January 2013 Meeting with Hugh Sandeman

Hugh Sandeman, AIUK co-ordinator for Algeria and Libya

Hugh Sandeman, AIUK co-ordinator for Algeria and Libya came to speak at our January 2013 meeting. See below Catherine Dolan's summary of Hugh's interesting talk:

At our monthly meeting on Thursday 10th January, Hugh Sandeman, AI co-ordinator for Algeria and Libya, gave an interesting and informative talk about the Arab Spring and the current human rights situation in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya, highlighting particular individuals and Amnesty International cases, past and present.

Starting with Tunisia, he reminded us of the events leading up to the uprising and the story of Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor who immolated himself on January 4th 2011 after being thrown off the streets by local officials several weeks earlier.

Hugh talked about Manal Boualagi, a 26 year old mother of 2 children caught in crossfire and shot down by a police sniper on January 9th 2011. No-one has yet been brought to justice for the killing and we signed a letter urging the Tunisian authorities to make this happen.

A link to the case can be found at: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_22722.pdf

An update was then given on the situation in Libya and on any progress by the National Transition Council towards establishing a rule of law. The cases of Hisham Matar and that of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi were described to us to illustrate points made. Hugh also then encouraged members to read Amnesty International’s views on the Justice and Security Bill on the website and to contact their MP with concerns.

Morocco and Algeria have seen no regime change and reasons for this were explained to the group. However, in Morocco, the King reacted quickly to events in other countries by introducing a range of changes to the country’s constitution. A positive result of this has been that AI can now take a much more active role in the country.

Whilst talking about the situation in Algeria, Hugh talked about Malik Medjnoun, who was held in prison for 11 years without trial, accused of the murder of Lounès Matoub. He was finally sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2011 and on his release last year, thanked Amnesty International for all its efforts.

After taking questions, Hugh then gave the group a very useful update on the situation leading to the EGM this Saturday and explained the background and issues to the conflict.

Please note that a decision has been made to postpone the Quiz Night planned for next month until later in the Spring.


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