Front Line News Archive

Saudi Arabia: UPDATE - Transfer of Mr Fadel al Manasef to a detention centreposted on: 2011/05/23

On the morning of 18 May 2011 Saudi human rights defender Mr Fadel al Manasef was transferred from Al Khubar prison to a detention centre operated by the criminal investigation department. His transfer indicates that he may now be held incommunicado and investigated in relation to offences against state security.

Saudi Arabia: UPDATE - Transfer of Mr Fadel al Manasef to a detention centreposted on: 2011/05/23

On the morning of 18 May 2011 Saudi human rights defender Mr Fadel al Manasef was transferred from Al Khubar prison to a detention centre operated by the criminal investigation department. His transfer indicates that he may now be held incommunicado and investigated in relation to offences against state security.

Further Information

Front Line is concerned that he may be tortured or ill-treated to force him to incriminate himself. There are also fears that he may now face prolonged detention without access to his lawyer and his family.

See here the original appeal on this case

Uzbekistan: UPDATE human rights defender and poet Mr Yusuf Juma released on humanitarian groundsposted on: 2011/05/23

Front Line welcomes the release on 18 May 2011 of Uzbek poet and human rights defender Mr Yusuf Juma. Yusuf Juma is a prominent writer and pro-democracy activist. He was arrested on 22 December 2007 after staging a protest against the arrest of Mashrab Juma, who was reportedly detained on trumped-up charges, in the run-up to the re-election of President Islam Karimov, in an attempt to silence his father.

Uzbekistan: UPDATE human rights defender and poet Mr Yusuf Juma released on humanitarian groundsposted on: 2011/05/23

Front Line welcomes the release on 18 May 2011 of Uzbek poet and human rights defender Mr Yusuf Juma. Yusuf Juma is a prominent writer and pro-democracy activist. He was arrested on 22 December 2007 after staging a protest against the arrest of Mashrab Juma, who was reportedly detained on trumped-up charges, in the run-up to the re-election of President Islam Karimov, in an attempt to silence his father.

Further Information

On 15 April 2008 Yusuf Juma was were charged with assault and “insulting and resisting representatives of the government” during an antigovernment demonstration in the city of Bukhara and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He was reportedly tortured during the investigation and in 2010 the family of Yusuf Juma issued a public statement about the tortures he had been submitted to in the penal colony in Jaslyk.

Immediately after his release, on 19 May 2011, Yusuf Juma left Uzbekistan for the United States.

Front Line remains concerned that at least 15 other human rights defenders continue to serve long term sentences in Uzbek prisons.

Syria: UPDATE - Human Rights defender and winner of the 2008 Front Line Award Anwar Al - Bunni released from prison, today (Monday 23 May)posted on: 2011/05/23

Anwar Al-Bunni winner of the 2008 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk has been released today. He finished serving his sentences on the 17th of May 2011 but was taken initially to a branch of the security apparatus before being finally released today released today.

Syria: UPDATE - Human Rights defender and winner of the 2008 Front Line Award Anwar Al - Bunni released from prison, Sunday 22 May)posted on: 2011/05/23

Anwar Al-Bunni winner of the 2008 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk has been released on Sunday May 22, 2011. He finished serving his sentence on the 17th of May 2011 but was taken initially to a branch of the security apparatus before being finally released today.

Further Information

Anwar Al-Bunni was originally sentenced to a five year prison sentence because of his courageous work defending human rights defenders and opposition activists facing charges before the State Security Court. He had also set up a human rights centre in Damascus to support the work of human rights defenders and publicly denounced the use of torture in Syrian prisons.

During the 2008 Front line Award ceremony President McAleese of Ireland spoke of the importance of the work being done by human rights defenders: "Among them are the heroic and the self-sacrificing few who refuse to accept the strangulation of freedom, the silencing of voices raised in protest against abuse and in defence of human rights. Such individuals have an extraordinary moral power, a power that is precisely what places them in danger.

Kazakhstan: Front Line visit to imprisoned human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis gives little hope of imminent releaseposted on: 2011/05/18

On 17 May 2011, Front Line's Protection Coordinator visited Evgeniy Zhovtis, prominent human rights defender and director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, in penal colony N in Ust-Kamenogorsk, in Eastern Kazakhstan. Mr. Zhovtis is serving a four year sentence following a politically motivated unfair trial after he was involved in a fatal traffic accident.

Kazakhstan: Front Line visit to imprisoned human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis gives little hope of imminent releaseposted on: 2011/05/18

On 17 May 2011, Front Line's Protection Coordinator visited Evgeniy Zhovtis, prominent human rights defender and director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, in penal colony N in Ust-Kamenogorsk, in Eastern Kazakhstan. Mr. Zhovtis is serving a four year sentence following a politically motivated unfair trial after he was involved in a fatal traffic accident.

Further Information

To date, Evgeniy Zhovtis has been given 3 'warnings' by colony administration which prevent him from being eligible for conditional release despite his active involvement in the colony's life. He is providing prisoners with legal aid, has filed 50 complaints and won 12 cases before tribunals which have resulted in the release of 7 prisoners. He is also the captain of the colony's football team, is actively involved in sports activities and has helped to renew all the equipment that allows prisoners to get hot water in the collective showers, etc. Normally this would ensure that the warnings against him would be cancelled, however in this instance the prison authorities seem determined to ignore anything that would bring his release date forward.

Bahrain: Front Line fears for life of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja amid credible allegations of torture and sexual assault posted on: 2011/05/17

Following reports of torture including an attempted rape against former Front Line Protection Coordinator Abdulhadi Alkhawaja there are grave concerns that his health and even his life may be in danger.

Further Information

Abdulhadi Alkhawaja has been held in detention in Bahrain since 9th April and has reportedly been subjected to torture which resulted in his requiring a 4 hour operation in a military hospital following injuries to his head. At a hearing yesterday the Judges refused to listen to his complaints of an attempted rape and refused again to order an investigation into torture.

Burundi: UPDATE - sentencing and release of human rights defender Jean-Claude Kavumbaguposted on: 2011/05/16

On 13 May 2011, a court in Bujumbura sentenced journalist and human rights defender Jean Claude Kavumbagu to eight months penal servitude and a fine. He should be released today, 16 May, as he had already spent almost nine months in pre-trial detention.

Uganda: UPDATE- Anti Homosexuality Bill not passedposted on: 2011/05/13

The Anti - Homosexuality bill has not been passed in Uganda. The parliamentary business of the current government ended today and the bill was not discussed. As the parliament has now been officially dissolved the bill will not be passed unless re-introduced in the new parliament.

Bahrain: International trial observer refused entry – serious concern for the health and safety of Abdulhadi Al-Khawajaposted on: 2011/05/13

An independent international trial observer was yesterday refused entry into the courtroom by the Bahraini authorities. The observer, a barrister from Tooks Legal Chambers in London, was mandated by Front Line to observe the trial of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, former Front Line Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. She travelled to Bahrain to observe the hearing of 12 May. The trial started at the Lower National Safety Court on 8 May 2011.

Brussels: Igor Kalyapin highlights lack of effective investigation of disappearances in Chechnya to representatives of EU member Statesposted on: 2011/05/12

On Tuesday 10 May 2011 afternoon, Igor Kalyapin met representatives of EU Member States in the context of the COHOM Task force on HRDs, just before the formal COHOM meeting. COHOM is the Council Working Party on Human Rights, chaired by Mr Engelbert Theurmann (on the right on the picture). Igor Kalyapin summarised the current human rights situation in Chechnya, described the work and technique of the Joint Mobile Group, and referred to the letter received from the Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen Republic, which confirms the lack of proper and effective investigation into criminal cases and abductions of people. Igor Kalyapin urged the EU to use that letter in their contacts with the Russian authorities at high level in order to enhance the rule of law in Chechnya.Pictured LTR are Mr Vincent forest, Head of Front Line's EU Office, Mr Igor Kalyapin, Head of Joint Mobile Group, Ms Veronique Arnault, Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the European External Action Service (EEAS)and Mr Engelbert Theurmann.

Kenya: UPDATE - Prime Minister calls for repatriation of Kenyan human rights defender Mr Al-Amin Kimathiposted on: 2011/05/11

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has reportedly called for the repatriation of eight suspects being held in Uganda in connection with their involvement in the 11 July 2010 terrorist bombing in Kampala. Among the eight detainees is human rights defender Mr Al- Amin Kimathi who is the Executive Coordinator of the Muslims Human Rights Forum (MHRF).

China: UPDATE - Human rights defender Li Xiongbing released after two days' incommunicado detentionposted on: 2011/05/10

Further to the Front Line Urgent Appeal of 4 May 2011, human rights defender and lawyer Mr Li Xiongbing returned to his home in Beijing on 6 May, having disappeared two days earlier.