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.
The Israeli government has declared that it will not pursue forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to third countries under the Israeli ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. This follows the release of 280 asylum-seekers who had been detained as a result of the policy, after an order by the High Court of Justice.
On 26 March, political activist and prisoner of conscience, Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released from Jaw prison, in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He served three years in prison on charges of “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”.
Following the attacks that marred International Women’s Day in Ukraine on 8 March, Vitaliana Koval and other women’s and LGBTI rights defenders in Ukraine are no longer considered to be facing an imminent threat of violence. Vitalina Koval has since received adequate protection measures during a public action she staged on 31 March, calling against the impunity of far-right groups in Ukraine.
On 5 April, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of Aziz Orujov, an independent journalist and CEO of the internet TV channel Canal 13, on a suspended three-year sentence. The prisoner of conscience had been detained since 2 May 2017 on fabricated charges and in inhumane conditions.
Kachin prisoner of conscience Lahpai Gam has been released from prison following a Presidential amnesty on 17 April 2018. Detained since June 2012, he was tortured during interrogation and falsely accused of being a member of an “unlawful” association. Lahpai Gam suffers from ill-health, which further deteriorated while he was in detention.
Kachin pastors Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng have been released from prison following a Presidential amnesty on 17 April 2018. The two men had been detained since December 2016 in connection with their role organizing a visit by journalists to Monekoe town, northern Shan State, to show the destruction allegedly caused by Myanmar Army airstrikes.
56 opposition party members and human rights defenders arrested in January and February were released without charge on 10 April. They were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in connection with protests condemning the rise in the cost of food and medicine in Sudan since the beginning of January.
On 16 April, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that 20-year-old journalist Yousef al-Kronz, who was seriously wounded by Israeli forces on 30 March during Land Day protests in the Gaza Strip, must be permitted to leave Gaza for urgent medical care in Ramallah to save his remaining leg.
Seyoum Teshome and Taye Dendea were released from Maekelawi prison on 16 April without being charged. The two had been arrested on 8 March and 15 March respectively.
Eleven people including a lawyer, journalists, bloggers, opposition members and academics were released on 5 April without being charged. The 11 had been arrested by Ethiopian security forces while attending a private ceremony in Addis Ababa on 25 March.