Onur Hamzaoglu (Former Professor of Public Health faculty at Kocaeli University School of Medicine and member of Academics for Peace, Turkey) – On February 9, 208 Hamzaoglu and a number of others were taken into custody. On February 17they were arrested and sent to prison. Only two of the suspects were detained – Hamzaoglu was one of them. On July 19, 2018 following their first court hearing they were released by the court with a trial date set for January 2019.
https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/onur-hamzaoglu-detained (Frontline Defenders, July 23, 2018)
Sherry Chen (Hydrologist, formerly employed by the NWS, USA) – Chen was arrested by the FBI for allegedly spying for China. She, also, as a result, was terminated from her job with the National Weather Service. Once the case was investigated it was determined that she was innocent and she had not done anything wrong. She was released but her job would not re-instate her. Dr. Chen filed an appeal and the appeals judge ruled in her favor and instructed the Commerce Department to reinstate her, grant her back pay and benefits. The Commerce Department has appealed the Judge’s decision. The Sherry Chen Legal Defense Fund wrote the Inspector General of the Commerce Department requesting a supplemental investigation in her behalf.
https://www.sherrychendefensefund.org/latest-developments.html (Sherry Chen Legal Defense Fund: Latest Developments, 07/14/2018)
Narges Mohammadi (Student in Physics and Defender of Women’s Rights, Iran) – Narges Mohammadi who had been arrested in May of 2016 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for her public advocacy of women’s rights, took ill while incarcerated and was transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to a hospital on June 30, 2018. She is reported to have severe kidney pain, per her husband. She is being checked for gall bladder problems and kidney stones. Her attorney expressed hope that once released from the hospital she would be returned home on conditional leave.
https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/07/imprisoned-human-rights-defender-narges-mohammadi-hospitalized-in-tehran/ (Center for Human Rights in Iran, July 2, 2018)
Note: On July 17, 2018, The Center for Human Rights in Iran notified the public that Narges Mohammedi’s sister planned to leave Iran to visit Narges’ children in France and was notified that she was on a travel ban and could not leave the country.
https://iranhumanrights.org/2018/07/political-prisoner-narges-mohammadis-sister-banned-from-travel-as-state-continues-to-harass-her-family/ (Center for Human Rights in Iran, July 21, 2018)
Sherry Chen (Chinese American Hydrologist, Employed by NOAA – USA) – Articles about this case are on this website explaining this situation in detail. A brief synopsis – Chen was accused of spying for China, passing on classified information about the nation’s dams. An investigation revealed that she had done nothing wrong and she was released and all charges were dismissed. However, NOAA did not reinstate her to her previous, or any, position. Chen appealed to the National Merit Protection Board, an independent, bipartisan board charged with safeguarding the rights of civil servants. The Board ruled last month (“in an unusually strongly worded statement” – re: the New York Times), that NOAA must reinstate her to her former position, give her back pay and benefits and cover her legal fees. The judge noted that Commerce Department officials had buried evidence that would prove her innocence and that the officials who fired her were more concerned about being right than doing the right thing. Chen, as part of her initial appeal to the MSPB, said she was a victim of a gross injustice. The Judge agreed with her.
As of May 17th, the Commerce Department plans to appeal the ruling and move forward with Chen’s dismissal.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/technology/sherry-chen-national-weather-service.html (New York Times, May 17, 2018 by Nicole Perlroth)
Andreas Georgiou (Greek National Statistician – Greece) – Georgiou was recruited in 2010 from the International Monetary Fund to clean up Greece’s public accounts. During Greece’s financial turmoil they asked the European Union and the IMF for assistance. They, in turn, demanded an accurate accounting. Georgiou found that the budget deficit was 15.4% higher than previously thought. Georgiou was then blamed for manipulating the figures and he was arrested and tried. The court acquitted Georgiou but the Supreme Court annulled the acquittal. The case will now be presented for a third time to the Appeals Court Council, which has twice rejected the charges against Georgiou and two colleagues. However, the decisions are continually challenged by prosecutors and overturned by the Supreme Court. If the Appeals Council finds against him ad opens the case for trial he could face life in prison.
https://www.significancemagazine.com/10-news/589-greece-s-former-national-statistician-is-heading-back-to-court (10-News, May 16, 2018 by Brian Tarran)
Xiyue Wang (Chinese-Born American Citizen, Princeton Student Arrested in Iran) – Wang was studying in Iran, learning Farsi and conducting research for his dissertation on 19th and 20th Century Eurasian history. He was arrested and accused of spying for the United States against Iran. He is one of many American citizens who are being held in Iranian prisons (thought to be hostages to affect political issues). Since the US President pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, his wife reports that it has gotten worse for Wang.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/father-5-old-imprisoned-iran-110000941.html (Yahoo News, May 18, 2018 by Stephanie Sy)
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) – Sweden Confirms Citizenship Granted for Iranian Scientist Facing Death Penalty. The Swedish Foreign Ministry, on February 17, 2018, confirmed that it has granted citizenship to a Stockholm-based scientist who is being held in Iran facing a death sentence. Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute was arrested in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage.
https://www.rferl.org/a/sweden-confirms-citizenship-iranian-scientist-death-penalty/29045754.html (RadioFreeEurope, February 17, 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)