Posts Tagged ‘Sentence (law)’

Palestinian human rights defender Amro Issa convicted for speaking out

January 7, 2021

On Wednesday morning 6 January 2021 an Israeli military court convicted Palestinian Human Rights Defender Issa Amro for peacefully protesting and civil disobedience. The Israeli military judge announced the verdict in a hearing attended by representatives of British, European, EU and Canadian consulates. Amnesty International issued a statement calling to drop all the “politically motivated” charges.

Today Israel announced that Palestinians are not allowed to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation without a permit from the occupier,” Amro stated. “This conviction is the military system against the Palestinian nonviolent resistance. It aims to suppress my voice and end all activism against the Israeli occupation.” Amro’s Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky added that “The military court is just an organ of occupation. The [indictment for nonviolent protest] is an example of how the courts are used in order to deter the important voices of human rights defenders.”

Amro is a founder of the Youth Against Settlements group in Hebron, which organises non-violent activism against the illegal Israeli settlements in Hebron and the discriminatory restrictions placed on Palestinians by the Israeli authorities in the city. Amro first appeared in an Israeli military court in 2016 on 18 charges, ranging from “insulting a soldier” to “participating in a march without a permit”. Some of the charges dated back to 2010.

The indictment, first presented in 2016, included 18 charges related to Amro’s community organizing deemed “baseless,” “politically motivated” or “physically impossible” by Amnesty. The military judge convicted Amro on six counts: three counts of “participating in a rally without a permit,” two counts of “obstructing a soldier,” and one count of “assault.” These surround Amro’s participation in the peaceful “Open Shuhada Street” demonstration in 2016; Amro’s participation in the nonviolent “I Have a Dream” demonstration from 2013 in which participants wore masks of Obama and Martin Luther King; one count of obstruction relates to a nonviolent sit-in protest in 2012 calling to re-open the old Hebron municipality building; one count of “assault” by “shoving someone” related to a previously-closed case from 2010, an incident for which the indictment had included an obstruction charge (acquitted) for Amro yelling “I am being assaulted” in the Israeli police station prior to Amro being carried out to an ambulance on a stretcher.

In 2019, UN Special Rapporteurs called for Amro’s protection and expressed “concern” over the charges. In 2017[see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/04/11/un-rapporteurs-intervene-again-for-palestinian-human-rights-defender-issa-amro/]; thirty-five U.S. House Representatives and four Senators including Bernie Sanders sent letters highlighting that some charges were not internationally recognizable offenses and that Amnesty would consider Amro a “prisoner of conscience” if convicted. Issa Amro is the co-founder and former coordinator of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements initiative. In 2010, he was declared “Human Rights Defender of the year in Palestine” by the UN OHCHR and he is formally recognized by the European Union. He won the One World Media Award in 2009 for his involvement in B’Tselem’s camera distribution project. He was a guest of the U.S. State Department in 2011 and has spoken at the UN Human Rights Council on numerous occasions. The sentencing is scheduled for 8 February.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/12/21/palestinian-human-rights-defenders-continue-to-be-persecuted/

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said: “The Israeli authorities must end their campaign of persecution against Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who is a prominent voice against Israel’s regime of discrimination and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly in Hebron.”

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO2101/S00025/israeli-military-court-convicts-un-recognized-palestinian-human-rights-defender-for-protesting-without-a-permit.htm

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/30290

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/

https://mailchi.mp/3fff66fe2a8b/military-court-convicts-human-rights-defender-issa-amro?e=51113b9c0e

Egypt: 15-year term for human rights defender Bahey El-Din Hassan

August 27, 2020

President of the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies, Bahey El-Din Hassan, 26 August 2020 [thenewkhalij/Twitter]

President of the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies, Bahey El-Din Hassan, 26 August 2020 [thenewkhalij/Twitter]

The charges levelled against Bahey Hassan, who has been described as the spiritual father of the human rights movement, are familiar. They have been issued, in one form or another, against Egypt’s 60,000 political prisoners, multiple times: spreading false news and insulting the judiciary. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies condemns the 15-year sentencing of its director, prominent human rights defender Bahey eldin Hassan, and calls for an end to a state security campaign of intimidation and vengeance that has targeted Egyptian rights advocates.

Bahey Hassan left Egypt in 2014 after receiving death threats for his work. Two years later a travel ban was issued against him and his assets were frozen after he and his organisation were targeted by what Amnesty terms a “politically motivated investigation into the work of human rights organisations in case 173”, or the foreign funding case.[see https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/18/egypt-court-freezes-assets-of-rights-defenders-and-ngos/]

In 2019 Hassan was sentenced to three years in prison, again in absentia, and fined 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,259) for allegedly insulting the judiciary.

Amr Magdi, Egypt’s researcher for Human Rights Watch, has drawn comparisons with Bahey Hassan’s treatment by the Sisi government to how his organisation was allowed to operate under ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Understandbly there have been massive reactions on Twitter and other social media  against the 15-year sentence by Egypt ‘s ‘terror’ court.

 

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/08/egypt-human-rights-defender-bahey-eldin-hassan-handed-outrageous-15-year-prison-sentence/

Twitter ignites as Egypt ‘terror’ court hands 15-year term to human rights defender 

 

 

Egypt: Human rights defender Bahey eldin Hassan sentenced over a tweet

Cambodia: Human rights defenders of garment workers released with suspended sentences

June 4, 2014

The 23 defendants, including four human rights defenders, charged in Cambodia were released on 30 May, 2014. Their release comes after the Court which had convicted the defendants but suspended their sentences that ranged from six months to four and half years imprisonment together with heavy fines. They were arrested in early January during a lethal clampdown by security forces charged with bringing an end to mass protests by garment workers and pro-opposition party supporters. Local and international groups have welcomed the release of the 23. However, they express their disappointment regarding the initial convictions and subsequent sentences. The trial was also heavily criticised for lacking due process.

via Civil Rights Defenders – Cambodia: Human rights defenders released with suspended sentences.

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/week-of-action-against-crackdown-on-cambodian-garment-workers-10-january/

Citing freedom of expression, UN calls 15-year sentence for Qatari poet Ibn al Dheeb disproportionate

October 23, 2013

On 22 October 2013 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights called for the immediate release of a well-known Qatari poet who it says was harshly sentenced for a poem considered to be encouraging the overthrow of the ruling system of the country. Mohammed al Ajami – also known as Ibn al Dheeb – was initially sentenced to life in prison on 29 November 2012 for the poem, which was also considered insulting to the nation’s symbols. His sentence was reduced to 15 years last February during a second appeal.  On 20 October, Qatar’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, decided to uphold the 15-year sentence. Mr. al Ajami’s only recourse now is to appeal for clemency to the Emir of Qatar, the home country of Al-Jazeera. “This sentence is clearly disproportionate,” OHCHR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly told reporters in Geneva. “Last January, we already publicly expressed our concerns about the harsh sentencing, the fairness of his trial and about the many months Mr. al Ajami had spent in solitary confinement,” she added.

via United Nations News Centre – Citing freedom of expression, UN calls for release of Qatari poet given 15-year sentence.

 

Kazakhstan: 5 year prison sentence of human rights defender Roza Tuletaeva upheld

June 10, 2013

Roza TuletaevaRoza Tuletaeva

On 28 May 2013, the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan upheld the five-year prison sentence of human rights defender Roza Tuletaeva, Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnam sentences eight human rights defender in appeal

May 27, 2013

On 23 May 2013 the appeal trials of Messrs Ho Duc Hoa, Thai Van Dung, Paulus Le Son, Nguyen Xuan Anh, Tran Minh Nhat, Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Ho Van Oanh and Nguyen Van Duyet were heard in a court in the northern city of Vinh, Vietnam. International observers were not allowed access to the hearing and there was a heavy police presence outside the court. Read the rest of this entry »

Cambodian Human rights defender Mam Sonando to be released today

March 16, 2013

On 11 March I referred to the case of the radio journalist Mam Sonando in Cambodia whose criminal charges were being reduced but still maintained. Now Front Line reports that on 14 March 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that the human rights defender is to be released today as his reduced prison sentence is suspended. While welcoming the release of Mam Sonando, it remains a concern that he was convicted at all.Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

Two prominent Saudi Human Rights Defenders heavily sentenced

March 12, 2013

KSA_Riyadh_QahtaniAlHamid_After_Hearing_Credits_SultanAlfifi

Last Saturday, two distinguished human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia were sentenced to jail in Riyadh for establishing an unlicensed human rights organization. Mohammed Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamad (or Hamid) established the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) in 2009. The organization’s mission is to promote human rights awareness within the Kingdom. ACPRA called for political representation of Saudi citizens and creation of laws to protect minorities. The organization also worked on documenting human rights abuses within the Kingdom. Despite multiple efforts to license ACPRA, the organization’s petitions were rejected and the group was eventually banned by Saudi authorities. The two men were sentenced to 10 and 11 years in prison on accusations including the rather illiberal sounding “breaking allegiance to the King”, “disseminating false information through foreign entities” and “forming an unlicensed organization“. This trial and the ensuing heavy sentence are clearly linked to them exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and association.

Radio Journalist Hassan Ruvakuki in Burundi gets excessive jail sentence

January 17, 2013

Via Brussels-based Protection International we have learned that the appeal court in the central city of Gitega, Burundi, imposed a heavy three-year jail sentence on the journalist Hassan Ruvakuki instead of overturning his conviction. The court changed the charge on which Ruvakuki is convicted to “participation in an association formed with the aim of attacking persons and property.” In June, a lower court sentenced him to life imprisonment on a charge of terrorism. Reporters Without Borders regards today’s decision as a sign that certain Burundian officials were determined to punish Ruvakuki at all costs. Several sources in Gitega reported that the appeal court had been under heavy pressure from the state security apparatus not to acquit him. Ruvakuki was accused of complicity with a rebel group when all he did was his duty as a journalist to anticipate the news. Shortly before his arrest, he went to neighbouring Tanzania to cover a Burundian rebel group that was being formed there.

In response to this incomprehensible verdict, Reporters Without Borders is launching a petition for the release of Ruvakuki, who was working for Bonesha FM, a local radio station, and the Swahili service of Radio France Internationale at the time of his arrest in November 2011. To Sign the petition control/click here.

More information about the Ruvakuki case: http://en.rsf.org/burundi.html

http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20130115-burundi-journaliste-hassan-ruvakuki-manifestation-swahili-bonesha