Posts Tagged ‘ill treatment’

Ahmed Mansoor goes on second hunger strike after severe prison beating

October 1, 2019

Due to the closed conditions in the UAE and the lack of human rights organisations, it is not possible for GCHR to verify whether he remains on hunger strike. He was reported to be in very bad physical and mental shape earlier this month. It appears that Mansoor was badly beaten as a result of his protests about the poor conditions in which he has been held, and his ongoing detention, which violates international standards. He was beaten badly enough to leave a visible mark on his face, indicating he may have been tortured. He remains in solitary confinement in the isolation ward of Al-Sadr Prison in Abu Dhabi, where he is being held in a small cell with no bed or running water, which he is never allowed to leave. GCHR issued a special report on his medieval prison conditions.

On 7 May 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and six other UN human rights experts condemned Mansoor’s conditions of detention, noting that “the poor conditions of his detention in the United Arab Emirates, including prolonged solitary confinement, may constitute torture.

Mansoor, who is also on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, is the 2015 winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. He is serving a 10-year sentence handed down on 29 May 2018 for the “crime” of speaking out about grave human rights violations in the UAE. For more info, click here.

GCHR and partners worldwide are planning a week of action to help free Mansoor surrounding his 50thbirthday on 22 October 2019. More information will be published soon at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofAhmedMansoor/ and on GCHR’s platforms.

GCHR is concerned that Ahmed Mansoor’s life is at risk and calls on:

  1. The UN mechanisms to act quickly to help protect and free Ahmed Mansoor;
  2. The UAE authorities to release Ahmed Mansoor immediately and unconditionally, put a stop to torture and reprisals against him; and allow international observers to visit him in prison and check on the conditions; and
  3. All supporters to tweet at UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister @HHShkMohd to #FreeAhmed.

I have earlier pointed to the cynical way in which the Emirates state tries to present a humanitarian face while continuing its severe repression of human rights defenders, see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/09/14/uae-whitewashing-specialists-get-help-from-the-uk/

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2215

Ahmed Mansoor goes on second hunger strike after severe prison beating

Uzbekistan: Murod Juraev free after two decades in jail – what about the others?

December 29, 2015

 For more than two decades, Murod Juraev languished behind bars in Uzbekistan and was subjected to torture and ill-treatment so bad that all his teeth fell out. After 21 years in detention — one of the world’s longest imprisoned political activists — Juraev was released in November 2015.  [Juraev was a member of the Erk opposition party and a former local mayor in southern Uzbekistan when he was jailed, in 1994.]  Juraev had his jail term extended four times to keep him in jail — in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012 — after authorities found he had broken prison rules, including “peeling carrots incorrectly”, “failure to lift a heavy object” andwearing a white shirt.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Front Line award winner Guo Feixiong sentenced to six years in prison

November 29, 2015

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - croppedOn 27 November 2015, Mr Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years in prison by the Tianhe District People’s Court in Guangzhou, China. Two other human rights defenders, Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng, received three and two and a half year sentences respectively. In September, Guo Feixiong (pen name of Yang Madding) was awarded the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/2015-front-line-defenders-award-to-chinese-guo-feixiong-yang-maodong/].

Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of “gathering crowds to disturb social order” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. The latter charge was reportedly added by the judge at the sentencing and therefore one that Guo Feixiong’s lawyers had no opportunity to defend him against, and which resulted in two years being added to his sentence. Liu Yuandong was sentenced to three years, while Sun Desheng was sentenced to two and a half years, both on charges of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.

Since his detention in 2013, Guo Feixiong has reportedly been held in a 30 sq metre cell with 30 other detainees. Furthermore, he has been denied permission to go outside or exercise in the prison yard since his initial detention and has alleged ill-treatment by the prison guards. According to his lawyer, Mr Zhang Lei, Guo Feixiong’s health has suffered greatly as a result. It has also been reported that Sun Desheng had had his hands cuffed and legs shackled for long periods after his detention.

 

 

OMCT launches again its 10 days campaign for and with Human Rights Defenders

November 26, 2014

OMCT-LOGOAs from 1 December the Geneva-based NGO OMCT will launch, for the 3rd year in a row, its Campaign “10 Days of Activism against torture and ill-treatment“(coinciding this year with the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention against torture). Through 10 videos, 10 human rights defenders will speak out against torture and discuss the importance of the UN Convention against Torture and its implementation in their respective countries under the slogan: “Nothing Can Justify Torture Under Any Circumstances!”. I will try and cover most of them, but you can also go to the OMCT website:

via 10 Days of Activism against torture and ill-treatment / November 25, 2014 / Events / Human rights defenders / OMCT.

Human rights defender Osama Al-Najjar detained in Emirates

March 20, 2014

On 17 March 2014 UAE human rights defender Mr Osama Al-Najjar was arrested as he returned home from visiting his father in prison. Front Line Defenders states that he was held at his home for approximately three hours before being brought to an unknown location by state security forces. No charges have been brought against the human rights defender thus far. Osama Al-Najjar is the son of one of the so-called UAE94 – 94 individuals including human rights defenders sentenced to 7 to 15 years imprisonment on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. Osama Al-Najjar’s father is serving eleven years in prison. The son lobbies for detainees’ rights and disseminates information regarding conditions and ill-treatment particularly via social media websites. He has also appeared on television and given talks on the case of the UAE94. It is alleged that this arrest is directly related to his online activism.

[On 16 March 2014 Osama Al-Najjar responded, on Twitter, to remarks made by the Ruler of Sharjah during a radio interview that families of the UAE94 should not fill their children with hate and malice against the country. The human rights defender tweeted, “your highness, the doctor, we do not hate our country and we do not forget injustice we faced even if our mothers forgot it. Those who were unjust to my father carry 20 months of unfair jail and harassment on their conscience”]

What will Chinese authorities have to say about Cao Shunli’s death?

March 15, 2014

Chinese Government Responsible for the Death of Cao Shunli

Today, 14 March, Amnesty International brought out a statement severely criticizing China‘s treatment of human rights defenders in need of medical care. Cao Shunli, 52, died from organ failure on Friday at a hospital in Beijing, after five months in detention. Repeated requests by Cao’s family for her to receive medical treatment for serious health problems were denied.[ https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/serious-concern-for-health-of-detained-human-rights-defender-cao-shunli/]

Cao Shunli’s death exposes just how callous and calculating the Chinese authorities are prepared to be to silence critics. The authorities today have blood on their hands.” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.  Cao Shunli was a courageous woman who paid the ultimate price for the fight for human rights in China.  She should have never been detained in the first place; but to then deny her the medical treatment she desperately needed is a most barbaric act.”

Cao had led attempts to allow activists to contribute to China’s national human rights report, ahead of a UPR review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2013 and was arrested in September as she attempted to travel to Geneva to attend a human rights training course. Her detention was seen by many as a reprisal for her wanting to contribute to a public discussion on violations in China – the charges against her concerned “picking quarrels and making trouble” The full Council is expected to hear the result of the UPR session on Wednesday 19 March. It will be interesting to see how the States and in particular China is going to react to this tragic event.

Many other NGOs and media have come out with statements about the death of Cao Shunli including Front Line (“Chinese Government Responsible for the Death of Cao Shunli“) and the International Service for Human Rights (http://www.ishr.ch/news/un-human-rights-council-must-demand-accountability-death-cao-shunli).

Serious concern for health of detained human rights defender Cao Shunli

February 25, 2014

Activists gather at the Beijing hospital where rights defender Cao Shunli was hospitalized in critical condition on Feb. 16. The rights defenders in the photo were not allowed to see Cao. She had been denied medical treatment while in detention, and was in a coma by the time authorities took her to an emergency facility. (Sound of Hope)

(human rights defenders in the photo were not allowed to see Cao – Sound of Hope)

Critically ill human rights defender Cao Shunli, who was prevented from attending a United Nations human rights review of China last fall, was taken to intensive care on 16 February 2014 after being denied medical treatment for months while in detention. “Cao Shunli is unconscious and on a ventilator,” her lawyer Wang Yu explained to Radio Free Asia. “She can’t talk and her condition is extremely serious… We think her life is in danger, but the hospital won’t give us any details; they just mumble something when we ask them,” he continued. A nurse blocked the entrance to the intensive care unit and told rights defender Wang Ling that Cao was “deeply unconscious” and would not recognize him, according to Human Rights in China (HRIC). Though Cao was initially taken to Beijing’s Qinghe Emergency Center, she was then transferred to an Army hospital, though her family requested that she be taken to an acute care hospital. Police at the hospital prevented activists from entering the hospital, and about 20 of them were taken to police substations for questioning, Wang Ling told HRIC.

[Cao and fellow rights defender Chen Jianfang were detained on 13 September, 2013 at Beijing’s International airport as they were leaving to fly to Geneva to take part in activities associated with the United Nations Human Rights Council UPR review of China’s human rights record. On the eve of the review, 21 October, she was formally arrested and charged with “creating a disturbance,” and has been detained since then. See earlier posts:

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/un-alarmed-by-reprisals-against-chinese-activists/ and https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/cao-shunli/

Also:  http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/CaoShunli

Chinese HRD Cao Shunli finally seen by lawyer

October 31, 2013

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 30 October human rights lawyer, Ms Wang Yu, was finally permitted access to Chaoyang Detention Centre in Beijing in order to see Cao Shunli, who had reportedly been detained since 14 September 2013.

Wang Yu reported that Cao Shunli is extremely thin and has not received any medical attention in the detention centre. According to Wang Yu, Cao Shunli has been detained on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.

[On 14 September 2013, two security agents prevented Cao Shunli from boarding a flight from Beijing Capital Airport to Geneva. She was flying to take part in a training on UN mechanisms]

[In the months leading up to China’s Univeral Period Review (UPR) on 22 October 2013, Cao Shunli had been campaigning for greater civil society involvement in the UPR process]

 

Angola rights groups denounce rising police violence but it continues

September 29, 2013

On 4 September human rights groups in Angola denounced an escalation in police brutality against civilians since the start of the year in the oil-rich nation. “In recent months we have seen high levels of police violence in Angola against peaceful protests, street vendors, journalists, activists and human rights defenders,” a group of 20 organisations said in a statement. The groups criticised the “inhumane and cruel” treatment of prison inmates, after a video showing police and firemen beating prisoners in the capital Luanda was widely circulated on social networks. The broad coalition of human rights, environmental and development organisations across the country collaborate under an umbrella organisation, the Working Group for the Monitoring of Human Rights in Angola. The country’s interior ministry has condemned the violence and launched an inquiry to find the culprits. Since the end of a civil war a decade ago Angola’s economy has grown fast, and the country is now Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria. But most of its citizens live in poverty, and civil society groups as well as international organisations regularly complain of police abuse. “Our political governance system was built on violence and the exclusion of the poor or those who are different. That is what we should attack,” said Elias Isaac from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

“The arrests and assaults on peaceful protesters and journalists are a heavy-handed attempt to silence people who have every right to express their views. Angola’s government should swiftly reverse course, free those wrongly jailed, and investigate the police officers responsible.” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director of Human Rights Watch on 23 SeptemberOn September 19, 2013, police arrested 22 protesters who sought to demonstrate near Independence Square in Luanda and hand out leaflets calling for social justice. Two released that day were quoted in local media alleging that they were beaten and otherwise mistreated in custody. On September 20, three journalists who sought to interview some newly freed protesters were themselves arrested, threatened, and beaten by the police….The three journalists told Human Rights Watch that they were conducting the interviews on the street about three hundred meters away from the court when approximately forty heavily armed rapid intervention police officers arrived in five cars with sirens, including two armored vehicles. They arrested the three journalists, seven of the just-released protesters, and a businessman who had being filming the incident from a nearby office building. All were taken to a rapid intervention police command center where they were ill-treated and threatened. The mistreatment of the journalists was a clear attempt to intimidate the media, Human Rights Watch said.

Since 2011, inspired by popular uprisings in the Middle East, a small, peaceful movement of Angolan activist groups has sought to protest corruption, restrictions on free speech and other rights, and rising inequality in the oil-rich country. Angolan police and security agents have repeatedly disrupted peaceful protests organized by different groups, including youths and war veterans. Police regularly use unnecessary or excessive force and arbitrarily detain protesters. The state media have staged a campaign calling any antigovernment protest an attempt to “wage war.” In a country at peace for the first time in the last decade, such campaigns have raised fear among the population. Journalists and other observers who seek to document the protests and the government’s response have been regularly harassed, detained, and sometimes mistreated.

via Angola rights groups denounce rising police violence | GlobalPost and

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/23/angola-new-crackdown-peaceful-dissent

 

Asian Parliamentarians and Human Rights Defenders meet again on the issue of Torture – 11-13 November

August 27, 2013

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in collaboration with DIGNITY, has made the practice of custodial torture and ill-treatment a core area of engagement. With a view to counteract the widespread practice of torture, the AHRC and DIGNITY have formed an Asian Alliance against Torture and Ill-treatment (AAATI) in 2012. The first conference of Asian Parliamentarians and Human Rights Defenders was held in Hong Kong in 2012 [ see report Torture – Asian and Global Perspectives Vol. 1, No. 3 ].

The focus for the second meeting [scheduled for 11-13 November 2013] will be to identify the reluctance of governments to achieve a substantial change in the nature of policing in their countries to bring these institutions at par with the policing systems of advanced democracies.

The link below refers to the announcement which in fact is a CONCEPT PAPER:

ASIA: Second Regional Conference of Asian Parliamentarians & Human Rights Defenders on Elimination of Custodial Torture and Ill-treatment in Asia November 2013, Hong Kong — Asian Human Rights Commission

For details please contact: Bijo Francis, Executive Director, Email: ahrc at ahrc.asia