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Weekly Action and News 19/05/2023

Manchester Amnesty Weekly Action and News


This week we have a solidarity action to be done on Wednesday 24th May, when it is the birthday of Eren Keskin, a prominent human rights lawyer in Türkiye who has been the focus of several Amnesty actions over the years. More than one hundred judicial proceedings have been brought against Eren Keskin because of her outspoken stand against human rights violations in Turkey. She has been the target of serious death threats and has been physically attacked. Eren is currently at risk of imprisonment following her latest conviction under Article 301 of the Penal Code for “Denigrating the Turkish nation”.


Please tweet your birthday wishes and your support for Eren on 24th May, using the tags @KeskinEren1 and @aforgutu. Please use the hashtags #ErenKeskinisNotAlone, #ErenKeskinYalnizDegildir. Please focus on positive messages for Eren, and do NOT mention the elections in Turkiye, the president, or the government.


If you prefer to post on Instagram, tag Eren at: erenkeskin84, and include the following hashtags in your posts #justice4erenkeskin and #happybirthdayerenkeskin


Here are some suggested messages, and a picture which you can use, or you can use your own:


Happy Birthday @KeskinEren1. We stand in solidarity with you and applaud your commitment to defending human rights.


Happy birthday @KeskinEren1! Standing with you in #solidarity against the judicial harassment you have faced for years.


Happy Birthday @KeskinEren1. We are always by your side




Tuesday, 23rd May, 7pm, online. Refugees, The Lived Experience.


Our friends at Rethink Rebuild Society host regular talks from refugees about their lived experience. The next one, about refugees from Syria living in Canada, is on

Tuesday, 23rd May at 7pm, online. It is in English, with Arabic translation.

All are welcome, and you can register and get the joining link here.

Refugees, the Lived Experience اللاجئون، واقعهم وحياتهم Tickets, Tue 23 May 2023 at 19:00 | Eventbrite






Letter writing drop in, 2-4pm, Saturday 27th May, Manchester Central Library, near the café


Our next bi-monthly letter-writing drop in session will take place next Saturday, 27th May, and will focus on cases in the UAE, together with Urgent Actions from around the world.

Paper, pens and information will be provided.

If you prefer to write emails or to tweet, please bring your own device. Wifi is available.


There will also be the opportunity to make some orange hearts out of felt and fabric for our refugee month activities. Again, all materials and instructions will be provided.


Come along for all or part of the time and get involved in this key aspect of Amnesty’s work.

It is always an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon!



Many thanks to those who have volunteered to help out on our

Amnesty stall at the Didsbury Festival on 10th June, 10-4pm.

More volunteers would be very welcome, or please do come along to visit the stall.

This joint activity between the Manchester and Liverpool groups aims to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on human rights.


We will be using block art to print words and images onto teeshirts and fabric to make a patchwork quilt. We will have a petition about human rights abuses in the UAE, which is hosting COP28.


Please contact Kathryn Fletcher if you can help at all -




To celebrate his 75th birthday,

and in aid of the Saddleworth Palestinian Women’s scholarship fund (SPWSF)

our member Steve Roman invites you to a magnificent evening of entertainment entitled

Paul Robeson – the giant in a nutshell

at the Birch Community Centre in Rusholme on Saturday 17th June at 7:30pm.

Featuring Tayu Aluko, the Obsidian Rock Band, and with a global buffet supper and pay bar.

Proceeds to the SPWSF. More information and get your tickets here:





Dates for upcoming campaigning events. We have a very busy schedule for June!


Please put the following dates on your calendar, and volunteer to help out if you can!


Saturday May 27th – letter-writing drop in, 2-4pm, at Manchester Central Library

Sunday June 4th – Refugee month event at Burnage Open Gardens

Saturday June 10th – Climate and human rights, COP28, UAE/craftivism event at Didsbury Festival

Friday June 16th – stall at Manchester Metropolitan University summer sustainability fair.

Saturday June 17th – Steve Roman’s birthday event in aid of Saddleworth Palestine Women’s Scholarship fund.

Saturday, June 24th Amnesty International UK Section, AGM, London/online. More details to follow.

Sat/Sun June 24/25 – Refugee week events at Chorlton Open Gardens.

Saturday 1st July (tbc) – Israeli Apartheid Street Exhibition, Manchester

Sunday July 16th- UAE/Craftivism event – Arab Arts Festival, Sefton Park, Liverpool.




Good news


Myanmar - On 7 May 2023, the military junta announced the commutation of 38 death sentences issued in the previous months against people who had demonstrated against the repression following the coup of 1 February 2021.


Iran - On May 13, 2023, after an appeal, the death sentence of an 18-year-old protester, Arshia Takdastan, who had been found guilty in January of "corruption on earth" and sentenced to death by hanging, was annulled.


Iran - On 9 May 2023, Sara Ahmadi and her husband Homaydoun Zhaveh were released from prison after a retrial which overturned the eight- and two-year prison sentences imposed on them in November 2020 for leading and being part of a Christian church.


Iran - On 12 May 2023, Benjamin Brière, a French national, and Bernard Phelan, a French-Irish national, were released and repatriated. Brière was arrested in May 2020 on charges of espionage, Phelan in October 2022 on charges of threatening national security.


Turkey - On 9 May 2023, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that in 2018 the governor of Istanbul had violated the rights of Yakup Kurkut, former president of the local branch of Amnesty International, by subjecting him to an administrative sanction for alleged irregularities in receiving funding from abroad.


Philippines - On 12 May 2023, Senator Leila de Lima, in prison since February 24, 2017, was acquitted of one of two spurious drug trafficking charges with which the government of former President Duterte had tried to silence her for her constant criticism and denunciations of human rights violations.


France - On 12 May 2023, the Court of Cassation recognized the national justice system as having "universal jurisdiction" to be able to carry out trials related to crimes committed in Syria even if the victims and defendants are not French.



Manchester Amnesty Subgroups and other work

If you would like to join any of our subgroups, please contact the current convenors for joining details. 


UAE next meeting tbc please contact Kathryn Fletcher if you would like to join,

Refugees –next meeting tbc please contact Alison Wearden, if you would like to join

Anti-racism – Next meeting Tuesday 23rd May, 6-7pm, zoom, please contact Hazel Errey if you would like to join

Craftivism next meeting tbc please contact Kathryn Fletcher if you would like to join . Kathryn will be stepping down as craftivism coordinator so if you would like to take on this role, please let her know.

Individuals at Risk (bi-monthly letter writing drop ins) Next session, Saturday, 27th May 2-4pm, then 4th Saturday in July, September, November. Manchester Central Library, café area. Contact Anne Walker for more information


Other areas of work are led by:

Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians Mike Reed

LGBTQ+ and Pride coordinator – Zoe Song

Europe/ Turkey, Fatih Segmen,

Human Rights in the UK, Lancine Sacko,


Alison Wearden 

Communications Secretary 

Manchester Group of Amnesty International 

Please contact me with items for our Weekly Action and News email, or with ideas for longer articles for the quarterly Manchester Amnesty Group Bulletin.

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