Tag Archives: MENA

Read all about our September 2014 meeting here…

28 Sep

Torture is out of control in Mexico – there’s been a 600% rise in cases of torture and ill-treatment over the last 10 years. Think of Claudia Medina Tamariz, dragged from her home by marines in the middle of the night, tortured with electric shocks, sexually assaulted and left tied to a chair in the scorching afternoon heat.

Over 2 years later, no investigation of Claudia’s complaint has been made. Since last year Amnesty International has been in frequent contact with the authorities in Mexico, and its recommendations verbally welcomed – but action has yet to be taken.

We signed letters on behalf of those imprisoned or persecuted in Libya, Morocco, Yemen, and Egypt, including human rights activist Yara Sallam.

With regret we said goodbye to Laura, who’s returning to the Midlands. As well as campaigning for those imprisoned or persecuted in the Middle East and North Africa, Laura has set up this WordPress blog for us.

We’re most grateful to local musician Damian Clarke who, in support of Amnesty International, gave a very entertaining lunchtime fundraiser concert to a sizeable audience in St John’s Church on September 12. 

At our October meeting Neil Guild, the prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton, will be coming to talk to us about his stance on human rights issues. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 8pm in the Silver Street Baptist Church – all are most welcome.

Petition: Protect survivors of sexual violence

19 Jun

In Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their teenage victims. Morocco recently did away with a similar law, two years after 16-year-old Amina Filali committed suicide having been forced to marry the man she said had raped her.  

There are many other laws in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia which fail to protect female survivors of sexual violence, such as making the severity of punishment for rape dependent on whether the victim was a virgin.

Sign the petition here asking the Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan authorities to end discriminatory rape laws and protect survivors of sexual violence.

Act now to stop mass executions in Egypt

2 May

From Amnesty International USA:

An Egyptian court has sentenced 720 men to death, mostly in their absence, in two mass trials targeting alleged supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Amnesty International believes both of these trials to be deeply flawed and grossly unfair.

Alone, each of these mass trials represents the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case in recent years. Taken together, the scale of injustice is staggering. It is a grotesque example of the shortcomings and selective, arbitrary nature of Egypt’s justice system.

This is definitely not justice. It’s the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and it could be an attempt to wipe out political opposition.

Please follow this link to contact the Egyptian Minister of Justice Nayer Abdel-Moneim Othman and urge him to overturn the convictions.

Defending your rights is not ‘inciting hatred’. Call on the Bahrain authorities to free Mahdi

24 Apr

In April 2011, Mahdi Abu Dheeb, a school teacher in Bahrain and then president of union the Bahrain Teachers’ Association, was arrested for encouraging members of the union to strike.

Along with his colleague Jalila al-Salman, Mahdi proposed a teachers’ strike to support widespread protests at the time, calling for governmental reform. Both Mahdi and Jalila were arrested soon after.

Jalila was freed a couple of years ago, but Mahdi remains in prison. He was interrogated by police at a secret location, subjected to 64 days in solitary confinement, reportedly beaten by the police, and tried in a military court despite being a civilian.

Click here to call on the Bahraini authorities to release Mahdi and investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment.

Act for 529 Egyptians sentenced to death

8 Apr

AmnestyBrum

Last month 529 people sentenced to death in Egypt in the biggest single batch of death sentences seen in recent years.

Amnesty described the ruling as ‘grotesque’ and called for it to be quashed.  Meanwhile there is an AVAAZ petition asking for the death sentences to be overturned.

Unfortunately AVAAZ did attempt to present this petition on Friday and were blocked.  However, this demonstrates that the authorities are worried about petitions like this, which is all the more reason to add your signature and show that the pressure will not be dropped.

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Missed our March meeting? Catch up here…

18 Mar

“The world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. March 15th 2014 marks the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising.

Amnesty, along with other humanitarian organisations such as Oxfam, Save the Children & Christian Aid, plans to highlight the plight of over 250,000 civilians trapped in besieged areas of Syria with little food, water or medicine. We are pressing for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Syria, shining a light these people’s plight.

We signed letters and emails to the Syrian Government and the main Opposition parties, urging them to deal with this appalling situation.

Our speaker this month was Ann Marcus of Amnesty International UK, who is the Country Co-ordinator for Egypt and spoke most interestingly and with great authority on the affairs of that troubled country.

After a period of hope for Egypt’s future after the events of the Arab Spring, and the election of Mohamid Morsi as the new President, a familiar pattern of repression has been re-asserted. There is, sadly, plenty of work for Amnesty to do.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the Silver Street Baptist church; all are welcome.

Missed January’s meeting? Read all about it here…

25 Jan

The first meeting of 2014: an occasion to look forward to new plans and initiatives, and maybe, even, in hope.

One for whom we hope, and on whom we are still concentrating as the New Year begins, is Dr. Tun Aung, the Group’s adopted Prisoner of Conscience in Burma. He has been sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment after an unfair trial, having been arrested following riots between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Maungdaw, a town in western Burma, in June 2012. Independent eyewitnesses confirm that Dr Aung actively tried to calm the crowd during the rioting and played no role in the violence. Nevertheless, he was convicted of inciting riots and various other criminal offences.

Speaking in London in July 2013, Burma’s President Thein Sein gave his guarantee that all prisoners of conscience would be freed from his country’s jails by the end of the year; we continue to press him for Dr Tun Aung’s release.

We heard reports on the Death Penalty (possibly some improvement in China, Singapore and Saudi Arabia, but more, and more brutal, in Iran) and signed a plea for a prisoner in Iraq. One of Amnesty’s main campaigns for 2014 is for victims of torture.

The group’s AGM will be held in February; in March Ann Marcus will speak on the Middle East and North Africa.  All are welcome at our meetings, 8pm the second Tuesday of the month at the Silver Street Baptist Church.

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