Group Newsletter May 7th 2017

Welcome our the latest newsletter.
The next meeting is on Thursday 11th May 2017, 7.30 at Moordown Community Centre. As well as working on our Case Files and continued planning, there are ongoing discussions about proposed changes to our constitution and membership. If you intend coming and would like to see these documents, please reply to this newsletter. Also ideas about the Marsh Award (see below)

Christchurch Street Collection 2017

This is next Saturday, May 13th, Christchurch High Street (meet by Saxon Square – not allowed to collect in the Square as Council have sold off). We’ve ordered better weather than last year, when we all froze. If you have never done a street collection, they are a somewhat surreal experience – how to be invisible without taking any illicit substance! If you can help out, even for just an hour, it would help. You can then tick it off your bucket list…. Please reply to this newsletter if you intend helping, rather than just turn up as we have to know names – regulations are quite strict.

Marsh Award Winners 2017

We have won £500 – to create something you probably have never heard of and almost certainly have never used. Any ideas? Check out our blog to find out what and read our competition entry!

South America Newsletter

The May 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 two 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. The April newsletter has also appeared since our last newsletter.

Feeding the Darkness

This is an early notification that the Journeyman Theatre are performing their critically acclaimed play “Feeding the Darkness” at the Friends Meeting House, 16 Warncliffe Road, Boscombe, BH5 1AH.
This 65 minute performance is a result of extensive research into the dark world of state-sanctioned torture and its stark impact on victims, perpetrators, families and those who collude in the ‘process’. Our Group have been invited to have a stall and will feature some case and campaign that revolve around torture (sadly there are far to many of them).
Its on Sunday 25th June, at 1.15pm. The day was chosen as the following day is the United Nations, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Silenced by Force

The current social and political crisis in Venezuela is taking a heavy and sweeping toll on the human rights of people in the country. The government will not tolerate dissent, and is using its power to silence any critical voices who dare speak out. The government with the security and intelligence forces have been imprisoning political dissenters stripping them of their freedom of expression and right to peaceful protest. The judicial system is denying them their due process.

Amnesty International has documented the cases of people like Gilber, Venus, Yon, Steyci, and Villca, who are in prison illegally for expressing their opinions. Many others are also victims of the government’s relentless repression of political opposition (see case file Leopoldo Lopez below)

Act now and sign the petition to demand that the Venezuelan authorities end the illegal practice of arbitrary detentions and guarantee that those who express dissenting opinions don’t end up in prison. There is also a link there to download the report “Silenced by Force”.

Leopoldo Lopez

update 7.5.17 Leopoldo is currently the subject of an AI Urgent Action Campaign, due to increased concerns about him. He has been kept incommunicado since 8 April. He has been placed in solitary confinement for reasons that have not been disclosed by the authorities. During this time, he has been illegally denied visits from his lawyer and family.

Leopoldo Lopez – a 45 year old, a charismatic former mayor, he was labelled a “maverick” opposition leader in a BBC article. A long time thorn in the side of the Venezuelan Government, they referred to him as a coup leader and he was jailed for nearly 14 years for inciting violence during mass protests in 2014. He claims he was simply calling on his followers to protest against government policies.

Amnesty International was able to review all evidence presented by the Public Prosecutor’s office and there was no evidence to substantiate the charges that the Public Prosecutor’s office had filed against Leopoldo and on which he was subsequently sentenced. He has been declared a prisoner of conscience.

We have sample letters for both of our Case Files in Take Action

Jorge Lázaro Samba Nunes dos Santos

The group are working on two case files at present; these are AI actions that focus on one individual or situation. This long term narrow focus ensures a constant pressure on authorities to take action.

We have been writing to authorities in Bahia State, Brazil on behalf of Jorge Lázaro, our second case file, for about 18 months now.

Two of his seven children have been murdered. Jorge Lázaro has been under huge pressure since the first murder in 2008 : he is seeking justice for the killings of his sons, trying to keep himself and his family safe, and providing necessary minimum living conditions such as a home and food.

To add to the tragedy of two murdered sons, on July 10th 2016 Jorge’s youngest son, Denilson was shot whilst walking home. Luckily Denilson survived and is currently recovering.
There are downloadable letters you can adapt on our “take action” page.There is also a link so you can send him a message of support via AIUK.

Spring Quiz

Thanks to everyone who turned out for April’s quiz at the Brunswick. We made £207 from entry and our raffle.

Thanks, as ever, to David and Rosemary Brown for devising and presenting the quiz. Thanks also to the Brunswick for providing the venue for free. Probably be back there again later in the year – unless you know of anywhere different?