Front Line News Archive

The Gambia: UPDATE-Conviction of human rights defender Mr Edwin Nebolisa Nwakaeme upheldposted on: 2010/12/23

On 17 December 2010, human rights defender Mr Edwin Nebolisa Nwakaeme had his appeal dismissed by Justice Emmanuel E A Amadi of the Banjul High Court and his conviction upheld. On 6 September 2010, Mr Nebolisa Nwakaeme was tried and sentenced to six months in prison at the Banjul Magistrates' Court on charges of providing false information to a public officer in March 2010.

Further Information

The sentence imposed in September also required that Mr Nwakaema pay a fine of D10,000, however, during the appeal hearing, Justice Amadi reduced a fine to D500. The D500 fine was paid to the registrar of the High Court after the judgment was read by the appeal judge. Justice Anadi also informed the court that in order to renew the licence for the African Democracy for Good Governance, which had been revoked, a formal application would have to be presented before the court.

Edwin Nebolisa Nwakaeme is a Nigerian national living in the Gambia. He is a founding member of the human rights organisation Africa in Democracy and Good Governance (ADG), registered as a charitable organisation at the Attorney General's Chamber in 2006.

Kuwait: UPDATE-Sentence of human rights defender Mr Mohammed Abdulgader Al-Jassem reducedposted on: 2010/12/23

On 15 December 2010, human rights defender Mr Mohammed Abdulgader al-Jassem had his prison sentence reduced by a Kuwaiti appeal court from one-year to three months. Mr Al-Jassem was arrested on 22 November 2010, and is currently in prison serving his sentence, but plans to appeal the sentence at the Supreme Court in Kuwait.

Further Information

Mohammed Al-Jassem was charged with defaming the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Shaikh Nasser Mohammed El-Ahmad Al-Sabah, in an article written one year ago on his blog Al Meezan: http://www.aljasem.org <http://www.aljasem.org/>. MohammedAl-Jassem is a Kuwaiti lawyer who has observed trials on behalf of human rights organisations. He is also a prominent writer and has authored books and articles on issues including political reforms, corruption and independence of the judiciary.

For further information on this appeal please refer to http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/13888

Sudan – Human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam imprisoned in latest clampdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists. posted on: 2010/12/22

Sudan – leading human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Chairperson of the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO) and winner of the 2005 Front Line Award imprisoned in latest clampdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists.

Further Information

Dr Mudawi had been summoned to the court in Khartoum on the morning of 22nd December 2010.

Dr Mudawi had previously been charged by the authorities with financial mismanagement but the prosecution was unable to bring any evidence against him and the judge acquitted him.

The Sudanese authorities ordered the same judge to make a new judgment on 22nd December. There was no new evidence presented and no judicial process but the judge announced that Dr Mudawi was now convicted and sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 3,000 Sudanese Pounds.

“Front Line considers that Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is being imprisoned arbitrarily, with not even the pretence of a fair legal process, because of his peaceful activities in defence of human rights in Sudan.

Sudan – Human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam imprisoned in latest clampdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists. posted on: 2010/12/22

Sudan – leading human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Chairperson of the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO) and winner of the 2005 Front Line Award imprisoned in latest clampdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists.

Further Information

Dr Mudawi had been summoned to the court in Khartoum on the morning of 22nd December 2010.

Dr Mudawi had previously been charged by the authorities with financial mismanagement but the prosecution was unable to bring any evidence against him and the judge acquitted him.

The Sudanese authorities ordered the same judge to make a new judgment on 22nd December. There was no new evidence presented and no judicial process but the judge announced that Dr Mudawi was now convicted and sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 3,000 Sudanese Pounds.

“Front Line considers that Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is being imprisoned arbitrarily, with not even the pretence of a fair legal process, because of his peaceful activities in defence of human rights in Sudan.

China: Human rights defender Sun Hongjie left brain-dead after assaultposted on: 2010/12/22

Front Line is saddened by a brutal assault on human rights defender and anti-corruption journalist Mr Sun Hongjie on 18 December in Kuitun, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Sun Hongjie is an investigative journalist with Northern Xinjiang Morning Post.

Further Information

At approximately 1 am on 18 December Sun Hongjie was returning home after meeting an acquaintance for a drink.

As the two walked home, the acquaintance turned on Sun Hongjie as five other men appeared and proceeded to attack him. They dragged him into a construction site where he was severely beaten and reportedly hit over the head with clumps of earth.

His mobile phone was also smashed. His wallet and other belongings remained untouched. A colleague brought Sun to a hospital, where he was later pronounced brain dead. Six men have been arrested.

Sun Hongjie has become well known in Kuitun for exposing corruption and abuse of power in his writing.

Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh's ends hunger strike due to deteriorating health - interrogators tell lawyer they control her trial outcomeposted on: 2010/12/21

According to reports received Nasrin Soutoudeh has ended her hunger strike due to her deteriorating health. During questioning she was told by her interrogators that they controlled the outcome of her trial and she would receive a sentence of at least 10 years even before the judge has made his decision.

Report from Iran

Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband, discussed her latest situation during an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "She called me fifteen minutes ago and we talked. The news about her transfer to the prison infirmary was accurate. She told me today that her condition deteriorated on Wednesday and she had to be taken to the infirmary.

It seems her condition became very dangerous on Thursday, and she was forced to break her hunger strike".

"Ms. Sotoudeh told me the last time that her prison interrogators have told her 'we won't let the judge give you less than ten years in prison".

"I gave her the messages from all her friends, public figures, and activists, and this made her very happy and she thanked everyone. I also told her about the sit-in of women's rights activists in front of the UN.

Western Sahara – Human rights defenders Mr Ibrahim Beriaz and Mr Ali Salim Ablagh released while Mr Saeed Al-Wa’ban remains in detention, posted on: 2010/12/17

On 14 December 2010, human rights defenders Mr Ibrahim Beriaz, and Mr Ali Salim Ablagh were released from Bulmaharez prison, Marrakech, having served a two-year prison sentence. A third defender, Mr Saeed Al-Wa'ban remains in custody.

Further Information

The aforementioned defenders were reportedly arrested and brought to trial because of their role campaigning for the human rights of the Sahrawi people, including the right to self determination. In particular this included their participation in peaceful protests.

please see Front Line’s previous appeal on this case

Strasbourg: "EU High Representative pays tribute to human rights defenders as she welcomes the European Parliament Human Rights Report"posted on: 2010/12/16

"On Friday we celebrated international Human Rights Day. This year's theme highlighted the work of individuals and organisations worldwide who fight human rights violations, specifically discrimination. Over the past year I have met Nobel prize-winner Shirin Ebadi on Iran and Front Line award-winner Afghanistan's Human Rights Commissioner for Women Dr Soraya Sobhrang and other human rights defenders and will continue to do so. As I have said to you previously, I fully expect colleagues in Brussels and the Heads of the EU Delegations to do the same".

Full Text of The High Representative's Speech

Speech by Catherine Ashton EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission on the Annual Human Rights Report European Parliament, Strasbourg, 15 December 2010 On Friday we celebrated international Human Rights Day.

This year's theme highlighted the work of individuals and organisations worldwide who fight human rights violations, specifically discrimination.

Iran: Update – Human rights defender Ms Nasrim Sotoudeh resumes her hunger strikeposted on: 2010/12/15

On 7 December 2010, the husband of human rights defender Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh informed local media that his wife had resumed her hunger strike. The decision to resume her hunger strike was taken because demands made by her have not been met.

Further Information

Nasrin Sotoudeh went on trial on 15 November, and was assured by the judge that she would be released on bail. The bail application was subsequently denied, and her release on bail has not been approved.

On 4 September Nasrin Sotoudeh was taken into custody on charges of “acting against national security,” “assembly and collusion to disrupt security,” and “cooperation with the Defenders for Human Rights Center.” Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent human rights lawyer, who in particular has worked with juvenile prisoners facing the death penalty as well as prisoners of conscience.

She represented a number of political prisoners who were arrested during the unrest that followed last year’s disputed presidential election, won by Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Since her arrest, Sotoudeh has been held in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, which is thought to be overseen by the Intelligence Ministry.

China: Human rights defenders remain missing following Nobel crackdownposted on: 2010/12/15

As of 15 December 2010 several prominent human rights defenders remain missing or in police detention following a sweeping crackdown in the run-up to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo on 10 December 2010.

Further Information

In the past number of days, police have lifted restrictions on many human rights defenders who had been confined to house arrest, had been forced back to their home towns, or had their internet and phone lines cut for the period surrounding the Nobel Ceremony.

Others though, have failed to resurface after being taken by police, and their prolonged periods of detention are cause for concern.

Among those who have yet to reappear are the following (list is not exhaustive):

Fan Yafeng, a prominent human rights lawyer and leader of an underground house church. On 9 December, following numerous house arrests and interrogations in the previous two months, Fan was taken into police custody once again and has been out of contact since.

Li Hai, a Beijing based dissident and a member of the house church led by Fan Yafeng. On 30 October he was seized by police at the premises of the church and since then he has been unreachable.

GENEVA: Three UN independent experts express concerns over crackdown on human rights defenders since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prizeposted on: 2010/12/14

“Since 8 October 2010, we have received reports of over 20 arrests or detentions of human rights defenders, and over 120 other cases of house arrests, including Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, travel restrictions, forced relocations, acts of intimidation, and blocking of means of communication, including removal of content on the Internet regarding the Nobel Peace Prize,” stated the experts.

Further Information

The statement was issued by:

    1. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya;
    2. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue;
    3. Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, El Hadji Malick Sow.

Geneva: Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rightsposted on: 2010/12/13

To mark International Human Rights Day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, issued a statement in which she paid tribute to the vital role played by human rights defenders. "We owe the progress we have made to the enormous efforts of hundreds of thousands of largely unsung heroes, known collectively as human rights defenders".

Further Information

Human rights defenders come from all walks of life, ranging from princesses and politicians, to professionals such as journalists, teachers and doctors, to people with little or no formal education. There are no special qualifications. All it takes is commitment, and courage".

To see the whole statement, please refer to :http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2010/12/62855_space.html

Dublin: Front Line joined by 10 of Ireland's leading campaigners to launch a major new international campaign to protect human rights defenders at risk. posted on: 2010/12/09

Launched to coincide with International Human Rights Day the campaign will mobilise the power and energy of social networks on behalf of human rights defenders who risk their lives for others on a daily basis. The campaign highlights 10 Human rights defenders from China, Honduras, Iran, Burundi, DRC, Western Sahara, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Colombia .

Update: India -- Human rights defender Mr Mian Abdul Qayoom re-arrested three days after being released posted on: 2010/12/07

On 30 November 2010, human rights defender Mr Mian Abdul Qayoom was re-arrested as he left Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu and is currently being held in Hiranagar jail under a 10-day judicial custody order.

Further Information

Three days previously, on 27 November, the High Court of Kashmir quashed his detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978 (PSA). Mian Abdul Qayoom is the president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar.

On 27 November 2010 the Jammu and Kashmir High Court reserved its order to overthrow the detention order against Mian Abdul Qayoom and release him from prison following almost 5 months in custody under the PSA.

Upon leaving the prison Mian Abdul Qayoom was re-arrested and brought before the court of a judicial magistrate.

Uganda: UPDATE - Human rights defender Mr Al Amin Kimathi to go on trial for Ugandan World Cup bombingposted on: 2010/12/03

On 30 November 2010, the prosecution in the case of human rights defender Mr Al Amin Kirmathi who is accused of involvement in the World Cup suicide bombings in Kampala, sent the case to the Ugandan High Court for trial.

Further Information

Al Amin Kirmathi is due to go on trial with 17 others also accused of being involved in the bombing, while a further 17 were released and charges against them were dropped.

Al-Amin Kimathi is Executive Coordinator of Muslims Human Rights Forum (MHRF), and has been at the forefront in exposing and documenting human rights violations, arbitrary detention and unlawful renditions in the context of counter-terrorism operations in the East and Horn of Africa.

Al-Amin Kimathi was arrested in Kampala on 15 September 2010.