November 26, 2022
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November Update from Amnesty International: Join the Petition!

November’s Amnesty International Action offers petitions instead of letter writing for the remaining 2021 Write4Rights cases. In December the campus chapter will concentrate on copying short letters on behalf of ten other specific and new cases. 

Additionally, American WNBA star, Brittney Griner, recently sentenced to nine years in a Russian Penal Colony, will have an action available beginning this month.

In addition to Brittney, the following people have petitions to sign on their behalf. Please stop by the display in the campus library this month and use your rights to sign your name in support of those who are unjustly imprisoned.

Here are last year’s cases:

ZHANG ZHAN / CHINA: REPORTING ON COVID-19 GOT HER LOCKED UP 

When Wuhan went into lockdown, Zhang Zhan was one of the few citizen journalists to report on the unfolding Covid-19 crisis. Determined to get the truth out, the former lawyer travelled there in February 2020. She took to social media to report how government officials had detained independent reporters and harassed families of Covid-19 patients. She was later detained and sentenced to four years in prison to silence her.

JANNA JIHAD / OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: HARASSED FOR EXPOSING ISRAELI VIOLENCE

Janna Jihad just wants a normal childhood for herself and all other Palestinian children. But the 15-year-old Palestinian teen lives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank – and life under systematic discrimination is anything but normal. Having begun documenting military violations at the age of seven, Janna’s principled journalism has attracted unwanted attention. She’s been harassed and threatened with death, but she won’t give up – not until institutional racism against Palestinians ends. 

CIHAM ALI / ERITREA: TAKEN AT 15 AND NEVER SEEN AGAIN     

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Eritrea, Ciham Ali wanted to be a fashion designer. But at 15, her ambitions were cut short when she was arrested trying to flee Eritrea – and never seen again. The authorities appear to have taken her in retaliation against her father’s suspected involvement in a coup attempt on the government. Nine years on and no one knows where Ciham is being held. Meanwhile, the US government has been silent on their citizen’s plight.

BERNARDO CAAL XOL / GUATEMALA: JAILED FOR DEFENDING A SACRED RIVER (Update: Released!)

Bernardo Caal Xol has done everything he can to peacefully protect his people’s land and natural resources from plunder and biodiversity loss. When the river they rely on for survival was threatened by the construction of two hydroelectric power plants, Bernardo and his people protested. He was publicly smeared with repeated and baseless accusations. In 2018, a judge sentenced Bernardo to more than seven years in prison, convicting him without any evidence.

RUNG PANUSAYA / THAILAND: FACING A LIFE SENTENCE FOR PEACEFUL PROTESTS  

Once a shy, quiet teenager, Panusaya – known as “Rung”, meaning “rainbow” – has become a leading voice in Thailand’s democracy movement. The university student, a vocal proponent for equality and the right to freedom of expression, opposes the use of the lèse-majesté law to silence government critics. In March 2021, the authorities jailed her for 60 days under this law. She went on hunger strike for 38 days and was released. Today, she faces dozens of charges against her and life imprisonment. 

MOHAMED BAKER / EGYPT: LOCKED AWAY FOR DEFENDING FREEDOM

Human rights lawyer Mohamed Baker must do without his wife, cats, and everyone else he loves. Falsely accused of terrorism, he’s in prison for defending the rights of some of the most marginalized people in Egypt. The prison authorities have treated him especially cruelly, refusing him a bed, mattress, outdoor exercise, even family photos. Defending people’s freedoms should not cost him his own.

SPHERE / UKRAINE: ATTACKED FOR DEFENDING LGBTI & WOMEN’S RIGHTS                                      

Sphere NGO have been championing LGBTI and women’s rights since 2006, and are among the oldest organizations of their kind in the country. Founded by activists Anna Sharyhina and Vira Chernygina, they provide a safe space for women and LGBTI people in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. In recent years, however, they have suffered dozens of attacks by violent anti-LGBTI groups. Anna and Vira report these incidents, but the police have failed to hold anyone accountable.

IMOLEAYO MICHAEL / NIGERIA: FACING TRUMPED-UP CHARGES FOR PROTESTING POLICE VIOLENCE 

When young people took to Nigeria’s streets in October 2020, Imoleayo Michael joined them. They were protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad – or SARS – a police unit notorious for violence. The young computer programmer promoted the protests on social media, using the hashtag #EndSARS. Two weeks later, armed men took him from his home and locked him in an underground cell for 41 days. He’s facing trumped-up charges and years in prison. 

MIKITA ZALATAROU / BELARUS: TEEN BEATEN,ELECTROCUTED, AND JAILED

Mikita Zalatarou was waiting for a friend when he was swept up in a crowd of protesters and straight into a nightmare. Within 24 hours, officers arrested the 16-year-old at his home, accusing him of throwing a Molotov cocktail at riot police. They locked him up and allegedly tortured him. Despite a lack of evidence, Mikita – who also has epilepsy – was convicted and jailed for five years.

WENDY GALARZA / MEXICO: SHOT WHILE PROTESTING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 

For Wendy Galarza, helping to raise young children is the best way to create a fairer world. It’s a goal she works hard for in Mexico, where women are often abused and BRwoman known as Alexis. During it, police fired shots and Wendy was wounded. She launched a case against the police, but those responsible for the violence have not been brought to justice.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST  – AMERICAN CITIZEN AND WNBA SUPERSTAR AND OLYMPIC ATHLETE: BRITTNEY GRINER: