lunedì 30 aprile 2012

AFGHANISTAN URGENT ACTION - Journalist detained, risks torture or death: Nasto Naderi.

UA: 120/12 Index: ASA 11/008/2012 Afghanistan Date: 30 April 2012 Date: 14 January 2011
Afghan TV journalist Nasto Naderi has been detained without charge since 21 April, when he was summoned to the General prosecutor’s office for questioning over a controversial broadcast . He is at grave risk of torture or death .
Nasto Naderi works for Noorin TV in the capital, Kabul, and hosts a programme called "Salaam to my homeland”, known for revealing cases of corruption, criminality and other controversial issues, often implicating high-profile Afghan government figures and members of the Afghan parliament.
The manager of Noorin TV told Amnesty International that the Attorney General had summoned Nasto Naderi to his office on 21 April for questioning after the broadcast of a programme critical of the mayor of Kabul. He was arrested without charge at the office, and has been held since then in Kabul Detention Centre, without access to a lawyer or to a court.
Nasto Naderi may have been arrested and detained solely for exposing corruption in the awarding of road-construction contracts by Kabul Municipality in "Salaam to my homeland".
Under Afghanistan's Media Law, if he were alleged to have committed a media-related offence, he should have, been investigated first by the Media Violation Inquiry Commission rather than the Attorney General’s office.
As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Afghanistan is legally obliged to protect and respect the right to freedom of expression. The arbitrary arrest of Nasto Naderi for peacefully expressing his views clearly violates these obligations
Please write immediately in English, Dari, Pashto or your own language:
Expressing concern that Nasto Naderi has been arbitrary detained since 21 April without charge or access to legal assistance;
Calling on the authorities to respect freedom of expression and to release Nasto Naderi immediately, unless he is charged with an internationally recognisable offence and remanded by and independent court.
Calling on them to order an independent investigation into possible abuse of power by the Attorney General in connection with Nasto Naderi's arrest and detention;
Urging them to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, which has seen significant improvements since the fall of the Taleban regime.
H.E. Hamid Karzai
Office of the President
Gulkhana Palace
Pashtunistan Square
Kabul, Afghanistan
Salutation: Your Excellence
Minister of Information and Culture
Sayed Makhdum Raheen
Ministry of Information and Culture
Pul-e- Bagh Ommomi
Office of the Minister
Kabul, Afghanistan
Salutation: Dear Minister
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADditional Information

Despite the advances of freedom of expression since the fall of the Taleban regime in 2001, journalists still face violence, intimidation and fatal attacks for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Journalists have been arbitrarily arrested, abducted, kidnapped, beaten or killed in politically motivated attacks by state forces and insurgent groups. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Ulema Council (Council of Religious Scholars) have often brought criminal proceedings against journalists and others for writing or talking about matters deemed a threat to national security, or "blasphemous".

In areas controlled by the Taleban and other armed groups, journalists have been actively prevented from reporting, and frequently subjected to physical attacks.

The government has failed to fully investigate and prosecute perpetrators of attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and others peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Hojatullah Mujadedi, director of Kapisa FM radio, based in north-east Kabul, was held in NDS detention centre in Kabul for four months, accused of acting as an accomplice to the Taleban. He was released on 18 January 2011. Before his arrest, Hojatullah Mujadedi had apparently been threatened by both the governor and NDS officials. According to Reporters Without Borders, Mujadadi told them that he had been summoned several times for questioning by NDS officials and asked to fill out a “cooperation agreement form” and to provide information about his contacts.

MALDIVE - This government will not detain Nasheed, says VP Deen.

Deposed former President Mohamed Nasheed will not be detained and government has no intentions to make the arrest, the new Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen said on Sunday.

TAKE ACTION FOR INDIA - No arms for atrocities - Call on India to put human rights first.

India has a unique and historic opportunity to help reduce the human suffering and instability caused by the reckless and poorly regulated trade in weapons, munitions and military and security equipment.
In July 2012, India along with other States will gather at the UN for the final round of negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). India must ensure the treaty has a “Golden Rule” to help protect human rights. This rule should require States to employ a rigorous, objective, case-by-case risk assessment of a proposed transfer or sale of arms. Such assessments should ensure that these arms will not be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. An ATT without the Golden Rule will be meaningless. The treaty must also cover all conventional arms, all types of trade, transfers and transactions and have strong implementation mechanisms.
Disturbingly, global society has no treaty to ensure the strict control of the international trade in conventional arms. That's why governments can easily license irresponsible arms flows to fuel human atrocities and abuse.

India’s citizens have suffered repeated armed attacks and India has stated that its security interests have been “affected by illicit and irresponsible transfers, especially of small arms, light weapons and explosives.”
By signing up to a “Golden Rule” in the Arms Trade Treaty, India will show that it is truly committed to ensuring the security of its own citizens and that of the world.

Please sign this petition to the Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna urging India to support the “Golden Rule”:

mercoledì 25 aprile 2012

INDIA - buone notizie.

Abhay Sahoo, un militante del Partito comunista dell'India dello stato di Orissa, è stato rilasciato il 4 aprile 2012 dopo oltre tre mesi di carcere per accuse che sono apparse da subito false. Sahoo porta avanti da sette anni una campagna contro la confisca di terreni comunicati in favore di un progetto di 12 miliardi di dollari di un'acciaieria della compagnia sudcoreana Posco. Amnesty International aveva lanciato un'azione urgente in suo favore.

India: Maoist armed group should immediately release Chhattisgarh District Administrator and Orissa Legislator.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist), an armed opposition group, must immediately stop
holding, as hostages, a district official in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh and a legislator
in the neighbouring state of Orissa, and ensure their well being as long as they are held, Amnesty
International said.
According to eyewitnesses, on the evening of 21 April, armed Maoists abducted 32-year-old Alex
Paul Menon, the head of the district administration in Sukma in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh,
after shooting dead his two security guards, on his return from a meeting of Adivasi (Indigenous)
farmers in nearby Majhipara village. The Maoists have sent a message to select news channels
stating that they would release the abducted official only if the authorities halted all operations
against them in Chhattisgarh and released eight of their arrested colleagues - Markam Gopanna
alias Satyam Reddy, Nirmal Akka alias Vijayalakshmi, Devpal Chandrashekhar Reddy, Shantipriya
Reddy, Meena Choudhari, Korsa Sunny, Markam Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen.
The Maoists also threatened to try Alex Paul Menon before a “people’s court” if their demands
were not met by 25 April.
The Maoists have sent similar messages to select news channels in Orissa about Jina Hikaka, a
28-year-old legislator from the neighbouring state of Orissa, who was abducted three weeks ago in
Koraput district. In exchange of Hikaka, the Maoists are now demanding the release of 29
prisoners, all belonging to the Chasi Mula Adivasi Sangh, an outfit claiming to fight for Adivasi
land rights in the district.
Amnesty International urges the Maoists not to kill or harm the hostages, or threaten to do so, but
to guarantee their safety and to release them immediately.
Abduction and hostage-taking are prohibited by international law. It is contrary to fundamental
principles of humanity, as reflected in international humanitarian law, to abduct or detain anyone
and threaten to kill or harm them if the authorities do not comply with the abductors’ demands.
On 14 March, the Maoists abducted Orissa-based Italian adventure tour operator Paolo Bosusco
and tourist Claudio Colangelo along with two Indian nationals in Kandhamal district. They held the
two Indian nationals for three days, Colangelo for a week and Bosusco for almost a month. The
hostages were later released them in exchange for six Maoists held by the Orissa government.
In March 2011, Maoists released Vineel Krishna, the head of the district administration in
Malkangiri in south-western Orissa and Pabitra Majhi, a junior engineer, after holding them
hostage for nearly two weeks.
In February 2011, Maoists released five members of the Chhattisgarh state armed police force
after holding them hostage for nearly two weeks.
In September 2010, Maoists abducted eight members of the state police force in central
Chhattisgarh state; killing three. and later releasing the others. In the same month, the Maoists
released three of the four police officers they had abducted in Lakhisarai district in the eastern
Bihar state; the bullet-ridden body of the fourth abducted police officer, Lucas Tete, had been
found the day before.
The long-running confrontation between the Maoists and security forces in several states has seen
civilians routinely targeted for killings and abductions by both the security forces and the Maoists
who continue to operate in a general climate of impunity. Hundreds of Maoist suspects jailed in
the central and eastern states of India are awaiting trial.

AI Index: ASA 20/018/2012
23 April 2012

martedì 24 aprile 2012

Bangladesh: Authorities must account for deaths amid spate of disappearances.

Fatalities during protests about the disappearance of a key opposition figure seven days ago in Bangladesh must be thoroughly investigated by the authorities, Amnesty International said.

Ilias Ali, secretary of the Sylhet Division of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) disappeared together with his driver Ansar Ali on 17 April.

His is the latest in a spate of disappearances in which security forces, including the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), have been implicated, though they deny detaining those missing.

During clashes over the disappearances between the BNP protesters and the police, two men were killed – both on 23 April.

Monawar Hossain was found dead in the Biswanath area of Sylhet with gun shot wounds, and a second man died in a Sylhet hospital of bullet wounds. According to witnesses, police had opened fire on demonstrators after being attacked with stones.

"The Bangladesh authorities must establish an independent investigation to determine how these men died and who fired the bullets, and bring to justice those responsible for these deaths,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on police to investigate the disappearance of Ilias Ali and his driver. Paradoxically she also stated the two men chose to go into hiding to "create an issue".

“Why did the prime minister order an inquiry, but then claim she knows what has happened? Any inquiry will be credible only if it is independent and free from police and political involvement – otherwise it risks simply towing the police line,” said Faiz.

“There appears to be a pattern of enforced disappearances - a concerted effort to eliminate people deemed undesirable.”

One trade unionist has been killed, and more than 20 people have disappeared this year.

On 4 April, Aminul Islam, a trade union leader went missing. He was found dead a day later in Ghatail, north of Dhaka.

His family saw evidence of torture on his body and suspect he was abducted by security forces. He had been previously subject to arrest and beaten by members of the National Security Intelligence for his trade union activities.

“Aminul Islam was an outspoken leader known for his ability to mobilise workers for better conditions, which made him a target,” said Faiz.

Two other BNP members, Iftekhar Ahmed Dinar and Junaid Ahmed, went missing on 2 April. Iftekhar Ahmed’s family say they were taken from their homes by plain clothes officers. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

Al Mukaddas and Mohammad Waliullah, members of the student organisation Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir, went missing on 4 February. They have not been heard from since.

Amnesty International has spoken to family members of many of the victims, who say abductions are usually carried out by plain clothes security officers who are easily identified because they wear similar clothing, including heavy duty shoes unusual for the hot Bangladesh climate. They also have short hair.

Amnesty International has documented abductions and killings by Ban
gladesh security forces, especially the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), for years.

“These disappearances cannot be simply brushed off - it is the government’s responsibility to bring the perpetrators to account, and ensure justice for the victims,” said Faiz.

lunedì 23 aprile 2012

MALDIVE - President ratifies Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill .

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has today ratified the Domestic Violence Bill – the first piece of legislation to be approved by him since taking office on February 7.  The bill was passed by the parliament on April 9 and how now been approved by the president, allowing it to come into force as the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has today ratified the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill, which was passed by the Parliament on April 9.

domenica 22 aprile 2012

PAKISTAN - Under Siege of Terror: The Shia Hazara of Pakistan.

A post by on the Amnesty International USA web log.

Sectarian violence promoted by religious extremists  is not new to Pakistan, but the latest series of brutal attacks on the otherwise peaceful Hazara people has reached a breaking point in recent weeks. Despite the fact that nearly 30 people have died in the past two weeks,  the Government of  Pakistan seems incapable – if not unwilling – to step in to stop this siege of terror.

MALDIVE: Enquiry Commission must be independent: NGOs

Four non-governmental organizations today stressed that the National Enquiry Commission established by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to investigate the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power must be independent and the present composition of the commission was questionable.

mercoledì 18 aprile 2012

MALDIVE - Pro-MDP Facebook group alleges police intimidation.

Administrators of a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) aligned Facebook group called “Kula Yellow” have claimed they have been “threatened” by police over their page’s content.  Police officials have denied the accusations.

martedì 17 aprile 2012

Comunicato stampa su sparizioni
16 April 2012

Pakistan must account for missing victims of enforced disappearance

Pakistan must account for missing victims of enforced disappearance
Hundreds of people in Pakistan remain missing after their alleged abduction by intelligence agencies. Hundreds of people in Pakistan remain missing after their alleged abduction by intelligence agencies.
© Amnesty International
If court orders can bring these disappeared people to light in a matter of days or weeks, the question remains – how many more are being held in intolerable conditions in secret detention centres across Pakistan?
Catherine Baber, Deputy-Director for the Asia-Pacific at Amnesty International.
Mon, 16/04/2012
Pakistan must reveal the fate of hundreds of disappeared believed abducted and held by security agencies and end all secret detention, Amnesty International said after the authorities again failed to bring two missing persons in front of the Supreme Court.

Under persistent judicial pressure, police last week produced four men deemed disappeared and the Supreme Court ordered they be charged or released. But two others have not been presented despite orders from the top court.

 “This year Pakistan’s courts have gained unprecedented access to individuals secretly detained by the country’s security authorities demonstrating the importance of a robust and genuinely independent justice system,” said Catherine Baber, Deputy-Director for the Asia-Pacific at Amnesty International.

“If court orders can bring these disappeared people to light in a matter of days or weeks, the question remains – how many more are being held in intolerable conditions in secret detention centres across Pakistan?”

In February, seven men were brought before the Supreme Court in Islamabad looking severely emaciated, some with urine bags protruding from their trousers. After the brief appearance in court they were taken away and remain missing.

Last year Amnesty International highlighted the case of one of these seven men, 29 year-old Mazar ul Haq who originally disappeared in November 2007.

“Against all expectations, ul Haq and six other men appeared in court after more than four years in which their families did not know if they were alive or dead” said Baber.

Along with 10 others – known as “the Adiala 11” – ul Haq was picked up in 2007 and later accused of being involved in attacks on the Army Headquarters and a camp run by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).

Although all eleven were cleared by an Anti-Terrorism Court, they again went missing, allegedly abducted by intelligence agencies.

Since last year, four of the Adiala 11 have died in custody in Peshawar, some 180 kilometres from where they were abducted in 2010.

Lawyers for Pakistan’s intelligence agencies maintain the men died of natural causes, but legal counsel for Muhammad Aamir, one of the deceased, alleges he was tortured to death in detention.

On Wednesday 11 April, the Supreme Court ordered the ISI, Military Intelligence and the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to explain the poor conditions in which the surviving seven Adiala prisoners are being kept.

“These seven men are but some of the hundreds kept in internment centres in Pakistan’s north-west alone, most as a result of military operations against the Taleban insurgency there,” said Baber.

“The families of these and other missing persons are waiting anxiously for Pakistani authorities to reveal the whereabouts of loved ones who have been missing for weeks, months, or even years.”

Under public pressure and on the orders of the Supreme Court the government established the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in May 2010. Yet new enforced disappearances continue to be reported every week.
"The Commission urgently needs the resources, powers and political support to investigate all cases vigorously, ensure released victims, witnesses and Commission members are adequately protected, and ensure that no security forces, intelligence agencies, or high officials are immune from its investigations," said Baber.

“We recognize that Pakistan is facing multiple security challenges, and many of those held in secret detention may pose a threat to the society. Where these individuals are suspected of a criminal offence, they must be promptly brought to justice in trials consistent with international standards of fairness.

“Authorities must also thoroughly investigate all credible cases of unlawful detention, including alleged abductions implicating high officials in Balochistan province and any other part of the country.

“The ongoing crisis will not end until all disappeared persons are accounted for and properly protected by the law again and all perpetrators are brought to justice regardless of their affiliations, rank, or status.”

Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law and a multiple violation of human rights.

lunedì 16 aprile 2012

Punishing “Moral Crimes” in Afghanistan.

Despite enormous improvements to women’s livelihoods in the decade since the fall of the Taliban, much action is needed by the Afghan government and the international community.
For example, women in Afghanistan face some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, more than half of all girls in the country do not attend school, and many women are forced into marriage shortly after puberty.
To make matter worse, women can face the prospect of being jailed for reporting violence perpetrated against them as reported in Human Rights Watch’s new report, detailing the detention of 400 women and girls imprisoned in the country for “moral crimes”.

These “moral crimes” are not crimes at all but is discrimination by the police, the judiciary and government officials against women trying to report abusive relationships. As the report notes:
[I]n one court record that Human Rights Watch reviewed, Tahmina J., 18, said she was raped. Instead of pursuing her allegations, the court’s decision warned that women should know that it is unsafe for them to go out at night, and said the victim must not have screamed very much or someone would have heard her. The court concluded that two men took Tahmina J. to an abandoned building and “sexually assaulted” her, yet convicted her of zina and sentenced her to two-and-a-half years in prison, where she remains today.
Instead of using very scarce resources to prosecute the perpetrators of serious human rights violations against women and girls, Afghanistan is prosecuting women and girls who have not committed a crime.
Human rights – and women’s rights – must be non-negotiable. The United States must affirm that it should and will help protect Afghan women. Their human rights, their safety, their very lives must not be sacrificed as U.S. troops withdraw from the country.

Posted by: , April 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM 

domenica 15 aprile 2012

MALDIVE: Former President Nasheed to be charged over arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge.

The Maldives Police Service has today sent the case of the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Minivan News understands that under the submitted case, Former President Mohamed Nasheed is expected to face charges for his alleged role in ordering the detention of the judge earlier this year.
The country’s judges and their conduct became a major focus for former President Nasheed in the run up to him being replaced by Dr Waheed in February, leading to eventual calls for international assistance on the matter.
Nasheed had at the time raised concerns over allegations of perjury and “increasingly blatant collusion” between senior judicial figures and politicians loyal to the former autocratic President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Nepal Government is committed for safer Migration: Labour Minister.

Newly appointed Minister for Labour and Transport Management of Nepal Malbar Singh (MS) Thapa said that he is committed to ensure protection of Nepalese Migrants going abroad for work. "I am exploring the issues now and will take concrete action soon", the Minister said at a meeting with Amnesty International (AI) on 29th March 2012.
In the meeting, Robert Godden, Asia Pacific Campaign Coordinator of Amnesty International asked the government to implement AI's recommendations for the protection of Nepalese Migrants. He also handed over the AI's latest report ‘False Promises: Exploitation and Forced Labour of Nepalese Migrant Workers’ to the minister.
On the occasion, Rameshwar Nepal, Director of Amnesty International Nepal informed to the Minister about AI Nepal's nationwide campaign to raise awareness on rights of the Nepalese migrant workers. The awareness program what Amnesty International named "migrant workers caravan" launched on 21 March 2012 which, in the first phase, travelled in Jhapa, Sunsari, Mahottari and Makanpur districts. The caravan will travel to more districts soon.

mercoledì 11 aprile 2012

Maldives must investigate sexual harassment of detained women protesters.

Maldives authorities must immediately investigate allegations that police beat and sexually harassed four women detained during an anti-government rally, Amnesty International said.

According to testimony gathered by Amnesty International, the women, who were arrested on 19 March, were beaten during and after their arrest.

While in detention they were forced to undergo naked body checks on the spurious suspicion of concealing drugs in their genitals. They were forced to strip and squat several times while in prison.

"The Maldives has an image as a luxury holiday destination, and over the past few years, it had established a positive track record on human rights. But the fact is at the moment, not only is repression of peaceful political protest an everyday reality, it has taken an appalling new twist with this cruel and degrading treatment," said Amnesty International's Maldives researcher Abbas Faiz.

"The government of Maldives must ensure that these allegations are investigated and that those found to be responsible are brought to justice.

"The beating and sexual harassment of political detainees under the pretext that they are suspected of possessing drugs must end. None of the four women detainees had been arrested on that suspicion so there was no justification for the searches."

The rally on 19 March was organized by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to protest about the opening of parliament where the new President, Dr Waheed was to give a speech.

Protests have continued in the capital Malé and other cities since 7 February in support of former president, Mohamed Nasheed who was ousted after a police and military mutiny.

There is no indication that the women protesters were involved in any acts of violence during the rally. Their detention therefore was arbitrary.

Cases of molestation and other humiliating sexual acts against women have been reported in the past, but these latest allegations highlight a new police drive to suppress political activity under the pretext of body searching female detainees for alleged possession of drugs.

Maldives police has denied the allegations and said those aggrieved should ask Maldives Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to investigate their allegations.

But the MHRC has told Amnesty International that they have serious limitations in terms of trained investigative staff and dealing with human rights issues in a highly politicized environment is an overwhelming challenge for them.

The MHRC has yet to complete investigations into the alleged sexual harassment of female detainees in 2004.

"By referring cases of police abuse of power to the MHRC, when it is clear that such investigations are beyond its capacity, the government is in effect forfeiting its own responsibility to enforce respect for human rights within the police force," said Abbas Faiz

"This is the wrong message to give to the police as it will encourage police officers to violate human rights with impunity. The Maldives government must ensure that the right to freedom of assembly and expression is protected at all times."

Case testimonies

Yusra Hussein, 22, told Amnesty International that four women police officers arrested her around lunch time on 19 March, near the Maldivian Democratic Party offices. She said: "They beat me as they handcuffed me. They beat me on my stomach, which was very painful as I had had a caesarean section in the past. They grabbed my breasts and twisted them."

They then took her from the police station to the Dhoonidoo detention centre, on an island about 5km north-west of Malé.

"They beat me there with electric cables. I still have marks of their beating on my body. They then forced me to strip naked and made me squat on the floor. They took a urine test and did a body check on me.

"They forced me to sit in that position for a body check several times. Each time I felt sick but they paid no attention. They just wanted to humiliate me as they were shouting filthy words at me all the while."

Aishath Muna, said police arrested her after she had taken another female protester to hospital. Police had pepper sprayed the protester and she had been feeling sick. When Aishath Muna returned to the MDP offices, two policewomen arrested her. She said the handcuffs which they used on her were very tight. She complained but they took no notice. She was then taken to Dhoonidhoo detention centre where she was forced to take off her clothes and undergo a body check.

Mariyam Waheeda, 44, told Amnesty International that two women police officers who detained her on 19 March beat her and dragged her along the floor. They grabbed her breasts and twisted them while handcuffing her. She said they took her to the police station and only released her after she convinced them she had not taken part in the protest rallies.

Aishath Aniya said she had been forced to undergo a urine test, was made to take off her T shirt, bra and jeans, and was told to squat three times.

martedì 10 aprile 2012

Maldives - Hopes of victims renewed as parliament passes domestic violence bill.

The Maldives parliament yesterday passed a much awaited Domestic Violence Bill which for the first time will provide legal provisions to protect victims from domestic abuse through protective orders and improved monitoring mechanisms.

India: Further information: Release Tamil Nadu nuclear plant protestors.

RElease tamil nadu nuclear plant protestors
Of the 180 people detained in March for protesting against a nuclear power plant project in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu , 148 have been released on bail. While 25 more may be released on bail during the next few days, seven others are likely to remain in jail.

On 27 March, following talks with the Tamil Nadu authorities, 15 protestors belonging to the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) led by teacher Dr S P Udayakumar called off their eight-day fast. They had been fasting in protest against plans for commissioning a Russian-built nuclear power plant next to the coastal village of Kudankulam. However, protestors at Idinthakarai village began a relay fast on 28 March which is ongoing. The protests were organized because local people felt that the nuclear plant would pose a danger to the health of local communities. The site will affect at least 15,000 people living nearby.

Many of the 180 protestors who were detained in March, including members of PMANE, have been charged with sedition and of "waging war against the state", and if convicted, they could face sentences as high as life imprisonment. Some have been charged with "conspiracy" and "rioting with deadly weapons".

Amnesty International believes the charges against these 180 protestors are false, and constitute a deliberate attempt by the authorities to silence the protests, which have been peaceful.

Dr S P Udayakumar has said that the expert panel established by the Indian authorities has failed to respond satisfactorily to several site and safety concerns raised by an independent group of experts. On 30 March, his home in nearby Nagercoil town was searched by officials belonging to the Ministry of Home Affairs, who examined records relating to funding of a school run by his family. He has told Amnesty International that the police had resorted to harassing shopkeepers who shut up their shops in solidarity with the protestors.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to release all remaining peaceful protestors immediately, and drop the false charges against them;
Calling on the authorities to put an immediate end to the harassment of those resorting to peaceful protests at Idinthakarai and other coastal villages, and respect the protestors' rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, in accordance with international law.
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 00, India
Fax: +91 11 2301 7931
Email: Through website:
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Ms.J Jayalalitha
Fort St George
Chennai 600 009
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
Solidarity messages may be sent to:
Dr S P Udayakumar
People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai PO 627104
Tamil Nadu

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 367/11. Further information:

giovedì 5 aprile 2012

Afghanistan-US prison transfer gets go-ahead despite torture risks.

A deal that will see US forces handing over Bagram detainees to the Afghan government fails to respect the rights of captives,  leaving them at risk of  torture and other mistreatment, Amnesty International has warned.

The agreement is padded by diplomatic assurances over detainee welfare, with some reference to access for monitoring by unspecified humanitarian bodies, but such assurances are inherently deficient and unacceptable when it comes to dealing effectively with risks of torture and other deliberate abuse of detainees.

In reality torture and ill-treatment of detainees remains endemic, as evidenced by a March 2012 report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission updating findings reported by the UN in 2011.

It will take six months to complete the transfer of detainees - which is being overseen by General Farooq Barkzai appointed commander of the Bagram detention facility by President Hamid Karzai on 1 April. More than 3000 detainees reportedly remain in the Bagram detention facility at Parwan, the majority of them Afghan.

The process comes against the backdrop of a UN report published on 10 October 2011 which found systematic torture in Afghan detention centres where detainees were regularly beaten with rubber hoses and threatened with sexual assault. Many of those targeted were suspected of being insurgents.

For nearly a decade  Amnesty International has raised concerns that the system of detention without trial operated by the USA in Afghanistan was arbitrary, and argued the ordinary criminal justice system, subject to fundamental reforms, should be used to deal with individuals accused of involvement in armed violence in Afghanistan.

Fundamental reforms are essential because the Afghan justice system still flagrantly fails to meet international fair trial standards and fails to ensure that individuals responsible for crimes under international law, - particularly those committed against civilians - are effectively brought to justice.

“The Afghan government has failed in the past to protect detainees in its custody from torture, inhuman, degrading and ill-treatment,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Program Director for Asia.

“Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate (NDS) is notorious when it comes to human rights abuses and torture of detainees accused of affiliation with the Taliban and the wider insurgency in Afghanistan.”

For the USA or any other foreign forces to hand detainees over to Afghan custody despite these risks of human rights violations is itself a specific violation of their own obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

“No transfer of detainees should take place until there is real proof from the Afghan authorities that they are actually meeting human rights benchmarks, not merely promising to do so”.

“This agreement is all the more worrisome given we are talking about specific and real risks of torture. All detainees, including those held by the NDS, should have access to lawyers and family and receive medical treatment where needed,” said Baber. 

“The US and Afghan governments are both responsible for making sure that the rights of all security detainees are really respected in practice, before doing deals for the handover of control over any prisons or prisoners.”

INDIA - Tamil Nadu doctor no longer at risk: Dr V Pugazhendhi.

A community doctor from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Dr V Pugazhendhi, who had warned people of the harmful effects of radiation from nuclear installations, now says he no longer faces a threat to his life from the police or the prospect of detention without charge.
The local police at the Tamil Nadu town of Puduppattinam, 50 km from Chennai city, had summoned Dr V Pugazhendhi and threatened that he would either be killed in a staged encounter with the police or detained for a year under the National Security Act (NSA) if he continued to highlight the harmful effects of radiation on the health of local communities.
Amnesty International believes that these threats were meant to silence his campaign demanding more information on the Kalpakkam and Kudankulam nuclear installations, and the strict enforcement of national and international safety standards.
Thanking Amnesty International for issuing the Urgent Action, Dr V Pugazhendhi said he was able to continue his campaign.
For more than two decades, Dr V Pugazhendhi has been highlighting the potential harmful effects on the health of local marginalized communities of radiation from India’s nuclear power plants and installations in Kalpakkam, a town near Puduppattinam. His surveys brought to light higher incidences of various types of cancer among the area's population and of genetic disorders among the area's children, including polydactyly (birth with additional fingers or toes). Dr V Pugazhendhi has said that such abnormalities are due to radiation releases which are above internationally accepted safety levels, constituting a violation of the local communities' right to health.
Dr V Pugazhendhi is also a part of a "people's expert panel" demanding more information on two Russian-built nuclear power plants at Kudankulam, 450 km south of Chennai city, against which local communities have now been protesting peacefully for seven months.
No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

INDIA - PENA DI MORTE: buone notizie!

Il 29 marzo 2012, il ministero del'Interno ha sospeso l'impiccagione, prevista meno di 48 ore dopo, di Balwant Singh Rajoana, giudicato colpevole di un attentato che nel 1995 costò la vita al governatore dello stato del Punjab e ad altre 16 persone. Balwant Singh Rajoana era stato condannato alla pena capitale nel 2007. In India non si eseguono condanne a morte da 2004. Amnesty International aveva chiesto la sospensione dell'esecuzione.

domenica 1 aprile 2012

Maldive: MDP submits case of police brutality against MPs to IPU. By Mohamed Naahee.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has submitted a case alleging police brutality against their parliamentarians to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The case has been filed with the IPU’s committee on the human rights of the parliamentarians, in the ongoing 126th IPU Assembly held at Kampala, Uganda.
MP Eva Abdullah, one of the delegates representing the Maldives in the conference earlier said that MDP would submit the case of police brutality that took place between February 7-8.
She had also said that apart from the police brutality that took place in February, she would also highlight ongoing police brutality against ordinary citizens in Male’.
The delegates participating in the IPU Assembly include Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Shahid, MDP MP Eva Abdullah, MDP MP and the party spokesperson Imtiyaz Fahmy, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Yusuf Naseem and MP Ali Arif from Progressive party of the Maldives (PPM).
Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that the MDP has been communicating with the IPU regarding the ongoing political situation.
“We have been regularly sending updates to the IPU. Eva and Imthiyaz who are the two delegates representing the MDP will speak on behalf of MDP.” Hamid said.
Local Newspaper Haveeru News reported that the case filed by MP Eva Abdullah has been scheduled for discussion on Sunday.
It also reported that IPU has invited the Maldivian government to participate in the discussions. Spokesperson of the President’s Office, Abbas Adil Riza, will set to represent the government in the discussions.
IPU delegates have visited the Maldives twice since the transfer of power that took place in the Maldives on February 7.
The organisation last visited the Maldives on March 17. MDP MPs prevented President Mohamed Waheed Hassan from giving his presidential address on the opening session of parliament on March 1.
During the visit, Martin Chungong, Director of Programmes for the IPU, told the gathered media that it was vital for parliament to preserve its integrity by continuing to function correctly as well as calling on all parties to avoid inciting or committing acts of violence during the session amidst the “political stand-off”.
The IPU is the world organisation of parliaments and was established in 1889. It works to foster coordination and exchange between representative institutions across the globe. The IPU also offers technical support to affiliated nations. The Maldives has been affiliated with the organization since 2005.
The IPU assembly is the principal statutory body that expresses the views of the IPU on political issues. It brings together parliamentarians to study international problems and make recommendations for action. The IPU assembly takes place once in every year.