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.
On 26 February 2019, Egypt’s Supreme Military Court of Appeals formally accepted an appeal on the two death sentences of Ahmad Amin Ghazali (pictured below) and Abdul Basir Abdul Rauf. The judge commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment, almost a year after a judge in the same court had upheld their death sentences, in a case marred by torture and enforced disappearances.
Abdirahman Ibrahim Adan, a poet in Somaliland, was released on 25 February. He had been arrested and detained on 12 January after reciting a poem the previous day in which he called on the Somaliland government to reform its prisons and criminal justice system.
On 28 February 2019, Palestinian lawmaker and prominent political figure Khalida Jarrar was released from HaSharon prison in central Israel. She had spent 20 months in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Opposition leader Sharofiddin Gadoev returned safely to the Netherlands on 2 March. He had been held by the Tajik authorities following his arbitrary arrest in Moscow on 14 February and forcible return to Tajikistan.
Azerbaijani prominent blogger Mehman Huseynov was released on 2 March following two years of unjust imprisonment on trumped-up charges.
On 12 February 2019, Jordanian journalist and poet, Tayseer Salman al-Najjar was released from al-Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE authorities waived the fine imposed on him and he was flown back to Jordan on the same day. A prisoner of conscience, Tayseer had been due for release on 13 December 2018, having served his three-year prison sentence, but as his family could not pay the fine imposed by the court, his detention was extended
On 11 February 2019, Hakeem Ali al-Araibi was released from Bangkok’s remand prison after the Bahraini authorities dropped their extradition request. He flew back to Australia the same day. Hakeem was arrested on 27 November 2018, by the Thai authorities upon arrival at Bangkok’s international airport, based on an Interpol red notice requesting his extradition to Bahrain. He was expected to serve an unfair 10-year prison sentence there, and would have been at risk of torture and other ill-treatment in detention. Upon his return to Australia, Hakeem thanked the human rights organizations that had acted on his behalf.
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.