July 21, 2024
Amnesty International Logo

March Update from Amnesty International

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

– Martin Luther King

In case you missed it, for Black History Month, on our Herkimer College Amnesty International Teams channel and on our Instagram, we featured the above quote by Dr. King accompanying a link to Tyre Nichols’ photography site to honor his work and life.  Visit Tyre’s photography site at https://thiscaliforniakid2.wixsite.com/tnicholsphotography.

For March, International Women’s Month, Amnesty International of Herkimer College is focusing on the December Write For Rights cases especially devoted to women, however, each of the cases that follow the first six, are opportunities for students and staff to make a difference on all 10 of the cases. You can make a difference by a simple click.

“Please use your freedoms to help others gain theirs.”   

–Aung San Sui Kyi – Burmese Nobel Peace Prize Winner



And, by visiting the Amnesty International Table in the library.                                                                                                  



Thank you for making a difference!

Aleksandra Skochilenko, Russia –  JAILED FOR OPPOSING RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE Aleksandra (or Sasha for short) fills her life with art and music, playing all sorts of musical instruments. On March 31, 2022, Aleksandra peacefully protested against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She replaced price tags in a local supermarket in Saint Petersburg with little paper labels containing facts about the invasion. Aleksandra was arrested and charged for her peaceful action. She has been held in detention ever since, in terrible conditions.

Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia , Zimbabwe     –    JAILED AND BEATEN FOR PROTESTING        
Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia have a lot of things in common: they love playing board games, watching Netflix and are passionate about politics. Sadly, they also share horrific memories of a terrible attack. On May 13, 2020, after leading an anti-government protest, the women were arrested and then abducted and allegedly tortured, including by sexual assault. The women have been charged with faking their own ordeal and face years in jail.                                 

Zineb Redouane, France   –   KILLED BY A TEAR GAS GRENADE                                  
 In December 2018, Zineb was preparing dinner in her fourth-floor apartment. In the streets below, police officers were using tear gas to disperse a protest. As Zineb went to shut her window, a police officer pointed a tear gas grenade launcher in her direction and fired. She was hit in the face by a grenade and died from her injuries. No one has been charged or suspended over her tragic death.

  Chow Hang-Tung – Hong Kong   –   JAILED FOR DEFENDING THE RIGHT TO REMEMBER                                      Chow Hang-tung is a courageous human rights lawyer and activist. On June 4, 2021, Chow asked people on social media to light candles in memory of the protesters killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Chow was arrested for daring to commemorate their lives. Now she is serving 22 months in prison for her activism. What’s more, she faces further imprisonment for allegedly endangering national security, through her entirely peaceful actions.

Dorgelesse Nguessan, Cameroon   –  JAILED FOR ATTENDNG HER FIRST PROTEST                                                 
Two years ago, Dorgelesse was busy running her hairdressing business and supporting her family. She had never attended a protest. In September 2020, concerns about the state of Cameroon’s economy led her to protest for the first time. During the peaceful demonstrations, Dorgelesse was arrested. She was charged with “insurrection, assembly, meetings and public demonstrations” and sentenced to five years in prison. She is desperate to be reunited with her family.

Yren Rotela and Mariana Sepulaveda, Paraguay    –   DON’T TELL US WHO WE ARE                 
Yren and Mariana want to live their lives freely, but as trans women they are busy fighting for their rights. Trans people in Paraguay can’t legally change their names or obtain identity documents that match their gender identity. The state is trying to make them invisible. What’s more, it is difficult for trans groups to protest and speak out about the barriers they face.

 Vahid Afkari,Iran      –    TORTURED AND JAILED FOR PROTESTING                                                            
 Vahid Afkari comes from a close-knit family. On September 17, 2018, Vahid and his brother Navid were arrested for peacefully attending protests in Shiraz. Three months later, his brother Habib was also arrested for peaceful protesting. Vahid, Navid and Habib were tortured repeatedly and forced to “confess” to crimes they said they did not commit. Navid was executed in September 2020, and Habib spent 550 days in solitary confinement, and was released from prison in March 2022. Vahid has been in solitary confinement since September 2020, unjustly convicted of various baseless crimes and sentenced to decades in prison and 74 lashes.

 Nassar Zefzafi – Morocco  –   SERVING 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SPEAKING OUT                
Nasser Zefzafi is from Rif, Morocco; a region struggling with poor healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. When protests broke out in 2016 demanding change, the Hirak El-Rif protest movement was born, and Nasser became a prominent figure. On May 29, 2017, Nasser was arrested for interrupting a sermon at a mosque and accusing the prayer leader of acting as a mouthpiece for the authorities. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

 Shahnewaz Chowdhury, Bangladesh – FACING PRISON FOR A FACEBOOK POST                                            
  In May 2021, Shahnewaz Chowdhury’s village was swept up by a storm. Homes were destroyed. Shahnewaz wrote a Facebook post about the impact of a local power plant, linking it to the environmental destruction of his region. He was arrested for his Facebook post and detained for 80 days under Bangladesh’s oppressive Digital Security Act. Shahnewaz was granted bail, but if convicted, he faces many years in prison.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is a self-taught Black Cuban artist. He loves to paint, dance, and wear bright pink suits. On 11 July 2021, Luis Manuel posted a video online, saying he would be joining one of the largest demonstrations Cuba had seen in decades. Luis Manuel was arrested and taken to Guanajay maximum security prison, where he remains to this day. In prison, Luis Manuel’s health is declining, and he needs proper medical care.