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February 18, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Singer Arrested for “Hurting Religious Sentiment” (Bangladesh: UA 18.20)

Bangladeshi folk singer Shariat Boyati has been arrested under the draconian Digital Security Act for stating that music is not forbidden in the Qur’an. He faces up to five years’ imprisonment on vague charges of hurting religious sentiment. Arrested for solely exercising his right to freedom of expression, Shariat Boyati must be immediately and unconditionally released.

February 18, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Three Activists Face Prison for Peaceful Rally (Myanmar: UA 13.20)

Three activists are facing prison sentences for giving speeches criticizing the military and calling for constitutional reform at a peaceful rally in April 2019. If convicted, they face up to two years in prison. Two of the men are on bail, while one is already serving one year in prison and facing further charges for speaking at other peaceful rallies. The Myanmar authorities should release him immediately and unconditionally, quash his conviction, and drop all remaining charges against the three activists.

February 18, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: LGBTI and Women’s Rights Activist Under Arrest (Russian Federation: UA 6.20)

Russian activist and artist, Yulia Tsvetkova, is facing prosecution and harassment for defending women’s and LGBTI rights. She has been under house arrest since 22 November, under absurd charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” for her drawings of the female body. She is facing up to six years in prison if convicted. Yulia Tsvetkova is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

February 14, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Journalist Jailed and at Risk of Torture (Tajikistan: UA 17.20)

Independent journalist, Daler Sharipov, was arrested on 28 January and is held in pre-trial detention in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on trumped up charges of “inciting religious discord”. Daler Sharipov is being denied access to his lawyer and is at risk of torture. He is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

February 14, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Activist Faces Forcible Return to Pakistan (Bahrain: UA 11.20)

On 6 February 2020, security officers arrested Geelaman Pashteen, a Pashtun human rights activist and supporter of Pakistan’s Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), based on an Interpol Red Notice requesting his extradition to Pakistan. His forcible return to Pakistan would violate international law as he would be at risk of torture and enforced disappearance.

February 14, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: New Law Threatens NGOs’ Work (Guatemala: UA 28.19)

On 11 February the Guatemalan Congress enacted Decree 4-2020 (formerly known as Bill 5257). This initiative imposes undue restrictions, controls and sanctions on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). This poses serious risks for the rights to freedom of expression and association in the country and threatens the work of human rights defenders and NGOs. We call on the President to immediately veto this law.

February 13, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Activist Reports Ill-Treatment in Prison (Iran: UA 105.15)

On 24 December 2019, Iranian officials subjected human rights defender Narges Mohammadi to ill-treatment during her transfer to Zanjan prison, according to a letter she has written. The transfer was seemingly in reprisal for her activism inside prison in support of families of people killed during protests in November 2019. She is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

February 13, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Uyghur Academic Jailed for “Inciting Extremism” (China: UA 14.20)

Prominent Uyghur historian and publisher Iminjan Seydin was convicted of “inciting extremism” after a secret and grossly unfair trial in February 2019. His daughter only learned about his conviction in recent months through word of mouth. Missing since May 2017, he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. No evidence against him has been made public.

February 13, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender Detained and Tortured (Egypt: UA 16.20)

On 7 February 2020, airport immigration officers arbitrarily arrested and tortured human rights defender Patrick Zaki George at 4:30 am upon his arrival at Cairo airport on charges including “disseminating false news”, “inciting to protest” and "incitement to violence and terrorist crimes". In detention, National Security Agency officers questioned and tortured him before he appeared in front of the prosecutor the following day.

February 12, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Minor on Trial Over Social Media Posts (Jordan: UA 15.20)

Tujan al-Bukhaiti is a 17-year-old Yemeni refugee in Jordan who is being tried over charges of “blasphemy” and “insulting religious feelings” over her social media posts. On 19 December 2019, she was called in for questioning by the Juvenile police following a report by the Jordanian Cybercrimes Unit. Police took her statement without the presence of her lawyer and parents, violating her fair trial rights. Tujan al-Bukhaiti’s trial started on 16 January 2020, with three sessions adjourned so far. Charging Tujan is a violation to her constitutional right to freedom of expression and a contradiction to Jordan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. If convicted, she could face one month in prison. Authorities must immediately drop all charges.

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