Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Human Rights action update September 21-25

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012
We are again bringing out the blog a day earlier because of tomorrow's holiday of Shmini Atzeret. Next week we hope to be back to the "after the holidays" normal schedule.

Please act to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Prisoners of Conscience, arrested only because of their beliefs and use of their right of expression.

Further information on UA: 181/13 Index: ASA 17/032/2013 China Date: 19 September 2013

Legal scholar and human rights activist Xu Zhiyong and his associates Song Ze and Li Huanjun have been formally arrested in Beijing. They are prisoners of conscience, who are likely to face trial, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
According to his lawyer, Xu Zhiyong was formally arrested on suspicion of "gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place" on 22 August 2013 by the Public Transportation Safety Protection Branch of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. He is held at the Beijing No. 3 Detention Centre. His arrest is in connection with his continuous human rights work and his recent peaceful advocacy for the “New Citizens’ Movement”.
One of his associates, Li Huanjun, a volunteer with Gongmin, an NGO Xu Zhiyong founded, was formally arrested on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” around 20 August 2013. She is held at Beijing Municipal No.2 Detention Centre. Li Huanjun, a housing rights activist, joined Xu Zhiyong’s anti-corruption campaign in 2013. Song Ze (also known as Song Guangqiang) who had been volunteering with Gongmin and is known for helping petitioners (people seeking redress for perceived injustices) was confirmed to have been formally arrested on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” on 16 August 2013. He is held at Beijing Municipal No.3 Detention Centre. Xu Zhiyong, Li Huanjun and Song Ze have been assigned lawyers. There is no new information regarding another associate Li Gang who was detained on 12 July 2013 and was also held at Beijing Municipal No.3 Detention Centre.

According to an overseas advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders, as of 18 September, nearly 60 individuals who associated themselves with the “New Citizens’ Movement” are known to have been criminally detained or subjected to enforced disappearance. Twenty-nine of them are known to have been formally arrested.

The charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison while “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” carries of up to ten years’ imprisonment.

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language:
n Urging the authorities to release Xu Zhiyong, Li Huanjun, Song Ze and Li Gang immediately and unconditionally;
n Calling on the authorities to ensure that the above four are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated and have regular access to their families, lawyers and any medical attention they may require.

Chief Prosecutor of Beijing Municipal People’s Procuratorate
Cao Jianming Jianchazhang
Beijingshi Renmin Jianchayuan
9 Beidaijie, Jianguomen, Dongchengqu
Beijingshi 100005
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Procurator

Director of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau
Fu Zhenghua Juzhang
Beijingshi Gong'anju
9 Dongdajie, Qianmen
Beijingshi 100740
People's Republic of China
Fax: + 86 10 65242927
Salutation: Dear Director

And copies to:
Director of the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau
YU Hongyuan Juzhang
Beijingshi Sifaju
39 Houguangping Hutong
Nanxiaojie, Xizhimennei, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100035
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 58575684
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA: 181/13. Further information:

Additional Information
Xu Zhiyong teaches at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. After he was released on bail to await trial, Xu Zhiyong, along with several human rights lawyers including Teng Biao, in 2010 set up another initiative to continue their work which is called “Citizen” (‘Gongmin’ in Chinese, although in China people continue to refer to this initiative by the name of Xu Zhiyong’s previous NGO, Gongmeng).
In May 2012 in an article China Needs a New Citizens’ Movement, Xu Zhiyong describes the “New Citizens’ Movement” as a peaceful cultural, social and political campaign. The activities he suggests people take include disseminating the “New Citizen Spirit” online and in the streets; practicing “New Citizen Responsibility” by rejecting corruption and by doing good for society; using the “Citizen” sign or other identifying methods; participating in civic life by holding meetings to discuss the political situation; helping the weak; and uniting to share and coordinate work.
The article is available online at:
The charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (Article 291 of China’s Criminal Law) applies to people who gathered to disturb order at railway stations or bus terminals, wharves, civil airports, marketplaces, parks, theatres, cinemas, exhibition halls, sports grounds or other public places, or to block traffic or undermine traffic order, or resist or obstruct public security administrators of the State from carrying out their duties according to law. If the circumstances are serious, a ringleader can receive a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
The charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (Article 293 of Criminal Law) carries a maximum of five years imprisonment if the person commits one of the acts of creating disturbances, thus disrupting public order such as forcibly taking or demanding, damaging, destroying or occupying public or private property with serious circumstances; or creating disturbances in a public place, thus causing serious disorder in such place etc. If the person gathers others and commits the behaviours repeatedly that seriously undermine public order, he or she will receive a maximum of ten years imprisonment but no less than five years imprisonment.
According to article 169 of China’s Criminal Procedure Law, once a person has been formally arrested, the People’s Procuratorate should make a decision on whether to prosecute within one month of a case being transferred by the public security organ, with the possible extension of half a month. However, the People’s Procuratorate also has the power under the Article 171 to remand the case to a public security organ for supplementary investigation, or conduct the investigation itself if they consider the evidence provided to be insufficient for prosecution. In cases where supplementary investigation is to be conducted, it shall be completed within a month. Supplementary investigation may be conducted twice at most. During this time the suspects would typically remain in custody.
In pre-trial detention, which applies until which time suspects are brought to trial, detainees can only meet with their lawyers and not for example, with their family members.
Names: Xu Zhiyong (m), Li Gang (m), Li Huanjun (f), Song Ze (m)
Gender m/f: both

Further information on UA: 181/13 Index: ASA 17/032/2013 Issue Date: 19 September 2013

Individuals Campaign Team

Email: /
Hotline: via switchboard (cannot be dialled from outside the building) (+44) 20 7413 5500 extension 5051

We have asked you in the past to plead for Warren Hill, a severely retarded person about to be executed in Georgia for murder. The US Supreme Court has ruled in the past that such intellectually disabled persons cannot be executed, but Georgia, as other states, finds ways to circumvent the Court. We are linking you to an editorial in the New York Times and request that you put it out on your social networks to raise awareness of this issue.

Victor Crespo a union organizer in Honduras is in deadly danger and has had to go into hiding.  Please click to ask the government and President of Honduras to take steps to protect him.
Victor Crespo.

This is hard to believe, but the Secretary  General of the UN is trying to bust the union of the employees of the organization. Please join this voice of protest.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Human Rights Action Update Sept. 14-18

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012
The blog is a day early this week because of the Succot holiday. We wish you all a happy holiday, moadim lesimcha.

Human rights activists in China are in danger of torture. Please act.

Activist tortured by police, please act. Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas, a Venezuelan human rights activist has been in detention since March for participating in a protest. He has been tortured and threatened. He is ill and is not receiving the urgent medical care he needs.

The highest ranking policewoman in Afghanistan has been assassinated.
Lieutenant Negar, 38, died on Monday morning in hospital after two unidentified gunmen on a motorbike shot her in the neck on Sunday near police headquarters in Lashkar Gah.
Lieutenant Negar, 38, died on Monday morning in hospital after two unidentified gunmen on a motorbike shot her in the neck on Sunday near police headquarters in Lashkar Gah.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Human rights action update Sept. 6-12

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

We start with a full text UA from the China Action Program of Amnesty. Please act.

UA: 243/13 Index: ASA 17/030/2013 China Date: 11 September 2013

Households risk imminent forced eviction
Six households in Bagou village, in Haidian district in Beijing are at risk of forced eviction on 14 September. The authorities have failed to provide the protections required and the residents are at risk of being rendered homeless.
On 9 September, the six households involving 28 people received a notice from the police to vacate their homes by 14 September. According to the notice, if they don’t vacate their homes in time, they will be evicted and their homes bulldozed according “to the law”. Authorities have failed to provide, opportunities for genuine consultation, adequate compensation and alternative housing, and fair legal remedies. Residents have also been harassed, threatened and beaten.
In 2003, approximately 6000 households in Bagou received news they would need to vacate the area as the local authorities had sold the land in their village to developers to build a ‘green belt’ around Beijing. After a series of acts of harassment and intimidation by the developers, most residents were forced to leave the area. Today, only six households remain.
The six households, who have been living in the area for generations, have legally challenged the eviction on a number of grounds including that the offers for compensation did not meet the standards set in the Land Administration Law and that, the developer had misrepresented the environmental assessment and built residential and commercial estates instead of the “green belt”. Their latest appeal submitted to the Beijing City Higher People’s Court on 19 November 2012 is currently under review.
The six remaining households include two physically disabled people, six elderly people and five children. In recent months, harassments of the residents has increased. Dozens of people in plain clothes and in police uniforms with riot gear have congregated at the village threatening to demolish the remaining houses.

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language:
n Urging the authorities not to evict the people in Bagou village, Haidian district in Beijing while their appeal is pending in court and without following due process requirements including adequate notice and compensation.
n Urging the authorities to investigate and stop all acts of intimidation and harassment carried out both by state and non-state actors
n Urging the authorities to ensure that nobody is rendered homeless as a result of an eviction and those who cannot provide for themselves are provided adequate alternative housing.


Beijing Municipal People's Government Mayor
Wang Anshun Shizhang
Beijingshi Renmin Zhengfu
2 Zhengyilu, Dongchengqu
Beijingshi 100744
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 84371700
Salutation: Dear Mayor

Beijing Municipal Party Committee Secretary
Guo Jinlong Shuji
Beijingshi Weiyuanhui
3 Taijichangdajie, Dongchengqu
Beijingshi 100743
People's Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 65121118 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear Secretary

And copies to:
Beijing Municipal No.1 Intermediate People’s Court
Ji Luohong Yuanzhang
16 Shijingshanlu, Shijingshanqu
Beijingshi 100040
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 6863 9038 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear President

Individuals Campaign Team

Email: /
Hotline: via switchboard (cannot be dialled from outside the building) (+44) 20 7413 5500 extension 5051

Please demand that the government of Slovakia put an end to discrimination against Roma children.
Vigil in front of Slovak embassy in London  to end segregation of Roma children © Amnesty International
Our friends at Amnesty Australia are calling our attention to past abuses in Sir Lanka and the refusal of the government to take responsibility. Please help a bereaved father obtain justice for his son who was murdered by security forces.  
Dr Manoharan © Amnesty International
Dr Manoharan's son was murdered by Sri Lankan security forces seven years ago © Amnesty International

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Human Rights action update August 30-Sept. 4

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

 SHANA TOVA שנה טובה 

We are bringing out the blog a day earlier because of the Rosh Hashana holiday.

Solidarity pays off
We are pleased to start the New Hebrew Year with news of a victory by hotel workers in  Toronto.

Enforced disappearances at the hands of the military, the police and criminal groups are becoming more and more common in Mexico. We present here a detailed discussion and ask tweeters to use the links given there. We also have a specific case that requires action.

Please act to protect the residents of the Nahua-Nanti Reserve for uncontacted tribes from invasion of their territory by the Peruvian Ministry of Mines and Energy, which is leading the aggressive campaign to send hundreds of gas workers into the uncontacted and isolated Nahua and Nanti Indians' forest, detonate thousands of explosive charges, and sink wells to pump out more gas from their reserve.  These people have no immunity to the diseases carried by the gas workers and can be wiped out by this forced contact.
These people need your help