Weekly Action and News 26/08/2022
Please do these actions and make a difference
On 9 August, the Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital, Riyadh sentenced, after a grossly unfair trial, Salma al-Shehab, a Saudi activist and academic from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority to 34 years in prison followed by a 34-year travel ban. She was accused, among other things, to “disturbing public order” for using Twitter and retweeting activists who support women's rights. According to court documents reviewed by Amnesty International, she was detained in solitary confinement for 285 days before she was brought to trial. She was also denied access to legal representation throughout her pre-trial detention, including during interrogations. The Saudi authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Salma al-Shehab and quash her conviction.
In May 2018, Loujain al-Hathloul, a women's rights defender who peacefully campaigned for an end to the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, was arrested and detained without charge or trial until March 2019. For the first three months of detention, Loujain endured torture, sexual abuse and other ill-treatment and had no access to her family or lawyer. Eventually convicted of trumped-up charges, including “spying with foreign parties” and “conspiring against the kingdom,” she was sentenced to five years in prison. Released on probation in December 2020, she faces the risk of re-imprisonment and a travel ban of five years. In addition, she continues to be denied access to justice and accountability for her allegations of torture. Amnesty are calling on the Saudi government to make her release unconditional and to investigate her allegations of torture.
Events this weekend and next week!
The Amnesty Manchester group will be providing a sizeable and colourfully attired contingent of about 25 people at the Manchester Pride Parade. Saturday 27th August, 12-4pm. Those who are joining the parade should assemble from 11 am onwards, as per instructions in an email from Steve Lindsay - if you need further information, please email email@example.com.
Commemorating Naji al-Ali, the Man, the Cartoonist
Rethink Rebuild Society, a Manchester-based charity and community organisation, are holding a special event on Monday 29th August, 7pm, commemorating the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali. At this FREE event, which is in Arabic with English translation, Syrian cartoonist Saad Hajo will take us on a journey through Naji al-Ali's work and its impact on people and politics.
Wednesday 31st August, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, 6, Mount St, M2 5NS. “The One State Solution” – a talk by Jeff Halpern, founder of the Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), with a question & answer session. Presented by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Tickets available here or at https://bit.ly/JeffHalperTalk are FREE but donations to PSC welcome.
Forthcoming Manchester Amnesty event – Save the date!
A guided walk led by Steve Roman, to raise funds for Manchester Amnesty, will take place on Saturday 8 October, from 1.30-3.30pm. The accessible walk will cover sites connected with the growth of Manchester as the world’s first industrial city and its importance as a centre for peace and radical political activity, focussing on Human Rights. Look out for details of the walk, including the cost (likely to be around £7.50) and how to book your place, in a future newsletter.
Saudi Arabia – On 23rd August , Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh was released from prison 8 months after the end of the 8 year sentence which he received for writing poetry with “blasphemous” and “atheistic” themes.
Singapore - On 20 August 2022, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the upcoming repeal of Act 377A, dating from the British colonial period, which criminalises sexual relations between people of the same gender.
USA - On August 19, 2022, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer stated that it will sell seven of its drugs only to selected distributors who sign a contract promising that they will not supply them for use in carrying out death sentences.
United Kingdom - On 15 August 2022, Scotland enacted a law that grants all women free access to menstrual hygiene products at pharmacies, community centres, youth centres, schools, and universities.
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 – Kathryn Fletcher, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anti-racism – Hazel Errey, email@example.com,
Refugees – Alison Wearden, firstname.lastname@example.org
HR in UK – Matthew Sherwood, email@example.com
Craftivism - Kathryn Fletcher firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other areas of work are led by:
Crisis and Tactical Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen Rebecca Shaw, email@example.com
Europe/ Turkey, Fatih Segmen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians Mike Reed email@example.com
Individuals at Risk (quarterly letter writing) Anne Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBTQ rights – Manchester Pride 2022 coordinator – Steve Lindsay email@example.com
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.