AmnesTea

In June, at the start of Refugee week, Lucy Freeman hosted another AmnesTea at her home in Southbourne. This was an excuse to drink tea, eat cake and but some of the many donated books. Like Bourne Free, this was the first for a few years. But the weather was kind and we raised £100. Many thanks to Lucy for hosting (and doing alot of baking!) and everyone who turned up and donated.

Bourne Free

We had doubts. Having attended successful Bourne Free’s in the Lower Gardens for 5 years until the pandemic hit, we were surprised at the move to Meyrick Park. Also that it was no longer a free event and it would cost £20 for anyone to access the site. We knew at least one local charity had decided against attending because of this.

But the organisers knew what they were doing. It was them who wanted the large expanse of Meyrick Park – and the crowds flocked in. With an afternoon and evening of live entertainment, plus many stalls and other attractions, you could argue that £20 was good value.

The weather was dry and very hot. There was a constant steam of people passing our stall, many stopped to have a “Love is a Human Right” selfie or a sticker. But we got many to sign our petitions – 190 signatures. These were for the release of Zahra Sedishi-Hamadani  and Yulia Tsvetkova

An Iranian gender nonconforming human rights defender Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani, known as Sareh, has been arbitrarily detained in Urumieh, West Azerbaijan province, since 27 October 2021 due to her real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity as well as her social media posts and statements in defence of LGBTI rights.

Feminist activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova, who was charged with “disseminating pornography” for creating body-positive illustrations of female sexual organs, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison, At the time of Bourne Free her trial was in progress. On 15th July she was acquitted of these absurd charges. It has since been reported that Russian prosecutors have now appealed that decision.

Bourne Free 2022

Here is our latest Newsletter with updates and actions.

Türkiye

 

The United Nations acknowledged the state’s registration of its name as the Republic of Türkiye as of 26 May 2022. Accordingly, Amnesty International will adopt the new spelling of the country’s name in all its communications from now on.

The Saturday Mothers

On 24 June the group known as the Saturday Mothers who have been demonstrating for 27 years on behalf of people who “disappeared” during the 1980s and 90s attempted to hold their 900th vigil in Galatasary Square, Istanbul.

Riot police immediately moved in to prevent the  vigil by the human rights defenders, handcuffed and detained the head of the Human Rights Association, Öztürk Türkdoğan, prominent human rights lawyer, Eren Keskin, and several relatives of victims of enforced disappearances.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, Julia Hall said:

For the past 27 years, the Saturday Mothers have tirelessly sought truth and justice for their loved ones who were forcibly disappeared in the 1980s and 1990s. Riot police arbitrarily detained people who were peacefully participating todays landmark Saturday Mothers/People vigil. This is only the latest shameful example of the state authoritiesintolerance of lawful, peaceful dissent.

Time and again, the Saturday Mothers/People have been met with brutal crackdowns and even prosecutions for taking part in peaceful vigils. Turkish authorities have never provided a valid justification for their spiteful, arbitrary and unlawful denial of the right to exercise freedom of expression and assembly.

Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained solely for exercising their right to peaceful expression and assembly. The four year-long unlawful, arbitrary ban on assemblies in Galatasaray Square must be lifted, Saturday Mothers/People and others who wish to exercise their right to peaceful protest in this iconic square must be allowed to do so.

Thankfully those detained as they attempted to commence the vigil were later released. The photograph above shows them celebrating their release at the Human Rights Association offices in Istanbul.

The Gezi 7 (including Osman Kavala)

As I reported in the May Newsletter, at the conclusion of the long running Gezi Park trial on 25 April Osman Kavala , was convicted for “attempting to overthrow the government” and sentenced to aggravated life in prison. His seven co-defendants each received a sentence of 18 years, allegedly for aiding him.

Human rights defender and philanthropist Osman Kavala has been held in Silivri high security prison No. 9 since 1 November 2017 and received an aggravated life sentence with no possibility of parole for ‘attempting to overthrow the government’ under article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code for his alleged role in financing and organising the mass 2013 Gezi Park protests. Architect Mücella Yapıcı; film producer Çiğdem Mater; documentary filmmaker Mine Özerden; lawyer Can Atalay; city planner Tayfun Kahraman; Director of Boğaziçi European School of Politics Hakan Altınay; and a founder of Istanbul Bilgi University Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi were each sentenced to 18 years in prison  for allegedly aiding Osman Kavala. The Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 13 also ruled that these six defendants who were previously on bail be immediately remanded in prison.

Mücella Yapıcı, Çiğdem Mater and Mine Özerden were taken to Bakırköy women’s prison.  Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman and Hakan Altınay were taken to Silivri high security prison where Osman Kaval has been held.

(A warrant has been issued for the arrest of an eight defendant Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, who wasn’t in the courtroom the time of the verdict and is NOT part of  current campaigning by AI.)

Amnesty International has closely monitored both the first and second Gezi prosecutions. The prosecuting authorities have not provided evidence to support the charges levelled against the defendants, a fact that led to their acquittals in the first trial in February 2020. As demonstrated by the dissenting opinion of one of the judges in the second trial, there is no evidential basis for the conviction of the  defendants who AI considers to have been convicted in a politically motivated, unfair trial. [click to continue…]

South America Newsletter July2022

July 7, 2022

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Chile In Colombia, a new government has been elected: Gustavo Petro will become the first radical left-wing President of Colombia in its history, and his Vice-President, Francia Marquez, the first black coloured woman in this office. Also, Amnesty International has issued a […]

Read the full article →

Group Newsletter July 2022

July 6, 2022

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 7th July 2022 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. But next Saturday 9th July we have a stall at…. BourneFree 2022 This is Bournemouth’s Gay Pride event; an annual celebration of all diversities that live in Bournemouth and surrounding areas. We had a stall at BourneFree for 5 […]

Read the full article →

Europe Newsletter June 2022

June 14, 2022

20th to 26th of June is dedicated to the Refugee Week, a week to celebrate the contributions Refugees make to enrich our communities and keep vital services like the NHS and social care functioning. The first vaccine against coronavirus was developed by a refugee in Germany. Refugee Week should also remind us that seeking asylum […]

Read the full article →

Group Newsletter June 2022

June 13, 2022

The next meeting  is on Thursday 7th July 2022 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. But next Sunday is our 4th AmnesTea… AmnesTea Is on…. Sunday the 19th June 2022, 3pm to 5pm. Our secretary, Lucy Freeman has offered to host this event again at her home in Southbourne.What is an AmnestyTea? Well you, and any friend come along […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter June 2022

June 11, 2022

This month we bring you news from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru.  Amnesty has two Urgent Actions on individuals in Venezuela and opposes a proposal that could force the closure of NGOs in that country. We report on the plight of indigenous Amazonian communities in Brazil and Ecuador and the continued spate of police […]

Read the full article →

Group Newsletter May 2022

May 16, 2022

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 7th July 2022 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. There is no meeting in June as the first Thursday happens to be a Bank Holiday. However, there are two events coming up that you may wish to attend. AmnesTea We are planning our fourth AmnesTea, our first post […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter May 2022

May 4, 2022

This month we bring you news from Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. A recent military operation in Colombia seems to have gone wrong, a reminder of the ‘false negatives’ extra judicial killings of the past being investigated by the JEP transitional justice court, where we report on new developments.  We review the appalling record on […]

Read the full article →

Europe Newsletter May 2022

May 4, 2022

The war unleashed by Putin’s army against Ukraine has led to the largest displacement of people within Europe since the second world war. For once the EU has agreed to implement the TPD (temporary protection directive) which allows refugees from Ukraine to find refuge within the EU without bureaucratic obstacles and with permission to work […]

Read the full article →