kateoplis:

“If Nadya Tolokonnikova wanted to abandon protest and flee Russia for a life of quiet exile in the west, it wouldn’t be so surprising. Although she was freed, by presidential amnesty, last December after serving 18 months in prison for participating in an anti-Putin punk protest, the Pussy Rioter remains under the close watch of the Russian state. Naturally, her emails are monitored; more disturbingly she recently discovered that state security agents dropped by a cafe she regularly visits to install bugging devices. She has been horsewhipped by police in Sochi and had green paint thrown in her eyes by plain-clothed officers in a regional branch of McDonald’s.
Many of her friends and fellow protesters have decided to leave, in a new wave of departures that she describes as “the emigration of disillusionment”. In the two-and-a-half years since Pussy Riot, in rainbow-coloured tights and balaclavas, stormed into Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral to sing their Punk Prayer (“Virgin Mary, mother of God, banish Putin! Virgin Mary, mother of God, banish him we pray thee!”), the optimistic exuberance of Russia’s anti-Putin protest scene has mostly faded to despair.
Tolokonnikova, 24, hasn’t stopped protesting and is not contemplating exile, but for the moment her protest has morphed into something quieter and narrower. Instead of dedicating herself to the overthrow of Putin’s regime, she has set up a prison-reform project and launched a news agency website, Mediazona.”
“Recently she has met her heroes Patti Smith and Noam Chomsky, spoken at Harvard Institute of Politics, and spent half the night following her talk protesting outside a police station at the arrest of a Harvard student for trespassing (he was later released). She is feted for her bravery, and gets rock star treatment everywhere she goes, but she says that she is always anxious to return to Moscow, to get back to work. She laughs at the notion of Federal Security Service (FSB) agents trying to wire up her favourite cafe, and says with the wry understatement that flows beneath most of her comments: “It’s obviously not very nice. It makes you realise that the conditions we endured in prison aren’t actually that different from the conditions we’re faced with now that we’re free.””
Nadya Tolokonnikova: ‘I suppose we have nothing more to lose’

kateoplis:

If Nadya Tolokonnikova wanted to abandon protest and flee Russia for a life of quiet exile in the west, it wouldn’t be so surprising. Although she was freed, by presidential amnesty, last December after serving 18 months in prison for participating in an anti-Putin punk protest, the Pussy Rioter remains under the close watch of the Russian state. Naturally, her emails are monitored; more disturbingly she recently discovered that state security agents dropped by a cafe she regularly visits to install bugging devices. She has been horsewhipped by police in Sochi and had green paint thrown in her eyes by plain-clothed officers in a regional branch of McDonald’s.

Many of her friends and fellow protesters have decided to leave, in a new wave of departures that she describes as “the emigration of disillusionment”. In the two-and-a-half years since Pussy Riot, in rainbow-coloured tights and balaclavas, stormed into Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral to sing their Punk Prayer (“Virgin Mary, mother of God, banish Putin! Virgin Mary, mother of God, banish him we pray thee!”), the optimistic exuberance of Russia’s anti-Putin protest scene has mostly faded to despair.

Tolokonnikova, 24, hasn’t stopped protesting and is not contemplating exile, but for the moment her protest has morphed into something quieter and narrower. Instead of dedicating herself to the overthrow of Putin’s regime, she has set up a prison-reform project and launched a news agency website, Mediazona.”

Recently she has met her heroes Patti Smith and Noam Chomsky, spoken at Harvard Institute of Politics, and spent half the night following her talk protesting outside a police station at the arrest of a Harvard student for trespassing (he was later released). She is feted for her bravery, and gets rock star treatment everywhere she goes, but she says that she is always anxious to return to Moscow, to get back to work. She laughs at the notion of Federal Security Service (FSB) agents trying to wire up her favourite cafe, and says with the wry understatement that flows beneath most of her comments: “It’s obviously not very nice. It makes you realise that the conditions we endured in prison aren’t actually that different from the conditions we’re faced with now that we’re free.””

Nadya Tolokonnikova: ‘I suppose we have nothing more to lose’

Reblogged from humanrightswatch


Manuela, a woman suffering from cancer, miscarried her pregnancy in 2008 and was arrested on suspicion of having had an abortion. She was jailed for 30 years, despite the fact that her cancer may have caused the loss of her pregnancy. Without proper treatment, she died in April 2010, in prison, separated from her mother, father and children. ACT NOW and never let something like this happen again.  Sign Amnesty’s petition.

Manuela, a woman suffering from cancer, miscarried her pregnancy in 2008 and was arrested on suspicion of having had an abortion.
She was jailed for 30 years, despite the fact that her cancer may have caused the loss of her pregnancy. Without proper treatment, she died in April 2010, in prison, separated from her mother, father and children. 

ACT NOW and never let something like this happen again.  Sign Amnesty’s petition.

Reblogged from globalamnestyinternational

We’re not close enough to it. And if reporters, if we don’t try to get really close to what these guys – men, women, American [soldiers], now, with this Arab revolution, young Arab men, young Egyptians and Libyans – are experiencing, we don’t understand the world.
reporter James Foley, who was beheaded in Syria this year while covering the conflict. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that at least 69 journalists have been killed covering the conflict. More than 80 have been kidnapped. CPJ estimates that approximately 20 journalists are currently missing in Syria, many held by Islamic State.

Mexico: Indigenous activist detained, faces unfair trial

Indigenous activist Mario Luna Romero is at risk of unfair trial after being arrested in Sonora State, northwest Mexico. There are concerns that the case against him may be politically motivated due to his leading role in protests against an aqueduct which affects the Yaqui Indigenous community’s access to water.

On the morning of 11 September, Mario Luna Romero, a leading member of the Yaqui Indigenous community in Sonora State, was arrested by state judicial police in Ciudad Obregón. He was denied access to relatives and his lawyers until late afternoon, by which time he had been transferred to a prison outside the state capital, Hermosillo. Mario Luna Romero was detained on the basis of an arrest warrant issued in 2013 for his alleged involvement in the supposed car theft and kidnapping of Francisco Antonio Delgado Romo, a member of the Yaqui community with links to the Sonora State government.

Mario Luna Romero is a translator and spokesperson in the Yaqui Indigenous community based in the town of Vicam and has led protests and legal measures to stop the construction and operation of the Independence Aqueduct which draws water from the Yaqui River at the Novillo damn. The Yaqui community argues that the aqueduct directly places their traditional culture and livelihoods under threat. The state and federal government failed to seek the free, prior and informed consent of the community via a transparent consultation process. On 4 September Mario Luna Romero had travelled to Inter American Commission of Human Rights to highlight the case.

In June 2013 Francisco Antonio Delgado Romo apparently drove his car at demonstrators participating in a roadblock against the aqueduct. He was detained by community members and held for two days before being released. Following a complaint filed by Francisco Antonio Delgado Romo’s wife, the Sonora State public prosecutor filed charges of kidnapping (privación illegal de la libertad) and car theft against Mario Luna Romero and three other community leaders. Amnesty International has reviewed the evidence presented against Mario Luna Romero and is concerned that the case against him is biased and may be politically motivated. He is currently waiting for results of his indictment on 17 September. Mario Luna Romero may be denied his right to a fair trial and, if committed to trial, he will not be eligible for bail and may face prolonged detention, putting his safety at risk.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling for the safety of Mario Luna Romero to be guaranteed while in custody;
  • Expressing concern at the detention of Mario Luna Romero and urging the authorities to ensure his right to a fair trial, including ensuring the impartiality of all criminal investigations and upholding the right not to be subject to politically motivated criminal charges;
  • Calling on the authorities to ensure the safety of all members of the Yaqui community and respect their right to peaceful protest against Independence Aqueduct.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 OCTOBER 2014 TO:  (Time difference = GMT - 6 hrs / BST - 7 hrs)

Read More

Egypt: 25 activists on trial, 3 released on bail

On 15 September a Cairo criminal court released on bail three activists who have been jailed since June 2014. They are standing retrial alongside 22 other defendants for defying Egypt’s repressive protest law after an earlier flagrantly unfair trial.

Leading activist and blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah, and activists Mohamed Abdel Rahman and Wael Mohamed Metwally were released on bail in the evening of 15 September 2014. Lawyers told Amnesty International that the court ordered the release of the three men on bail of 5,000 EGP (US$700.00). Lawyers added that the court did not have valid reason to keep the three men jailed. The other 22 defendants are out of prison and they are all facing the same charges.

By the end of the court session, the court panel recused itself as that very same panel had already sentenced the 25 defendants, in their absence, to 15 years in prison in June. The case is now referred to the Court of Appeal which will assign it to another criminal court.

All 25 defendants are charged for participating in an unauthorised protest outside the Shura Council in November 2013 and a range of trumped-up charges, including “assaulting the security forces”, “stealing a police radio”, “cutting off access to roads” and “interrupting the work of national institutions”.

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

  • Calling on Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against the 25 defendants that stem from their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 OCTOBER 2014 TO:  (Time difference = GMT + 2 hrs / BST + 1 hrs)

Read More

Peru: Indigenous leaders killed, community at risk

Four Asháninka Indigenous leaders from the Peruvian Amazon have been killed by suspected illegal loggers. It is likely that the attack was in retaliation to the leaders’ activism against illegal logging on their ancestral lands. Their families and fellow community members are at risk.

On 1 September Indigenous leaders Edwin Chota Valera, Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quinticima Meléndez and Francisco Pinedo were killed while traveling from the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to a meeting across the Brazilian border to discuss combating illegal logging in their community. They were all leaders of the Asháninka Indigenous community of Alto Tamaya-Saweto in the Ucayali region, close to the border with Brazil. The four leaders were killed by suspected illegal loggers.

Edwin Chota Valera was a renowned leader within the Asháninka community who fought for the titles to their ancestral territories. According to the Ucayali Regional Aidesep Organization (Organización Regional Aidesep Ucayali, ORAU) to which he belonged, on 3 June 2014 Edwin Chota Valera led a delegation from his community to Lima, the capital, and presented a letter to the President of the Council of Ministers (Presidencia de Consejo de Ministros). The letter outlined the challenges the Asháninka community of Alto Tamaya-Saweto face by not holding titles to their ancestral territories, including recounting several instances where they have been the target of death threats by illegal loggers. The letter also demanded that the authorities provide adequate protection to them.

The Vice-Minister for Intercultural Affairs is currently in Pucallpa, a city in the Ucayali region, to coordinate the state’s response to the killings. Police are also being sent to recover the bodies and begin an investigation into the killings. The community members are asking for immediate protection and a long-term solution to the situation of insecurity they have endured.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to carry out an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Edwin Chota Valera, Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quinticima Meléndez and Francisco Pinedo, make the results public and ensure those responsible are brought to justice;
  • Urging them to ensure that full protection is provided to the members of the Alto Tamaya-Saweto community, as well as other communities at risk of attack by illegal loggers in the Ucayali region, in accordance with their wishes.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 OCTOBER 2014 TO:  (Time difference = GMT - 5 hrs / BST - 6 hrs)

Read More

Egypt: Registration deadline extended

The Egyptian authorities have extended a deadline for NGOs to register under the draconian Law on Associations (Law 84 of 2002) to 10 November. NGOs not registered after then will face the threat of “accountability” measures – likely to include closure and criminal prosecution.

The National Council for Human Rights had asked the Ministry of Social Solidarity to postpone the 2 September ultimatum to give NGOs more time to register officially as NGOs. In a statement, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly said that the Ministry had agreed to postpone the ultimatum following the request of the National Council for Human Rights.

The authorities are continuing to propose new legislation that would give them sweeping powers over NGOs’ registration, funding and activities.

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

  • Urging the Egyptian authorities to withdraw the legal requirement for compulsory registration of NGOs under the Law on Associations (Law 84 of 2002), which is contrary to international human rights standards;
  • Urging them to end their crackdown on civil society, in particular by ending investigations into the legitimate, peaceful activities of human rights organizations and the harassment of human rights defenders;
  • Calling on the authorities to withdraw the current draft law;
  • Urging them to ensure that any legislation regulating non-governmental organizations upholds the right to freedom of association.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 OCTOBER 2014 TO:  (Time difference = GMT + 2 hrs / BST + 1 hrs)

Read More