Letting off steam

Well I’m just days back from New York where I was just yards away from Grand Central Station when a massive steam pipe explosion caused great consternation, forcing hordes of us off the subway and onto the streets of Manhattan.

As you can well imagine, when we first saw the plumes of smoke shooting up in the air and everyone being herded quickly out of the subway, the images were far too reminiscent of the dreadful events of 2001 and so many thought it could well be another terrorist attack. Thankfully this wasn’t so although one person did die and dozens were injured as a result.

Clearly the threat of terror is at the forefront of so many people’s minds at the moment. But while adequate precaution has to be taken, authorities shouldn’t take measures that are extreme and unnecessary. And today’s news of the Government’s proposals to increase the number of days that people can be detained without charge is indeed a step too far.

Holding people for 28 days without charge is in my opinion already too long. Anything longer could well be tantamount to internment.

Amnesty’s released a new report today on how women in Zimbabwe who dare to speak out against the government are being beaten and denied basic rights, including even access to food. In some cases children who are with their mothers have been caught up in this awful abuse as well. Check out this powerful footage which shows police beating protestors and President Mugabe seeming to endorse this dreadful abuse. Visit this link to take action.

Well, I admit that it’s not all grim reading today. We’ve just found out that Tunisian lawyer Mohammed Abbou who was serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, largely for posting blogs that criticised the government has just been released! Amnesty’s been campaigning for his release as part of our irrepressible.info campaign for as long as he was imprisoned, so that’s good news.

Well, until next time! Yule E

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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