April 2015 Report on Burma & N. Korea

AMNESTY REPORT APRIL 2015

Letterwriting:  

  • We signed 26 letters last month and 18 have been sent through to be signed this month
  • GREAT NEWS:  Saudi Arabia’s Raif Badawi’s wife has sent huge thanks to all those who wrote in (we did at least 3 times) as the 1000 lashes he was sentenced to have stopped
  • Huge thanks have also come through from Claudia Medina Tamariz, who was tortured in Mexico, who has had all charges dropped. We not only wrote for her but she was 1 of 5 cases for whom we had 150 cards signed in Green Park in December
  • Dr. Amermal-Shawa was enforced disappeared in UAE and we wrote for him in Feb and he was released after 135 days but tortured and deported to Turkey.   LETS KEEP WRITING!

Death Penalty:

  • Reported 19th March Cecil Clayton (74) was executed in the US.  He had been brain damaged for about 24 years before he shot and killed a policeman, and before his accident he had not been a criminal.  We are writing a few letters this month on the Death Penalty in other countries but it seems barbaric that the US could kill someone suffering from severe mental illness, dementia and multiple brain injuries.

Burma:

  • Reported 10th March that students protesting about the education curriculum (marches that started in January) had 100 arrested and 100 injured
  • I have mentioned it before but a New Zealand and two Burmese colleagues have now been sentenced to 2.5 years’ prison with hard labour for creating an advertisement showing the Buddha as a disc jockey.  The increasing lack of freedom of religion is worrying, as is the growing influence of rhetoric by hard-line Buddhist nationalist groups.

North Korea:

  • Syria’s President Assad has said his country and that of North Korea are under scrutiny because of their “real independence” …there is seldom humour in Human Rights matters!
  • Two children of defectors have been sentenced to hard labour
  • Reported 4th April in retaliation for the annual series of joint exercises between South Korea and the US, North Korea test-fired four missiles into the sea off its west coast…perhaps a show of force with the impending visit to Seoul of the US Defence Secretary.

Wendy Hughes
Burma & NKorea Co-ordinator

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