I'm on the road again and starting my week of virtual giving with Amnesty International.
The first thing I saw on the site today was a Featured Action to stop the execution of Troy Davis. This is a case based right here in Georgia. Troy Davis has faced execution three times for a crime he may not have committed. In an unprecedented evidentiary hearing held in a federal district court in Savannah in June, 2010, he was able to present evidence supporting his innocence claim. However, the standard for proving his innocence was “extraordinarily high”, especially given the lack of physical and scientific evidence in his case. The federal judge ruled that he did not meet the high standard, despite the fact that doubts about his guilt remain unresolved. Seven of the nine witnesses in this case have changed their story and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. No one should be executed, especially when there are so many doubts about guilt!
The next case I read through was horrific and disgusting. It was a call for action to investigate torture and forced 'virginity testing' on Egyptian women! After army officers violently cleared Tahrir square of protesters on March 9, 2011, at least 18 women were rounded up in military detention. The protesters told Amnesty International that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges. Forcing women to have ‘virginity tests’ is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women!
The last one for today was regarding the disappearance of Arjun Lama. During Nepal’s civil war (1996-2006) over 1,300 people “disappeared” at the hands of both the government security forces and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Despite promises by political parties as part of the peace process, little progress has been made in determining the truth, delivering justice, or providing reparations to the families of the missing. To date not one person has been prosecuted in a civilian court for human rights abuses committed during the conflict. After years of campaigning, Arjun Lama’s family still does not know the truth of what happened to him after his abduction in April 2005. A Supreme Court ruling in 2008 ordered the Kavre police to register a murder case against 6 Maoists, but all of the accused remain free. The disappearance of Arjun Lama should be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Those found to be implicated should be arrested, and presented before a civilian court for trial. Despite many cases of disappearances being registered with the Nepal Police, police officers have often failed to actively pursue investigations. Imagine not knowing the whereabouts of your loved ones for years!
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