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 two young children and their mothers who fled violence in their native countries in Central America get released from over 600 days in immigration detention. Three-year-old Diego and eight-year-old “Antonio” have spent much of their childhood behind the walls of a detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania despite having proven that they and their mothers posed no safety or flight risk while their asylum petitions are reviewed. Two other children and their mothers who have been at Berks for an extended time remain. AIUSA continues to fight for their freedom, and for an end to family detention.
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.
All detainees held at the police’s anti-terrorism branch in Urfa province, south eastern Turkey, following clashes between security forces and the armed PKK on 18 May, have been either released or sent to prison custody. The 13 people that were remanded in prison are no longer considered to be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
On 5 April 2019, human rights defender Zine El Abidine Erradi was released after serving a one-year sentence in Agadir local prison, following an unfair trial. Zine El Abidine holds a refugee status in France and had been arrested upon his arrival in Morocco to visit his father. As of 15 May, he could eventually come back in safety in France after receiving his travel documents.
Asia Bibi is a Christian farm worker, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010. After an eight-year ordeal, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted her of all charges and released her in October 2018. Following the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold her acquittal on 29 January 2019, it was confirmed by the Pakistani Foreign Office on 9 May that she had left Pakistan and safely arrived in Canada to be reunited with her family.
On 7 March 2019, Algerian blogger and prisoner of conscience Merzoug Touati was released. On 4 March 2019, an Algerian court issued a new verdict reducing Marzoug Touati’s sentence from seven to two years in prison and three years of suspended prison term. The decision prompted his release as he had already served two years in prison. Amnesty International has been calling for Merzoug Touati’s immediate and unconditional release, as he was a prisoner of conscience solely detained for his peaceful posts online.
Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been granted a presidential pardon and released from prison after serving more than 500 days of their seven year sentences in Myanmar. This is an important victory for press freedom in Myanmar and beyond, which Amnesty International is proud to have contributed to.