Nasser Bin Ghaith (United Arab Emirates) – Prominent Academic and Economist, Nasser Bin Ghaith, Starts New Hunger Strike. Bin Ghaith was arrested in 2015 and held incommunicado for 9 months and held in solitary confinement prior to his court proceedings. After the proceedings he continued to be held in solitary for 19 more months. In 2017 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for critical remarks against the UAE and Egypt which he made online. In April 2017 he began a hunger strike to protest his sentence. In February 2018, he again began a hunger strike to protest the poor conditions in the prison. In April he was forced to end his hunger strike at the threat of restricted prison visits.
The Human Rights group GCHR is calling for the following actions:
– immediate and unconditional release as his arrest is solely for peaceful human rights activities;
– assure that he is protected from torture and ill treatment, including prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement;
– that he be treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, to include regular access to his family, and medical care, if needed.
– Allow UN experts or international NGOs access to visit. (Gulf Center for Human Rights, April 12, 2018)
Ahmadreza Djalali (Iran) – Statement by Margot Wallström on the Death Sentence Against Ahmadreza Djalali
Margot Wallström, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, issued the following statement on the death sentence imposed by the government of Iran against medical doctor and scholar Ahmadreza Djalali.
http://www.government.se/statements/2018/02/statement-by-margot-wallstrom-on-the-death-sentence-against-ahmadreza-djalali/ (Government of Sweden, Margot Wallström, February 5, 2018)
Boris Weisfeiler (Chile) – It was reported to CCS by Olga Weisfelier (Boris’ sister who continues to actively pursue this case) that the case has been re-opened but is moving ahead very slowly. The Judge has required that some of the eight men charged with the death of Weisfeiler, must have psychiatric evaluations. The case has been postponed indefinitely until the evaluations have been completed. All of the defendants involved are currently over 70.
Serkan Golge (Turkey) – NASA Scientist Still Awaiting Verdict
Serkan Golge who was arrested in July 2016 and accused of being a spy for the CIA and working on the coup to depose the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is to receive his verdict on February 8th. If he is convicted he could receive up to 15 years in prison.
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/nasa-scientist-accused-terrorism-awaits-verdict-turkish-trial prison. (Science, Kristen McTighe, January 24, 2018)
Wang Yu AND Bao Longjun (China) – Son of Detained Rights Lawyers Arrives in Australia After Battle to Leave China
Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her activist husband Bao Longjun, has finally been allowed to leave China after two and half years under house arrest with his parents. Just 16 at the time his parents were arrested in July 2015, Bao Zhuoxuan will now be able to complete his High School studies in Australia. His release comes in the wake of a Wang Yu’s “confession” to charges of subversion.
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-son-01182018140246.html (Radio Free Asia, Ng Yik-tung and Lam Kwok-lap, January 18, 2018)
Junaid Hafeez (Pakistan) – Let Judge Adjudicating Junaid Hafeez’s Trial Continue Proceedings, Court Asked
A lawyer for former university professor Junaid Hafeez has asked that the judge considering blasphemy charges against him be allowed to conclude the proceedings, which have been going on since March 2013. The case has been moved from one judge to another seven times in almost five years, and there is just one witness left to cross-examine.
https://dailytimes.com.pk/184068/let-judge-adjudicating-junaid-hafeezs-trial-continue-proceedings-court-asked/ (Daily Times, Staff Report, January 19, 2018)
Ilham Tohti (China) – Rights Groups Call for Ilham Tohti’s Release on Fourth Anniversary of His Arrest
The Ilham Tohti Initiative and the World Uyghur Congress, human rights organizations based in Germany, marked the fourth anniversary of Mr. Tohti’s arrest by reiterating their call that he be immediately and unconditionally released. Ilham Tohti is a professor of economics who has been outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government’s actions in the Uyghur region, but human rights groups reject claims that he has advocated for outright separatism, the charge for which he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/release-01172018142356.html (Radio Free Asia, Richard Finney, January 17, 2018)
Turkish Academics (Turkey) – 9200 Higher Education Personnel and Students Targeted Since January 2016, According to SAR
The academic community has been a large target of dismissals, detainees and those arrested since the crackdown in Turkey following the publishing of the Academics for Peace petition.
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180116083248710 (University World News, Brendan O’Malley, January 16, 2018)
Ahmadreza Djalali (Iran) – Belgium Speaks Out Against Death Penalty and In Support of Ahmadreza Djalali
The Belgian Foreign Minister spoke with the Iranian Foreign Minister and requested that the death penalty imposed on Djalali be lifted and that Djalali be released.
http://www.brusselstimes.com/brussels/10034/belgium-tries-to-save-the-life-of-researcher-sentenced-to-death-in-iran (The Brussels Times, January 12, 2018)
Raif Badawi (Saudi Arabia) – Wife of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Told He Could Be Pardoned
Ensaf Haider, the wife of imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, told by European lawmakers who visited Riyadh at the end of last year, that her husband might be pardoned. Raif Badawi has been jailed since 2012 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his writings. But Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen by some as a reformer who might take a new look at the case.
http://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/wife-of-saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-told-he-could-be-pardoned (Straits Times, AFP, January 11, 2018)
Raif Badawi (Saudi Arabia) – Will a New Saudi Arabia Free Raif Badawi And Other Prisoners of Conscience
Ensaf Hidar wrote an Opinion piece for the New York Times discussing improvements in Saudi Arabia under the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. She explains how many of them came about and the hope that it brings to the Saudi people. She, then, addresses prisoners of conscience, including her husband Raif Badawi, and a plea to review their cases and release them from prison and exonerate them for the charges that are now part of the new direction of Saudi Arabia.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/opinion/saudi-arabia-liberal-prince.html (New York Times, Ensaf Haidar, January 5, 2018)
Nuriye Gulmen/Semih Ozakca (Turkey) – Turkish Teachers Still On Hunger Strike To Get Their Jobs Back
Academic Nuriye Gulmen and teacher Semih Özakca, husband and wife, are on the 300th day of their hunger strike protesting removal from their jobs. They were dismissed and charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization,” and “opposing the Law on Assembly and Demonstration,” and “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” Both have been since released from jail, but the charges were not dismissed nor were they reinstated to their previous positions.
http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/192937-gulmen-ozakca-on-300th-day-of-hunger-strike (Bianet, January 2, 2018)