Archive for June, 2019


13 prisoners at risk of execution

Amnesty International has received reports indicating that the President was due to consider signing execution warrants as early as the week of 24 June.  Should this be confirmed, up to 13 prisoners would be put at imminent risk of execution.

There is completely secrecy around the dates of any scheduled executions, as well as identities of the death row prisoners most at risk.  Amnesty International has not been able to confirm whether the individuals had fair trials, access to lawyers or whether they were able to engage in a meaningful clemency process.  Sri Lanka has not implemented this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment for more than four decades.  It should continue to honour a tradition that chooses life instead of vengeance.

Source: Amnesty

Urgent action details (pdf)

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The US is the only country in the Americas which still has the death penalty.

There is an opportunity to join Amnesty members for a protest outside the American Embassy on the continued use of the penalty.  They will be gathering signatures for a petition and, to illustrate the barbarity of the practice, you can also tweet a picture of yourself sitting in our mock electric chair.

Meeting at 1:30 in the small park opposite the US Embassy on 30 June.

See our death penalty report


Belarus

Belarus remains the only country in the whole of Europe and the former Soviet Union which still carries out death sentences.  Only days ago, news emerged from Belarus that another death row prisoner had been executed.  This was not officially confirmed as the Belarusian authorities do not publicly confirm executions or even tell families of death-row prisoners that their loved ones have been executed until weeks after it has happened.

Join Amnesty and international activists on 8 July for a discussion, exhibition and short film regarding the brutal reality of Europe’s last executioner.

Details: deathpenalty@amnesty.org.uk or on Facebook


Good news today that the Court of Appeal has upheld the appeal by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade who are trying to stop the British government supplying lethal weapons to the Saudis who are using them to cause terrible death and destruction in Yemen.

There will be more about this in future posts.  A previous post on this subject can be read here.

 


While a lot of attention – quite rightly – has been focused on the plight of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, there are other things going in that country including the execution of minors.  Below are details of an urgent action which if you have time, we would be grateful if you could send a message of some kind.  There is an option to tweet.

Danial Zeinolabedini, an 18-year-old imprisoned in Mahabad prison, West Azerbaijan province, is at risk of execution. He was sentenced to death in June 2018 after an unfair trial in which he was convicted of a murder that took place when he was 17 years old. His execution would be a grave violation of international law.

Further details from an Iran human rights group.

Urgent action


If you live in the Salisbury, South Wilts area and would like to join us, you would be very welcome.  The best thing is to keep an eye on this site and come along to an event and make yourself known.  It is free to join locally.

 


GM MinutesThe minutes of the group’s meeting on June 13th 2019 are attached thanks to group member Lesley for compiling them.

June minutes (Word)


Attached is the latest monthly death penalty report thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.  It is a little longer than usual as there seems to be a lot of activity on the DP front.  Please note that there is no reporting from China which executes more of its citizens than the rest of the world combined but the details are a state secret.

May – mid June (Word)


In our links at the bottom of the site page, we have just added Human Rights Connected https://humanrightsconnected.org/ a Washington DC based organisation


Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan for Canada a free woman

Many people were outraged at the treatment Asia Bibi received in Pakistan and have written letters in support of her.  We have today (12 June 2019) heard that she has been acquitted.

Asia Bibi is a Christian farm worker, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010. After an eight-year ordeal, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted her of all charges and released her in October 2018.  Following the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold her acquittal on 29 January 2019, it was confirmed by the Pakistani Foreign Office on 9 May that she had left Pakistan and safely arrived in Canada to be reunited with her family.

We are extremely grateful to supporters who wrote appeals to not only acquit Asia Bibi but to also ensure her safe passage out of Pakistan.  Her wrongful death sentence has also helped bring more nuance into the discourse around the blasphemy laws and their rampant misuse.  Offered asylum in Canada, Asia Bibi can begin to live her life as a free woman.

We thank you, for standing with Asia Bibi during her ordeal. It’s a great relief that Asia Bibi and her family are safe. She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone faced the death penalty.   Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

Source: Amnesty press release

 

Paul Mason talk

Posted: June 10, 2019 in Group news, Uncategorized
Tags:

CANCELLATION

We very much regret to announce that the talk planned by Paul mason on 24th June has had to be cancelled.  We have heard from Paul’s agent that he will be indisposed on that date.


Saudi Arabia: boy arrested aged 13 at risk of execution

Murtaja Qureiris was held in solitary confinement and subjected to beatings during his interrogation.  Murtaja Qureiris faces possible execution for offences which date back to when he was just ten years old.  CNN footage shows him taking part in bike protest with other young boys in Shi’a Eastern Province in 2011.

Amnesty International is calling for the Saudi Arabian authorities to rule out the use of the death penalty against a teenager arrested at the age of 13 for participating in anti-government protests.  CNN this week revealed he was facing the death penalty and published video footage showing Murtaja Qureiris participating in bike protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as a young boy in 2011.

Amnesty has confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution sought the death penalty for Murtaja Qureiris last August for a series of offences, some of which date back to when the teenager was just ten years old.  Qureiris, now aged 18, was arrested in September 2014 and detained in a juvenile detention centre in al-Dammam city.  He was held in solitary confinement for a month, and subjected to beatings and intimidation during his interrogation.  His interrogators promised to release him if he confessed to charges against him.  In May 2017, he was moved to al-Mabaheth prison in al-Dammam, an adult facility, even though he was still only 16.

Throughout his detention, Qureiris was denied access to a lawyer until after his first court session in August 2018. This was held at the country’s notorious Specialised Criminal Court, an anti-terrorism court set up in 2008 and increasingly used for cases involving human rights activists and protesters.

The charges against Murtaja Qureiris include participating in anti-government protests; attending the funeral of his brother Ali Qureiris who was killed in a protest in 2011; joining a “terrorist organisation;” throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, and firing at security forces.  He is currently awaiting his next trial session.  Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

It is appalling that Murtaja Qureiris is facing execution for offences that include taking part in protests while he was just ten years old.
The Saudi Arabian authorities have a chilling track record of using the death penalty as a weapon to crush political dissent and punish anti-government protesters – including children – from the country’s persecuted Shi’a minority.
Instead of stepping up their use of the death penalty to silence critics.
There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest.”

Persecution of Shi’as in the Eastern Province

Since 2011, the authorities have cracked down on successive waves of protests by the Shi’a minority in the country’s Eastern Province.  In April this year, Amnesty confirmed the execution of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, a young Shi’a man arrested aged 16 and convicted of offences related to his involvement in anti-government protests.  He was among 37 men put to death in one day as part of a gruesome execution spree.  Three other Shi’a men – Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoon, who were arrested in 2012 aged 17, 16 and 17 respectively in connection with their involvement in anti-government protests – are at risk of being executed at any time.

Since 2014, more than 100 Shi’a Saudis have been tried before the Specialised Criminal Court on vague and wide-ranging charges arising from their opposition to the government, including peaceful criticism of the authorities.  Amnesty has documented that a number of these have involved grossly unfair trials, with defendants convicted and – in many cases – sentenced to death on vague charges that criminalise peaceful opposition, and on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture or other coercive means.

Appalling record
Saudi Arabia has an appalling record of using the death penalty – including against children – after grossly unfair trials that rely on confessions extracted through torture. The use of the death penalty for offences allegedly committed by people under 18 is strictly prohibited by international law. Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances without exception.


Source: Amnesty press release.

Amnesty is hosting a talk by Paul Mason on 24th June.  If you want to join us, this would be a good time to make yourself known.  UPDATE: We regret to say this event has been cancelled.