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October 8, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Detained Activist in Critical Condition (Algeria: UA 153.20)

Detained Algerian political activist Abdallah Benaoum’s life is at risk as he is in urgent need of heart surgery. Benaoum, 55, has been detained since 9 December 2019 for Facebook posts in which he criticized the contested 2019 Algerian elections and the repression of the Hirak pro-reform movement. He is currently detained in Oran prison. Due to his vulnerable health, he has not been physically capable of meeting his lawyers or family. The judges unjustly rejected multiple requests for provisional release filed by his lawyers despite his deteriorating health. His next trial session is scheduled for 27 October.

October 7, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Victory! Detained Activist Gets Medical and Family Access (Cameroon: UA 9.20)

Political activist Serge Branco Nana is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for ‘mutiny’ in Mfou Prison, southern Cameroon, after having been accused of inciting a riot while in pre-trial detention in 2019. He has now been granted access to a doctor and his family have been allowed to visit him in detention.

October 6, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Marfa Rabkova Charged with a False Crime (Belarus: UA 148.20)

Following her detention on 17 September, woman human rights defender Marfa Rabkova was charged on 25 September under Article 293(3) of the Belarusian Criminal Code and faces imprisonment of up to three years if convicted. She is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

October 5, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: PIPKA Refugee Shelter Faces Imminent Closure (Greece: UA 152.20)

Greek authorities intend to close the open, self-organized refugee shelter PIKPA on 15 October. PIKPA has been operating in Lesvos since 2012, hosting and assisting thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers among the most vulnerable. Greek authorities must revoke the decision to close PIKPA, let the organization operate freely, protect its around 100 residents, and ensure and promote open and safe spaces for asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece.

October 2, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Free Families Kept in Immigration Detention (USA: UA 116.20)

As COVID-19 runs rampant in USA family detention centers, immigration authorities continue to lock up nearly ninety families who travelled to the US seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries. As of 6 August, at least 130 detained family members and facility staff tested positive for COVID-19. In July, a judge ordered authorities to release children because of COVID-19, but she did not have jurisdiction over parents. Authorities refused to release them together. Releasing children but continuing to detain parents constitutes family separation. We demand authorities release all families together immediately to protect them from the pandemic.

October 2, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Forced Eviction Leaves 3,000 People Homeless (Kenya: UA 151.20)

On 1 October, residents from Dagoretti Corner settlement, in Nairobi, Kenya, were forcibly evicted from their homes by government agencies, ‘Kenya Railways Corporation’ and ‘Kenya Power & Lighting Company’ leaving more than 3,000 people homeless. This unlawful act was done in utter disregard of the Presidential moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, issued on 11 May 2020. We call upon all stakeholders to act in cognizance of the need to safeguard the good health and life of all those forcibly evicted in this unlawful eviction.

September 30, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Free LGBT+ Activist Victoria Biran (Belarus: UA 150.20)

On 26 September, human rights activist Victoria Biran was detained on her way to the Women’s March in Minsk. Two days later, she was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention which she is serving at the infamous detention center on Akrestina street which has become synonymous with torture. In numerous similar cases, detention has been extended. As an LGBT+ activist, Victoria Biran is at heightened risk of ill-treatment. She is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

September 30, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: Bangladesh Detains More Migrant Workers (Bangladesh: UA 131.20)

Bangladeshi authorities detained 32 more returning migrant workers after they were deported from Syria, taking the total number of such arbitrary arrests to at least 370 since 4 July 2020. The 32 workers were arrested in Syria while trying to reach Italy and other European countries. They returned to Bangladesh on 13 September 2020 after Syrian government commuted their jail terms. In Bangladesh, the authorities detained them for “tarnishing the image of the country” by allegedly engaging in criminal activities, while no credible evidence concerning their alleged crimes has yet been provided in any case. Their arrest and detention violate Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They must be freed immediately unless they are promptly charged with recognizable offense.

September 28, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action Victory! Cuban Prisoner of Conscience Released (Palestine: UA 122.20)

Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, Cuban lawyer, independent journalist and prisoner of conscience, was released from prison on 4 September 2020, after serving his one-year sentence. Although it is good news that Roberto is finally home, his conviction and imprisonment for merely expressing his opinions, should have never happened. We will continue to monitor the situation after his release.

September 25, 2020 • Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Professor Terminated for Facebook Post (Bangladesh: UA 149.20)

A.K.M. Wahiduzzaman, an assistant professor at Bangladesh’s National University, was arbitrarily dismissed from service on 2 September 2020 on grounds of posting on Facebook “offensive” and “indecent” remarks about Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina and her family. The professor has been in self-exile since May 2016 in fear of persecution after Bangladesh’s police filed a case against him under section 57 of the country’s draconian Information and Communication Technology Act because of the Facebook post. If convicted, he could face seven years in jail.