Archive for March 12, 2021


North Korean defector stands for election in Manchester

The remarkable story of Ji-Hyun Park has become even more remarkable with the news that she is to

Jihyun Park. Pic: Salisbury Amnesty

stand for election in Bury, Manchester.  It is believed she is the first person on North Korean descent to stand for local elections in the UK.

Hyun Park came to Salisbury four years ago and gave a moving talk on her escape from North Korea and an equally terrible existence in China.  An account of that talk can be found on this link.

BBC report can be read hereThere is also a longer report in the Daily Mail.

She was given a bravery award by Amnesty International last year.

The Amnesty group discussed this at their monthly meeting and were delighted to hear the news.


Review of the year: March 2020 to February 2021

 International Events

Note: The list below highlights some of the significant events of the year.  Full monthly reports remain available on this website.

  • In March the Supreme Court ruled that the UK Government had acted unlawfully in providing, or agreeing to provide, material to the US in respect of Shafee El Sheikh and Alexanda Kotey without seeking assurances the death penalty would not be imposed.
  • In June, William Ogrod, who had been on death row in Pennsylvania for 23 years, had his conviction overturned and was freed.
  • In October the Pope issued an Encyclical, teaching that the death penalty was in all circumstances inadmissible.
  • 13 Federal Executions took place in the course of the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • The new President, Joe Biden, is committed to the abolition of the death penalty.
  • Virginia is shortly to become the first State in the former Confederacy to abolish the DP.

 Local Group Campaigns

In April a Royal decree was issued in Saudi Arabia, ending the death penalty for minors.  Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher have had their sentences commuted to 10 years in prison.

Group Events

 World Day Against the Death Penalty – 10th October

  • The Group and Supporters were asked to take email action on behalf of Hoo Yew Wha – the young man in Malaysia sentenced to death for possession of drugs.
  • A link was made available to an AIUK Virtual Discussion on the Death Penalty
  • The film ‘Just Mercy’ was shown at the Salisbury Playhouse on 4th November in partnership with Wiltshire Creative.  This was the last event to take place at the theatre prior to the commencement of Lockdown, and was well attended.

 Urgent Actions – April 20 – Feb 21

 Note: Some of these actions were for more than one person; some were update/follow-up actions.

 36 UA’s

  • US 11
  • Saudi Arabia             6
  • Iran   6
  • Bahrain   3
  • Belarus 3*
  • Nigeria   2
  • India   2
  • Malaysia   1
  • Yemen 1
  • Egypt   1

 

*The abolition of the death penalty in Belarus is a focus of this year’s  Amnesty Anti-Death Penalty Project’s campaign.