Birtukan Mideksa is one of Amnesty International’s 2009 Global Write-a-thon Cases

November 11th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Write for Rights – Join the Global Write-a-thon! – Amnesty International (more…)

Write for Rights – Join the Global Write-a-thon! – Amnesty International


Aung San Suu Kyi – Prisoner of conscience

Birtukan Mideksa – Prison conditions, prisoner of Conscience

Birtukan Mideksa, the leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party, was arrested on 28 December 2008. She has been at Kaliti Prison, outside the capital Addis Ababa. She was charged with violating the terms of her pardon and her former sentence of life in prison was reinstated. For several months she was held in solitary confinement in a cell measuring 2m square, which according to former inmates is often unbearably hot.

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The military rulers of Myanmar have jailed thousands of people in their continuing efforts to crush all dissenting views. Most prominent of those detained is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been the beacon of hope and change for nearly two decades in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma.

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Azam Farmonov and Alisher Karamatov – Prisoners of conscience, unfair trial

Prisoners of conscience, Azam Farmonov and Alisher Karamatov are members of the independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU). They were detained on April 29, 2006 as they defended the rights of local farmers who had accused some district farming officials of malpractice, extortion and corruption. The two men were allegedly tortured, charged with extortion, subjected to an unfair trial where they had neither a defense lawyer nor any other legal representative and then sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

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Mansour Ossanlu – Trade union activist, prisoner of conscience

Mansour Ossanlu is a trade union activist and human rights defender. He has spent several periods in prison and has experienced a long history of persecution by the authorities for his legitimate trade union activities. Mansour Ossanlu has continually faced harassment and intimidation at the hands of the Iranian authorities both within and outside prison. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate unconditional release.

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Konstantina Kuneva – Trade unionist, women’s human rights defender

Konstantina Kuneva, a Bulgarian migrant worker and trade union leader, was severely wounded after a man threw sulphuric acid in her face when she was returning to her house from work. The attack, which took place in the Greek capital, Athens, on 22 December 2008, is connected with her trade union activities and follows an escalation of tension between Konstantina Kuneva and her employers. As a result of the attack, she lost her sight in one eye and has limited vision in the other, and her vocal chords and trachea were seriously damaged. She remained in a coma for several days and continues to be hospitalized, as she needs to have several operations.

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Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini – Detention without charge

Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini remains detained in Guantánamo despite being cleared for release over 2 years ago. Odaini was detained in March 2002 along with several other Yemeni nationals, and sent to the detention camp at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In June 2005 he was deemed suitable for release from Guantánamo. Yemeni authorities have stated that they are prepared to take him back, yet he continues to be unjustly detained. He has not been interrogated for nearly two years and the reason for his continued detention is unclear.

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Musaad Abu Fagr – Prisoner of conscience

Novelist and human rights activist Musaad Suliman Hassan Hussein, usually known by his pen name Musaad Abu Fagr, has been in administrative detention, by order of the Minister of Interior, since February 15, 2008, despite obtaining several court orders for his release, most recently in June 2009. Amnesty International considers Musaad Abu Fagr to be a prisoner of conscience, detained on account of his peaceful expression of his views, and that he should be immediately and unconditionally released.

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Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan – Prisoners of conscience

Human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan were jailed in May 2007 for “conducting propaganda against the State.” Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience.

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Rita Mahato – Women’s human rights defender


Human rights defender Rita Mahato has received threats of death, rape and kidnapping as a result of her work assisting women who have suffered from acts of violence. She is a health adviser at the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), which has been attacked by men from the village who object to WOREC’s work. The police have failed to provide Rita with protection, or investigate the threats, and she fears for her life.

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Shi Tao – Journalist, prisoner of Conscience

In April 2004, the Chinese journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo! email account to send a message to a U.S.-based pro-democracy website. In his email, he summarized a government order directing media organizations in China to downplay the upcoming 15th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Police arrested him in November 2004, charging him with “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” Authorities used email account holder information supplied by Yahoo! to convict Shi Tao in April 2005 and sentence him to 10 years in prison.

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Women of Atenco – Violence against women, impunity

When the women left their homes that May morning in 2006, they never imagined the horrific experience that lay ahead of them. During a police operation in response to protests by activists from a local peasant organization in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, over 45 women were arrested without explanation. Dozens of them were subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence by the police officers who arrested them. More than three years later, they are still waiting for justice. None of the officials responsible for their abuse have been held accountable.

Case Sheet: PDF Sample Letter: PDF | MSWord

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