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.
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.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan held a press conference on 30 November solely to address the smog crisis that gripped Punjab during 2019. Accepting that smog was a “silent killer”, he rolled out a plan in line with expert recommendations to tackle the toxic air pollution. We welcome the responsiveness of the Government of Pakistan and their willingness to address the crisis and will be monitoring the situation closely to see them follow through on their commitment to clear the air.
Five pro-democracy activists, Alseny Farinta Camara, Moussa Sanoh, Boubacar Diallo, Thierno Seydi Ly and Thierno Oumar Barry, were released on 19 December 2019 in Kindia, western Guinea. Charged with participation in an unauthorized gathering, three of the five activists were given a four-month sentence, including a three-month suspended sentence. The two other activists were acquitted and released.
The Slovak Parliament rejected a bill aimed at obstructing access to safe and legal abortion. If adopted, this bill would have undermined women’s privacy and autonomy and subjected them to harmful stigma, humiliation and degrading treatment.
The trial against Juan Requesens, Venezuelan Representative in the National Assembly who has been in pre-trial detention since his arbitrary detention on 7 August 2018, finally began on 2 December after repeated undue delays and irregularities.
On 1 November 2019, the Saudi authorities released two Qatari citizens, Ali Nasser Ali Jarallah (70) and his son Abdulhadi Ali Nasser Ali Jarallah (17), who then returned home to Doha. On 18 August 2019, their family lost all contact with them as they travelled through Saudi Arabia to visit relatives. Amnesty International was concerned that they may have been forcibly disappeared and urged King Salman to reveal the whereabouts of the father and his son and immediately release them unless they were promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence.
On 23 November, adequate police protection enabled up to one hundred transgender rights activists in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to hold the 2019 Trans March and mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. The police successfully prevented attempts by groups openly advocating hatred and discrimination to disrupt the event.
University lecturer Firew Bekele was released on 19 November, after spending three months in detention for his alleged role in writing and publishing a book "the Hijacked Revolution". He was a prisoner of conscience and should have never been persecuted.
On 16 October 2019, following a royal pardon, Hajar Raissouni, her fiancé, and the doctor were released from prison after being sentenced to one year in prison for trumped-up charges of abortion and extra-marital sex. On 30 September 2019 Hajar and the other defendants had been arbitrarily imprisoned in what was likely a politically motivated attack on Hajar for her journalistic work at newspaper Akhbar al-yaoum, in blatant violation of the rights to freedom of expression and private life.