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October 23, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Azimjan Askarov Died in Prison (Kyrgyzstan: UA 61.20)

Azimjan Askarov, a human rights defender and artist, died on 25 July in prison in Kyrgyzstan after showing symptoms of COVID-19. Azimjan Askarov spent ten years jailed on fabricated charges in retaliation for his human rights work.

October 21, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Victory! Charges Against Union Activists Will Not Proceed (Malaysia: UA 93.20)

On 2 October 2020, five activists who were charged for “unauthorized gathering” were granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) by the Ipoh Magistrate. The charges stemmed from the activists’ participation in a peaceful picket on 2 June 2020 by a government hospital cleaners’ union against a cleaning services company. During the picket, they called out the alleged unfair treatment of union members and insufficient personal protective equipment for cleaners.

October 19, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Detained Lawyer Questioned Over Terrorism Charges (Egypt: UA 132.19)

On 30 August 2020, the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) interrogated lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer over unfounded charges, including "joining a terrorist organization", as part of a recently opened case (No.855/2020). Mohamed el-Baqer is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for his human rights work.

October 15, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Victory! Shaman Released from Psychiatric Detention (Russian Federation: UA 94.20)

Siberian shaman Aleksandr Gabyshev was released from psychiatric detention on 22 July after his defense team succeeded in their request for a psychological and psychiatric examination on 21 July. Aleksandr Gabyshev was targeted for his open criticism of the authorities and spent more than two months arbitrarily deprived from his freedom.

October 15, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Victory! LGBT+ Activist Victoria Biran Released (Belarus: UA 150.20)

On 11 October LGBT+ activist Victoria Biran was released after two weeks in detention. Victoria Biran was detained on her way to the Women’s March in Minsk on 26 September and sentenced on 28 September to 15 days of administrative detention for intending to exercise her rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

October 14, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Activist Once Again Detained on Bogus Charges (Guinea: UA 154.20)

One month after his release, pro-democracy activist Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, has once again been arrested and arbitrarily detained. He was riding a motorbike with a friend to mobilize protesters on 29 September when he was arrested by police officers in plain clothing in Matoto municipality in the Guinean capital, Conakry. He refused to follow the police officers because they failed to present an arrest warrant. Nevertheless, they brutally carried out his arrest which resulted in him sustaining injuries to his hand and finger. He has since been held in Conakry prison on fabricated charges. Oumar Sylla is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

October 14, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Activist’s Sentence Increased to 15 Years (Iran: UA 156.20)

Azerbaijani Turkic activist, Abbas Lesani, arbitrarily imprisoned in Ardabil prison, Ardabil province, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by an appeal court after a grossly unfair trial. The appeal proceedings were presided over by a judge who had filed the charges against him in his previous capacity as prosecutor. In July 2020, the Supreme Court rejected his request for a judicial review.

October 13, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Prisoner of Conscience Expects Parole Decision (Russian Federation: UA 155.20)

On 22 October Dmitrovgrad Town Court, in Ulyanovsk Region, western Russia, will consider the parole application of youth human rights defender Yan Sidorov. Both he and his friend Vladislav Mordasov are prisoners of conscience, serving sentences of over six years, simply for trying to organize a peaceful protest in November 2017 in support of dozens of Rostov-on-Don residents who had lost their houses in mass fires.

October 13, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: 12 Hongkongers Formally Arrested (China: UA 141.20)

Twelve Hongkongers arrested on 23 August 2020 by the Chinese coast guard were formally arrested on 30 September – two for allegedly organizing people to cross the border between Hong Kong and China and the other 10 for allegedly crossing the border. Having been detained for more than 45 days without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

October 9, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Activists Released but Charges Still Pending (Niger: UA 36.20)

On 29 and 30 September, a Niamey Court senior judge granted the provisional release of activists, Maikoul Zodi, Moudi Moussa and Halidou Mounkaila. However, the fabricated charges against them – which are in connection to their demands for accountability in a protest in March 2020– are still pending. They therefore remain at risk of wrongful conviction and arbitrary detention. Amnesty International urges the Nigerien authorities to immediately drop all charges against them.