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Sporting world

Theres a sporting theme to todays blog and all tied into Asia.

In Thailand, the Manchester City owner stepped off a plane this morning and was immediately whisked away by the authorities and charged and not for crimes against football.

Thaksin Shinawatra, for those who dont know, also happens to be the former Thai Prime Minister and has a long list of corruption charges against his name.

However, thats just the tip of the iceberg as far as Amnesty International is concerned. This morning, we sent out a press release which recalled that under Thaksin 2,500 people were killed by the authorities as part of a campaign to tackle drugs trafficking a later investigation by the military government concluded that more than 1,000 of the victims had little or no connection to the drugs trade.


While Thaksins future might not look that bright, the future for the people of Thailand looks even bleaker.

The current Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej wants to resurrect Thaksins licence to kill policy on drugs trafficking. And this morning the press office received disturbing reports that give us cause to fear for the safety of a leading human rights defender.

Angkhana Neelaphaijit, a leading human rights defender in Southern Thailand, is currently under a witness protection programme. However, next month her protection will be transferred to the police. She was placed under the programme after her husband the human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit disappeared in 2004.

So where is the concern, you might ask? The case into Somchais disappearance has implicated five police officers and he is now presumed dead.

Amnesty International is asking members to write to the Thai authorities asking for reassurances about her safety.

Moving on, China is again in the news. As we mentioned last week, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, is in China the home of the next Olympics. Now obviously, given the long list of human rights abuses in China, we couldnt let that go without some sort of response. So we woke up our Campaigns Director, Tim Hancock, and sent him off to Radio 4 for a 6.50 interview. You can listen to his interview on the Today Programme by clicking here.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported this morning that the mothers of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 have renewed their calls to the Chinese authorities for justice. The call comes in an open letter published by the New York based organisation, Human Rights in China.

The letter poses the question: "Is it really possible that, as the host of the 2008 Olympic Games, the government can be at ease allowing athletes from all over the world to tread on this piece of blood-stained soil and participate in the Olympics?"


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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