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.
We recently helped release land rights activist and mother of two, Tep Vanny from Cambodia. Vanny was handed a prison sentence of two years and six months on 23 February 2017, after Phnom Penh’s First Instance Court convicted her of “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” for peacefully protesting the forced eviction of her community from Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh. A construction project on the site has seen thousands of families lose their homes. Amnesty considered Tep Vanny a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her peaceful human rights work. Thanks to the support and mobilization of our members, Vanny was released and able to be reunited with her family.
On 26 March, journalist Mamane Kaka Touda was released after being detained for three weeks in Niamey Prison, Niger, for publishing a post on social media regarding a suspected case of COVID-19 infection in Niamey Reference Hospital. He was given a three-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay one franc as symbolic compensation. His lawyer has appealed the sentence.
On 15 July 2019, State Security Prosecution ordered the release of 19-year-old transgender woman human rights defender Malak al-Kashef after more than 120 days in pre-trial detention since her arrest. On 6 March 2019, National Security Agency (NSA) officers arrested Malak at her family’s residence in Giza. Malak’s arrest was part of a massive arrest campaign that followed the 27 February 2019 fire incident at Cairo’s main train station, which killed 25 people.
On 13 May 2019, 33-year-old musician Rami Sidky was released on probation after 374 days of pre-trial detention. Rami was detained on 5 May 2018 in connection with a song criticizing president Abdelfatah al-Sisi. According to his lawyer, he neither wrote, nor produced, nor performed the satirical song.
Activists known as “Aguadores” were released on 30 December but still face charges. Their trial was scheduled for 30 January but got postponed and has yet to take place. As of 27 February 2020, at least 61 people remained in detention for reasons related to the 2018 protests. We will continue to explore actions to ensure that the activists’ charges are dropped and seek the release of other people still in prison.
The Komsomolsk-on-Amur District Court ruled to release women rights and LGBT rights activist Yulia Tsvetkova from house arrest on 16 March. She remains under travel restrictions, and criminal and administrative proceeding instigated against her for promoting women’s rights and LGBTI rights are still ongoing.
Senegalese activist Guy Marius Sagna was released on bail on 3 March, three months after he was first detained and after two requests for the provisional release were denied. The eight other activists who were also charged with participation in an unauthorized gathering were released on bail between December 2019 and February 2020. The charges against the nine activists are still pending.
On 14 February 2020, Joaquín Elo Ayeto was released from Black Beach Prison in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he had been imprisoned for almost a year following his arbitrary arrest on 25 February 2019. He was released without any explanation or any papers confirming his situation.
Human rights defender Tran Thi Nga has been unexpectedly released after having served three years in prison. Sentenced to nine years imprisonment in 2017 for conducting propaganda against the state”, Tran Thi Nga agreed to go into exile as a condition for her release. She has since arrived in the USA safely, along with her partner and two sons.
Uzbekistani blogger and human rights defender Nafosat Olloshkurova was released from a psychiatric institution on 28 December. She was violently detained by police on 23 September 2019 while monitoring and reporting about a peaceful protest. On 26 September she was placed in a psychiatric institution and subjected to medical treatment without her consent. Nafosat Olloshkurova should have never been deprived of her freedom in retaliation for her legitimate human rights work.
Members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) reviewed and agreed on new protection measures with the Honduran government, including for Rosalina Dominguez, member of the Río Blanco community who faced threats in 2019.