We Did It! A Victory for VAWA
On 24 February, at around 00:30, Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez was released on bail, following a court hearing in the afternoon of 23 February, in the 6th court of the District of Oaxaca. The charges against her have not been dropped, and Amnesty International remains concerned that she may be denied a fair judicial process free of fabricated evidence or unfounded charges.
Sudanese student Taj Alsir Jaafar was released without charge on 23 February 2012 after being detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for almost two months. It is believed he was arrested for participating in student protests, including a peaceful sit-in at Khartoum University.
Faustin Ndikumana, President of the Burundian organization Words and Action for the Awakening of Conscience and the Evolution of Mindsets (PARCEM), was released on 21 February, after two weeks in custody. He was also fined 1,000,000 Burundian francs ($775 US). He had alleged that magistrates bribe officials in the Ministry of Justice to secure appointment.
Three Zimbabwean activists from the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) who were arrested in December 2011 have been released on bail. Two charges against them have now been dismissed by a Magistrate. They continue to face a third charge of “undermining the authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe”. Amnesty International believes that the activists were arrested solely as a result of their legitimate work advocating for media reforms and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.