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.
The news that United States human rights defender Lynne Stewart has finally been released on compassionate grounds is a wonderful start to 2014. Ms. Stewart is best known for her defense of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to blow up landmarks in New York City.
Front Line Defenders is deeply saddened by the death of Dr Eyad El-Sarraj, Palestinian psychiatrist and human rights defender. He was a staunch critic of both Israel and the Palestinian leadership and was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority (PA) four times.
On 26 November 2013, human rights lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa was acquitted of charge of “obstructing justice”. The charge against her relates to allegations that she used insulting language towards police officers and took photographs of them as they performed a search in March of this year.
On 13 March 2013, human rights defender Ms Perveen Rehman was shot and killed by armed motorcyclists, close to her offices. Perveen Rehman was a social and economic rights defender, working with communities in the slums of Karachi.
On 14 March 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that jailed human rights defender Mr Mam Sonando is to be released on 16 March 2013, while his prison sentence was reduced to five years and suspended for eight months.
On 12 March 2013, Mansheya Misdemeanour Court in Alexandria sentenced prominent human rights defender Mr Hassan Mustafa to two years imprisonment on charges of allegedly assaulting a staff member of the Alexandria Prosecutor's Office, a charge which he strenuously denies.
The verdict in the case of human rights defender and labour rights activist Mr Somyot Prueksakasemsuk is scheduled to be announced by Ratchadapisek Criminal Court on 23 January 2013 at 9am. The human rights defender has been in detention since 30 April 2011 and is charged with contravening Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which forbids defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family, commonly known as the lèse majesté law.
On 12 January 2013 the family of imprisoned human rights defender Mr Gao Zhisheng were permitted a visit to see him ten months after an initial visit on 24 March 2012. Reports of this recent visit only came to light on 18 January 2013. Gao Zhisheng's US-based wife, Ms Geng He, told Radio Free Asia that her father and brother in law saw Gao Zhisheng for 30 minutes on 12 January but were forbidden from asking any “sensitive” questions, including what conditions in prison were like.
On 17 January 2013, human rights defender Mr Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafdha was released on bail pending trial after paying 100 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 200 Euro). He had been in detention since 17 December 2012. The human rights defender faces charges of spreading false information on Twitter, a trial date has been set for 29 January 2013.