Tag Archives: letter writing

Next Taunton Amnesty Group meeting Tuesday 13th January

5 Jan
wordcardOur next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 13th January at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton, TA1 3DH.  8pm start.
All are most welcome to join us for campaign updates, news and actions and to find out more about human rights and the work of Amnesty International.
Note: there is parking at the rear of the church; ring the bell at the rear entrance if there is no-one there to let you in, and check the board by the entrance door for which room we are in.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Report from the July meeting of Amnesty Taunton Group

15 Jul


 Where is Syrian human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq?

A human rights lawyer for many years, he’s defended hundreds of political prisoners. He disappeared on his way to work in October 2012 and has not been seen since.   At July’s meeting of Taunton Amnesty International Group, we remembered Khalil Ma’touq and joined many others in pressing for news of what has happened to him. 

Susan Mew of the Minehead Group came to talk to us on the Human Rights in the UK. The European Convention on Human Rights was mainly drafted by British lawyers and civil servants and was fully supported by the Conservative government of the time. It expresses core British values and beliefs and diminishing UK rights will affect our ability to argue for them elsewhere.

Over the past month, group members have continued campaigning for prisoners of conscience in the Middle East and North Africa, for Dr Tun Aung of Burma, for those condemned to death in the US, China and Iran, and for the plight of protesters in Brazil.

Our next meeting, on Tuesday 12th August at 8pm, will be an informal meeting held at the Racehorse Inn, East Reach, TA1 3HT.

Report: Amnesty Taunton group meeting June 2014

24 Jun

Amnesty has become increasingly concerned about the policing of large scale demonstrations in Brazil.  We wrote letters on behalf of Edison Silva dos Santos and Douglas Rafael Pereira da Silva, two unarmed young men who were shot dead during demonstrations.  No one has been held accountable for their deaths, and Amnesty International continues to receive reports of excessive and unnecessary violence by the police.

Read more here and call on the Brazilian authorities to defend human rights at the World Cup.

We discussed Amnesty’s Stop Torture campaign and our work to end the Death Penalty.  We learned of the success of ex-MEP Sir Graham Watson in getting a response from Baroness Ashton about EU actions for prisoners of conscience in Burma, with particular reference to our prisoner Dr Tun Aung.

Watch (and listen!) out for our group in Taunton Town Centre, supported by the Blackdown Samba Band, on Saturday 28th June.

Our next meeting is at 8pm on Tuesday 8th June at the Silver Street Baptist Church and will include a workshop on the Human Rights Act in the UK. All are most welcome.

Join our group member Pat at her Write for Rights Day on 17th December

29 Nov

Write for Rights 2013Join Pat on Tuesday 17th December and sign cards to support prisoners of conscience worldwide.

Sessions take place:




14 Georges Mews, Dunkleys Way, Hillyfields, TA1 2LX

Tel: 01823 332773

£1.50 donation per card and stamp.

Tea,coffee and mince pies too!

About Write for RightsEvery year during November and December, Amnesty International asks people to write a letter and send a message of hope to someone suffering human rights abuses. Presidents, police chiefs and prison governors do take note when they receive hundreds of appeals to release a prisoner, stop the harassment of an activist or change an unjust law. For more information on this year’s cases please click here.

Free the Guesthouse Six

20 Aug

Ding HongfenSix human rights defenders in China are being detained by authorities after freeing activists who were being illegally detained in a guest house.

Three are now missing, their whereabouts unknown. One (Ding Hongfen, pictured) has already been subjected to torture.

Please click here to send an email to the Chinese authorities and ask them to release the activists immediately.

Zimbabwe: human rights concerns despite a peaceful election

13 Aug

ZimbabweAt least six women and their young children have been forced to flee their homes in Mukumbura district after being threatened with violence and forcible evictions after the 31 July election. Some of the women had to leave children behind.

The women alleged they had been targeted for refusing to follow instructions from ZANU-PF supporters to feign illiteracy, blindness or physical injury, which would have allowed someone else to ‘assist’ them by marking the ballot on their behalf .  One of the women reported that she had first been threatened in her village two weeks before the election and reported the matter to the police but no action was taken. The six displaced political activists told us that there are more families in the same predicament who remain stranded in the district under threat of violence.

Please click here to generate a fax to the Police Officer in command of Mashonaland Central Province asking him to investigate these allegations of harrassment.

Note: Amnesty does not endorse or oppose any political party and will engage with any government to emerge from these elections to address human rights violations in Zimbabwe – past and present.

Let Okunishi clear his name before he dies

12 Aug
Okunishi Masaru on death row in Japan © private

Okunishi Masaru on death row in Japan © Private

Okunishi Masaru has spent more than half his life on death row in Japan, knowing he could be executed any day.

In 1961, he was accused of poisoning five women and ‘confessed’ after prolonged police interrogation. He retracted his confession as soon as trial began, and was acquitted for lack of evidence. But a higher court reversed the decision, and sentenced Okunishi to death.

Okunishi’s lawyers have repeatedly requested a retrial, without success. Okunishi is now 87 years-old and his health is failing him, he slips in and out of consciousness and is unable to breathe on his own. But he’s desperate for a chance to clear his name before he dies.

Click here to call on the Japanese authorities to grant Okunishi a retrial.

Stop the execution of Reggie Clemons in Missouri

6 Jul
Reggie Clements

Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. Louis as an accomplice to a 1991 murder of two young white women. Since his conviction allegations have arisen of police coercion, prosecutorial misconduct, and a ‘stacked’ jury. Yet inadequate legal representation at trial hampered appeal efforts, and a ruling overturning his death sentence was reversed on technical grounds. From the investigation through the appeals process, his case illustrates many of the flaws in the U.S. death penalty system.

Despite so many lingering questions, Missouri is still planning to execute Reggie Clemons.

Shortly after a 2009 execution date was stayed, the Missouri Supreme Court assigned a judge (a “Special Master”) to investigate the reliability of his conviction and proportionality of his sentence. Amnesty International urges the state of Missouri to recognise the serious problems with Reggie Clemons’ case and to commute his death sentence.

If you are able to, please write on Reggie’s behalf.  Click here for a template letter.

Please take action for Hakamada Iwao

24 Jun


Hakamada Iwao is 77 years old. He has spent the majority of his life on death row, awaiting execution every day for a crime he claims he did not commit.  Hakamada is said to be suffering from a severe mental illness as a result of many years spent in solitary confinement. New DNA evidence could reinforce his claims of innocence. Please help us to ask for a retrial for Hakamada.

Click here to write to the Minister of Justice Sadakazu Tanigaki and call for Hakamada’s execution to be stayed.

Send a message of support to family of prisoner of conscience

19 Jun

Group members sign a card for Dr Tun Aung’s family at June’s group meeting

Please send a message of support to the family of Dr Tun Aung, a Burmese medic imprisoned for “inciting communal violence” following his attempts to calm a riot between two religious groups in Maungdaw in June 2012.

Please send your message of support to Dr Tun Aung’s Family, c/o Myanmar Team, International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton Street, London, WC1X.

Please do not send religious cards and please ensure the card arrives at the address above by July 12th 2013.

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