As the use of pellet-firing shotguns have been the cause of blinding and injuring a massive number of people in Kashmir Valley, Amnesty International have been arguing the government in Kashmir for an immediate ban of such a deadly weapon. International human rights organizations have been calling the Kashmir government irresponsible since they have been continuously using it although they are aware of the amount of damage pellet shotguns inflicts on people. Ironically, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated in his speech on Independence Day that the change that Kashmir needs will not be achieved with the use of guns or any violent methods against unarmed civilians. Hence, Amnesty International is calling now for an immediate termination of such method.
Although authorities in Kashmir have been claiming that the use of the pellet shotguns is not lethal, this cruel weapon has caused many injuries and deaths, which provide proof of how dangerous it could be. Amnesty has presented to the authorities around 88 cases where the victims have lost their eyesight due to the use metal pellets that were fired by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force during the last three years.
The military of Myanmar continues to terrorize and torture minorities, claiming false accusations. The military force has forcibly arrested Kachin innocent and Ta’ang ethnic civilians and proceeded with torturing them from morning to evening. Dau, one of the people who was constantly harassed by the military force, speaks up about what he, and others, have gone through. Dau described a scene where the soldier was holding a knife to his nose while threatening him to slice it if he did not respond to his questions correctly. Soldiers often liked to play ‘’the questions game’’ with innocent civilians. The game went like this; soldiers would pick a random man or a woman and continue to inflict pain on them while asking them series of questions.
The soldiers always ask the same questions; is the person in question-fighting for an armed group, is he providing the fighters with food and where those fighters are currently located in the country. Some soldiers stomped the hostages with their boots while smacking their bodies with their fists and rifles, while others burned some of the skin on their faces and necks with lighters. Dau also tells a story where the soldiers had put him into a sack and zipped it shut, making it very difficult for him to breathe.
A pro-Iranian Shiite religious movement in Nigeria claims that 600 of its members are missing and Nigerian authorities are asked to investigate the situation. In fact, the authorities are asked to investigate all the unexplained disappearances and to present all those who are suspected of criminal activity to trial. Additionally, 350 of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), who are led by the cleric Ibrahim Zakzaky, were killed by the military in the northern town of Zaria.
It all began on December 12 of 2015 when Zakzaky’s supporters did not allow the chief of army staff’s convoy to march through the town, which consequently sparked violence between the two parties. The military force shot Zakzaky who is now injured and blind in one eye in their protective custody. It is also worth mentioning that Zakzaky has repeatedly been imprisoned for alleged incitement and subversion.
Both IMN and the Nigerian government have conflicted for so many years as the IMN are seeking to apply an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in the country that is dominated by the Sunni Muslim-majority. Young men have also been accused of the cooperation with the armed group Boko Haram with no concrete evidence to their alliances.
Erkin Musaev was set free after 11 years of wrongful imprisonment. He was a former Uzbekistani government official and UN employee, who was tortured and sent away to spend his life away from his family. In 2007, the authorities sentenced him to 20 years in jail after many unfair trials. Erkin was accused of spying for an unnamed NATO member-state, in addition to misusing UN funds. The authorities based his conviction on a confession, which he signed by force and after severe torture. The security service also threatened to harm his family, and he had to confess to false accusations to protect his loved ones.
Thousands of Amnesty International supporters took action to support Erkin Musaev. Human rights activists demanded his release as part of Write for Rights 2014, as they were outraged at the unfairness of his detention, especially since he did not get the chance to a fair trial. Now, after Erkin was set free, he wrote a personal letter to Amnesty International to thank the entity for all their efforts to set him free as an expression of sincere gratitude. He also mentioned that the campaigns that were launched to free him have changed the way the international community viewed his case.
Russia arrested a 76-year-old man with Parkinson’s disease for holding up a placard. The victim was detained because of protesting against persecuted Crimean Tatars. Server Karametov, a Crimean Tatar, was sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention because of his support of the prisoner Akhtem Choygoz outside the Supreme Court of Crimea, which operates under the influence of the de-facto authorities in the occupied region’s capital Simferopol.
Throwing a senior citizen behind bars for merely holding a placard is the most recent atrocious example of the Russian authorities’ attack on peaceful activism by the Crimean Tatar community. The detained should be released immediately, under no conditions whatsoever. A judge from the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Simferopol charged Karametov as guilty under the claim that he resisted lawful orders from police officers.
Not only was the elderly citizen detained, but also he was fined 10,000 rubles (US$165), which is considered an exceptionally high amount for a Crimean, where the average monthly retirement benefit is around 11.000 rubles (US$180). Unfortunately, an ambulance was called to the courtroom because Karametov felt ill due to his deprivation from medication in detention.
After five years of imprisonment, Omar, son of Mohammad al-Qahtani who is a human rights defender and founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), which is one of Saudi Arabia’s few independent human rights organizations, writes about the unfair imprisonment of his father. Omar writes to reveal the truth about the injustices that occurred to his father.
Mohammad al-Qahtani is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for simply calling for reforms in his country. In Omar’s letter, he talks about how proud he is of his father for standing up for his beliefs. He describes his father as a disciplined man who used to dedicate time to have fun with his wife and kids while paying great attention to their education.
The victim is now imprisoned for calling for reforms peacefully, with disregard to the freedom of speech. The 17 years old child describes what he experienced while attending his father’s trial when he was 12. He states that he was charged with 11 different things such as founding an unlicensed organization and disobeying the ruler, which did not make any sense to the child back then.
Kenya is fortunate with a mass of young activists who make use of their online presence to be active in civic engagement. Recently, online activists who address the Kenyan government have been met with aggression and vicious attacks. Edwin Kiama, a social activist with almost 50,000 followers of his Twitter handle, @WanjikuRevolt, is going through an experience of online aggression that shows the problem that the online voices face nowadays.
When scrolling through Edwin’s Twitter account, it is found that he provides an account of the contemporary conversations in Kenya. He tweets about the ruling Jubilee Party’s manifesto, in addition to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)’s failure to publish the voter register. Edwin is also active on his Facebook as his Facebook page has almost 40,000 followers. As an attempt from Edwin to provide his followers with diverse content, he adds people who are not necessarily from his ethnic group.
Edwin is constantly under attack online. He says that some people start by supporting his online views then they switch sides and start attacking him as well. He also says that he is attacked by the administrative in Kenya who have much more resources than he does, but he still believes in what he does and its outcome in the long run regardless of the attacks.