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FREE SAUDI RIGHTS ACTIVIST NASSIMA AL-SADA

Free Saudi rights activist Nassima al-Sada

Nassima al-Sada - © Private
53
days left to take action

Nassima al-Sada is an activist, human rights educator and mother of three who has campaigned for civil and political rights, women’s rights and the rights of the Shi’a minority in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia for many years. She stood in municipal elections in 2015 but was banned from participating. She has also campaigned for the right of women to drive and for the end of male guardianship system.

Nassima al-Sada was detained without charge or trial from July 2018 until June 2019 when she appeared for her first court session. She was also placed in solitary confinement from February 2019 until the beginning 2020. After months of delays and prolonged detention without trial, and due to mounting international pressure, Saudi authorities resumed trials of detained women activists, including Nassima al-Sada, on 25 November 2020.

The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to arbitrarily detain without charges and try individuals for their peaceful expression and human rights work. Amongst those are: Mohammed al-Bajadi, founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and A prominent human rights defender who has been detained without charges or trial since May 2018; and Salman al-Awda, a reformist cleric who faces a death sentence for the peaceful expression of his views.
 

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VERDICT UPHELD AGAINST LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL

Verdict upheld against Loujain al-Hatloul

Loujain al-Hathloul
27
days left to take action

On 13 March 2019, Loujain al-Hathloul was among 11 women human rights defenders (WHRDs) brought to trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh. The court session was closed, and diplomats and journalists were banned from attending. Several women activists faced charges of contacting foreign media, other activists and international organizations including Amnesty International. Some of them were also accused of “promoting women’s rights” and “calling for the end of the male guardianship system.”

The trial of several WHRDs arrested between May and July 2018 resumed in 2020 and resulted in a number of prison sentences being handed down following unfair trials. After months of delays and prolonged detention without their trials proceeding, in November 2020 Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, Nouf Abdelaziz and Mayaa al-Zahrani, were brought before the Criminal Court in Riyadh in separate trial sessions. Loujain al-Hathloul’s case was transferred to the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in December 2020 after the Criminal Court concluded that it was “outside its jurisdiction”. The SCC specializes in trying terrorism-related cases and should not be trying and sentencing peaceful activists.

On 28 December 2020, Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison - partially suspended by two years and ten months - by the Specialized Criminal Court.

On 10 February 2021, Loujain al-Hathloul was conditionally released from prison and continues to face probation and a travel ban of five years. In addition, she continues to be denied access to justice and accountability for her allegations of being tortured and harassed in prison during the first three months of her detention.

The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to arbitrarily detain without charges and try individuals for their peaceful expression and human rights work. Amongst those are: Mohammed al-Bajadi, founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and prominent human rights defender who has been detained without charges or trial since May 2018; and Salman al-Awda, a reformist cleric who faces a death sentence for his peaceful expression.

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SAHRAWI ACTIVIST ABUSED UNDER HOUSE ARREST

Sahrawi activist abused under house arrest

Section Maroc - Action Marathon 2012
26
days left to take action

Sultana Khaya is the president of an organization called the ‘League for the Defense of Human Rights and against Plunder of Natural Resources’ and is known for her vocal activism in defence of the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people.

In a call with Amnesty International on 8 March, Sultana Khaya lamented spending international women’s day- on 8 March- “suffering under siege”. Since 19 November 2020, Sultana Khaya and her family’s movements are restricted to the confines of their own house. Videos, reviewed by Amnesty International and filmed by Sultana Khaya and her sister Waraa Khaya on various days since 19 November 2020, show security forces in uniforms and civilian clothes standing in front of the house, and at times police vans parked outside. Sultana Khaya has not been allowed to walk further than to the corner of her house before being forcefully carried back to the house by police officers by her hands and legs. A video filmed on 17 February, shows police officers in plainclothes dragging Waraa Khaya and forcing her inside the house, repeatedly slamming the door shut and banging on it.

Under international human rights law, house arrest is considered as a form of detention and requires certain safeguards to be considered lawful. According to the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 35 on Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights liberty-depriving measures, including house arrest, must not be arbitrary and must be carried out with respect for the rule of law and allow a meaningful and prompt judicial review of detention. Deprivation of liberty, including in the form of house arrest, is arbitrary when it results from the exercise of human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Western Sahara is the subject of a territorial dispute between Morocco, which annexed the territory in 1975 and claims sovereignty over it, and the Polisario Front, which calls for an independent state in the territory and has set up a self-proclaimed government-in-exile in the refugee camps in Tindouf, southwestern of Algeria. A UN settlement in 1991, which ended fighting between Morocco and the Polisario Front, called for a referendum to be put to the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination by choosing independence or integration into Morocco. The referendum has not been held amid ongoing disputes about the process of identifying who may vote in the referendum.

In recent years, access to Western Sahara has grown increasingly difficult for external monitors as the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate. In 2020, Moroccan authorities prevented at least nine lawyers, activists and politicians from access to Western Sahara. Journalists have also been denied access which makes the struggle of human rights activists widely uncovered. The UN Security Council has been ignoring calls by Amnesty International and others to add a human rights component to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which would allow for monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses, as is done by the vast majority of comparable UN missions around the world.
 

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PROTECT HUMAN RIGTHS DEFENDER AT RISK

Protect human rights defender at risk

Colombia map
47
days left to take action

The Santander’s Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) was founded in 1987 in the city of Barrancabermeja. For more than thirty years, CREDHOS has worked for the defence, promotion and protection of human rights, with its work extending to eight municipalities of the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia (North).  In recent years, addressing socio-environmental conflicts in the region has gained great importance within the organization. CREDHOS defends the communities’ rights to a healthy environment.

Due to their work since their foundation, CREDHOS staff have been threatened, harassed and killed. The latest security incidents faced by CREDHOS staff include:

•    On 10 February 2021, a confidential community source notified CREDHOS that armed group have qualify CREDHOS staff as military objective 
•    On 9 January 2021, a pamphlet signed by people that identify themselves as “The Magdalena Medio Block of the PAFC- EP” was circulating in social networks and instant messaging applications. The pamphlet orders a change in a report released by CREDHOS weeks earlier, that includes an analysis of the dynamic of armed groups and illegal economies in 2 subregions of Colombia: South Bolivar, Northeast of Antioquia  
•    On 24 October 2020, unknown men broke into the apartment of Dr. Ivonne Suarez Pinzón, a member of CREDHOS' Board of Directors who is also the Director of the Oral Memory Archive of Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict (AMOVIUIS) where documents of the cases presented by the organization before the “Special Jurisdiction for Peace” (JEP) were stored.  
•    On 1 September 2020, The Secretary of the Board of Directors of CHEDHOS Abelardo Sanchez,  denounced to the Attorney General's that his house was watched by unknow men the night before. 

In 2016, The unit of Victims and reparation recognized CREDHOS as a subject of collective reparation for the damages caused throughout its existence. The implementation of the measures officially started in March 2019. The Plan contemplates sixteen measures that will be applied at its Barrancabermeja main offices and in the eight municipalities that are impacted by CREDHOS’ work.
 

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HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER GETS 3 YEAR JAIL TERM

Human rights defender gets 3 year jail term

Baradine Berdei Targuio
46
days left to take action

Arrest or detention as punishment for the legitimate exercise of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, is arbitrary and violates the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has determined that those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights must be immediately released.

Baradine Berdei Targuio’s detention comes amidst a context of general repression of those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the country, particularly as presidential elections scheduled for April 2021 are approaching. More information on this situation can be found in Amnesty International’s latest press release on Chad.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has called on all member states, in its resolution 466 on prisons and conditions of detention in Africa, to release different groups of detainees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including human rights defenders, “in order to reduce overcrowding in prisons and curb the spread of the Coronavirus”.
 

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IMPRISONED ACADEMIC’S LIFE IN DANGER

Imprisoned academic's life in danger

Maati Monjib
27
days left to take action

In a statement that Maati Monjib sent out of prison through his lawyers on 4 March, he stated three major drivers behind his hunger strike. He wrote: “I begin a hunger strike starting Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. to express a distress call to public opinion following the persecution and injustice inflicted on me by the Moroccan political regime. I observe this hunger strike to protest: 1) My arbitrary arrest on 29 December 2020, 24 hours before the hearing was held in the most secret in the 2015 trial for "undermining the security of the state". A hearing that I wasn't summoned to. My defense was not informed. This trial was postponed until my arrest and ended up convicting me in absentia."

In this statement, Maati Monjib also mentions the defamation against him in "official media and those affiliated to the security services" which infringe his dignity and the presumption of innocence. He continued, "I declare to the national and international public opinion that I am completely innocent of the spurious accusations which seek to undermine my credibility as a journalist and opinion writer. The reason for all this persecution can be found in my writings critical of the regime and its political police and in my human rights defense activities such as my support for the detainees of the Hirak el Rif movement and the journalists unfairly detained under the guise of common law crimes.”

In 2015, Maati Monjib went on hunger strike for 24 days when he was banned from travelling to Spain where he was scheduled to give a talk at a conference about Arab media in transition. His health deteriorated significantly during the hunger strike and he was hospitalized after losing consciousness. The authorities subsequently lifted the travel ban on 29 October 2015.

Maati Monjib and six other activists were investigated in 2015 under accusations of “threatening the internal security of the state” through “propaganda” that may threaten “the loyalty that citizens owe to the State and institutions of the Moroccan people” under Article 206 of the Penal Code. In the 2015 case against Maati Monjib and his six co-defendants, the police interrogation revolved around their receipt of foreign funds from the NGO Free Press Unlimited to conduct training sessions around the technique of StoryMaker, a secure storytelling app developed by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Guardian Project and Small World News, which enables citizen journalists to publish content anonymously if they wish to.

According to Maati Monjib, his trial sessions usually last four or five minutes before the judge adjourns and announces the next hearing date. It has been postponed 21 time since 2015. In a letter sent to Amnesty International, the government mentioned that the reasons for the new 2020 investigation is deriving from the annual reports of 2015 and 2016 of Free Press Unlimited, which suggests that this new investigation is linked to the old case of 2015 about the receipt of foreign funding from that NGO to conduct training workshops for citizen journalists. These charges are related to legitimate activities that are protected under the right to association.

Under international human rights law, the right to freedom of association includes NGOs’ capacity to engage in fundraising activities and to seek, receive and utilise resources from national, foreign and international sources. Restrictions on foreign funding that impede the ability of associations to pursue their statutory activities constitute an undue interference with Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Morocco is a party. 

Maati Monjib is a prominent academic and human rights defender. He is a regular commentator on Moroccan politics in international media, think tanks and academic forums where he often shared opinions and analysis about the Moroccan authorities' infringement of human rights.
 

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FACE DISPOSSESSION

Indigenous peoples face dispossession

Malaysia migrant workers
74
days left to take action

On 5 February 2020, the Selangor Forestry Department placed the notice of the degazetting of Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) in major newspaper dailies in Malaysia. The notice invited stakeholders in the district to voice their objections to the proposal within 30 days, in accordance with the Public Inquiry Selangor Rules 2014 as well as the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985. The proposed area comprises 97% of the total forest reserve and is home to four Temuan Indigenous settlements: Bukit Kecil, Bukit Cheeding, Busut Baru, and Pulau Kempas. 

Since February 2020, civil society, the public, and Amnesty International members have mobilised against the decision, sending over 45,000 letters to the office of the Chief Minister of Selangor and the Selangor State Forestry Department. In November 2020, a unanimous decision was made in the Selangor state legislative assembly to protect the forest. According to local NGOs, the Chief Minister will decide in late April about the status of the land. 
In Malaysia, the gazetting of a land as a ‘forest reserve’ ensures that the land cannot be used for urban development, agriculture or any kind of activity that would require the forest to be cleared. De-gazetting a forest reserve removes this status of the land and opens it up to commercial activity and the displacement of communities whose land it is. 

According to the community, the land has come under increasing threats from development and logging in the past years. In 2017, the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) applied for this area to be gazetted as Orang Asli land, which still awaits government action. KLNFR is also a peat swamp forest that functions as an important ecosystem of climate control. According to the Global Environment Centre—an award-winning environmental organisation based in Malaysia—the proposed de-gazettement of KLNFR is not in line with the Selangor State Government's plan in the 2035 State Structure Plan to maintain 32% of the forest area in the State of Selangor. 

Across Malaysia, extensive land development is adversely affecting Indigenous peoples, posing a threat to ancestral lands, traditional ways of life and a wide spectrum of human rights. Indigenous peoples in Malaysia comprise over 67 ethnic groups or about 14% of the country’s total population. They reside in almost every state and territory within the Federation and are afforded special recognition in the country’s constitution. Despite this, they continue to suffer from disproportionate levels of poverty and ongoing social exclusion, in part due to an absence of formal recognition of their land as well as a lack of consultation and free, prior and informed consent on proposals to expropriate their land. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for communities to oppose development once it has started. In their attempt to defend, protect and promote the land rights of Indigenous peoples, human rights defenders face harassment, intimidation, arrest, and even death. 

The Malaysian government voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007, which commits it to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples to self-determination and the right to free, prior and informed consent. The Malaysian government also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that oversees the convention stated that “the use of traditional land is of significant importance to [Indigenous children’s] development and enjoyment of culture”, and that states who have ratified the convention should “closely consider the cultural significance of traditional land and the quality of the natural environment.”
 

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FARMERS FACE TRIAL AMID ENVIRONMENTAL WORK

Farmers face trial amid environmental work

Syamsul Bahri
38
days left to take action

Syamsul and Samsir were detained on 10 February 2021 and spent 14 days in prison until they were released on bail by the police on 24 February. In early March, the police handed over the investigation dossier to the Langkat Regency Prosecutor’s Office. The latter had submitted the dossier to the Langkat District Court, which is scheduled to start the trial on 29 March. The prosecutors are expected to read out the indictment on the first hearing. If found guilty under Article 170 (1) of the Criminal Code, they could face up to 5 years and 6 months in prison.

In late 2017, the government granted the Nipah Farmer community the right to manage a 242-hectare land in Kwala Serapuh Village, North Sumatra province, for sustainable use under a social forestry permit. The community has since then been working to rehabilitate mangrove forests in this area. The community is protesting the operation of a palm oil company that owns a plantation on land the community claims the right to manage. 

The accusation filed against Syamsul Bahri and Samsir dates to a case in December 2020 while members of the Nipah Farmer community were working on an environmental rehabilitation project on the land they manage under the social forestry scheme. According to witness testimonies collected by local NGOs, including WALHI North Sumatra, LBH Medan, and Srikandi Lestari, two people arrived at the site on 18 December and took pictures of their activities. 

Syamsul Bahri, the community’s chairman, questioned the two individuals on their intention of visiting the area. Afterwards, one of the individuals walked away and called his friend saying that he was “being beaten up” in a loud voice so that others could hear, before jumping into the river. The Nipah Famer community quickly rescued him with a boat and took him to safety before asking him to clarify the statement he had previously made in the call. The individual then said that he was not being beaten up by any of the community members and his statement was recorded in a video by a member of the community. The man’s friend came to pick him up not long after.

Almost two months later, on 8 February 2021, Syamsul Bahri and Samsir received a letter of summons by the Tanjung Pura Police to appear for questioning on 10 February as suspects regarding allegations brought by one of the men who had filed a report to the police stating that Syamsul and other farmers assaulted him on 18 December 2020. The two were charged under Article 170 (1) of the Criminal Code on group violence. The dubious charges against the pair have raised questions since Syamsul and Samsir had never been questioned as witnesses or asked to comment on the report before. 

Local NGOs who advocate for the case believe the arrest to be based on false accusations against Syamsul Bahri and Samsir and to be a form of criminalization aimed to stifle the community’s work in conserving the mangrove forests and claiming their rights linked to access to land. In a statement to the coalition of NGOs, Langkat Regency Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Edi Suranta Sinulingga denied concerns over criminalization and claimed the police have collected evidence over the assault.

Environmental human rights defenders in Indonesia who work to protect and promote environmental rights and those linked to access to land are increasingly harassed and criminalized when state and economic actors perceive their activities as a hindrance to the implementation of development policies. One of the most notable cases of criminalization occurred in 2017 with the sentencing of environmental activist Heri Budiawan, also known as Budi Pego, to four years in prison for spreading communism in relation to his work to protest gold mining activities in Tumpang Pitu, Banyuwangi, East Java province. 

In 2020, Amnesty International recorded the arrest, attack, and intimidation of at least 202 human rights defenders in Indonesia, including environmental activists who defended their rights to land and a healthy environment. 
 

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PEACEFUL PROTESTORS MAY FACE 100+ YEARS IN PRISON

Peaceful protestors may face 100+ years in prison

Tattep
37
days left to take action

Authorities in Thailand are prosecuting and detaining peaceful prosecutors, intensifying repression of a peaceful youth reform movement that has held mass, overwhelmingly peaceful protests and flash mobs since 2020 for political, constitutional and educational reform, LGBTQI equality and women’s and children’s rights. 

Leading pro-democracy activists/human rights defenders who have played a role in mass youth-led protests for reform in Thailand, are in detention, with their bail requests denied, in an apparent bid to prevent their involvement in continuing demonstrations. Members of the Ratsadon group may now face up to 165 years imprisonment, under legal provisions on insulting the monarchy (lèse majesté), and sedition. Authorities are targeting them and hundreds of peaceful protesters, including children, with criminal charges solely for peacefully exercising their human rights under laws that have been used to penalise the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. They continue to summon and seek warrants to detain protesters across Thailand for sedition, computer crimes, offences to the monarchy, and public assembly.

On 9 February 2021, authorities indicted leading members of “Ratsadon” (The People), a group involved in the organization of protests, with lèse majesté and/or sedition. These charges have characteristically been used by the authorities to penalise peaceful dissent and carry sentences of up to 15 or seven-years’ imprisonment, respectively. Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, student Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and another activist have been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison and the court has turned down five lawyers’ requests for bail. 

On 8 March 2021, authorities also indicted detained sociology student Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul, currently held at the Women’s Central Prison, activist Panuphong ‘Mike’ Jadnok and activist Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, both currently held at Bangkok Remand Prison, with lèse majesté and sedition. Some 22 members of Ratsadon group have been held. On 15 March 2021 authorities began their trial. Members of the group have reported concerns for their safety in detention, after receiving visits from authorities in the early hours of the morning in Bangkok Remand Prison, allegedly to test them for COVID-19. Former lèse majesté suspects have reported ill-treatment by other inmates in detention, including alleged beatings ordered by prison wardens. 

Three of those detained have previously served lengthy prison terms under the lèse majesté law solely for peacefully expressing their opinions. ‘Pai,’ when a law student was imprisoned for nearly two and a half years for forwarding a BBC news profile of King Rama X on Facebook in 2017. ‘Bank,’ then a fine arts student, was sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment for taking part in a play about a fictional monarch in 2013, and Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, served seven of an eleven years’ sentence for publishing a short story he did not author about a fictional monarch. All were held in lengthy pre-trial detention with bail denied.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, at least 77 people in 68 cases, including six children under 18 years old have been charged with lèse majesté – or royal defamation – under Section 112 of the Criminal Code since authorities announced they would resume the use of the charges, in late 2020. They are facing up between 3 to 15 years in prison for a defamation charge, for their speeches or actions at previous demonstrations, where protesters advocated reforms to the monarchy. At least 400 people, including these 75 individuals, have been charged with other provisions often used to criminalise peaceful protests, including sedition and assembly with threat of violence (Sections 116 and 215 of the Criminal Code, respectively), and violation of the ban on public assembly under the Emergency Decree and the Public Assembly Act.
 

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JAILED WATER DEFENDERS WITH COVID-19

Jailed water defenders with Covid-19

Honduras
26
days left to take action

The Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Assets (Comité Municipal por la Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos, CMDBCP) from Tocoa, North of Honduras, gathers several organisations defending land and environmental rights: the Environmental Committees of Sector San Pedro (13 communities) and Sector Committee Abisinia (14 communities); the Environmental Committee of the Community of Guapinol, campesino groups and the organisations Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguán (COPA); Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR) and Parroquia San Isidro de Tocoa. CMDBCP opposes the operating license issued to the mining company Inversiones Los Pinares in the Carlos Escalera National Park, formerly known as Montaña de Botaderos, in the municipality of Tocoa. On 1 August 2018, local residents set up the “Guapinol camp” to peacefully protest against the license and mining exploitation in the core zone of a protected area of the water sources on which they depend for their survival. They have filled several criminal complaints before local courts which are still pending. 

Members of the CMDBCP have faced at least two criminal proceedings since 2018 for defending the Guapinol and San Pedro Rivers. In March 2019, a judge dismissed the charges against 12 of them, accused of “aggravated arson” and “unjust deprivation of liberty”, but the public prosecutor filled an appeal. On 13 August 2020 the Court of Appeals of Francisco Morazán revoked the dismissal ordered in March for five of the 12 defenders, which means they could face a new trial and be sent to pre-trial detention once again. 

On 26 August 2019, authorities detained José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, and Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz. A week later, on 1 September, a court charged them, and a judge ordered their pre-trial detention. After more than two months in a high security jail, authorities transferred them, on 29 November 2019, to the Olanchito detention centre, where they remain since (see Honduras: Authorities must guarantee due process for human rights defenders). Jeremías Martínez Díaz is being held in La Ceiba Penal Center since 5 December 2018. Some defenders currently in jail reported health conditions including hypertension and respiratory issues. To date, several appeals against their detention and habeas corpus petition requesting an alternative measure for both the illegality of the detention and the risk of Covid-19 were declared inadmissible or are yet to be resolved.

Following a visit on 16 April 2020 to the Olachito Penal Centre, the National Mechanism and Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (MNP-CONAPREV) requested a review of the preventive detention of the seven Guapinol defenders. Amnesty International already called on the authorities in August 2020 to free the 13 defenders and allow them to face trial in liberty (see Urgent Action).

In its opinion number 85/2020 at its 89th session, 23-27 November 2020, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stressed that there is no legal reason for the use of pre-trial detention in the case of defenders José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz and Jeremías Martínez Díaz and emphasize the current risk they are facing in the context of COVID-19. The Working Group asked for the immediate release and redress of the eight defenders, and to investigate those suspected of criminal responsibility for their illegal detention.
Honduras faces a serious problem of overcrowded jails for years. According to the 2020 MNP-CONAPREV report prisons in Honduras are overcrowded to 166% of their installed capacity with only 45% of the population having a final decision on the merits of their case. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regularly expresses concern about the conditions of detention in Honduras, which present a risk to the life and integrity of persons deprived of their liberty due to poor infrastructure, lack of hygiene, lack of sanitary facilities and decent places to sleep, negligent medical care, insufficient food with little nutritional value, and poor and inadequate access to water. In September 2020, Honduran prison authorities reported a total of 1,749 detainees tested positive to COVID-19; in 2021, there are 108 cases reported.

Over the last five years, Amnesty International continuously alerted on numerous killings and other attacks against activists in Honduras, which is one of the deadliest countries in the world to be a human rights defender.

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