Protect the Girls of Chibok

It’s been two weeks since hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by an armed group that has terrorized northeastern Nigeria. There have been reports that some of the girls may have already been sold into sexual slavery, or will soon be sold into forced “marriage.”

The Nigerian government has yet to take effective action. It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

Boko Haram, the Islamist armed group claiming responsibility for the kidnappings, opposes any form of western education. Boko Haram members reportedly descended on the school and loaded the terrified girls onto trucks in the dead of night. They drove away unhindered.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

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.

Continue reading

Urge Your Senators to Support Closing Guantanamo

The 2014 defense authorization bill (S. 1197) includes 3 provisions that can help close Guantanamo. Together, they ensure that Guantanamo detainees are either safely and fairly tried in US federal court, or transferred to other countries.

The bill is coming up for a vote very soon. The vote will come 13 years after Guantanamo prisoner and British resident Shaker Aamer began his horrific journey of indefinite detention in Guantanamo. Shaker has spent 11 brutal years inside Guantanamo without charge or trial, even though Shaker was cleared for release by BOTH President George W. Bush and President Obama. This spring, Shaker and dozens of other detainees went on hunger strike to protest their unlawful indefinite detention. The hunger strike has taken its toll on Shaker’s body. Even worse, Shaker has endured absolute agony at the hands of US authorities in their twice-daily force-feeding sessions.

It’s time our representatives in Washington end the agony on an island sheltered from the public eye. Click here to tell your Senators to support closing Guantanamo without delay.