Group Newsletter January 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
Happy new year to you all. The next meeting  is on Thursday 9th January 2020, 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. On the agenda – planning for year ahead, letter writing

Write 4 Rights 2019

We held a fantastic ‪Write for Rights event at Bournemouth Library We got over 100 cards signed by passing members of the public; its Amnesty International’s annual campaign, sending greetings cards to prisoners of conscience and other human rights defenders around the world. Read more about it here.
After many years of standing in the wet and cold and being ignored by passing shoppers, it was a delight to be both inside and warmly received.
W4R was about sending cards of support, rather than campaigning. But in all cases their are opportunities to take further action if you wish – see the case of Sarah and Seán below. But you can also go to the AIUK site and click to send emails or add your name to petitions.

South America Newsletter

The January edition of the South America Regional Newsletter is now on the blog. Our group has focused on South America since its inception, which is also reflected in our case files – see below. The 3 volunteers who run the network for AIUK – and produce the newsletter – do a huge amount of work on our behalf.
One alarming statistic reported from the New York Times is that in 2018 the number of people officially killed by the police reached a five-year high rising to 6,220. That’s an average of 17 a day.
Official statistics are only part of the picture. Masked illegal militias, that by their own admission draw in off-duty and retired officers, regularly commit extrajudicial killings.
President Jair Bolsonaro has made his mark in 2019 with some of his comments relating to the destruction of the Amazon. But he has also declared that  criminals should “die like cockroaches”, so the figure for police killings is expected to rise.

Sea Rescue Volunteers Face 25 Years in Jail

Sarah and Seán were volunteering as trained rescuers for a search-and-rescue organisation in Lesvos in 2018. Their job was to help spot boats in distress at sea and help refugees. Sarah knew all too well about the dangers of sea crossings, having almost sunk in a dinghy fleeing Syria in 2015. Instead of being celebrated, Sarah and Seán ended up behind bars – charged with spying, people smuggling and belonging to a criminal organisation.
Greek police locked them up for 100 days before being released on bail. Sarah and Seán could go to prison for 25 years for trying to save lives in the Mediterranean.
Email Greek Minister of Citizens’ Protection demanding all charges are dropped.