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AMNESTY CASES FOR June - July 2017

 

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MADAGASCAR. Clovis Razafimalala is an environmental rights defender known for denouncing the illegal trafficking of Madagascar’s precious rosewood, which is illegally shipped abroad and is an endangered, precious natural resource in Madagascar. He has been in pre-trial detention at Tamatave prison since 16 September 2016. He has been accused of inciting protesters to loot an administrative building, and burn the documents that were in it: the charges against him are rebellion, destruction of public documents and goods, and arson of administrative papers. However, according to many witnesses who were present in a restaurant in Maroantsetra where Clovis Razafimalala was having a meal at the time of the protest, he did not lead nor take part in the said protest

 

Environmental organisations and Clovis Razafimalala himself believe the reason he is being targeted is because of his environmental activism work. According to Clovis’ lawyer, amongst all those arrested for taking part in the protest, Clovis is the only person whose request for bail has been rejected, and no explanation was given. He is still awaiting trial for the charges against him.

 

In addition to the emotional suffering endured by his wife and his two children as a result of Clovis Razafimalala's continued detention, they are also in financial difficulty as he had provided the main source of income for the family. His wife has to bring him food in prison, and so she and their two children had to move to Tamatave to be closer to him. Since the move, the older child has been out of school because of the lack of funds to pay for their school fees.

 

Environmental rights defenders and activists who have spoken out on the illegal activity like Clovis Razafimalala have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned as a way to silence them.

 

Release Clovis Razafimalala immediately and unconditionally; Provide protection for human rights defenders and environmental activists and respect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; Investigate claims of illegal trafficking of rosewood and ensure that those suspected of responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials.

 

Write to the Minister of Justice: Charles Andriamiseza / Ministry of Justice / 43 Rue Joel Rakotomolala / Faravohitra – Antananarivo / Madagascar. Email: spminjus@yahoo.fr ; Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar, Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar, 4 Avenue Raphael, Paris XVIII, FRANCE. Fax: 0033145035870.        

 

ISRAEL/OPT.

 

Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha is a Palestinian circus performer and a teacher, specializing in teaching children with learning difficulties at the Palestinian Circus School in Ramallah. On 14 December 2015, while on his way to work at the Palestinian Circus School, he was arrested by Israeli soldiers at the Za’atara checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. He is being held without charge or trial under an administrative order in Ketziot prison in Israel - in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that detainees from the population of an occupied territory must be detained within that territory. Israel’s system of administrative detention orders allows for detention without charge or trial for periods up to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely. The evidence against the detainee is kept secret preventing lawyers from preparing a defence. Administrative detention has been used for nearly 50 years by the Israeli military against Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

 

On 11 December 2016, Mohammed was issued his third six-month detention order, meaning that by June 2017 he will have been detained for 18 months without charge or trial and with no indication of when he is to be released. Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha is one of 1,500 Palestinian detainees currently on hunger strike. He has been on strike since 17 April 2017, in protest of the torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel's widespread use of administrative detention. His family are required to apply for a permit from the Israeli authorities to visit him and have been denied on some occasions on 'security' grounds.

 

Please release Muhammed Faisal Abu Sakha and all other administrative detainees, or charge them with a recognizable criminal offence, and try them fairly and promptly in accordance with international fair trial standards; Ensure that, pending his release, he is transferred to a prison in the West Bank, in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is granted regular access to his family and lawyer; Take immediate steps to end the practice of administrative detention.

 

Military Judge Advocate General / Brigadier General Sharon Afek / 6 David Elazar Street / Hakriya / Tel Aviv / Israel. Fax : 00972 3 569 4526, Email : Mag@idf.gov.il ;

 

Major-General Roni Numa / GOC Central Command / Military Post 01149, Battalion 877 / Israel Defence Forces / Israel. Fax : 00972 2 530 5741, 00072 2 530 5724 ;

           

Minister of Defence Avigdor Liberman / Ministry of Defence / 37 Kaplan Street / Hakirya / Tel Aviv 61909 / Israel. Fax : 00972 3 691 6940, Email : minister@mod.gov.il, pniot@mod.gov.il, aliberman@knesset.gov.il ; His Excellency Mr Mark Regev, Embassy of Israel, 2 Palace Green, Kensington, Londong W8 4QB. Fax 020 7957 9555.

 

AZERBAIJAN. Despite his young age, Mehman Huseynov, Chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), bears a long history of harassment from the authorities for is defence of human rights and journalistic work. Amnesty already launched a campaign on him in 2012, when he was detained and charged with "hooliganism" and faced up to five years in prison as retaliation for highlight abuses in Azerbaijan when the country hosted the Eurovision Song Contest.

 

In January 2017 he was briefly detained for purportedly “disobeying police” and after he complained of torture by the police, he was charged with defamation and sentenced to two years in prison on 3 March.

 

Amnesty International is against criminalization of defamation in all circumstances and believes the defamation charges are used to silence Mehman and punish him for his critical activism and defending human rights. Amnesty International considers Mehman Huseynov as a prisoner of conscience.

 

On January 9, a group of plain-clothes officers attacked Mehman Huseynov, blindfolded and gagged him with towels, forced a bag over his head and took him to the Nasimi district police station, where police used an electroshock weapon on his groin, and punched him, bloodying his nose. The next day, officers took him before a court that found him guilty of disobeying police orders and fined him 200 manat (US$120).

 

He was tried by the Surakhansky district court of Baku and is currently held in Prison #14 of the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice, Gizildash settlement, Garadag district.

 

Please ensure that Mehman Huseynov is immediately and unconditionally released as he is a prisoner of conscience; ensure that Mehman Huseynov’s claim that he was tortured while in detention in January 2017 is effectively investigated and, if confirmed, those responsible are brought to justice; ensure that, while in prison, Mehman Huseynov has access to all necessary medical treatment and care he may require.

 

Write to: President Ilham Aliyev / Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic / 19 Istiqlaliyyat Street / Baku AZ1066 / Azerbaijan. Fax: 00994 12 492 0625, Email: office@pa.gov.az ; His Excellency Mr Tahir Taghizade, Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 4 Kensington Court, Londong W8 5DL. Fax 020 7937 1783.