Changing lives and policies
We free people from prison who are being held unjustly because of who they are or what they believe. We change laws to protect millions of people’s human rights. We transform societies to be more fair, free, and just. Here are our victories.
Great news! Karla and Katherine are free! Karla and her fifteen-year-old daughter Katherine requested asylum in the US after fleeing for their lives from Honduras and were thrown into detention in Dilley, Texas. AIUSA developed a case action in April demanding their immediate release. Both had serious medical issues that caused them continuous pain and deteriorating health in detention. Katherine, who has tachycardia, suffered several cardiac attacks. As she was struggling to breathe after one attack, her mother was told by a medical staff member not to bring her daughter unless she was “turning purple.”
After over ten months locked up, Karla and Katherine now join Paola and one-year-old Jose in freedom. However, Ana and four-year-old Victoria are still behind bars, along with nearly a hundred families in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), who was in charge of the mobilization efforts of the opposition coalition group, Front for the Defense of the Constitution, was freed from Conakry prison, in the Guinean capital, on 27 August after the judged dismissed all charges against him and ordered his release. He had been arbitrarily detained for 132 days in an attempt to obstruct his work as a pro-democracy activist.
As of the beginning of August, payment was given to all 46 workers who had been fired from the Industrial Park Temporary Hospital in Guatemala City in June. They all have been paid after a complaint initiated by the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman's Office.
Maury Carrero, detained arbitrarily in April 2020 by officers of the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in Caracas, was unconditionally released on 2 September as part of a group of 110 individuals recently pardoned by Nicolás Maduro. Maury Carrero spent five months in prison, indicted for crimes under counterterrorism legislation.
Nicmer Evans, a Venezuelan political scientist and communicator, was unconditionally released on 1 September as part of a group of 110 individuals recently pardoned by Nicolás Maduro. After being arbitrarily detained in Caracas, Venezuela, on 13 July 2020, he spent over 50 days in custody of the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) for posting on social media messages that allegedly challenge the policies of Nicolás Maduro.
On 17 June 2020, seven Papuan activists were convicted of treason (makar) and sentenced to between ten and 11 months in prison for their role in an anti-racism demonstration in August 2019. They have all since been released and been able to return to their homes in Papua.
On 18 August 2020, the spiritual leader of the Mapuche people in Chile, machi Celestino Córdova Tránsito, decided to end his hunger strike after reaching an agreement with the government, which includes several of his original requests.
Investigative journalist Ignace Sossou was freed from Cotonou prison on 24 June after having served six months in arbitrary detention. On 19 May, the Cotonou Court of Appeal reduced his original 18-month prison sentence to 12 months, including six months suspended. He was sentenced to prison and fined for “harassment” for Tweets quoting the Public Prosecutor during a conference in which he described Benin’s digital code as ‘a weapon’ to be used against journalists.
On 3 August, the Pskov Regional Court, in western Russia, commuted Gennadiy Shpakovsky’s six-and-a-half-years’ prison sentence to a suspended sentence of the same duration including two years on probation. The 61-year-old Jehovah’s Witness was released from detention on the same day. Gennadiy Shpakovsky was prosecuted solely for exercising his right to freedom of religion. He and other Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, where practicing their faith is a crime, remain at risk of imprisonment.
Samira Sabou, a journalist and President of the Niger bloggers association, was freed from Niamey pris-on on 28 July after the judge dismissed all charges of defamation against her. She had been arbitrarily detained for 48 days, in pre-trial detention, after a defamation complaint, filed by the son of the President, was made against her following a Facebook user’s mention of the President’s son’s name in a comment on a post made on Samira Sabou’s Facebook page. The 26 May post related to allegations of corruption in the procurement of military equipment on.
Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar, a 23-year-old transgender woman, fled Honduras when she was 12 years old because of violence against her based on her transgender identity. US immigration authorities detained her in August 2017 and she has been locked up since while she awaits the results of her asylum claim.