Tag Archives: prisoner of conscience

Good news from Burma

21 Jan
Dr. Tun Aung

Dr. Tun Aung

We have received confirmation that our group’s ‘adopted’ prisoner of conscience in Burma, Dr Tun Aung, was released at about 10am GMT on Monday and is now with his family. Our group Chairman, Martin Shirley, said: ‘We are delighted to hear that Dr Tun Aung had been released from his unjust sentence, and hope that there will soon be no more prisoners of conscience left in Burma’s prisons. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has written on behalf of Dr Tun Aung since we took up his case just over two years ago. This is very much part of what Amnesty is all about.’

Report from our October meeting

23 Oct


egyptwomenNeil Guild, prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton, was our speaker this month (Rebecca Pow, Conservative Parliamentary candidate, spoke in May).   In a very interesting talk he sketched in his life so far: University, Army, service in Iraq, Civil Service, and then moved on to how these experiences had shaped his current concerns, with particular reference to those issues that concern Amnesty.

This month’s Action is a call for Asylum Support rates to be increased; currently asylum seekers (who are not allowed to work) receive 50% of Income Support – about £7 a day for all living expenses outside accommodation. This is not enough to live on, and those left thus stranded may resort to illegal work, prostitution and begging.

Asylum seekers get a terrible press in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not entitled to council housing. An increase in support rates in other countries has not led to an increase in applicants there. The UK is only fourth in popularity among asylum seekers – Germany, France and Sweden all receive higher numbers of applicants.

We were asked to write to our MPs on the issue.

We now have prisoners of conscience in Egypt: 3 Egyptian women from Mansoor University, imprisoned for peaceful protest. We signed letters to President el-Sisi on their behalf, as we did for a number on Death Row in the US and other countries.

There is no further news about Dr Tun Aung, our prisoner of conscience in Burma; 3000 prisoners were released in Burma last week (in advance of the ASEAN conference), but only 3 of them were political prisoners.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month in the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. Do join us there, and follow us on our website: amnestytaunton.wordpress.com

Stop execution and flogging of pregnant mother in Sudan

17 May

27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is being held in prison with her 20-month-old son and is heavily pregnant with her second child.  

Meriam was first arrested in August last year because her husband is Christian. One of her relatives had claimed that Meriam was committing ‘adultery’ for marrying outside of Islam, and reported her to the authorities.

When Meriam appeared before the courtroom in Khartoum, Sudan, on 15 May and refused to renounce her Christian religion, the judges sentenced to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’. She has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man.

Meriam has committed no crime. She is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately.  

Please follow this link to send an email to the Sudanese government, or write to the following addresses:

  • Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302 Al Nil Avenue, Khartoum, Sudan  moj@moj.gov.sd
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmed Karti, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 302, Republic Street, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 249 183 772941
  • Minister of Interior Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed mut@isoc.sd



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.

Please write on behalf of our adopted prisoner of conscience, Dr Tun Aung

28 Jan
Dr. Tun Aung

Dr. Tun Aung

Dr Tun Aung has been imprisoned since 11th June 2012 following riots in Maungdaw, Myanmar (Burma).  Despite eyewitnesses testifying that Dr Aung actively tried to calm the situation, he has been convicted of inciting communal violence.  

He was held incommunicado for at least three months and denied the right to appoint a lawyer of his own choice. Dr Aung suffers from a pituitary tumour and may not be receiving the medical care he needs.

During his visit to London in July 2013, 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, but Dr. Tun Aung has not been released.

Ask the Burmese authorities to release Dr Aung immediately and unconditionally.

Please write to President Thein Sein, Office of the President, Building No. 18, Naypyitaw, Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

If possible, please also write to Chief Justice, U Win Tun Tun Oo, Office of the Supreme Court, Office No. 24, Naypyitaw, Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

And send copies of your letters to H. E. The Ambassador Of The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, 19A Charles Street, London W1X 8LR

Copies also to U Win Mra, Chairman, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, 27 Pyay Road, Hline Township, Yangon, Republic of the Union of Myanmar

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.

December group meeting: Tuesday 10th December at 8pm.

7 Dec

wordcardOur last Taunton Amnesty meeting of 2013 will be an informal seasonal one.  

Join us at 8pm on Tuesday 10th December at the Silver St Baptist Church, for festive food & drink and the opportunity to send messages of hope to those suffering human rights abuses around the world.  This year, Dr Tun Aung (the group’s adopted prisoner of conscience) features in the Write for Rights campaign.

We would like to thank everyone for their continued interest and support throughout the year.

Wishing you all a joyful festive season and peaceful New Year.

About Write for Rights: Every 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.

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