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.
Two anti-slavery activists Biram Dah Abeid and Abdellahi el Housein Mesoud were released from Nouakchott civil Prison on 31 December 2018. The Tribunal of Arafat in Nouakchott sentenced them to six months, two months of which would be a suspended sentence. Having already spent more than four months in prison, Biram and Abdellahi were released the same day.
Bruno Almada Comas, a young queer artist, was accused of “acts of exhibitionism” and risked prison, based on a performance denouncing violence and discrimination against LGBTI people in Paraguay. He has now accepted an agreement for a conditional suspension of the criminal procedure. If he complies with the conditions imposed, the case will be closed.
Families from the Guahory Community, Eastern Paraguay, are no longer at imminent threat of forced eviction. The implementation of the Joint Action Plan for Punishable Actions for Trespassing on Property has been suspended in their community.
Hassan al-Kontar has been granted asylum and arrived in Canada on 26 November 2018 after having been stranded in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia for about seven months. Arrested on 1 October for being in a “forbidden area” of the airport, Malaysian authorities initially considered deporting him back to Syria.
A Turkish court has lifted travel bans on 30 students facing terrorism-related charges for taking part in a peaceful protest on 19 March. The court rejected the students’ allegations of torture and other ill-treatment while they were in custody on the basis that ‘the incident did not take place in the presence of the court’. The students are still facing charges of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organization’ and could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.
Shahidul Alam, photographer and outspoken social activist, has been freed on permanent bail after spending more than 100 days behind bars for comments he made in an interview with Al-Jazeera in August 2018. In detention, he was ill-treated and subjected to prolonged detention merely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
James Gatdet and William Endley received a presidential pardon on 31 October 2018. The president also ordered the immediate deportation of William Endley to his home country, South Africa. They were released on 2 November.
On 30 September, Salah Hammouri, French-Palestinian lawyer and NGO worker, was released from Ketziot prison in southern Israel. He had spent one year in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Paraguayan authorities have called for an impartial and independent investigation into the attacks against Tekoha Sauce Indigenous leader Amada Martínez, and provided physical protection to the community. In addition, the Paraguayan Institute for Indigenous Affairs formally recognized Cristóbal Martínez as their Indigenous representative leader enabling the community to claim their ancestral lands.
Activist Ahmed Al-Dai Bushara Joudah was released without charge from Kober prison on 18 September. He had spent sixty-four days in detention.