Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


BBC programme about Nazanin

Members of the group and supporters will know that we have campaigned over the years on behalf of Nazanin who remains trapped in Iran. The last post we did can be accessed here. The main reason is the issue surrounding the tank deal we arranged with the Shah before he was deposed. Iran paid up front for these and after he was deposed the contract was cancelled and the new regime wanted its money back. Nazanin is effectively a hostage for this money.

At 13:45, after the World at One on Radio 4 (BBC) there is a fifteen minute programme each day on the background to this tragedy. You will be able to hear it via BBC Sounds in the usual way.

Bahrain action


UK: Speak up for Maher, Mohammed and Husain in Bahrain

Maher Abbas al-Khabbaz. Mohammed Ramadhan. Husain Moosa. 

All three men are political prisoners in Bahrain. They were all sentenced to death based on ‘evidence’ and ‘confessions’ obtained under torture. They remain on death row today with only a Royal pardon capable of sparing their lives. All while the UK Government gets close to Bahrain over trade talks – prioritising trade over human rights abuses.

In July 2020, the UK Minister for Middle East and North Africa stated that if “the death penalties are upheld through the Court of Cassation process, the UK will publicly and loudly remind Bahrain of our opposition to the death penalty.” 

Bahrain did just that – upheld their sentences – and the UK government has been silent.

Will you add your name to speak up for Maher, Mohammed and Husain? Please visit the Reprieve website to find the petition. Thank you.

Monthly Death Penalty report


DP report for Mid January – February 2022

We are pleased to attach this month’s death penalty report with thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling what is quite a lengthy item. There is a lot on USA and some good news from Saudi. Note as usual there is nothing about China which is believed to execute more of its citizens than the rest of the world combined but whose activities on this front are a state secret.

Free Jagtar Singh Johal


Send a birthday message to Jagtar Singh Johal

Jagtar Singh Johal is a British national who was abducted by Indian authorities just three weeks after his wedding. He’d gone to India to visit family, but Indian authorities tortured him into signing a blank confession. We described his case in a previous post.

That was in 2017. Now, he could be sentenced to death. 

It’s up to us to make sure Jagtar knows he’s not alone while Reprieve investigators, lawyers and campaigners fight to get him home.

You can send a message and birthday greetings by going to the Reprieve site via this link.

Human rights Measurement Initiative


New service available

We are pleased to welcome the Human Rights Measurement Initiative and we have provided a link to the site at the bottom of the page under ‘Human Rights’. We shall no doubt be referring to their work in future posts.

There is a group meeting tomorrow via Zoom – supporters welcome. If you would like to join us, leave a message here or on Facebook.

Good news – Saudi


It is not often we get to report good news from Saudi Arabia on the human rights front but we are pleased to report the release of Dawood al Marhoon from prison where he has languished since 2012. He was arrested aged 17 following the Arab Spring protests in 2012. He was condemned to death in 2015 which may have been carried out in public by beheading and crucifixion. Many people from Amnesty and via Reprieve have signed petitions and it has been announced that he has been released.

Amnesty report on apartheid in Israel


Amnesty joins Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem in declaring Israel an apartheid state

Israel works hard to present itself as a modern, pluralist state and enjoys close links with its diaspora particularly in the USA. It enjoys favourable coverage in the UK with the majority of media who are either silent about these issues or are quick to condemn criticism of the state.

We have previously reported on two other reports by respected organisations which came to the same conclusions: one by Human Rights Watch and the other from within Israel by B’Tselem. Both reports go into great detail with many examples of how the apartheid system works in Israel.

The introduction to the Amnesty report says:

There is no possible justification for a system built around the institutionalized and prolonged racist oppression of millions of people. Apartheid has no place in our world, and states which choose to make allowances for Israel will find themselves on the wrong side of history. Governments who continue to supply Israel with arms and shield it from accountability at the UN are supporting a system of apartheid, undermining the international legal order, and exacerbating the suffering of the Palestinian people. The international community must face up to the reality of Israel’s apartheid, and pursue the many avenues to justice which remain shamefully unexplored.

From the Amnesty Report

The response by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ‘[the report was a] collection of lies, biased claims, and recycled reports from other anti-Israel organisations’.

The report (pdf) details the bases of the apartheid claim:

  • massive seizures of land and Palestinian property
  • unlawful killing
  • restrictions on the right [of Palestinian’s] to political representation
  • drastic movement restrictions
  • denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians.

Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.

It is interesting to note the difference between how the treatment of Palestinians in Israel contrasts with things like the Berlin wall. There were regular features of the wall with film of people attempting to scale it and footage of border guards shooting at those seeking to escape East Germany. Film of the Israeli wall by contrast are rare. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, there was considerable coverage of civil disturbances and many companies decided to cease trading there. There is precious little sign of that in the UK media’s coverage of Israel. Indeed, in the Telegraph – a right wing newspaper in the UK – the coverage led, not on the report itself and a summary of some of the conclusions, but with the Israeli government’s response: Israel labels Amnesty International ‘anti-Semitic’ over ‘apartheid’ report leaving minimal coverage of what Amnesty said to a few short sentences at the end of the piece. They also featured a 6 minute video interview with the President of the Zionist Federation of Australia with no balancing footage [accessed 2 February]. Labelling any criticism of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’ is an automatic response and is unjustified with any of the three reports mentioned.

Dr Agnès Callamard the secretary general of Amnesty said in response: “Amnesty International stands very strongly against antisemitism, against any form of racism, we have repeatedly denounced antisemitic acts and antisemitism by various leaders around the world.” Source: Times of Israel.

The report makes a large number of recommendations. With three detailed reports now published it is hard for Israel to ignore and deny the accusation of apartheid.

We have come across this video of a young girl who has made several videos and this one is worth watching. Janna Jihad video – Amnesty

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