Answer the call to defend people under immediate threat of grave human rights abuse.
Amnesty International’s Urgent Action Network is a community of people just like you who take action—letters, emails, phone calls, faxes and tweets–on emergency cases of human rights abuses around the world.
Together, we’ve helped stop torture, halt executions and free prisoners of conscience like Phyoe Phyoe Aung in Myanmar (pictured here).
Once people like you take action, the relevant authorities quickly realize that the world is watching and an international audience is deeply concerned about the case’s outcome. That global pressure often helps achieve a positive outcome.
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On 11 January, two unidentified men in a motorbike shot three times at the car in which Alfamir Castillo was in a rural area of the municipality of Pradera, Valle del Cauca Department, southern Colombia. Alfamir Castillo was with her husband and two bodyguards granted by the National Protection Unit and were not injured. Alfamir Castillo has faced several threats and attacks for years as she is seeking justice for the unlawful killing of her son by members of the Colombian armed forces.
Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, India, was arrested in August, and again in November 2018, because of Facebook posts where he criticized the government. While he was released on bail in both cases, on 27 November, he was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA). This draconian administrative detention law allows for him to be imprisoned for 12 months without charge or trial, in violation of regular criminal justice safeguards. The High Court of Manipur will hear his challenge to his detention under the NSA on 1 February 2019.
The Chechen authorities have unleashed a new wave of attacks on people believed to be gay or lesbian. At least 40 individuals have been arbitrarily detained and tortured in Chechnya, a republic in the south of Russia. At least two people are reported to have been tortured to death.
Amade Abubacar, a journalist at Nacedje community radio, was arrested on 5 January 2019, by the police in Macomia district, Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique. The police confiscated his cell phone, handcuffed him and took him to Macomia’s Police Station. Amade Abubacar was arrested when he was interviewing internally displaced civilians who fled their homes due to the intensification of violent attacks in the northern Cabo Delgado. Amade Abubacar is being held in incommunicado detention, he has not been officially charged with any crime and has not been granted access to his lawyer.
On 31 December 2018, prominent human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor, had his 10-year prison sentence upheld by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. He was convicted on charges that include “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols”, including its leaders, “publish[ing] false information to damage [the] UAE’s reputation abroad” and “portray[ing] the UAE as a lawless land”. Ahmed Mansoor is a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International will continue to call for his immediate and unconditional release and for his conviction and sentence to be quashed.
On 26 December 2018, the Azerbaijani authorities brought new criminal charges against prisoner of conscience Mehman Huseynov, just as his current jail term nears to an end. The prominent journalist has been charged with assault for allegedly attacking an inspector at the detention center. Mehman Huseynov denies the accusation. On 26 December 2018, he went on a hunger strike in protest of the new criminal charges and there are now grave concerns for his health which has been reported by his lawyer as ‘critical’. If convicted, Mehman Huseynov could face up to seven more years in jail. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.
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.
On 31 December 2018, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld the five-year prison sentence of human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab. He was convicted of “spreading false rumours in time of war”, “insulting a foreign country" and “insulting public authorities”, in relation to peaceful tweets about the conflict in Yemen and torture allegations in Jaw prison. Nabeel Rajab has therefore exhausted all legal remedies in this case. Amnesty International will continue to call for his immediate and unconditional release and for his convictions and sentences to be quashed.
Chinese human rights defender Zhen Jianghua was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to two years in prison on 28 December 2018. The executive director of “Human Rights Campaign in China”, an online platform, with over 10 years’ experience working for marginalized communities in China, Zhen has been persecuted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and association.
On 20 October 2018, Ali Mohamed al-Showaikh was deported from the Netherlands and arrested upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport. For more than ten weeks since, he has been held without access to an attorney while the Public Prosecution’s terrorism unit proceeds with charges against him. There are strong reasons to fear he has been subjected to ill-treatment.