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An Ankara court has ordered the release on bail of four students from the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Turkey. They had been detained for more than a month for ‘insulting the President’ over a banner displaying a caricature of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They face up to four years in prison if found guilty. The first hearing of the trial will be held on 22 October.
Chechen asylum-seeker Imran Salamov, who was forcibly returned to Russia from Belarus on 5 September 2017, has been acquitted of all charges. The prosecutor appealed against the acquittal but his appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court and Imran was allowed to go home. His wife and lawyer thanked Amnesty and all those who sent appeals and supported his case which, they claim, helped them very much.
The US state of Nebraska carried out its first execution in 21 years on 14 August, and the first by lethal injection. The 60-year-old prisoner, Carey Dean Moore, had been on death row for nearly four decades. He did not seek clemency and had given up his appeals.
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.
Meliana, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman, has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to 18 months in prison for complaining about the loudspeaker volume at a local mosque. Amnesty International considers her a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
On 25 August, police in Istanbul used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse people taking part in a longstanding weekly peaceful vigil. The authorities must ensure that future vigils, including the next one planned for 1 September, are allowed to take place.
Kerbino Agok Wol, a South Sudanese businessman and philanthropist, has been languishing in detention since 27 April. He is being held at the National Security Service (NSS) headquarters in Juba. He has been denied access to a lawyer and has not been informed of any charges against him. His health has deteriorated since he was detained, and he has not been given adequate medical care.
Bashir Ahmed Mohamed Babiker, a member of the South Sudanese civil society, was arrested by the National Security Service (NSS) in Yambio on Wednesday 8 August. He is being held at a NSS detention center in Yambio. No charges have been brought against him and he has not had access to a lawyer.
Kazakhstani activist and blogger, Muratbek Tungishbayev risks losing sight in his left eye due to the penitentiary authorities’ failure to provide him with necessary medical care following surgery he had on his eye. He remains held in pre-trial detention in Almaty, on politically-motivated charges and requires urgent surgery immediately in order to save his sight. Amnesty International considers Muratbek Tungishbayev to be a prisoner of conscience.
Iranian Christians, Victor Bet-Tamraz, his wife Shamiram Issavi, Amin Afshar-Naderi and Hadi Asgari, have been sentenced to a combined total of 45 years in prison solely for practicing their Christian faith, including through attending Christmas gatherings and organizing house churches. If imprisoned, they would be prisoners of conscience.