528 men sentenced to death in Egypt

An Egyptian court has shocked the world by issuing a mass death sentence to 528 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for their alleged role in a riot last July that turned violent.

This is the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case Amnesty International has seen in recent years. This is not justice. It’s the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and it could be an attempt to wipe out political opposition.

In a trial that “defied plausibility,” 528 men were convicted in just two sessions. More than 400 of those convicted were tried in absentia. No witnesses. No review of evidence. No time for the defense to read 3,000 pages of case documents. On the second day of trial, defense lawyers were blocked from the court!

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Stop Syrian forces from starving people to death

The Syrian conflict has raged for 3 bloody and traumatic years. A quarter of a million civilians live under siege across the country. Many have endured appalling conditions.

The siege in and around Yarmouk camp has been particularly prolonged and harsh. Government forces have all but completely cut off food and medical supplies for months. According to Amnesty International’s research, 128 people have starved to death since the brutal siege of Yarmouk by Syrian government forces began in July 2013.

Medical workers have been harassed and arrested. At least one doctor is believed to have died as a result of being tortured in custody. Schools, hospitals and a mosque – some of which were used as shelters – have been shelled with heavy weapons. Launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, targeting medical workers assisting the sick and wounded – these are war crimes.

Click here to urge the U.S. government to step up its work with the UN Security Council and advocate for Syrian civilians.

Two Years Later: We Are Still Troy Davis

by Terrie Rodello, AIUSA Oregon State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator

In 2011, after three stays of execution and a final appeal to the Supreme Court, Troy Anthony Davis, who was convicted of the 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, was executed by the state of Georgia, despite a compelling case of innocence. Prominent human rights advocates, fifty-one members of Congress, and many civil rights and peace and justice organizations, including Amnesty International, NAACP, and National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, had joined his family in a twenty-year fight to prevent his execution and reveal evidence that pointed to Troy’s innocence.

On Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 PM in the First United Methodist Church Fireside Room (1838 SW Jefferson St, Portland), Seattle-based human rights activist, writer, and filmmaker Jen Marlowe will talk about the story of Troy Davis and his family and the human impact of the death penalty detailed in her book, I Am Troy Davis which she co-authored with Davis’ older sister Martina Davis-Correia. Marlowe will be joined by Kimberly Davis, the surviving sister of Troy Davis. They will be introduced by Dr. Audrey Terrell, President of the NAACP Portland Chapter.

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Russia cracks down on activist for exposing environmental destruction related to Sochi Olympics

Not far from the cheering crowds and spectacular competition of the Sochi Winter Games, Russian authorities are cracking down on critics.

Russian environmental activist Yevgeniy Vitishko has been sent to a penal colony for three years because he would not keep quiet about what he saw and exposed in the forests near Sochi – the illegal destruction of protected forests and massive contamination of waterways and landfills resulting from construction for the Olympic Games.

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Amnesty International Responds to Execution of Mexican National in Texas

Amnesty International
January 22, 2014

Amnesty International Responds to Execution of Mexican National in Texas
Authorities Value Power to Kill More Than Obligation to Do What is Right

(Washington, D.C.) – Amnesty International USA Executive Director, Steven W. Hawkins, released the following statement in response to the execution of Mexican national in Texas.

“Tonight, Edgar Tamayo became the 509th prisoner executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Days before his execution, Edgar was reported to have said, ‘If they execute me, please tell my countrymen, all of Mexico, to forgive me for having failed them and returning in a box.’

“When Texas authorities took Edgar’s life they defied our nation’s international obligations. Edgar had a right to know he could seek the support and assistance of his government. If he had, he might have had a lawyer that would have conducted more than 16 hours’ worth of investigation before going to trial. He might have had an expert testify that the brain injuries he sustained as a child could only be described as ‘life-changing’. He might have had an expert psychologist testify that he suffered from ‘mild mental retardation’ and had an IQ of 67. Most of all, he might still be alive today.

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