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Jeremy Irons leads the call for Amnesty's Write for Rights Campaign

Jeremy Irons today (1 Nov) urged people throughout the UK to send a message of solidarity and hope to men, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights around the world whose rights have been denied as he helped to launch Amnesty Internationals Write for Rights Campaign.

Write for Rights – which runs from 1 November to 31 December – successfully connects men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, young and old in the UK with people elsewhere who have been wrongly imprisoned, at risk of harassment and intimidation for carrying out human rights work, and to family members seeking justice for their loved ones.  It also enables supporters to call upon the authorities for a protection of their basic rights.

Other celebrities participating in this year’s Campaign include Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters.

Jeremy Irons has taken action on behalf of Hakamada Iwao, a 76-year-old Japanese man who has been on death row for the past 44 years – the approximate length of Irons’ acting career. Amnesty considers Hakamada to have received an unfair trial and recent new forensic test results disclosed by Hakamada’s defence team found no match between Hakamada’s DNA and samples taken from clothing he is alleged by the prosecution to have worn at the time of the crime. Hakamada’s lawyers believe the results may strengthen his appeal. Amnesty is urging the Japanese government to stop the execution of Hakamada.

Jeremy Irons said:

"The basic freedoms afforded to me which have enabled me to have a successful career have been bitterly denied to thousands of others around the world. People like Hakamada Iwao who’s spent 44 years of his life on death row after an unfair trial.  That is a cruel injustice.  Hakamada has had no idea if each new day will be his last before he is dragged from his cell and hanged.

“We can, and must, use our rights to call for the enjoyment of basic rights of others around the world.  Just five minutes is all it takes to stand up for someone around the world who so desperately needs to know that others care. Please take five minutes to be part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign.”

Another case featured in Write for Rights this year is South African Noxolo Nogwaza, a 24-year-old lesbian and human rights defender who was murdered on 24 April 2011 in her home town of KwaThema, South Africa. Before she was killed, Noxolo was raped, beaten and stabbed. It is believed she was killed because of her sexual orientation.  Amnesty is pushing for a thorough and effective investigation into Noxolo’s murder, so that those responsible may be brought to justice without delay.

Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters has spoken out in support of Noxolo’s case.  She said:

“Having been an Amnesty supporter for several years I’ve seen the incredible positive effect that a simple action of writing a letter can have upon a person’s life.  Enough letters and enough emails can not only inspire and encourage those imprisoned or threatened, they can also show the authorities that they cannot get away with a flagrant breach of human rights. 

“This is why I’m supporting Noxolo’s case.  This horrific rape and murder of this brave gay activist should not go ignored in South Africa.  Noxolo was brave enough to stand up for her beliefs.  She paid the price with her life. We must now stand in solidarity with her and take action to demand justice for her now.”

Fifteen cases are highlighted in this year’s Write for Rights Campaign.  They include residents of Kenya’s Deep Sea settlement, a slum situated in Nairobi, who are at risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes, Young Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for Change – a grassroots feminist movement in Afghanistan and Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman – a 49-year-old woman who is fighting for justice after Egyptian soldiers attacked her while she attended a large protest near Tahrir Square in December 2011.  Picking up a pen and paper is just one way in which supporters can take part in Write for Rights this year.  Other actions include leaving a comment on a blog post for Syrian activist, Anas al-Shogre who was arrested in May 2011 and has been held incommunicado ever since, and also taking a photo action in solidarity with the imprisoned Pussy Riot duo.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Write for Rights is such an important and effective campaign for Amnesty.  Not only does it remind the recipients of the cards that thousands of people are aware of their plight and are standing in solidarity with them, it also sends a worrying signal to the authorities who see the number of messages being delivered to these men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights at risk that the world is standing up with them, and for them.

“Daily thousands of human rights defenders and ordinary men, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights are put in situations where no one should be – without their freedoms, and without their rights. It is important that those of us who are able to exercise our rights come together to ensure others can enjoy their rights as well.”

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