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Posts tagged ‘death sentence’

Save Rimsha

Dear friends,

Last week an enraged crowd threatened to burn my daughter alive, and in 24 hours a judge will decide whether she goes free or stays in jail. Rimsha is a minor with mental disabilities and often isn’t in control of her actions. Yet local police here in Pakistan have charged her with desecrating the Koran, and we are afraid for her life.

Right now she is being held in a maximum-security jail, and in hours, she will face the court under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which can carry the death sentence. We are a poor Christian family witnessing mob fury over my daughter’s case, and many other families have faced similar intimidation forcing them to either flee or live in fear. But the international attention on Rimsha’s case has emboldened Pakistani Muslim leaders to speak out against this injustice and forced President Zardari’s attention.

Please help me keep up the global outcry on my daughter’s case. I urge you to sign my petition to President Zardari to save Rimsha and demand protection for us and other vulnerable minority families. Avaaz will share this campaign with local and international media, watched carefully by all the politicians here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_save_my_daughter/?bMPbqab&v=17480

An angry mob demanded the arrest of my daughter after a local imam started inciting people against her, claiming she had desecrated the Koran. Some then threatened to kill her and burn down the houses of Christians in our community. I pray that at her hearing on Saturday, the case against her is dismissed and she can come back to live with us.

Our family is in grave danger, as even talking about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan can be deadly — last year the Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs was killed after asking for the removal of the death penalty for committing blasphemy. It’s such a sensitive situation that many of our Christian neighbours from our Islamabad slum have had to flee their homes.

We respect the religious rights of others. We simply hope for the safety of our daughter and our community and wish this had never happened. We are happy that the Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics and scholars here in Pakistan, spoke out, saying: “We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear.” With your help, we can not only free Rimsha but make this incident the beginning of a greater understanding between communities in Pakistan. I ask you to sign this petition, and share it with your friends.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_save_my_daughter/?bMPbqab&v=17480

With hope and determination,

Misrek Masih with the Avaaz team

Death Sentence for Programming

Dear Gabriel,

Iranians just held parliamentary elections. But many bloggers, students, journalists, filmmakers and other activists couldn’t exercise their right to vote.

They’ll be in jail.

One prisoner, Canadian resident and web programmer Saeed Malekpour, faces a death sentence and could be executed at any time. What did Saeed do to warrant this harsh sentence, based on charges of “insulting and desecrating Islam”? He wrote a web program that was used — without Saeed’s knowledge — for uploading pornographic images online.

Remind the Iranian authorities that death sentences are the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Demand that Iran commute Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence for “cyber crimes” and give him a fair trial, free from torture and coercion.

Saeed’s case is a harbinger of what is to come as Iran unleashes a frightening new crackdown on freedom of expression. Amnesty’s report released this week, “We are ordered to crush you”: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran, reveals a widening net of repression in Iran — a net increasingly focused on Internet users and free speech on the web.

Freedom of expression was already on life support in Iran. Now, a “Cyber Army” has been unleashed to impose a total information blackout in the country.

Internet users in Iran increasingly find themselves caught in the crosshairs of this new wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a shadowy group entrusted with cutting off the free flow of information in the country. The “Cyber Army” has also extended its reach abroad, blocking Amnesty’s website in Iran, and carrying out attacks on websites like Twitter and the Voice of America.

Many Iranians are scared into silence. And if anyone dares to fight back and criticize the government publicly, their words will cost them dearly. Harsh sentences like Saeed’s aren’t unheard of, and those imprisoned in Iran often face terrible mistreatment — torture, forced confessions, years of solitary confinement.

Iran cannot be allowed to violate human rights with impunity, online or offline. Saeed Malekpour must not be executed for his alleged crimes. As Iranians head to the ballot box, cast your “vote” today by taking action for freedom of expression in Iran.

Sincerely,

Elise Auerbach
Iran Country Specialist
Amnesty International USA

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