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.
Chilean human rights defender and lawyer Karina Riquelme is no longer considered under imminent threat. The Supreme Court of Justice of Chile ordered protection measures for her on 25 September 2018.
Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, a prominent Dalit rights activist, has been released from Saharanpur District Prison on 14 September. He was being held in administrative detention without charge or trial under the draconian National Security Act.
On 22 August, independent journalist and prisoner of conscience Khairullo (Khayrullo) Mirsaidov received a non-custodial sentence and was released in the courtroom, after spending more than eight months behind bars. He had been detained and prosecuted following his allegations of government corruption.
Khalid Mohd Ismath, former prisoner of conscience, has had all charges against him dropped. Arrested on 13 October 2015 and released on bail later that same month, Khalid Mohd Ismath has faced court proceedings, including hearings that were often postponed, for nearly three years. Following the good news, no further action is required.
On 17 July, Abdul Razeq Farraj, Finance and Administration Director at the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a development NGO based in Ramallah in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), was released from Ofer prison. He had spent 14 months in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Afonso S. Muatchipuculo (22), António J. Fernando (18) and Justino H. Valente (21) were released on 17 July. The three youth had been sentenced to seven months in prison by the Malange Provincial Court in Angola on 9 April after an unfair trial. They were arrested on 4 April by the police in Malange province in Angola for allegedly throwing stones at the Vice-President’s convoy during a demonstration.
After nearly two months on a hunger strike, Mapuche Indigenous spiritual leader Machi Celestino Córdova is granted access to his ceremonial altar to carry out a renewal ceremony, essential to guaranteeing the Mapuches’ psychic and physical well-being.
On 18 July, St Petersburg’s Kalininsky District Court sentenced former court secretary and whistleblower Aleksandr Eivazov to one year and ten months in an open penal colony for “interfering with the course of justice”. On 21 July he was released, having served his sentence in full in pre-trial detention.
On 20 July, the Governor of Ohio commuted the death sentence of Raymond Tibbetts, who was scheduled for execution on 17 October. In so doing, the governor rejected the parole board’s 8-1 recommendation against clemency.
Prisoner of conscience and environmental activist, Dr Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, was sentenced in Cuba to one-year imprisonment for contempt. On 3 July he was released with conditions.