UPDATE on photographer Hussain Hubail:

Photographer Hussain Hubail’s appeal against his five-year sentence has been rejected by the High Criminal Court of Appeal. He was sentenced on 28 April 2014 on charges that included “using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime”, “calling on people to ignore the law” and “calling for illegal demonstrations”.

The five-year sentence handed down to Hussain Hubail, a 21-year-old photographer, was upheld by the High Court of Appeal on 21 September. He had been sentenced on 28 April under Article 160 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes the overthrow of the regime by force or “any other illegal means”. Charges against him also included “using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime”, “calling on people to ignore the law” and “calling for illegal demonstrations”. After sentencing, he was transferred to Jaw Prison, around 30km south of the capital, Manama.

Hussain Hubail is understood to have told the court during a hearing on 27 January that he had been tortured and threatened with rape during his interrogation. The court dismissed these allegations on the basis that the forensic report could not find traces of recent injuries to indicate he had been subjected to physical violence. The Ombudsman’s Office at the Ministry of Interior told Amnesty International on 18 March that an independent investigation into these allegations had been opened, but no results have yet been published.

Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:

* Calling on the authorities to release Hussain Hubail immediately and unconditionally as he is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;

* Calling on them to publish the results of the investigation into Hussain Hubail’s allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to justice;

* Urging them to ensure that Hussain Hubail receives any medical attention he may require, including any specialist treatment needed for his heart condition.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 NOVEMBER 2014 TO:  (Time difference = GMT + 3 hrs / BST + 2 hrs)

Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa        
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, 
Fax: 00973 1766 4587
Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa 
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: 00973 1723 2661
Twitter: @moi_Bahrain
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs 
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain 
Fax: 00973 1753 1284
Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali
Salutation: Your Excellency


Her Excellency Miss Alice Thomas Yusuf Samaan, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 30 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB

Fax: 020 7201 9183, Tel: 020 7201 9170, Email: information@bahrainembassy.co.uk, Website: http://www.bahrainembassy.co.uk


Hussain Hubail was arrested on 31 July 2013, ahead of anti-government protests that had been organized in many of Bahrain’s Shi’a villages for 14 August. Protesters had been planning to march to Manama but the security forces prevented them by using teargas and erecting barbed wire around some of the villages. At least 18 people were arrested. The Tamarrud (Rebellion) movement, made up of youth groups, chose 14 August 2013 to organize anti-government protests to denounce government repression and call for genuine political reforms. Mainstream opposition associations were also planning a large anti-government rally, but it was cancelled due to the heavy presence of the security forces in Manama. One of the men who was arrested with Hussain Hubail, Mohammad Hassan Sudayf, told his family that he had been given electric shocks, beaten, forced to strip naked and had his clothes taken away while detained at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID). Hussain Hubail started a hunger strike on 15 September 2014 and ended it on 23 September after being sent to hospital where a doctor advised him to suspend the strike due to his high blood pressure.


Individuals at Risk Programme, Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, 0207 033 1572, iar@amnesty.org.uk.

To download your copy of the Urgent Action Participation Guide that will tell you everything you need to know about the Network click here.

To see latest updates, blogs and our quarterly news round up on Urgent Actions please visit our Urgent Action blog 

UAE: Enforced disappearance of two Qatari nationals

Officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) detained two Qatari men on 27 June at the al-Ghuwaifat border post on the UAE’s western border with Saudi Arabia. The UAE has subjected them to enforced disappearance, since they have withheld information about the men’s fate from their families. Both men are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Yousif Abdulsamad Abdulghani al-Mullah, 30, and Hamad Ali Mohammad al-Hamadi, 33, left the Qatari capital, Doha, on 27 June. Travelling alone, each drove his own car through southern Qatar and transited via Saudi Arabia to arrive at the UAE’s western border. Eye witnesses at the border crossing told the Qatari authorities that UAE officials had detained them at the al-Ghuwaifat border post. It is not known why the men were arrested, since each of them had previously visited the UAE many times without incident. Since their arrest, the men have not contacted their families and the families have been unable to contact them.

The men’s families submitted a complaint to Qatar’s consular department, which reportedly made enquiries, but without success. Members of the men’s families have recently turned to the international community to try to find out what has happened to them.

The UN Commission on Human Rights has stated that “prolonged incommunicado detention may facilitate the perpetration of torture and can in itself constitute a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” or even torture.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Yousif Abdulsamad Abdulghani al-Mullah and Hamad Ali Mohammad al-Hamadi to their families and explain the legal basis for detaining them;
  • Calling on them to publicly guarantee that both men will be protected from torture and other ill-treatment and ensure that they are given prompt access to lawyers of their choice, and any medical attention they may require;
  • Urging them to ensure that the men are promptly charged with a recognizably criminal offence or else released.


Last Wednesday, nearly 6 years after he was tortured and wrongly imprisoned in Mexico, Angel walked free to be reunited with his family. A huge thanks to everyone who took action for Angel Colon in the last weeks. Together our voice is strong!
Watch his message here


In the USA over 80,000 people at any time are in solitary confinement. To put that into perspective, that is 22-24 hours a day confined to a cell that is 12.3 by 7.5 feet. This practice violates a raft of international laws and standards.
The USA must open up these super-maximum security prisons for UN scrutiny.

Sign Amnesty’s petition.

Ten things you should know about the USA’s brutal isolation chambers


1. Approximately 80,000 people are held in isolation in more than 40 states across the USA at any given time.

2. Isolation cells typically measure 3x2 metres and are furnished with a concrete bed, a desk and a sink. Many don’t have windows.

3. Prisoners are confined to their cells for 22-24 hours a day. Most do not have access to any work or rehabilitation programmes. 

4. Out-of-cell exercise is limited to between five and 10 hours a week and often takes place in bare, high-walled concrete yards providing no view to the outside, or even in small cages.

5. In Arizona, isolation cells are extremely unsanitary, with urine and faeces on the wall, as well as dirt, grease and blood caked around food holes.

6. Phone calls are severely restricted and in some cases completely banned. Visits are limited and take place with a glass screen between the prisoner and their visitor. Some prisoners said they had gone for years or even decades without seeing another human being, other than a prison guard.

7. Conditions in isolation units, combined with the lack of rehabilitation programmes, can exacerbate existing mental health conditions and create new ones, such as anxiety, depression and paranoia. Many prisoners also suffer from extreme weight loss and sight problems caused by the conditions of detention.

8. Prisoner suicide rates within isolation units are much higher than among the general prison population. 

9. Many prisoners are released straight from isolation to the community with no transition programme. In Arizona, for example, just before being released, they are simply provided with an ID and $50.

10. Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, called for solitary confinement to be used only in very exceptional circumstances, as a last resort, and for as short a time as possible. He said there should be an absolute prohibition on its use in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.


Illustration by André Carrilho.

(via humanrightswatch)


A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Ferguson violated the Constitution by requiring protesters to keep moving rather than stand still during demonstrations following the death of Michael Brown.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction in response to a lawsuit brought against St. Louis County and the superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol by Mustafa Abdullah, an ACLU staffer.

Photo: Demonstrators march during a protest on West Florissant Ave. in Ferguson on August 18. Credit: Michael B. Thomas / AFP/Getty Images

(via humanrightswatch)


43 Missing Students, a Mass Grave and a Suspect: Mexico’s Police

My friends the ministers

my friends the ministers

oh, we always call them


they crack their fingers

they get lost in their thoughts

they get lost in their past



men who were not approached

men who were not perceived

men who were not intimate



as they relive the past

as they remind themselves of the past

as they throw themselves again into the past



my friends the ministers

oh, we always call them





and then they confess to me  into the hollow of my ear

you the cursed protester

that we hated that we

persecuted that we sent

sniggering to his death

a nauseating cockroach on our dishes

a sewer rat defecating on our


jealous and embittered before God

a scoundrel unable to do anything but




Translated from French by Darius Sobhani