Front Line News Archive

Russian Federation – The burning of the office of the Joint Mobile Group in Grozny after threats and an attempted attack on human rights defenders working in Chechnyaposted on: 2014/12/13

Today, on 14 December 2014, at around 1 p.m. several armed men entered the apartment of the Joint Mobile Group located next to their burned office. They refused to identify themselves but later said they were from Leninsky district police department of Grozny. They forcibly searched the premises and two members of the JMG, Sergey Babinets and Dmitry Dimitriev. They had no warrant and provided no explanations except pointing out that Babinets is suspicious "because he has a beard." The policemen seized the mobile phones of the human rights defenders leaving them out of connection and without legal representation for around one hour and a half. Two computers of the JMG and CCTV cameras have been also seized. The human rights defenders were released at approximatively 2.30 pm.

On 13 December 2014, three unidentified armed men tried to enter the office of the Joint Mobile Group in Grozny. This followed a demonstration against the Joint Mobile Group and its head Igor Kalyapin which took place in Grozny that morning.

finalists for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk posted on: 2015/03/04

On Wednesday 04 March the Jury for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk announced the 5 finalists for this year's Award, all of whom are either in jail, in hiding or face the threat of jail because of their peaceful work defending the rights of others.

HOW CAN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BETTER SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AT RISK? posted on: 2015/03/04

As members of the European Parliament Human Rights and Democracy Group gather today in Brussels to discuss how the Parliament can better support human rights defenders at risk, Front Line Defenders highlights the growing backlash against human rights defenders around the world in its Annual Report Human Rights Defenders in the Balance.

Israel / OPT – Update: Sentencing of human rights defender Abdallah Abu Rahmaposted on: 2015/02/27

On 23 February 2015, human rights defender Mr Abdallah Abu Rahma was sentenced by the Ofer Israeli Military Court to four months imprisonment, suspended, and 5,000 Israeli Shekel (approximately €1,126). He had been convicted on charges of “disturbing a soldier on duty” and “obstructing military operations” on 21 October 2014, but the Court had postponed its decision regarding the sentence.

Mauritania – Update: Hunger strike ended by human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow detained colleaguesposted on: 2015/02/26

On 26 February 2015, human rights defenders Messrs Biram Dah Abeid, Brahim Ramdhane Bilal et Djiby Sow ended a hunger strike in Aleg prison begun three days before. The human rights defenders had called for their trial be transferred to the original jurisdiction of Nouakchott, for their right to visits by relatives to be restored, and for a date be set for the trials of their colleagues detained in Nouakchott prison. The human rights defenders await the outcome of their appeal to the Nouakchott Court of Appeal, although the files for their case still do not appear to have been transferred from Rosso, where the trial in first instance took place, to Nouakchott, and no date has been set for the trial.

Security in-a-Box: How to Protect your online communications in more than 13 languages posted on: 2015/02/25

Today Front Line Defenders and Tactical Technology Collective, in cooperation with Brazilian organisation Escola de Activismo and Macedonian Foundation Metamorphosis, launched the newest language editions of Security in a Box, in Portuguese and Macedonian. See www.securityinabox.org.

Azerbaijan/EU: Use Official Visit to Free Activists No More Business as Usual in the Face of Crackdown posted on: 2015/02/23

(Brussels, February 23, 2015) – The European Union special representative for human rights should use his visit to Azerbaijan beginning February 23, 2015, to insist that the authorities release dozens of activists and journalists imprisoned on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights, and Front Line Defenders said today.

Update: Burundi – Provisional release of human rights defender Bob Rugurikaposted on: 2015/02/19

On 19 February 2015, human rights defender Mr Bob Rugurika was finally released from Muramvya prison. The day before, a judge had accepted the human rights defender's appeal and ordered his conditional provisional release on a bond of 15 million Burundian Francs (approximately €8400). However, the prosecutor had refused to execute the decision that day, raising fears that the human rights defender would be held arbitrarily.

Bob Rugurika is the Director of Radio Publique Africaine – RPA (African Public Radio), a private radio station of Burundi known for dealing with human rights-related issues.

India – Update: Supreme Court holds that human rights defender Teesta Setalvad should not be detainedposted on: 2015/02/19

On 19 February 2015, the Indian Supreme Court ordered that human rights defender Ms Teesta Setalvad and her spouse, Mr Javed Anand, should remain at liberty during the investigation of charges made against them. They are accused of embezzling funds intended for the construction of a memorial to the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

China: Update – Release of human rights defender Mr Gu Yimin from enforced disappearanceposted on: 2015/02/16

On the afternoon of 6 February 2015 human rights defender Mr Gu Yimin was released, three days after he had been forcibly disappeared in Changshu City, Jiangsu Province. Gu Yimin had reportedly been detained in a guest house for three days and three nights by State Security agents from Changzhou city, in the same Province.

China: Update – Release of human rights defender Ms Kou Yandingposted on: 2015/02/16

On 14 February 2015, human rights defender Ms Kou Yanding was released from police custody in Beijing, where she had been held since her detention on 9 October 2014. The human rights defender was escorted back to her home city of Tai'an, in Shandong Province.

Syria: Free Human Rights Defenders Held 3 Yearsposted on: 2015/02/16

The Syrian government should immediately free the prominent Syrian human rights defenders Mazen Darwish, Hani Zaitani and Hussein Ghrer, 71 human rights groups said today, on the third anniversary of their arrest. The three men have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty on the basis of their human rights activities.

Saudi Arabia: Update – Release of two women human rights defenders attempting to drive into Saudi Arabiaposted on: 2015/02/13

On 12 February 2014, women human rights defenders Ms Maysaa Al-Amodi and Ms Lujain Al-Hathlol were released after spending more than two months in detention. They had both been charged with “breaching public order” and “overriding the guardian’s authority”.

HRDs in the Newsposted on: 2015/02/13

HRDs in the News is a regular news round-up which draws together news about human rights defenders (HRDs) who have been appearing in the world media.

Western Sahara: Update – Concern for Abdelkhalik Elmarkhi's health as he resumes his hunger strikeposted on: 2015/02/12

On 8 February 2015, human rights defender Mr Abdelkhalik Elmarkhi resumed his hunger strike, which he had suspended on 28 January 2015 after a public official from the prosecution office reportedly promised that his demands would be considered. He is currently held in the prison's medical unit.

Abdelkhalik Elmarkhi is a member of the Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, and a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) in Guelmim. The Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights documents human rights violations in Western Sahara. The AMDH promotes and raises awareness of human rights and reports on violations of the rights of Sahrawis in Morocco.

Abdelkhalik Elmarkhi originally began his hunger strike on 15 January 2015 to demand a fair trial and to protest the conditions of his detention, including ill-treatment and restrictions imposed on his communications with his family. His health was reported as being in serious conditions, and he had lost seven kilograms during the initial hunger strike.