Letter writing in November and December

In El Salvador the human rights organisation Pro-Busqueda suffered serious attacks on its offices and threats to its staff by armed men. In December we responded to this by writing to the attorney general and the chief of police in El Salvador.

In November our letters were for four cases in the autumn issue of the Amnesty magazine:

Jean-Claude Roger Mbede of Cameroon has gone into hiding following an appeal court confirmation of his conviction for homosexual activity. He had been assaulted outside and inside prison and has gone into hiding to escape further attack, pending a second appeal. We urged the authorities to quash his conviction and to ensure his safety.

In the Dominican Republic, Juan Almonte Herrera, a member of the Dominican Human Rights Committee, has not been seen since September 2009, when he was abducted whilst walking to his office. Two hours after his abduction the police announced on TV that he was being sought in connection with the kidnapping of a young man in another part of the country. No proper investigation has been made into his disappearance. We have appealed for such an investigation to be made and if he is custody for him to be charged with a recognisably criminal offence.

The appeal in Laos was for two student activists, Thongpaseuth Keuakoun and Seng-Aloun Phengphanh who have been in prison for almost 14 years after taking part in a demonstration calling for democratic reforms. We called for their immediate and unconditional release and for them to be given access to family visits and medical treatment. Their prison is known for its harsh regime.

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is serving a six-year sentence for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security”. She has also been banned from practising law and travelling outside Iran for 10 years. She has spent long periods in solitary confinement and is in poor health following four hunger strikes. She is denied visits. We called for her immediate release as a prisoner of conscience and whilst she is still in detention we asked for her to receive regular visits from her family and lawyers.
 

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