and detained by Cambodian authorities when forcibly returned from Thailand on 8 February. She had been convicted in absentia of “incitement” for her peaceful political activism and sentenced to over two years imprisonment plus a fine. Amnesty International considers her a prisoner of conscience.
Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Aimé Constant Gatore and Marius Nizigiyimana are on trial for “threatening state security” and using fake documents. A verdict is expected on 26 February. They are members of the Burundian non-governmental organization Words and Actions for the Awakening of Consciences and the Evolution of Mentalities (PARCEM). Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience.
Burundian human rights defender, Germain Rukuki, is being prosecuted for ‘threatening state security’ and ‘rebellion’ on account of his human rights work. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.
Nestor Nibitanga, a former member of the deregistered Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), remains in detention awaiting trial for charges of ‘threatening state security’ and ‘rebellion’. He was arrested in Gitega, Burundi on 21 November 2017. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.
A woman named Koo Jeong-hwa (aged 24, previously identified as Lee Su-jung in China) has been detained since 3 December 2017 in North Korea and a decision on her sentence is expected from the Ministry of State Security in March 2018. She is at risk of being sent to a political prison camp together with her 4-year-old son, where they may be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
Ethiopian prisoner of conscience Bekele Gerba has been denied access to specialised medical treatment that he urgently needs. He has high blood pressure which is affecting his sight, leaving his left eye operating at 25% capacity. He was sentenced to a year in prison after being held in contempt of court twice.
Uzbekistan: Further information: Tortured journalist must be immediately released: Bobomurod Abdullayev
On 8 February, human rights activists reported that two SNB officers leading the investigation on the case against detained journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev had been suspended and that the General Prosecutor's Office had initiated investigations into allegations of torture and fabrication of a criminal case. Bobomurod Abdullayev, however, remains in SNB detention.
Azeri activist Ulvi Hasanli has been conscripted for military service, despite being in ill-health, and sent to the zone of the unresolved conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. Following a medical examination in September 2017, he was exempted from military service until 2019 on grounds of ill-health; an ultrasound showed he had inflamed kidney and kidney stones. However late in October the decision was reversed and he was detained and taken to a military base to begin his military service.
Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories-Palestine: Palestinian prisoner of conscience on trial: Munther Amira
Palestinian human rights defender Munther Amira is facing trial before an Israeli military court for peacefully participating in protests. He is facing a prison sentence for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and of assembly. His trial is due to start on 21 February.
A 21-year old Iranian man Abolfazl Naderi is at risk of execution in Arak’s prison, Markazi province. Abolfazl Naderi was 16 years old at the time of his arrest and was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial, based on “confessions” which he claims were made under torture.
Further information: Three human rights defenders on hunger strike: Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, Arash Sadeghi, Athena Daemi
Iranian women human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Atena Daemi started a hunger strike on 3 February in protest at their transfer to a prison where women convicted of violent offences are held in inhumane conditions. Earlier, on 27 January, human rights defender Arash Sadeghi started a hunger strike to demand that they are returned to their previous place of detention.
On 19 January a television reporter published videos from surveillance cameras that suggest that police from Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, were involved in six of seven cases of disappearances that occurred in late December and early January. Days after, the reporter received threats on Twitter.
Five people have been arrested since the Government of Maldives declared a State of Emergency on 5 February 2018, following a recent Supreme Court decision to release and re-try imprisoned opposition leaders. This appears to be an act of repression by the government to silence political dissent.
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