Group Newsletter end November 2023

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
Please note we won’t be meeting at Moordown In December, as we are gathering for two Write 4 Rights (W4R) events instead (see below). Our next meeting at Moordown Community Centre  is on Thursday 4th January 2024, 7.30pm – 9.00pm.

Write for Rights 2023: Justyna Wydrzyńska

W4R 2023

It’s great to announce that Bournemouth library have welcomed us back to hold not one, but two W4R events. We are booked for
Friday 8th December 1.30 – 3.30
Saturday 9th  December 1.30 – 3.30

W4R is Amnesty International’s annual campaign, sending greetings cards to prisoners of conscience, their families and other human rights defenders around the world.  Worldwide several million messages of support and appeal letters are now sent during a W4R campaign. They made a big difference to the people and communities confronting injustice and facing human rights violations.
We have tried numerous venues around Bournemouth over past 20 years, most outside and invariably cold or wet, sometimes both. Please stop by and send a card.
One case featured is that of Justyna Wydrzynska. Her story is heavily featured in the latest Europe Newsletter (and the AIUK coordinator has organised a demonstration outside the Polish Embassy in London on Saturday 2nd December). But you can also help Justyna –  sentenced to 8 months’ community service for helping a pregnant woman to access abortion pills in Poland – by sending a message to the Prosector General
You can find comprehensive details of all ten W4R cases on our website – including videos, addresses and sample letters. You can also download the W4R booklet. The two other cases featured by AIUK are below.

Write for Rights 2023: Ahmed Mansoor

Ahmed Mansoor is a loving husband and father, a blogger and a poet. He is currently in solitary confinement for speaking out about human rights in the UAE.
As a prominent human rights defender, Ahmed was the last remaining voice speaking out about the UAE’s poor human rights record from within the country – until six years ago, when he was arrested for doing just that. He has been locked in an isolation cell ever since.
In his cell, Ahmed has no bed, mattress or pillow: he sleeps on the hard floor. He has no access to books, TV, radio, pens or paper. He is allowed outside just three times a week, and only when there are no other prisoners in the yard.
Ahmed is serving a 10-year prison sentence for ‘insulting the UAE and its symbols’. In other words, his ‘crime’ was voicing his opinions and stating the facts. He regularly spoke out about the detention, torture and unfair trials faced by people with dissenting voices in the UAE.
Demand his release, send a message to the UK Ambassador via the AIUK site.
But do support him by sending a card – see above about our W4R events and more comprehensive details on our website.

Write for Rights 2023: Rocky Myers

Rocky is a Black man who has spent nearly three decades on death row. Urge the Governor of Alabama to address all flaws in his case and commute his death sentence.
Rocky Myers, 62, grew up in New Jersey. At 11, he was diagnosed with a learning disability. A nearly all-white jury convicted and sentenced him to life for the murder of his white neighbour. A judge overrode their decision and imposed a death sentence — a practice now outlawed in Alabama. Unfortunately for Rocky, the new law has not been applied to people already on death row.
There has never been any evidence linking Rocky to the crime scene. His only connection to the victim was that her video recorder was in his house, but he has always maintained he found it in the street. Testimonies against him were riddled with inconsistencies and allegations of police pressure.
In addition, Rocky missed key deadlines for judicial appeals on his case because his learning disability makes reading and retaining information like dates difficult for him, and his assigned lawyer abandoned his case without notice. The courts rejected his request for a deadline extension.
A new rule in Alabama means that the death sentence against Rocky could be carried out within months. The time to act is now, send a message to the Governor via the AIUK site.
But do support him by sending a card – see above about our W4R events and more comprehensive details on our website.
Quiz at the Brunswick; then we celebrated 25 years of the  Human Rights Act

Quiz Night

Many thanks to everyone who came to our Quiz Night, We had a great evening and raised over £250. Special thanks to the Brunswick again for giving us a great venue, for free. Also David Rogers for setting the questions and Sally Hawksworth for being the hostess. Read more about the event and download  all 70 questions (and answers!).
We also marked the anniversary of the UK Human Rights Act being signed into law – 25 years ago. Since the quiz the Human Rights Act has been back in the news, the government floating the possibility of “disapplying” the Human Rights Act with an emergency bill to minimise legal challenges against their immigration policy.