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 28 August, Colombia’s National Prosecutor agreed with Danelly Estupiñán to run a national investigation aimed at finding those responsible for the different security incidents putting Danelly’s life in danger. Danelly will also have direct access to the work of the investigation team.
Crimean Tatar, Edem Bekirov, is finally free and reunited with his family in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, following a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine on 7 September. Edem Bekirov was arrested by Russian security forces on 12 December 2018 in Russia-occupied Crimea and held in pre-trial detention in inhumane conditions and deprived of the specialized medical care he urgently required.
Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist held in USA immigration detention since 2017, was released late Friday 6 September 2019. We will continue to monitor the status of her asylum petition.
Vanessa Gómez Cueva, a Peruvian mother of three who was deported seven months ago from Argentina with her 2-year-old son and forced to leave her other two children behind, received permission to return to Argentina following a landmark decision from the Director of the National Migrations Office.
On 22 July 2019, 70-year-old human rights defender and prominent Bedouin leader Sheikh Sayyah Abu Mdeighim al-Turi was released from Maasiyahu Prison, in the city of Ramle in central Israel. He was granted an early release by the Israeli Prison Service. Sheikh Sayyah had spent seven months in detention for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He is the head of al-‘Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev/Naqab that is unrecognized by the Israeli authorities.
All the charges against bloggers Cheikh Jiddou and Abderrahmane Weddady were dropped by a judge, who also dismissed the case against them, on 29 July. Their travel and identification documents were also returned to them. Both had been conditionally released on bail on 3 June.
The Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation into the March attacks against the Ysati indigenous community “3 de Julio”. The Paraguayan Institute for Indigenous Affairs (INDI) provided them with humanitarian assistance on 5 April 2019, reissued the identity documents the community lost during the attack, and filed a formal complaint before the Public Prosecutor's Office for the alleged misuse of the criminal justice system against Ava Guaraní indigenous communities.
The Sri Lankan Supreme Court, while hearing the petitions to halt executions of death row prisoners, suspended all execution warrants until 29 October, the next date of hearing. This is a huge source of relief, as the 13 prisoners are no longer in imminent danger of being hanged.
Gilber Caro, who was disappeared, arbitrary detained and held incommunicado for almost two months, was released on 17 June 2019, prior to a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Venezuela.
The Attorney General of the State of Morelos has opened a criminal investigation into the killing of environmental, land and territory human rights defender Samir Flores Soberanes. Mexico’s National Protection Mechanism has also granted protection measures to several other members of his movement.