Saving young lives from execution in Iran

Mohammad Reza Haddadi's execution has been postponed six times. © Private

Mohammad Reza Haddadi’s execution has been postponed six times. © Private

To mark 1 June – International Children’s Day – Raha Bahreini from our Iran team describes how Amnesty has managed to raise awareness about the death penalty and save juvenile offenders from the gallows in Iran.

It starts with a panicked phone call.

Our contact tells us that a juvenile offender (a person aged below 18 at the time of their crime) has just been transferred to solitary confinement – the final step before execution.

This is often our first glimpse of this young person and the desperate situation they are in. Why? Because the families of those on death row often fear reprisals if they publicize the plight of their loved ones. They sometimes believe that international lobbying and public campaigning will only complicate the situation and hasten the execution. At times, the authorities themselves give families false assurances, claiming that if the family does not publicize the case, their loved ones might be spared. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Want to Cut Violence Against Our Communities? Decriminalize Sex Work.

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El Salvador – Maria Teresa thanks supporters after release from jail

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of "Las 17" group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of “Las 17” group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

By Maria Teresa Rivera

On 20 May 2016, Maria Teresa Rivera was finally freed from prison in El Salvador after a judge dismissed the charges against her. In 2011, she had been given a 40-year sentence after suffering a miscarriage. Thousands of people across the world rallied to her cause. This is her thank you message to everyone.  

I want to thank everyone who supported me and who never left me alone, everyone who believed in me and always said that I was innocent even though you did not know me. This was very special to me.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Azerbaijan: Khadija, On Your Birthday, You Are Not Alone!

Khadija Ismayilova.jpgBy Ella Shen and Viachaslau “Slava” Bortnik, Eurasia Coordination Group at Amnesty International USA

**UPDATE: Khadija was freed on May 25th, 2016, however, her conviction is still yet to be overturned.

Renowned investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova turns forty on Friday, May 27, celebrating her birthday for the second consecutive year in Baku’s Kurdukhani jail. Prior to the politically motivated charges and her imprisonment, Ismayilova worked as a senior investigator with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and as a political radio host at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Please join Amnesty International in wishing Khadija a happy birthday and declaring your support and solidarity with her. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Call on U.S. Congress to Lift Embargo Against Cuba

HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 20:  U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive at Jose Marti International Airport on Airforce One for a 48-hour visit on March 20, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.   Mr. Obama's visit is the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting president, the last one being Calvin Coolidge.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Matt Kennis, AIUSA Board of Directors

President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba in March marked a key turning point in U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. The president’s visit follows a series of efforts made by the Clinton and Obama Administrations to remove sanctions against Cuba. Although strides have been made to strengthen diplomatic relations, the economic embargo against Cuba still stands and continues to undermine human rights in Cuba. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Here’s Why Blocking Refugees from the Eastern Corridor is Irresponsible

GREECE: Refugees stranded at the mercy of European leaders

By Baylen Campbell and Katie Bellamy Mitchell, Identity and Discrimination Unit Interns

Despite the fact that the global community is facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII, the European Union (EU) has undertaken aggressive efforts to divert or even block some of the safest pathways. Over 19.5 million people–of the over 60 million displaced people globally– have so far been recognized as refugees, meaning they are people fleeing their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution from which the government cannot or will not protect them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Russia: Stop the Foul Play

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By Viachaslau “Slava” Bortnik, Chair of Eurasia Coordination Group at Amnesty International USA.

The World Ice Hockey Championship is taking place in Russia from May 6-22. It is ironic that the championship started on the day of the fourth anniversary of the Bolotnaya Square events.

On May 6, 2012, tens of thousands of people marched through the center of Moscow and sought to gather in Bolotnaya Square in protest of the disputed results of the election in which Vladimir Putin had been re-elected Russia’s President. Most never got that far. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder: “It was clear she was going to get killed”

Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International

The armed men who burst into the house of Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on 3 March had a simple plan: find her, kill her, and leave.

What they didn’t expect, however, is for Gustavo Castro, a human rights activist working with Friends of the Earth Mexico and a close friend of Berta’s, to be in the next room. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Jailed in El Salvador after losing their pregnancies

26 Nov 2014, San Salvador, El Salvador --- (141126) -- SAN SALVADOR, Nov. 26, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Women of different feminist organizations take part in a march asking for the freedom of 17 women accused of abortion, on the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, Nov. 25, 2014. United Nations figures showed that 35 percent of the women and children in the world suffer from physical or sexual violence throughout their life. And in some countries and regions, the figure goes up --- Image by © [e]LUIS GALDAMEZ/Xinhua Press/Corbis

(Xinhua Press/Corbis)

For many of us around the world, Mother’s Day falls on May 8th this year, which also marks Teodora’s 36th birthday. Teodora has spent eight years in prison, and will spend yet another birthday and another Mother’s Day, which comes just two days after ours, without her family. 

Amnesty campaigner Karen Javorski takes us inside one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons to meet Teodora del Carmen Vásquez and María Teresa Rivera, women jailed after pregnancy complications.

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“I will never stop” – a mother’s campaign to free her son in Iran

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By Ezat Taheri, mother of prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri

Iranian spiritual teacher and prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has been in pre-trial solitary confinement for five years, and has launched over a dozen hunger strikes in protest at his detention. His mother Ezat tells us of her long fight for his release:

The day my son was arrested, every single cell inside my body was trembling with fear. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST