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Posts tagged ‘jail’

China’s Most Famous

Gabriel –

You may not know his name, but my friend Liu Xiaobo is a global icon for freedom. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights.

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Today, this hero remains in jail, as China’s most famous political prisoner.

Xiaobo is serving an 11-year term for his activism demanding that the Chinese government make his country more democratic and make its courts more independent. His wife, who has never been convicted of any crime, is under house arrest. This is not just.

I was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for my work fighting the racist Apartheid system in South Africa. I am humbled to share the Nobel legacy with someone so brave as Xiaobo.

Today, with more than 130 other Nobel Prize winners, I am calling on the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to release Liu Xiaobo from prison and his wife, Xia, from house arrest.

Click here to join us and call for their freedom by signing the petition I started on Change.org.

This is an historic moment in China. Every 10 years, the Chinese government hands over power to a new generation of leadership. As of a few weeks ago, Xi Jinping has succeeded his predecessor, Hu Jintao, in leading China — and hopes are that he will open China to reform more than any of his predecessors.

The Chinese government doesn’t usually listen to voices from outside the country. (Or voices from within the country, for that matter!) But the world has a singular opportunity to push for change when China’s leadership changes over every 10 years. This is our chance!

Humans are wonderful, and we can do amazing things when we act together. I have seen this time and time again with my own eyes.

Click here to sign my petition now, and call on China’s new Premier Xi Jinping to release Nobel Peace Prizer winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Brothers and sisters, we are going to move mountains together!

God bless you,

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Cape Town, South Africa

In Jail With Her Innocent Clients

Dear Gabriel,

ye2012_nasrin_rcNasrin Sotoudeh has had enough.

One of Iran’s most prominent human rights attorneys, Nasrin is serving a six-year prison sentence for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty.

While Nasrin is in jail, authorities have gone out of their way to harass her husband and children.

LIGHT THE WAY to freedom for prisoners of conscience around the world. Click here to support Amnesty International’s work to defend human rights.

Iranian authorities are doing their utmost to silence the families of political prisoners.

When Nasrin’s husband Reza Khandan wrote a letter protesting her harsh treatment in prison, he was accused of “disturbing public opinion,” detained in Evin Prison overnight and questioned while blindfolded.

When authorities discovered that Nasrin had been using a tissue to write her defense for an upcoming court hearing, they cut off face-to-face visits with her 13-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Nasrin went on a seven-week hunger strike in protest.

But there is hope. The “judicial restrictions” placed on Nasrin’s daughter were removed today after increased public pressure from Amnesty International activists and others, ending Nasrin’s hunger strike.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has denounced Nasrin’s unjust imprisonment, calling her a “sincere colleague and a very courageous Iranian attorney.”

In October, after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, Nasrin issued the following statement from prison:

Iranian society has never ignored its fundamental rights, but has paid heavily in doing so. They have never stopped their efforts because of arrest, incarceration, [or] judicial prosecution. I am proud to defend each and every one of [my] cases. I am glad and satisfied to endure incarceration alongside my innocent clients.

Nasrin’s children need their mother back, and the Iranian people need their brave human rights hero set free.

Your gift today can make a difference to victims of repression like Nasrin. Donate now.

Gabriel, your generosity makes Amnesty work.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Nossel
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

Tweet To Jail In Bahrain

Dear Gabriel,

Is tweeting a crime in Bahrain?

Ask @NabeelRajab. After tweeting a sentence shorter than the one you’re reading right now to Bahrain’s Prime Minister demanding political change, Nabeel Rajab was arrested.

Is protesting a crime in Bahrain?

For taking that same message to the streets through organized protests, Nabeel was once again charged and this time, sentenced to 3 years in prison. In fact, since May of this year, Nabeel – a prominent leader of the human rights movement in Bahrain – has been kept in a small, dark cell.

Tell Bahraini authorities to free Nabeel Rajab now! Send a message by Tuesday and we’ll amplify your voice during our upcoming demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, we know that Bahraini authorities aren’t just after Nabeel Rajab. They want to tear down everything he stands for. They want to intimidate others so that no one will stand with him. They want Nabeel Rajab to sit in that small, dark cell and feel alone.

But that won’t happen. Nabeel Rajab will never sit alone in darkness because Amnesty International will always be there to shine a light. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.

Nabeel’s peaceful actions for freedom in Bahrain — from tweets to marching in the streets — exemplify why he is a signature case for Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights event. That is because whether you show solidarity by writing and mailing letters, updating your Facebook status, organizing rallies or taking any solidarity action in between, you can make a difference in the lives of this year’s 10 Write for Rights cases.

Mark your calendars, because from December 5 – 16, we will build upon Amnesty’s 51-year tradition and incredible history of writing letters to save lives. Thousands will gather in classrooms, coffee shops, community centers and more; united by the power of the letter and for the cause of writing for human rights.

But we start building momentum today. Your action for Nabeel Rajab right now will fuel our special demonstration in D.C. on Tuesday to draw attention to Bahrain’s disgraceful treatment of Nabeel Rajab and its crackdown on human rights. For every 100 actions taken, we will hold a special place so that we can represent our full force — that means you! — when we hit the streets.

You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how your actions will add power to our work to free Nabeel. Take action to free Nabeel Rajab now so that we can add your voice to Tuesday’s special demonstration.

The spark for this year’s Write for Rights begins with you, but the flame that burns for Nabeel Rajab and others who defend human rights will last forever.

In Solidarity,

Beth Ann Toupin
Country Specialist, Bahrain
Amnesty International USA

Grateful To Be Alive & Free

Dear Gabriel,

Two months ago, I did not know if I would make it out of prison alive.

I live in Cameroon, where being gay is illegal. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people like me exist in constant fear of hate and violence.

Last year I was convicted of “homosexuality and attempted homosexuality” and thrown in Kondengui central prison in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon. In this hellish place, I was singled out for being gay and cruelly attacked on multiple occasions.

Today I am deeply grateful to be alive and a free man. Though my release from prison is provisional, I fear that without Amnesty International’s support I would still be there.

I am raising my voice for Amnesty, because Amnesty raised its voice for me. Please, stand together with me to defend human rights with Amnesty.

There are many more like me, unjustly imprisoned for who we are.

It is your solidarity that lifts us from despair.

In prison, when I received my first letters from Amnesty supporters, I knew that I belonged to a big family, a worldwide family. Your letters were a beacon of hope in that dark place.

You touched my heart. You never gave in.

My hope is that one day all LGBTI people will be able to walk free in Cameroon – indeed everywhere – holding our heads high, without any danger or discrimination.

Your support represents hope for all who suffer the indignities and pain of human rights abuses. I celebrate my freedom, but I will not rest until we are all truly free.

I ask you to give now, during Amnesty’s September Membership Drive, so that your gift will be matched and go even farther.

I wish happiness for you,
Jean-Claude Roger Mbede
FORMER PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, CAMEROON

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

Pussy Riot Is Free

Dear Gabriel,

Facing 2 years in jail for singing a song criticizing President Putin in a church, a member of Pussy Riot gestured to the court and said in her show-trial’s closing statements, “Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us … We can say anything we want…”

Russia is steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy — clamping down on public protest, allegedly rigging elections, intimidating media, banning gay rights parades for 100 years, and even beating critics like chess master Garry Kasparov. But many Russian citizens remain defiant, and Pussy Riot’s eloquent bravery has galvanized the world’s solidarity. Now, our best chance to prove to Putin there is a price to pay for this repression lies with Europe.

The European Parliament is calling for an assets freeze and travel ban on Putin’s powerful inner circle who are accused of multiple crimes. Our community is spread across every corner of the world — if we can push the Europeans to act, it will not only hit Putin’s circle hard, as many bank and have homes in Europe, but also counter his anti-Western propaganda, showing him that the whole world is willing to stand up for a free Russia. Click below to support the sanctions and tell everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/free_pussy_riot_free_russia_a/?bMPbqab&v=17285

Last week’s trial is about far more than three women and their 40-second ‘punk prayer’. When tens of thousands flooded the streets to protest rigged elections, the government threw organisers into jail for weeks. And in June Parliament effectively outlawed dissent by raising the fine for unsanctioned protest an astounding 150-fold, roughly the average Russian’s salary for a whole year.

Pussy Riot may be the most famous Russian activists right now, but their sentence is not the grossest injustice of Putin’s war on dissent. In 2009, anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a massive tax fraud at the heart of Russia’s power dealers, died in jail — without a trial, on shaky charges, and with medical attention repeatedly denied. 60 of Russia’s elite have been under scrutiny for the case and its cover-up, and the sanctions the European Parliament is proposing are on this inner circle.

International attention to Russia’s crackdown is cresting right now, and the ‘Magnitsky sanctions’ are the best way to put the heat on Putin and help create breathing room for the suffocating democracy movement. Let’s give Europe’s leaders a global public mandate to adopt the sanctions. Sign the petition now and share this with everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/free_pussy_riot_free_russia_a/?bMPbqab&v=17285

What happens in Russia matters to us all. Russia has blocked international coordination on Syria and other urgent global issues, and a Russian autocracy threatens the world we all want, wherever we are. The Russian people face a serious challenge, but we know that people-powered movements are the best cure for corruption and iron-fisted governments — and that international solidarity can help keep the flame of these movements alive. Let’s join together now to show Putin that the world will hold him to account and push for change until Russia is set free.

With hope,

Luis, David, Alice, Ricken, Lisa, Vilde, and the Avaaz team

Dogs Go To Jail For Good

From SF Gate
by Carolyn Jones
31 July 2012

Inmates Rehabilitate Problem Pooches

Couch-eaters, barkers, escape artists, leash-haters and other bad dogs got a reprieve from canine jail Tuesday, thanks to a cadre of trainers who know a thing to two about bad behavior.

The dogs, who were near death row at the Peninsula Humane Society because of their misdemeanors, graduated from an eight-week intensive training program that transformed them into the world’s most lovable pets.

The miracle workers behind the metamorphosis? Fellow inmates – of the two-legged variety.

A collaboration between the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Peninsula Humane Society pairs problem dogs with prisoners in the minimum-security Maple Street Complex Facility in Redwood City.

Inmates gain skills

The dogs move into the jail, sleep in crates at night, and spend roughly 16 hours a day with their inmate handlers. They learn how to sit, stay and not chew shoes, as well as get along with people and other dogs.

In short, they are rehabilitated into contributing members of society.

As for the inmates, they learn a few new tricks as well. Humane Society staff instruct them how to train and groom dogs, giving them some job skills for when they’re released. And as a side benefit, the inmates get plenty of slobbering and trusting love in a place not usually known for its cheerful ambiance.

“It’s a big stress reliever. It makes you feel good,” said Mark Karwowski, 49, of Emeryville, who is serving 3 1/2 months for drunken driving. “You get to be normal for a while.”

‘Hard to say goodbye’

Karwowski bid farewell Tuesday to Belle, a 2-year-old pit bull-rottweiler mix who had “socialization issues” when she arrived at the cell block two months ago. Among other transgressions, she had a penchant for attacking other dogs.

Karwowski worked with her slowly, introducing her gradually to one, and then two, then three other dogs, rewarding her with treats when she was friendly and removing her from the dog party when she raised her hackles.

On Tuesday, Belle was a model of affability, sitting calmly throughout the graduation festivities with nary a sideways glance at her four-legged classmates.

“It feels good to see her do so well,” Karwowski said. “But it’s a little sad. It’s hard to say goodbye. It makes me miss my dog at home.”

The program originated three years ago from a sheriff’s deputy who had heard of a similar program in another state. It’s been so successful in San Mateo County that numerous other jails, including San Francisco’s, are considering it.

In all, 79 inmates have participated, training 40 dogs. All 40 have been adopted, many by their inmate handlers after they’re released or by guards, deputies and other jail staff who became smitten with the canine convicts.

Potential as pets

The dogs are mostly strays whom Humane Society staff deem to be good candidates for rehabilitation. They’re too poorly behaved to be adopted, but with some schooling and love they have the potential to become good pets.

“These are dogs that aren’t thriving in the shelter, for whatever reason,” said Maria Eguren, the Humane Society’s director of training and behavior. “But over here, it’s like they’re in a home. They do much better. Everyone’s morale goes up.”

Sheriff’s staff noticed benefits for inmates that reach far beyond dog training skills.

“A lot of the inmates have problems dealing with emotions. Working with dogs teaches them to let their emotions out in a positive way,” said Lt. Alma Zamora. “They get something to love.”

Overcoming flaws

It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Sierra, a 1-year-old Husky with pedigree looks but a few personality flaws, such as begging, whining and lack of housetraining.

Starfordshire Taimani, 27, of East Palo Alto turned her into a show dog. The fluffy pup was the star Tuesday, sitting proudly as several dozen county workers and other passers-by smothered her with affection.

Read entire story at SF Gate.

Work Hard, Go To Jail

Gabriel –

Diane Tran has a lot on her plate for a 17-year-old. After Diane’s parents moved away, Diane stayed behind and started working two jobs to provide for her family — all while taking college-level classes at her high school. But when Diane recently missed school due to exhaustion, she was charged with a crime and sentenced to pay a $100 fine and spend a night in jail.

Diane’s classmate, Devin, told reporters that between a full-time job, a part-time job, and making the honor roll, it’s no wonder Diane was tired. “She stays up until 7 in the morning doing her homework,” Devin says.

Judge Lanny Moriarty didn’t have to sentence Diane to a night in jail, but he wanted to make an example of her. “If you let one of them run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them?” Judge Moriarty told reporters. “A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence.”

Samuel Oh thinks working hard to provide for your family should not be cause for criminal punishment — so Samuel started a petition on Change.org asking Judge Moriarty to revoke the charges against Diane. Click here to add your name.

“Somehow Diane is not just an extraordinary worker and student, she’s an extraordinary human being with a fighting spirit,” Samuel says. “The institutions that are supposed to provide resources to youth and ensure justice are punishing her instead.”

There is some good news: when a reporter recently asked Judge Moriarty if anything could be done to get him to revoke Diane’s charges, he replied, “Yeah, it probably could.”

Samuel believes that if thousands of people sign his petition, Judge Moriarty will take this opportunity to do the right thing and revoke Diane’s charges.

Click here to sign Samuel’s petition asking Judge Moriarty to revoke the charges against Diane Tran, an honors student who had to spend the night in jail for missing school.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Jon and the Change.org team

Teachers In Bahrain

Dear Gabriel,

Boiling with civic unrest, yesterday marked a dangerous flash point in Bahrain.

Feb. 14 was the first anniversary of widespread protests against the government. The violent crackdown that followed those 2011 protests caused the country to slide into a crisis that still festers with human rights abuses. Yesterday, Bahraini protesters took to the streets to demand that the government keep its promises to make much needed political reforms.

The coming week will bring an appeal hearing for two teacher leaders — Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb — who were punished for organizing a peaceful teacher strike during last year’s protests.

Tell Bahrain’s government: Don’t jail teachers for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Tortured, denied due process, and unfairly convicted of “inciting hatred” and “attempting to overthrow the ruling system by force,” Jalila and Mahdi were sentenced to three and 10 years, respectively. Their next appeal hearing takes place on Feb. 19.

During a December hearing, Mahdi showed obvious signs of being beaten. Our sources say he remains in poor health, yet his lawyer’s request for release on bail was denied. Mahdi may die in prison, and the Bahrain government will have more blood on its hands.

Bahrain’s leaders have pledged reform, yet abuses continue. Protesters like Jalila and Mahdi brave violence day in and day out in their march for basic freedoms.

Show Bahrain’s human rights defenders that we have their back.

Demand justice for Jalila and Mahdi.

In solidarity,

Michael O’Reilly
Senior Director, Individuals at Risk Campaign
Amnesty International USA

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