Newsletter October 30th 2015


Welcome to the latest news from your local Amnesty Group.
Our next meeting is Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 7.30pm at Moordown Community Centre, Bournemouth. This newsletter is slightly earlier than usual, to give a reminder of the quiz next week and forthcoming events in December.  But the agenda for the meeting is likely to include planning re write for rights events and any future human rights act events, Brazil case file

Late Autumn Quiz

quiz nightAfter a successful event last year we’ve been welcomed back by the Queen Mary Inn, West Street, Poole for our next quiz on Friday 6th November 2015, 7.30 for 8.00 sharp start. (Allow time for parking as their car park is quite small.) The quiz will follow the usual format with teams of up to 6 (can be formed on the night, so don’t worry if you’re just a one or two) and £5 a head. Sally Hawksworth has agreed to keep everyone in order and politely ask you things you don’t know; David Rogers has promised to come up with some stunning questions. May Stevens will be running the raffle – donations of prizes will be very welcome.

Write for Rights

Every year Amnesty International has encouraged and helped groups send greetings cards to prisoners of conscience around the world in December.

write for rights

write for rights in Boscombe

Traditionally there were just half a dozen names selected.  In recent years Amnesty has branded this as “Write for Rights” (W4R) and produced much more informative information leaflets, covering many more prisoners of conscience. We have always made this a mainstay of our December meeting, but over the past decade have also tried to hold a stall in Bournemouth.  Unfortunately “the Square” is now privately owned and charge £50 (now plus VAT) for the privilege.

Last year we got a pitch at Boscombe Market, which was relatively quiet, but we did get some interest (and cards signed) by the passing public – plus the local councillors. But thanks to the efforts (and persistence) of Ted, May and Genevieve we have got two prime positions:-

Saturday 5th December, Bournemouth Arcade (outside Waterstones)

Monday 21st December, Castlepoint (outside Marks & Spencers)

These events are very important  for “consciousness raising” as they are a great way to both educate people about Amnesty’s work and get them to take action. If you would like to help run either stall in some way for an hour or two, please reply with your contact details to this newsletter. The exact hours they will be operating will be finalised at our next meeting – but to some extent this depends on numbers of helpers. Do check the blog or Facebook page nearer the time.

If you would like to participate in W4R yourself, the best opportunity is our meeting at Moordown on December 10th (or drop by the above stalls). Nearer the time we’ll give a link to the AIUK  website that has details of all the featured cases.

Human Rights Act

human rights actOver 20 people crammed into our room at Moordown Community Centre for an excellent talk last meeting By Dr Howard Davis,  lecturer in Public Law at Bournemouth University, about the Human Rights Act (HRA). As we’re sure everyone is aware, the Government plan to replace this act with a new “British” Bill of Rights.  A.I.U.K. have briefed us to expect a Consultation document and the Consultation timings over the next few weeks. In the meantime they have encouraged us to participate in the “Human Rights Act Challenge“. More details of this and feedback from Howard’s talk on our blog.

Japan, don’t execute Matsumoto Kenji

kenji matsumotoNow 64 years old, Kenji has been imprisoned on death row for 21 years. He experiences delusions and episodes of psychosis. His impaired mental state means that Kenji has not been able to communicate coherently with his lawyer in relation to legal investigation around his sentence or his conviction, which his lawyers say has impacted on legal proceedings throughout his case.

Being confined in a solitary cell has taken its toll on Kenji. Physically frail, he now uses a wheelchair. In addition to his condition due to mercury poisoning, his irrational thought and delusions have significantly worsened over the 21 years he has spent isolated on death row.

Kenji’s legal team have submitted numerous appeals and requests for both pardon and retrial since the 1993 death penalty ruling. Every single one has been unsuccessful. Most recently, a request for a retrial was rejected by a District Court in January this year. His death sentence reconfirmed, Kenji could be executed any day.

Please read more about his case, and follow up the simple email action here.

Dr ‘Ali ‘Esa Mansoor al-‘Ekri, consultant surgeon, prisoner of conscience

Dr. Ali 'Esa Mansoor al-Ekri, Bahrain,Dr ‘Ali ‘Esa Mansoor al-‘Ekri, a consultant surgeon, is serving a five-year prison sentence in Jaw prison. He is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Dr ‘Ali al-‘Ekri was arrested on 17 March 2011 in an operating room at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama, Bahrain.
During interrogation he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated. In a testimony published in October 2011 he said:

“During this period I was subjected to all sorts of torture including: Beatings with metal rods, plastic hoses and wooden planks, kicking, punching and slapping with an emphasis on the head, ears and back. I was made to hear the screams of other people being tortured. I was threatened with police dogs being brought to my cell and they made me imitate the barking of dogs, they made me lick the floor, the soles of their boots and they forced me to eat faeces. I was also sexually molested and threatened with rape … I was deprived of sleep for a week and every time my eyes closed I was woken by loud shouts or cold water being poured on me …“I was forced to ’confess’ to possession of weapons, heading a militia and occupying the hospital. The next day the interrogation continued and a new interrogator was brought in who threatened to kill me with his gun.”

Dr ‘Ali al-‘Ekri initially was not able to meet his lawyer nor family, and then he only briefly met his lawyer on 6 June 2011 when he was brought to the National Safety Court of First Instance, a military court, and was transferred to Dry Dock Prison in Manama, where his torture and other ill-treatment continued. Dr ‘Ali al-‘Ekri is a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, who trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He was among 48 health professionals arrested in March and April 2011 following widespread protests at the al-Farooq Junction in the capital, Manama.

Amnesty International believes that the real reason for targeting him was his vocal denunciation of the excessive force used by the armed forces against peaceful protesters during the February – March 2011 protests to the international media and exercised their rights to freedom of expression and association during marches and protests. Please send this email, with your name, to Bahrain Government officials.


jewelleryIn the past we held many stalls at Trade Union Conferences when they visited Bournemouth, plus we had our own Garden Party.  Times have changed, but as reported above, Ted and May still turn out at a variety of Fairs and Carnivals – such as in Winton, Boscombe.
So if you have any jewellery (even broken), scarves, handbags (particularly evening), books, bric-a-brac or other knick-knacks in any condition that you wish to donate, please let May Stevens know (01202) 510886. They can collect.