Posts Tagged ‘AFP’

Iranian human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani released from jail

November 22, 2018

Prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani in Iran was granted conditional release after serving more than seven years, reports the Guardian on 21 November 2018.

Abdolfattah Soltani
Abdolfattah Soltani. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP

The authorities agreed yesterday to my client’s conditional parole and he was released today,” Soltani’s lawyer Saeed Dehghan said on Wednesday, according to IRNA.

Soltani was jailed in 2011 over charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “setting up an illegal opposition group”, Amnesty International said at the time. He was granted conditional release after serving more than half a 10-year term, IRNA said. A previous parole request on 8 July had been denied, according to his lawyer. Soltani was a co-founder of the now outlawed Defenders of Human Rights Centre alongside Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and others. The human rights lawyer’s release could not be immediately confirmed with his family. Soltani was briefly released from prison in August to attend the funeral of his 30-year-old daughter, Homa, who died of a heart attack.

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2012/10/10/abdolfattah-soltani-awarded-iba-human-rights-award-lawyers-for-lawyers/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/21/iranian-human-rights-lawyer-abdolfattah-soltani-released-from-jail

New national award to honor slain Mexican journalists

March 24, 2018

Miroslava Breach, a correspondent for Mexican daily La Jornada in the state of Chihuahua, on the US border, was a celebrated investigative journalist known for hard-hitting reports on links between politicians and organized crime (AFP Photo/HERIKA MARTINEZ)
Journalists take part in a protest outside the State Government building in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to mark one year since the murder of journalist Miroslava Breach (AFP Photo/HERIKA MARTINEZ)

The UN and AFP launched an award Thursday 22 March 2018 to honor journalists who risk their lives to cover human rights abuses in Mexico, in tribute to two celebrated reporters murdered last year. The Breach-Valdez Prize will honor journalists who follow in the footsteps of their slain colleagues Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez, two of the more than 100 reporters murdered since 2000 in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press. (see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/01/05/front-lines-2017-report-confirms-worst-expectation-over-300-hrds-killed/)

Its aim is “to recognize the careers of Mexican journalists who have distinguished themselves in defending human rights,” said Giancarlo Summa, director of the United Nations Information Center in Mexico.

Valdez, an award-winning journalist who covered Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, was gunned down last May in broad daylight outside the offices of Riodoce, the newspaper he co-founded in Culiacan, the capital of his native Sinaloa state. He was also a long-time AFP collaborator.

Miroslava Breach, a correspondent for Mexican daily La Jornada in the state of Chihuahua, on the US border, was a celebrated investigative journalist known for hard-hitting reports on links between politicians and organized crime. She was shot dead in broad daylight last March as she drove her son to school.

The annual prize is also co-sponsored by UNESCO, the Ibero-American University and the French embassy in Mexico. The first edition will be awarded on May 3 in Mexico City. The winner will receive a grant and a trip to France to take part in a series of events on free speech.

(Breach and Valdez were among at least 11 journalists murdered in Mexico last year, making it the deadliest country in the world for the press after Syria, according to watchdog group Reporters Without Borders. The latest murder came just Wednesday, when journalist Leobardo Vazquez was gunned down outside his house in Veracruz state — the second killed in 2018.)

“There is no indication these crimes are going to stop. Let’s hope this prize will help all the country’s brave journalists keep up the fight,” Valdez’s widow, Griselda Triana, said at the launch of the award.

This is a national award. There are many awards for journalists and for freedom of expression at the international level, see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/un-afp-launch-prize-honor-slain-mexican-journalists-034757524.html

Chinese court says human rights defender Xie Yang admits to crimes

May 8, 2017

Read the rest of this entry »

Argentina: reunification of mother and disappeared son after 4 decades

December 3, 2015

It is understandable that many people doubt the usefulness of pressing for the case of disappearances in Argentina after almost four decades, but this case shows that one should never give up hope: Mario Bravo and the mother he never knew, from whom he was snatched at birth in a jail by Argentina’s military, hugged, laughed and wept on Tuesday 1 December 2015, together at last. “We cried a lot. We are talking about 38 years of searching,” Bravo told a news conference after meeting his mother, Sara, thanks to help from the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group. “It was a miracle to have found my mom alive. “She heard my wail (as a newborn) and now she is hearing my voice, 38 years later.

During the junta regime, from 1976 to 1983, the Argentine military plucked people off the streets and detained leftists and even suspected leftists, and gave away the babies born to mothers they were holding in jail. Some of the women who experienced this horror of the so-called “Dirty War” were raped in prison, and others were detained while pregnant. While Bravo said he suspected something was strange about his identity as a child, it was after his adoptive mother died that he started searching in earnest, registering with a DNA database of families with missing and abducted children.
The Grandmothers group has worked for 20 years trying to bring about such reunions. Of the hundreds of missing, Bravo was their “Missing grandchild No. 119.”

http://www.ndtv.com/topic/agence-france-presse

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/4-decades-on-victims-of-argentine-dirty-war-reunite-1250003

Mahfooz Saeed, lawyer of Maldives’ ex-president, stabbed

September 7, 2015

It does not rank as the worst human rights violation in the world but the stabbing of the lawyer of the Maldives’ ex-president is a classic case of attacking the defenders. Wonder why not more lawyers organizations have come out in professional solidarity:
On Friday 4 September lawyer Mahfooz Saeed was stabbed in the islands’ capital, Male, ahead of a visit by his international legal team, including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.  He underwent emergency surgery and is now in a stable condition. “There were many people who saw the incident. The attackers were also caught on CCTV cameras,” Shauna Aminath, a spokeswoman for the MDP, of which Saeed is also a member, told AFP. The party believes the attack was politically motivated, she said.
Amnesty International condemned the assault and called on the Maldivian government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This vicious attack must not go unpunished — Maldives authorities must ensure that human rights defenders can work free from fear of reprisals and that those responsible are held to account,” the human rights group said in a statement.
Amal Clooney is due to travel to the Maldives this week to meet with Nasheed. She is part of the legal team along with Jared Genser — who has represented Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi — and Ben Emmerson, a judge on international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/retaliation-now-reaches-even-human-rights-commissioners-in-the-maldives-un-deeply-concerned/

Source: Lawyer for Maldives’ ex-president stabbed in Male | Arab News

Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair wins Ludovic Trarieux Prize

June 14, 2015

Saudi Lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair

Waleed Abu al-Khair (twitter)

Waleed Abu al-Khair, a human rights defender from Saudi Arabia has won the 2015 Ludovic Trarieux Prize, a prestigious award for human rights lawyers [for more info on the award see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/ludovic-trarieux-international-human-rights-prize]. Waleed Abu al-Khair is a long-standing campaigner (started the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia – MHRSA) and was given a 15-year jail sentence by a Jeddah court last year, in a ruling that Human Rights Watch (HRW), Front Line and many others have heavily criticized [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/waleed-abu-al-khair/].

Currently in jail himself, Al-Khair represented prominent blogger (and brother-in-law) Raif Badawi who has been jailed for 10 years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/saudi-court-upholds-bloggers-10-years-and-1000-lashes/]

Bertrand Favreau, the founder of the Ludovic Trarieux Prize, told AFP the award goes to those who “through their work, activities or suffering defend the respect for human rights“.

https://wabolkhairen.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/a-letter-to-the-saudi-king-from-the-law-society-in-england-and-wales-regarding-waleedabualkhair/

Saudi Arabia: jailed blogger Raif Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair wins human rights award.

Russia: Grozny Office of Joint Mobile Group, Russian MEA Laureate 2013, burnt and staff threatened

December 14, 2014

Igor Kalyapin at Press ConferenceAFP, Front Line, Human Rights Watch’  Moscow office report that the office of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) in Grozny, Chechnya, was torched after they criticised the Kremlin-supported Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who had called for collective punishment against families of Islamist insurgents (such as burning their houses). It is only the latest chapter in years of harassment and murder of human rights defenders investigating torture, kidnapping and war crimes in Chechnya. Read the rest of this entry »

China detains activists for supporting Hong Kong protests

October 1, 2014

If there was any doubt that the Chinese regime fears contamination from Hong Kong, today’s (1 October) report by the NGO China Human Rights Defenders [CHRD] makes clear that any expressions of support are dealt with harshly. Authorities are reported to have detained a dozen activists across China and threatened several others who expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in recent days….They include activist Wang Long, who was detained by police in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen on Monday for “creating a disturbance” after he posted messages about the protests online, CHRD said. The 25-year-old Wang made headlines last month with his decision to sue a state-owned telecom operator for denying him access to US search engine Google. Another activist, Shanghai-based Shen Yanqiu, posted online photos of herself with a shaved head in support for the Hong Kong protesters on Sunday, CHRD said. She was detained on Tuesday and is “being held in an unknown location”, according to the group. A group of “up to 20 citizens” were seized by police on Tuesday in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, after gathering in a city park to voice support the pro-democracy camp, according to CHRD. At least two activists – Huang Minpeng and Liu Hui – were detained by police and “denied food” while in custody before they were released in the afternoon, the group said. Other areas where activists have reportedly been detained or threatened include Beijing, the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing and central China’s Jiangxi province. (AFP/nd)

via China detains activists for supporting Hong Kong protests: Rights group – Channel NewsAsia.

Bahrain sets October 1 trial date for Maryam al-Khawaja

September 20, 2014

Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja (R), sister of jailed activist Maryam al-Khawaja, lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi (2-R) and Zainab's husband Wafi al-Majed (2-L), near the Bahrain court building in Manama on September 6, 2014

Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja (R), sister of jailed activist Maryam al-Khawaja, lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi (2-R) and Zainab’s husband Wafi al-Majed (2-L), near the Bahrain court building in Manama on September 6, 2014

AFP reports from Dubai that Bahraini human rights defender Maryam al-Khawaja is to stand trial from October 1 charged with assaulting a police officer. Her lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told AFP the prosecutor general had also decided to extend her custody pending the trial. A conviction could carry a five-year prison sentence, he said. Khawaja, a director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights who also has Danish nationality, was arrested after arriving at Manama airport on August 30.

via Bahrain sets October 1 trial date for key activist – Yahoo News.

for previous posts: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/maryam-al-khawaja/

Russian human rights defender Andrei Mironov meets his death in Ukraine

May 27, 2014

Picture taken May 25 shows the domestic and foreign passports of Russian rights defender Andrei Mironov, who was reportedly killed with Italian journalist, Andrea Rocchelli, near the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk. AFP

(Picture taken May 25 shows the domestic and foreign passports of Russian rights defender Andrei Mironov, reportedly killed near Ukrainian town of Slavyansk. AFP POOL-/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

“It’s hard for me to believe that Andrei Mironov is dead” writes  Olivia Ward, Foreign Affairs Reporter of the Toronto Star on 25 May 2014. Indeed a terrible shock. I met him for the first time in 2004 when he accompanied the MEA Laureate Lida Yusupova of Memorial to the ceremony in Geneva. According to an Agence France- Presse report from Slavyansk, Ukraine, the veteran Russian human rights defender and sometime war zone fixer, used up the last of his nine lives on Sunday. He was acting as a translator for Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, who was also killed. According to a French photographer who escaped with leg wounds, the two men were hit by shrapnel from mortar shells as government troops and pro-Russian separatists continued to battle for territory in eastern Ukraine.

Olivia Ward describes Andrei as a “slight, self-effacing man of 60, with a puckish sense of humour, he belied his frail appearance with an iron will to do good in the world. In 1986, that got him a year in a Soviet labour camp as an “anti Soviet dissident” – a time he used to channel his talent for languages, including French and Italian. Nor did he let up on government abuses after the fall of the Soviet Union. As a human rights campaigner linked with the venerable rights organization Memorial , he snapped at the heels of Boris Yeltsin’s and Vladimir Putin’s governments, especially during the two bloody wars when Russian troops battled Chechen separatist fighters…..“You don’t understand,” he rasped. “I have to go and witness what is happening. If I don’t, who will?

Andrei dodged so many bullets in his decades of battling impunity that it is hard to believe he is gone. It would be harder still if the truth were buried along with him” concludes Olivia Ward, who covered the former Soviet Union as bureau chief and correspondent from 1992 to 2002. For the full story see:  Death in Ukraine: bitter end for Russian human rights hero | Toronto Star.