Group Newsletter December 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
We are not having a meeting, as such, this month but more of a social gathering online to celebrate Write 4 Rights. This will be Thursday 10th December (world human rights day) at 8pm  Details below.

Write for Rights

Every year in December Amnesty International has encouraged and helped groups send greetings cards to prisoners of conscience around the world.
We have always made this a mainstay of our December meeting, as well as holding an event in the community. Last year we held a fantastic event at Bournemouth Library and were hoping that we could return there this year. Obviously this isn’t possible due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, we will hold a virtual event, encouraging everyone who attends to write cards – or do online actions – to those featured in this years campaign.
We will also have a seasonal quiz and we’re sure there will be an admiration of your various Christmas arrangements/décor/hat/backgrounds… Whilst we cannot literally share Christmas nibbles, that’s no excuse not to indulge and share virtually!
Find out more at the AI website;. If you want to attend please reply to this newsletter and we will send you the link. You can download the W4R booklet from our website. We hope to see you next Thursday, 10th, at 8pm. And please share this with others – its a great introduction to the work of Amnesty International for those  only vaguely aware of what we do.

Gustavo Gatica

In November 2019, 22-year-old psychology student Gustavo Gatica (above) was protesting against rising prices and inequality in Chile when police fired rubber and metal ammunition into the crowds. Gustavo was struck in both eyes and was blinded. He is still waiting for justice. Commanders in charge didn’t stop the police shooting. Instead, they had allowed this violence to continue unchecked for weeks at other demonstrations where hundreds were hurt and dozens suffered eye injuries every day.
The attack made global headlines, and as demonstrations continued, protestors wore eye patches and chanted Gustavo’s name at police. An internal police investigation after the shooting found that no one could be held responsible. It even suggested that the demonstrators themselves injured Gustavo. The National Prosecutor’s Office is now investigating. Those who allowed the attack on Gustavo remain unpunished.
Gustavo is one of those featured in this years Write 4 Rights campaign. Join us and send him a card next Thursday.

Nassima al-Sada

Nassima al-Sada (above), a prominent Saudi Arabian activist and human rights educator, has been detained in Al-Mabahith prison in Dammam for over two years.
She has spent many years campaigning for women’s freedom, including campaigning for women’s right to drive and ending the male guardianship system. She is at risk of being sentenced to a lengthy prison term.
Nassima was arrested on 31 July 2018, and was held in solitary confinement from February 2019 for a year. She has also endured threats and ill treatment. Her first trial session began on 25 June 2019. Her latest trial session in March 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19. So far, all of her court sessions have been closed, with diplomats and journalists banned from attending.
A mother of three, she is allowed one weekly phone call with her family, but no visits, not even from her lawyer. Her detention is part of a recent wave of arrests that target Saudi women’s human rights activists.  Nassima  is one of those featured in this years Write 4 Rights campaign. Join us and send her a card next Thursday.

Germain Rukuki

Germain Rukuki (above) is serving a 32-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism in Burundi. Early on 13 July 2017, he and his wife Emelyne Mupfasoni were woken by heavy footfall and banging on their door. Dozens of security forces had piled into their compound. Officers interrogated the couple, who are both NGO workers. They arrested Germain and transferred him to Ngozi Prison where he has been held ever since.
On 26 April he was found guilty of sham charges including ‘rebellion’ and ‘threatening state security’. His previous association with the NGO Action by Christians for Abolition of Torture (ACAT-Burundi) was used against him. ACATBurundi was shut down in 2016 for allegedly ‘tarnishing the image of the country’. The prosecution used an email Germain had written to them when they were still legal.
Just weeks after his arrest, Emelyne gave birth to their third son, who Germain has never met. Germain is one of those featured in this years Write 4 Rights campaign. Join us and send him a card next Thursday.

South America Newsletter

The December edition of the South America Regional Newsletter is now on the website. Our group has focused on South America since its inception. The 3 volunteers who run the network for AIUK – and produce the newsletter – do a huge amount of work on our behalf.