Group Newsletter February 2023

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
Our next meeting  is on Thursday 2nd March 2023,  7.30pm at Moordown Community Centre. Last month we worked on 3 different campaign. Sadly, there continue to be many human rights abuses around the world for us to work on.
Greece prosecutes 24 humanitarian aid workers, charges include espionage and forgery | DW News
Europe Newsletter January 2023In July 2018, Seán Binder and Sarah Mardini were charged with espionage, disclosure of state secrets, unlawful use of radio frequencies and forgery. As well as this, they were charged with serious crimes such as facilitating irregular entry of third country nationals, money laundering and fraud. These charges mean that these two human rights defenders could face up to 20 years in prison. 
Sarah and her Olympic swimmer sister became well known in 2015 when they both towed the rubber boat they were travelling in and thus saved the lives of everyone on board. This extraordinary action has recently inspired the Netflix film “The Swimmers” (2022 – trailer on newsletter).
Now Sarah and Sean, along with 22 other human rights defenders, are back on trial (An Amnesty International spokesman has said the delay was a ploy to prevent NGOs involved in rescue operations from working in Greece).  A.I. has called for all charges to be dropped
“The criminalization of these brave human rights defenders solely for helping refugees and migrants in need shows Greece and Europe’s callous behaviour towards people seeking safety at their borders”
Read more in the Europe Newsletter and email the Greek Ambassador in London.
Seán Binder and Sarah Mardini
Human Rights Defender on Trial in Türkiye ConvictedLast newsletter we brought you some good news. The convictions of four human rights defenders, in the so called Büyükada case, were quashed by Turkey’s highest court. Unfortunately the trial of forensic medicine expert and head of the Turkish Medical Association, Prof Şebnem Korur Fincancı (featured in November’s newsletter), has ended badly.
Regrettably, the court found her guilty of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ and sentenced her to two years eight months and 15 days in prison. For more of this baseless prosecution and a link to Prof Fincanci’s prison diaries, see the latest Europe Newsletter.
South America Newsletter February 2023This month there is news from Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. As we reported in the last newsletter, the situation in Peru is of particular concern.
Amnesty issued an update to its Urgent Action, following the deaths of 18 people, including a police officer, in Juliaca, Puno region, on 9 January.. The letter we used at our last meeting can be downloaded from the newsletter.
There is a letter from the Peru Ambassador to one of the team. He conveyed his government’s deep regret at the loss of human lives during recent protests, but he ascribed the deaths to violent actions caused by people whose intention was to subvert the democratic order.
Amnesty International has just released a detailed press release, reporting the findings of Amnesty’s crisis response team that has completed its research visit to Peru. One finding is that the number of possible arbitrary deaths due to state repression is disproportionately concentrated in regions with largely Indigenous populations. This is despite the fact that the level of state violence during the demonstrations was practically equal to that recorded in other places, such as Lima, for example.
Police Killings in BrazilA recent Guardian article stated an estimated one in 20 homicides are committed by the police in the United States of America. In 2022 1192 people were killed by the police.
Shocking as those statistics are, the South America newsletter has an even more chilling statistic. Brazil’s police killed more than 6,000 people in 2022. Amnesty International calls on Public Ministries to build external and participatory control of police activity by 2024. There is a petition (in Portuguese but we can complete it) calling onthe Attorneys General of the State Public Prosecutions and the President of the National Council of the Public Prosecutor to carry out of external and participatory control of police activity in their territories.
Take Action, add your Name to PetitionsJournalist Maria Ponomarenko, above,  has just been sentenced to six years in penal colony over Ukraine bombing social media post. In her statement to the court Maria said
“I have the right to say the word ‘war’ because I am being judged under the laws of military censorship,” she said referring to a ban by the Russian authorities on referring to invasion of Ukraine as a ‘war.’”
As we mentioned last newsletter, Russian Sasha Skochilenko faces 10 years in prison for her protest. She replaced price tags in her local supermarket with small labels carrying information about the the war in Ukraine. She was featured in Write 4 Rights.
Whilst W4R is To tell the Russian government to release Sasha immediately and unconditionally and drop all charges against her, sign the petition here:- can still sign petitions relating to some of the others featured in W4R:-
Chow peacefully encouraged people to remember the victims on the Tiananmen Square massacre after the authorities cancelled a vigil. She was arrested and faces 10 years in prison. Demand the Hong Kong authorities release her now.
Tell Hong Kong authorities to drop all charges against Chow and release her immediately
Dorgelesse Nguessan attended her first ever protest, but she was arrested and imprisoned for five years. Her family are struggling to survive without her. Call for her immediate release.Dorgelesse, a single mother running her hairdressing business to support her family, is in prison for attending her first ever protest. 
Take action and tell the Cameroon government to drop charges and release her immediately.
Luis Manuel is an artist who is imprisoned after he posted a video online, saying he would be taking part with others in one of the largest demonstrations Cuba had seen in decades. But he was arrested before the protest took place and taken to Guanajay maximum security prison, where he remains.
Luis Manuel was sentenced to five years in prison after a trial behind closed doors. In prison, his health is declining and he’s not getting proper medical care.  Act now and help tell the Cuban authorities to release Luis Manuel immediately.