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.

Cambodia: Update – Convictions upheld against 11 land rights defendersposted on: 2015/01/27

On 26 January 2015, the Court of Appeal upheld the convictions – with slightly reduced sentences – in two cases against 10 women land rights rights defenders, namely Ms Tep Vanny, Ms Nget Khun, Ms Song Sreyleap, Ms Kong Chantha, Ms Pan Chunreth, Ms Bop Chorvy, Ms Nong Srengand, Ms Heng Pich, Ms Im Srey Touch, Ms Phoung Sopheap, as well as Ven Seung Hai. The human rights defenders had been sentenced in November 2014 to one year's imprisonment and a fine of a 2 million Cambodian Riel (approximately €400) on charges of obstructing traffic, after protesting in front of Phnom Penh’s City Hall.

Russian Federation – Physical attack against employees of Human Rights Centre “Memorial”posted on: 2015/01/26

On 14 January 2015, at approximately 4 p.m., seven masked men in black entered the offices of Human Rights Centre “Memorial” in Gudermes, Chechnya, and attacked human rights defenders Ms Lilia Yusupova and Ms Elza Shukueva and, throwing eggs at them and yelling “this is because you defend [Igor] Kalyapin!”

Government of Bahrain sees no difficulty exporting recruits to ISIS while jaIling a human rights defender for a Tweet.posted on: 2015/01/20

Today leading Bahraini human rights defender and founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to 6 months in prison for a tweet in which he allegedly insulted the King. This is just the latest in a series of trials in which the human rights defender has been prosecuted for his legitimate human rights work.

Honduras – Torture and killing of human rights defender Juan Francisco Martínezposted on: 2015/01/16

On 5 January 2015, the body of human rights defender Mr Juan Francisco Martínez was found in the village of Tapuyman in the Santa Elena Municipality of La Paz. The human rights defender, whose body bore marks of torture, had been killed on 4 January 2015.

Tajikistan: Update - Tajikistan – Human rights lawyer Mr Shukhrat Kudratov sentenced to nine years' imprisonmentposted on: 2015/01/16

On 13 January 2015, the Dushanbe City Court sentenced human rights lawyer Mr Shukhrat Kudratov to nine years' imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony on charges of fraud and bribery. The human rights defender has also been prohibited from performing any activities as a lawyer upon completion of his prison term.

Update: Belarus – Police order to expel human rights defender Ms Elena Tonkacheva upheld by courtposted on: 2015/01/16

On 13 January 2015, Pervomayskiy District Court in Minsk ruled to uphold the previous decision of the Office for Migration and Citizenship of Pervomayskiy District Police Department cancelling the residence permit of human rights defender Ms Elena Tonkacheva ordering her to leave Belarus for three years.

Award-Winning Anti-Slavery Campaigner Jailed in Mauritania Human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid sentenced to 2 years posted on: 2015/01/16

[Dublin, Ireland] – Mauritanian human rights defender and anti-slavery campaigner Biram Dah Abeid was sentenced to two years in prison, charged with ‘illegal assembly and rebellion’ as a result of a caravan he and his colleagues organised to protest ongoing slavery practices in the country and advocate for full abolition.

Mauritania: UPDATE – Sentencing of human rights defenders Messrs Biram Dah Abeid, Brahim Bilal Ramdhane and Djiby Sow to two years' imprisonmentposted on: 2015/01/15

On 15 January 2015, human rights defenders Messers Biram Dah Abeid, Brahim Bilal Ramdhane and Djiby Sow were sentenced to two years' imprisonment for charges relating to their participation in a caravan of protest calling for the final abolition of slavery in Mauritania.


On Wednesday 14 January, Front Line Defenders launched its 2015 Annual Report, “Human Rights Defenders, Lives in the Balance” which examines in detail the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders (HRDs) around the world, in the period January – December 2014.

The report was launched internationally at a press conference in Dublin by Mary Lawlor, Founder and Executive Director, Front Line Defenders, Andrea Rocca, Head of Protection, Front Line Defenders and keynote speaker Mary Akrami, Co-founder and Director of the Afghan Women Skills Development Centre (AWSDC) in Kabul and Board Member of the Afghan Women's Network (AWN). The AWSDC was the first safe house for women and children in Afghanistan.

Update: Saudi Arabia – Human rights defender Mr Waleed Abu Al-Khair's sentence increased to 15 years in prisonposted on: 2015/01/13

On 12 January 2015, the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh increased the sentence against human rights defender Mr Waleed Abu Al-Khair to 15 years' imprisonment. On 6 July 2014, the human rights defender had been sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment, with five years suspended, and a travel ban of equal duration, as well as a fine of 200,000 Saudi Riyal, for charges related to his peaceful human rights activities. That verdict was appealed by the Public Prosecutor who requested that Waleed Abu Al-Khair serve the entire 15 year sentence.

India - Attack and threats against human rights defender Mr Sunil Kumarposted on: 2015/01/12

On 23 December 2014, human rights defender Mr Sunil Kumar was physically attacked by three unknown persons. He suffered a fractured knee and an injured shoulder and ankle. During the attack, the aggressors told him that he had been warned before not to follow up on cases of persons allegedly involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution in the red light areas in Varanasi (State of Uttar Pradesh, India). They also threatened him not to oppose the bail of the most prominent of the accused human traffickers, whose date of hearing was fixed on that same day in a court in Varanasi.

Update: Saudi Arabia – Human rights defender Raif Badawi receives first 50 lashesposted on: 2015/01/09

On 9 January 2015, human rights defender Mr Raif Badawi was lashed publicly in front of Al Juffali Mosque in Jeddah after Friday prayers. He received 50 lashes, and will be subjected to 50 more on separate occasions until he has received 1000 lashes.

KENYA: UPDATE – Hearing date scheduled for eight human rights defenders arrested during peaceful demonstrationposted on: 2015/01/07

On 3 March 2015, human rights defenders Mr Gacheke Gachihi, Mr Wilfred Olal, Mr John Koome, Mr Kenneth Kirimi, Mr Francis Sakwa, Mr Denis Ouma, Mr Okello Odhiambo and Mr Denis Okota, will face their first hearing before the Court on charges of “taking part in an unlawful protest” and “inciting violence”.

China: UPDATE – Arrest of human rights defender Mr Guo Yushanposted on: 2015/01/06

On 3 January 2015 human rights defender Mr Guo Yushan was formally arrested on charges of “illegal business activity” in Beijing. The human rights defender is being held in Beijing No.1 Detention Centre where he has been since he was initially detained by police on 9 October 2014. It is unknown what the charges relate to.