Urgent Action – Syrian family at risk

Amnesty International
Urgent Action UA 258/14
14 October 2014

Parents and Six Children At Risk

A Syrian couple, Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin, and their six children, now aged three to 15, have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Syrian authorities. They were arrested in March 2013.

According to a relative who lives abroad, Military Intelligence officers came to Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin’s house on 9 March 2013 and arrested Abdulrahman Yasin. They are not believed to have given any reason for arresting him. They returned the following day and confiscated items such as money, jewelry, papers and the family’s three cars.

They returned again on 11 March, this time to arrest Rania Alabbasi along with her six children. She has five daughters, Dima (aged 15), Entisar (aged 14), Najah (aged 11), Alaa (aged nine) and Layan (aged three) and one son, Ahmad (aged seven). Rania Alabbasi’s secretary, who was in the house when the security forces arrived, was also arrested.

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From Switzerland to Ferguson: A Flame of Activism Elevates to New Heights

by Aquib Yacoob, 2014 Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellow

AquibI am honored to have spent this past summer as Ladis Kirstof Fellow for Organizing and Activism. I was fortunate; I discovered the power of activism on my first day as a freshman back in high school – I was 14.

After joining my school’s Amnesty International chapter at a rally outside of the United Nations – as the saying goes – my flame was ignited. I discovered a new voice. I discovered a new community. I discovered my individual power, and the collective power we hold when we organize, when we mobilize.

I’ve been involved with Amnesty since that day, now some seven years ago. I’ve volunteered in-and-out of our national, regional and legislative offices in New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, respectively. I’ve participated in human rights conferences across the United States. I’ve met with some of the most inspirational human beings our world has to offer. All of this, as an Amnesty member.

The 2014 Ladis Kristof Fellowship allowed me to enter the world of human rights and social justice professionally. It took my engagement to the next level. My time spent working with and learning from Amnesty staff and member leaders has confirmed one thing: this is where I want to be; working towards a socially just world, working “in human rights” – this is my raison d’être, so to speak.

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Respect the Human Rights of All Ferguson Residents

by Rachel O’Leary, AIUSA Deputy Executive Director, Membership Mobilization
AIUSA Delegate in Ferguson, MO

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. When local residents took to the streets in protest, the police department responded with heavy-handed tactics – including tear gas and rubber bullets.

When I touched down in Ferguson, Missouri with the Amnesty International USA delegation, I didn’t know what to expect. We had some facts, but new details came to light by the hour, which helped us get a better grasp on policing in the city and on protestors, journalists and residents caught in the middle of rapidly evolving events.

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Egypt: Catastrophic decline in human rights one year after ousting of Morsi

3 July 2014

Egypt: Rampant torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions signal catastrophic decline in human rights one year after ousting of Morsi

  • At least 16,000 detained and at least 80 deaths in custody recorded in past year
  • Torture and other ill-treatment in detention continues unabated
  • Fair trial standards routinely flouted

A surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and harrowing incidents of torture and deaths in police custody recorded by Amnesty International provide strong evidence of the sharp deterioration in human rights in Egypt in the year since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

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Take action for Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for her religion

On May 15th, while eight-months pregnant, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death after refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery” because she is married to a Christian man.

Meriam is being held in a prison in Khartoum, Sudan, along with her young son, Martin, and newborn daughter, Maya. Her lawyer says she has been shackled with heavy chains, even during labor.

Amnesty International considers Meriam a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of her beliefs.

The court charged Meriam, who has a Muslim father, with adultery under a law that prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men. When Meriam explained that she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, she was charged with abandoning her Muslim faith and sentenced to death.

It is unclear when her execution will take place. Sudan’s Criminal Code requires that pregnant women sentenced to death must be kept alive to give birth and nurse for two years before being executed.

Let’s tell the Sudanese authorities to release Meriam now.