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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.
Thomas Whitaker, aged 38, is due to be executed in Texas on 22 February. He was convicted in 2007 of the murder of his mother and brother in a shooting in which his father was badly wounded but survived. The father is appealing for clemency for his son.
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.
Doyle Hamm, due to be executed in Alabama on 22 February after 30 years on death row, has received a stay of execution, but the state has appealed. He has been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. The state of his veins may render his lethal injection unconstitutional.
Two men were sentenced to death in Belarus on 20 January after their sentences of life imprisonment were quashed on appeal. They are the first two people to be sentenced to death in 2018, bringing the total number of people on death row in Belarus, according to the Belarusian authorities, to seven.
First detained on 2 September 2017, human rights defender Zhen Jianghua has not yet been allowed any access to his lawyer. Held under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” since 29 September, his current location is unknown, adding to grave concerns that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Gui Minhai was on a train headed to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats to seek formal diagnosis for a neurological condition when he was suddenly seized by around ten plainclothes officers. His current whereabouts are unknown, further increasing the risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Without access to medical care, there are real fears for his health.
While carrying out operations against the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Colombian Security Forces bombed near the Wounaan Indigenous reservation of Chagpien Tordó, in the municipality of Litoral de San Juán in Chocó, injuring a minor. Nearby communities are currently forcibly displaced as fear of new operations threaten the population.
Gabonese political opposition member, Bertrand Zibi Abeghe, has alleged that he was subjected to ill-treatment while in detention after a mobile phone was found in his cell at Libreville central prison. He has since been moved to a cell block notoriously known for over-crowding and where prisoners are held in the dark with no access to sunlight.
Beijing human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng is currently being held under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. Held incommunicado and denied all access to a lawyer and his family, he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 30 January police detained 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Central Council as part of a criminal investigation launched following the association’s statement calling for an end to Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, northern Syria. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and its prominent members have been subjected to threats of violence, following a statement they issued on 24 January, calling for an end to the ongoing military operation by the Turkish armed forces in Afrin, northern Syria. The TTB lodged a request with the Ankara Governorship to provide protection for its offices and members, but they have received no response.
Between 27 December and 3 January, at least seven young men disappeared in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state. Most cases point to the involvement of local police. Three of the disappeared men were found alive with signs of torture; two others were found dead. The whereabouts of two still remain unknown.
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.
On 19 December 2017, after being transferred from the Provisional Prison of Holguín to Cuba SI prison, three other prisoners attacked Eduardo Cardet, according to his wife. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Iranian teenager Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi remains at risk of execution after his execution scheduled for 17 January was postponed. He was 14 years old at the time of the crime of which he was convicted. Since 2014, he has been subjected to the anguish of being transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution four times.
Adivasi activists Judhishtira Jena and Babula Samal have been arrested for their role in the resistance to forced acquisition of land for a steel plant. Both men also face numerous other cases, some of which are with regard to alleged actions ten years ago. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment.
Violence against human rights defenders monitoring and denouncing the violent repression of protests in the aftermath of the presidential elections has increased, with defenders reporting a murder, smear campaigns, threats and intimidation against them.
Uzbekistan: Further information: Independent journalist must be immediately released: Bobomurod Abdullayev
On 10 January, the family of Uzbekistani independent journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev, held since 27 September 2017 in an Uzbekistani National Security Service (SNB) detention centre, was allowed to see him for the first time in three months. While the family saw no visible signs of torture, concerns for his wellbeing remain. He has had no access to independent legal representation since December 2017.
Kenyan authorities are forcibly evicting the Sengwer Indigenous community from their ancestral home, the Embobut forest. The evictions have been carried out by the authorities in violation of the Constitution, a High Court injunction and international human rights law, through a conservation project funded by the European Union.
Further information: Execution imminent after death sentence upheld: Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy
The death sentences of Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy were upheld by the Supreme Court of Belarus on 20 December 2017. The two men were convicted and sentenced to death by the Mahiliou Regional Court, in eastern Belarus, on 21 July 2017. In the likely event that their appeal for clemency is rejected by the President, both men will be at risk of imminent execution.
Independent writer Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong (aka “Xiaozhang”or “Headmaster”), a former finance journalist and an online writer, have been detained due to their participation in the July 2017 seaside memorial for late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Two journalists are facing up to 14 years in prison in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities. Both men must be immediately and unconditionally released and the charges against them dropped.
On 9 January, police arbitrarily arrested Chechen human rights defender Oyub Titiev. He was held incommunicado for several hours and remains in detention falsely accused of drug possession. If tried and convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Shafkat Abasi, a member of the Tatar ethnic minority, was detained by Chinese authorities on 13 March of 2017 and has not been heard from since. It is believed his detention is due to accessing foreign websites from his computer, connection with an elderly patient who is an imam, and his possession of banned religious books. His family have not been provided with any information and fear that he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
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