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.

Update: India - New judicial harassment of human rights defender Teesta Setalvadposted on: 2015/04/17

On 15 April 2015, human rights defender Ms Teesta Setalvad released a statement detailing her full co-operation with an investigation launched by Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) Unit after members of the Gujarat Government wrote to the Minister of Home Affairs Mr Rajnath Singh, demanding further probes into the accounts of her NGO Sabrang Trust.

Update: Morocco – Mbarek Daoudi sentenced to six month's imprisonmentposted on: 2015/04/15

On 09 April 2015, human rights defender Mbarek Daoudi was sentenced to six months' imprisonment by the Court of Appeal in Agadir. The decision came after the Public Prosecutor appealed the initial court decision against Mbarek Daoudi, and called for the stricter punishment of the human rights defender.

Front Line Defenders Statement on Hearing for Mazen Darwishposted on: 2015/04/15

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Front Line Defenders calls once again for the immediate release of Syrian human rights defenders Mazen Darwish, Hani Zeitani and Hussein Ghreir, held for two years without charge and then an additional year without trial after charges were finally filed. The three were due to appear in a Syrian court on 15 April, according to information released by the Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression, but the hearing was again postponed. The new date is 28 April.

Update: China – Five women's rights activists releasedposted on: 2015/04/14

On the evening of 13 April 2015, five women's rights activists, detained in China for over a month, were conditionally released.

UPDATE: Cambodia - Boeung Kak Lake activists releasedposted on: 2015/04/13

On 11 April 2015, at approximately 4 pm, 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists, arrested and imprisoned on 10 November 2014, were released by royal pardon.

Sudan: Human rights defender Amin Mekki Medani releasedposted on: 2015/04/10

On 9 April the human rights defender Mr Amin Mekki Medani was released after the Minister of Justice decided to freeze the case against him and the chairman of the Sudanese opposition umbrella group – the National Consensus Forces (NCF) – Mr Faruq Abu Eisa pursuant to his powers under Article 58 of the 1991 Criminal Procedure Law.

India – Ministry of Home Affairs suspends Greenpeace India's Registrationposted on: 2015/04/09

As of 9 April 2015, Greenpeace India's registration has been suspended with immediate effect. The action was taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The organisation's seven bank accounts within India have been frozen.

Syria: Urgent call to protect civilians caught between fires in besieged Yarmouk Camp posted on: 2015/04/09

In view of the dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp (located South Damascus), the undersigned organizations urge all parties on the ground to abide by their obligations under international law and to ensure protection of the lives of civilians trapped in the fighting. The international community should take urgent measures to protect thousands of civilians at risk and alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable.

Update: Morocco - HRD Hicham Mansouri begins hunger strike to protest convictionposted on: 2015/04/08

On 7 April 2015, human rights defender Mr Hicham Mansouri began a hunger strike in protest against his conviction on a trumped-up charge of adultery. On 30 March 2015, the human rights defender was sentenced by the Rabat Court of First Instance to 10 months in prison, and ordered to pay a fine of 40,000 Dirham (approx. €3734).

Venezuela: Stop Harassing Human Rights Defendersposted on: 2015/04/07

Intimidation Undermines Independent Oversight

International rights groups issued a joint statement on 7 April 2015 condemning the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in Venezuela.

Human rights defenders in the South American country face severe harassment and public threats by government officials in retaliation for documenting and reporting on rights violations, and for resorting to international systems for the protection of human rights.

As recently as 27 March 2015, Front Line Defenders published reports from a number of prominent rights activists, who claimed to have been intimidated and followed upon returning to Venezuela from the United States. The human rights defenders were attending the 154th period of sessions at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), which took place from 16 to 23 March 2015.

Read the full statement from the international rights groups below:

Update: Mexico – Transfer of Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz to Guerrero State Prisonposted on: 2015/04/03

As of 30 March 2015, environmental and human rights defender Mr Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz has been transferred back to prison in his state, Guerrero, from maximum security prison in Tepic state.

Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition urges Egyptian authorities to drop charges against Azza Solimanposted on: 2015/04/03

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, to which Front Line Defenders is a member, issued a statement on 3 April 2015 about the ongoing persecution of lawyer and and WHRD Azza Soliman in Egypt.

Azza Soliman is a prominent lawyer and women's rights defender. She is the founder of the Center for Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and is currently serving as its board of trustees. CEWLA is a feminist organisation that campaigns to promote gender equality, focusing in particular on legislative reform and awareness-raising.

On 4 April 2015, Soliman will face trial before the Abdeen Misdemeanour Court on charges including unauthorised protests and breach of security and public order.

Mexico: Stop Defamation Campaigns Against Women Human Rights Defenders from CEDEHMposted on: 2015/04/03

The Women Human Rights Defender International Coalition, of which Front Line Defenders is a member, issued a statement on 1 April 2015 calling for an end to the defamation campaign against women human rights defenders (WHRDs) Luz Estela Castro, Director of the Women’s Human Rights Center (CEDEHM) and Irma Villanueva, Director of the Legal Department of CEDEHM in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Oman - Open Letter to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed Sultan of Oman on legal action against human rights defender Mr Saed Jadadposted on: 2015/04/02

"Put an end to the detention of Mr Saed Jadad and guarantee that all human rights defenders in Oman are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals."

Your Highness,

Front Line Defenders wishes to bring your attention to the conviction and detention of human rights defender Mr Saed Jadad in connection with his peaceful and legitimate activities in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Mr Jadad is a human rights defender and blogger who works mainly in the Dhofar region. His work includes documenting human rights violations, as well as writing blog posts highlighting current human rights violations in Oman.