Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘arrest’

Pussy Riot World Map

Dear Gabriel,

We’re honestly not sure how the Russian authorities are going to react to our Pussy Riot World Map.

The Russian authorities recently banned Pussy Riot’s videos as “extremist”. And last August, the Russian Embassy in Washington tossed Amnesty’s petitions to the curb – literally – and refused to hear our concerns about human rights in Russia.

W1303EAIAR1But on March 4, the one-year anniversary of Pussy Riot’s arrest, we will not be silent. Two Pussy Riot members, Maria “Masha” Alyokhina and Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova, remain behind bars in notoriously brutal prison camps. Last Wednesday we danced outside the Russian Embassy to commemorate Pussy Riot’s performance – now we’re heading back with our map of Pussy Riot’s supporters around the globe.

We only have a few more days left to add as many names as possible to our map. Stand for Pussy Riot and free speech in Russia — get on the map!

It’s been a whirlwind year since Pussy Riot’s iconic “punk prayer” performance at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. Arrests, courtrooms, lawyers, political posturing by the Russian authorities and President Putin — all culminating in Masha and Nadya’s outlandishly harsh two-year sentences, at prison camps far from their families and young children.

But the women of Pussy Riot were never alone. From Twitter to rock shows to handwritten letters, hundreds of thousands have called on the Russian authorities to #FreePussyRiot. More than 100 of Russia’s best-known actors, directors and musicians signed a letter calling for their release. Madonna played a Moscow concert with “Pussy Riot” emblazoned across her back. Amnesty activists threw a full-fledged punk concert steps from the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. Star musicians like Sting and Anti-Flag added their names to our Pussy Riot world map in solidarity — along with thousands of other activists like you.

One year later, Pussy Riot needs us to speak out — more than ever. Why now? Because Pussy Riot continues to be a symbol of the Russian authorities’ unreasonable crackdown on freedom of expression in Russia — and the attacks on free speech in Russia are only getting worse with some disturbing new laws.

Did you know that:

Conducting public protests in Russia could cost you up to U.S. $32,000 in fines?

Human rights and political activism could potentially be treated as “treason” in Russia, thanks to a broad new legal definition?

Foreign and domestic NGOs — including those doing vital human rights work — face increasingly severe restrictions on their operations in Russia?

Pussy Riot’s harsh prison sentences are a draconian response to peaceful dissent.

“This is cruelty on purpose, cruelty for propaganda purposes,” said Ekaterina Samutsevich, a member of Pussy Riot who was arrested with Nadya and Masha but later conditionally released on appeal. “…We need to fight it somehow.”

And fight it we will! We will never give up our campaign to defend human rights and free speech in Russia.

On Monday, we’ll be headed to the Russian Embassy, map in hand.

Stand for free speech and be on that map.

Free Pussy Riot!

Thank You,

Jasmine Heiss
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

11-year-old Arrested

Dear Gabriel,

One minute, 11-year-old Ali Hassan was playing outside with his friends, like any other kid his age anywhere in the world.

The next minute, Ali was under arrest.

This actually happened: An 11-year-old child is on trial for “illegal gathering” and “disturbing security” in Bahrain.

On July 5, he’ll be sentenced for his “crimes” — and could be imprisoned.

We only have a week left to make an impact on Ali’s case, so we have to be loud. Call on the Bahraini authorities to drop the charges against 11-year-old Ali Hassan. Then be sure to share this action with your friends.

On the day of his arrest, Ali was held for hours and interrogated. Tired, hungry, and scared, Ali finally “confessed.” He was detained for 23 days without access to a lawyer.

Ali’s case is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in Bahrain. Since mass protests began in the country in February 2011, Bahrain’s security forces have responded brutally with disproportionate violence. And there’s been little accountability for the ongoing human rights violations committed by the Bahraini government, including acts of torture, unjust imprisonment, and even killings.

Things have to change.

The Bahraini government’s crackdown on nonviolent critics is ugly enough. Now with Ali’s arrest and trial, the government’s behavior has become even more shocking.

Ali and his friends found themselves on the wrong side of the law when their playtime coincided with protests in the area. Bahraini police officers stopped them, allegedly threatening to shoot the children if they didn’t do as they were told, and accusing them of purposely blocking the street with trash bins.

The other children got away. Ali was not so lucky. And now he could face jail for being a child in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Playtime should never lead to prison time. Demand that Bahrain respect the right to free speech and assembly, protect the rights of children, and drop the ludicrous charges against 11-year-old Ali Hassan immediately.

For justice,

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Arrest the Torturers

From Avaaz.org

Arrest the Torturers

Dear Friends,

This is hard to report, but Avaaz’s own members are being tortured by Syria’s monstrous regime. Manhal* reports that he was held in a secret prison where they pulled out his fingernails and toenails and electrocuted his body parts. “I have seen death, and I’ve been tortured nearly to death,” he’s told us. But if we act now, we can make Manhal’s sacrifice the last straw that turns the whole world against the Assad regime.

The Arab League’s observers have failed to stop the brutal crackdown, but pressure on Assad is mounting. Avaaz has just released a terrifying report revealing the scale of Syria’s detention facilities, including what they did to Manhal. If we build a massive global outcry now, we can force key governments to confront the horrors in this report and accelerate the end of Assad.

Sign the petition right now, and when we reach 500,000 signatures we’ll deliver it along with Avaaz’s report to the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council, demanding they refer Assad to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/arrest_syrias_torturers_/?vl

The UN has already stated that there have been crimes against humanity in Syria. Now the regime is being dealt its next critical blow — a harrowing report compiled by Avaaz’s brave Syrian activists making the final link that those crimes against humanity were committed by high-level members of the Assad regime. No other report has detailed high-level links to regime torture to this extent — it could be our best chance to get the world to act.

We all had hoped that the Arab League’s monitoring mission could stop the violence, but they have been compromised and discredited. Despite witnessing Assad’s snipers first-hand, the monitors have just extended their observation period without a call for urgent action. This is allowing countries like Russia, China and India to stall the United Nations from taking action, while the regime’s pathetic defense for its despicable acts has been that it is fighting a terrorist insurgency, not a peaceful democracy movement. But reports like the one Avaaz is releasing put the lie to this corrupt and atrocious regime. Now we just need the world to witness the horrors it contains.

The time could be up for Assad if we raise a deafening wave of public pressure to tip the scales. Let’s unite the world to demand that the UN Security Council refer the brutal Syrian regime to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity. Sign now and tell everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/arrest_syrias_torturers_/?vl

Across the Arab world, people power has toppled dictator after dictator, and our amazing Avaaz community has been at the heart of these struggles for democracy, breaking the media blackouts imposed by corrupt leaders, empowering citizen journalists, providing vital emergency relief to communities under siege, and helping protect hundreds of activists and their families from regime thugs. Let’s not let Manhal’s suffering for freedom be in vain. Let’s demand the UN take action now.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Ian, Maria Paz, Ricken, Emma, Stephanie, Wissam, Heather and the whole Avaaz team

* – “Manhal’s” name has been changed to protect his identity.

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