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Posts tagged ‘Amnesty’

Lawmakers debate treason charges against president.

PRAGUE (AP) — Lawmakers in the Czech parliament‘s upper house have gathered to do what they have never done before — decide whether to press high treason charges against outgoing PresidentVaclav Klaus over his controversial amnesty.

Klaus infuriated many Czechs when he halted court proceedings in several high-profile fraud cases and financial scams as part of his recent amnesty.

Only the Senate has the power to file high treason charges at the Constitutional Court. A majority of lawmakers in the 81-seat house, which is controlled by the left-wing opposition, has to approve that to happen. Monday’s session will be held behind closed doors.

The worst punishment Klaus faces is the loss of the presidential job and his final term in office ends Thursday.


Associated Press

Amnesty: Nigeria denies sect suspects their rights.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria is illegally holding hundreds of people suspected of participation in violence by a radical Islamist sect in inhumane conditions and without access to lawyers, a rights group warned Thursday.

The report released by Amnesty International alleges most of those imprisoned around the country are held without criminal charges and suggests that some have been summarily executed by security forces before facing trial. Some of those detained told the rights group that they were shackled for days, forced to sit in their own excrement in overcrowded cells while watching other prisoners get beaten and coerced into confessions.

Amnesty also blamed both the Nigerian government and the Islamist extremist sect, known as Boko Haram, in the report for likely committing crimes against humanity as the guerrilla conflict engulfing the nation’s Muslim north continues to kills civilians.

“There is a vicious cycle of violence currently taking place in Nigeria,” the report reads. “The Nigerian people are trapped in the middle.”

Security forces routinely deny committing abuses, though the nation has a long history of abuses and so-killed extrajudicial killings being carried out by police officers and soldiers. Military spokesman Col. Mohammed Yerima said soldiers do hold prisoners, but only to do a “thorough job” investigating their backgrounds. He said some had falsely reported neighbors as Boko Haram members out of petty disputes.

“We don’t torture people. We interrogate them and find out if they are members of the Boko Haram,” Yerima told The Associated Press. “We don’t have any concentration camp that they are talking about. All we have is offices where we work.”

Federal police spokesman Frank Mba did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday about the report’s claims.

The Amnesty report comes as both Nigeria’s government and Boko Haram faces increasing international condemnation. Violence blamed on Boko Haram has killed more than 720 people this year alone, according to an AP account — the deadliest year since the sect began its attacks in 2009. A Human Rights Watch report in October also accused Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram of likely committing crimes against humanity in their fighting.

The Amnesty report includes claims of killings, house burnings and rapes carried out by security forces, allegations that have trailed the government’s response to Boko Haram for months. Amnesty estimates that more than 200 suspected Boko Haram members are being held at a barracks in Maiduguri, while more than 100 others are being held at a police station in Abuja. Dozens of others probably are being held at the headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s secret police, and others elsewhere, Amnesty said.

Those held largely do not know where they are detained, cannot contact their families or speak to lawyers, in contravention of Nigerian law, Amnesty said. Many are shackled together for nearly the entire day, the report said. Those held at the police station in Abuja are kept in a former slaughterhouse where chains still hang from the ceiling, the rights group said.

“There were shots in the night. I was hearing the shot of guns but I didn’t know what they are doing,” said one former detainee at the police station quoted in the Amnesty report. “When (the police) were collecting statements, some of us cannot speak English, and some of the officers cannot speak our language, so those that have difficulty, they have been beaten … Our lives were — we were not alive. We had no food, no water and no bath.”

Others told Amnesty that soldiers beat at least one prisoner with an electrical cable, while others were denied access to medicine and care. In the report, Amnesty said it requested to see prisons, police stations, military detention centers and holding cells of the Nigeria’s secret police, but did not get access to the facilities.

Those arrested by police in Nigeria routinely face years of imprisonment before even being brought to court, due to the country’s creaking judicial system. That has only been exacerbated by the influx of new suspected Boko Haram members, many of whom remain held by a military that does not hand them over to civilian authorities, Amnesty said.

“The failure to prosecute Boko Haram suspects has meant that justice is not being seen to be done, and confidence in the security forces to address the crimes and human rights abuses committed by Boko Haram is being eroded,” the report reads.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has demanded the release of all its captive members and has called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces. Despite leaders enacting martial law and sending more troops into the region, the sect’s attacks continue unstopped.

Recently, the military claimed it killed a number of the sect’s senior leaders and it put out statements claiming to have killed dozens of other members in its operations. However, some worry those killed by the army include civilians, especially after soldiers in the northeast city of Maiduguri killed at least 32 civilians in a reprisal attack following a suspected Boko Haram bombing last month.

Meanwhile, the killings attributed to the Islamist sect continue unstopped. Attacks by Boko Haram on Tuesday killed at least four people and saw sect members burn a police station, a school, a church and a mobile phone tower, witnesses and the military said.


Associated Press writer Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria, contributed to this report.



Amnesty International:


By JON GAMBRELL | Associated Press

Civilians facing ‘horrific’ violence in Aleppo: Amnesty.


  • A man stands on posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the offices of a Free Syrian Army battalion in the town of Tal Rifaat, in the northern province of Aleppo. Syrian civilians are facing "horrific" violence as the battle for the commercial capital Aleppo rages, Amnesty International said Thursday, lashing out primarily at regime troops for launching indiscriminate attacks. (AFP Photo/Phil Moore)A man stands on posters of Syrian …

Syrian civilians are facing “horrific” violence as the battle for the commercial capital Aleppo rages, Amnesty International said Thursday, lashing out primarily at regime troops for launchingindiscriminate attacks.

“The use of imprecise weapons, such as unguided bombs, artillery shells and mortars by government forces has dramatically increased the danger for civilians,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who recently returned from Aleppo, said in a statement.

Amnesty said it investigated some 30 attacks during a recent visit to Aleppo by its team in which “scores of civilians not involved in hostilities, many of them children, were killed or injured” in their homes, while queuing for bread or in places where they had taken shelter.

It said that attacks often failed to distinguish between opposition fighters and civilian residents and appeared to be randomly directed at neighbourhoods which are under the de-facto control of opposition fighters, rather than at specific military objectives.

“Civilians face a daily barrage of air and artillery strikes by government forces in different parts of the city. For many there is simply nowhere safe and families live in fear of the next attack,” said Rovera.

Some of the victims died in the very places where they had sought shelter, having been forced to flee their homes by the fighting, the statement said.

Amnesty said civilians were killed and injured while queuing for bread and cited an example of a 13-year-old girl, Kifa Samra and her 11-year-old brother Zakarya who were killed along with their neighbour, a mother of 11, on August 12 while queuing for bread near their home.

“Those responsible for indiscriminate attacks against civilians and other war crimes should expect that they will be held to account,” said Rovera.

The overwhelming majority of victims were killed in air strikes and artillery attacks by government forces, while in some cases the source of the attack could not be established, the statement said.

Amnesty also said that a further deeply disturbing development was the sharp increase in extrajudicial and summary executions of civilians not involved in the conflict by government forces.

“Bodies of mostly young men, usually handcuffed and shot in the head, have been frequently found dumped near the headquarters of the Air Force Intelligence which is completely controlled by government forces,” Amnesty said.

It also raised concerns about increased abuses, including unlawful killings and ill-treatment of captives by opposition fighters belonging to a plethora of armed opposition group, including the Free Syrian Army operating in the city.

“It is shameful that the international community remains divided over Syria, disregarding the body of evidence of the scale and the gravity of the human rights abuses in Syria and effectively looking the other way while civilians are bearing the brunt,” it added.

More than 23,000 people have been killed since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011, according to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.



Ex-Niger Delta militant rejects N74bn vote for rehabilitation.

A Former President of the Ijaw Youth Council and Leader of the Niger Delta
Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, on Monday said the
N74 billion earmarked in the 2012 budget by the Federal Government for the
rehabilitation and retraining  of the Niger Delta ex-militants  is inadequate.
Dokubo-Asari in a statement  demanded that a 10-day oil production
proceeds should be allocated  to the programme, since  the country’s  oil
production had risen to 2.6 million barrels per day against 680, 000 before the
amnesty programme was instituted by ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The increased production, he said is as a result of the amnesty programme,
insisting that it must be well-funded not to be derailed.
“With all these gains, one expects that the operators of the amnesty project
should have been encouraged and applauded. Instead, what we see is
rebuke, recrimination and an attempt to scuttle the project by those who
contribute next to nothing in the upkeep and maintenance of the Nigerian
state but are now calling for a probe into the amnesty project.
“There is nothing wrong with probing a government institution if it is not done
out of malice.
“It is important to state that going by the 2012 budget passed by the National
Assembly, the amnesty project budget is about N74bn annually. Which
means that amnesty project budget for a year is far less than two days oil
“I believe that the resources allocated to the amnesty project is inadequate
and cannot dig deep to satisfy the aspirations and yearnings of the people of
the oil-bearing communities. I hereby suggest that for a new start, 10 days oil
production proceeds, after removing cost of product and percentage proceeds
due to joint ventures partners, should be allocated to the training and
education of the people of the oil-bearing communities through the amnesty
“The ex-militant alleged that the company of one of the allies of the late Gen.
Sani Abacha   offered oil operating licence on July 8, 1996  produces 400,
000 barrels of oil per day, meaning that the company makes  N2.3bn
annually, despite the death of the owner.
“If a dead individual is raking N2.3bn in 365 days, why should N74bn be
allocated to the amnesty project from resources gotten from underneath their
soil. This is how the Nigerian state is been run and managed at the expense
of the vast majority of her people. While some people pretend to be blind to
these painful realities, some of us will not join the bandwagon of the blind
men, these inequity, injustice and blatant insensitivity must be checked now
if we are to have a stable polity.
“Most people will be wondering why I have chosen to speak in favour of the
amnesty project, even though I hate the tag amnesty, I know that the
managers  of the project have managed it so well to the benefit of the
“Today, thousands of young men and women are being trained as doctors,
engineers and oil work men and I believe that if this project is expanded and
the amnesty tag is dropped, the belief by most of us that we are been
criminalized for standing up for our right will be removed and more people will
benefit from the project.
“At present, most people who hitherto, would have been committing crimes in
the creeks are now meaningfully engaged, learning and acquiring skills in
various universities, polytechnics and technical institutions all over the world.
“As it is said, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop; the people managing the
amnesty project have used the project to rehabilitate and readmit the ex-
militants who lived the life of criminality into civil society”, he said.

By African Examiner.

Amnesty and the Cross.


It means an official pardon for the guilty offender for actions against a government.

It’s an acquittal, a “not guilty” verdict, but even more—it’s a pardon for offenses committed.

We don’t often think of amnesty when we think of the cross.

But that’s exactly what happened.

The government of God acquitted us, pardoned us.

It’s God’s ultimate solution for guilt.

A few days ago the Holy Spirit brought before me a face familiar in the current news cycle.

I had not followed the trial of a young American by Italian courts.

Snippets I heard were too devastating for everyone on every side.

I saw her as I had not reckoned before.

A young life and a long future stretched out in God’s desire, bathed in light, and completely free of the difficult and sordid public details of her trial.

The Lord said: “Pray for amnesty.

Then watch for a sign indicating My season for the earth.”

A lot of Christians seem to be missing something related to the reality and power of what happened at the cross and how that impacts our mission and message.

When the viewpoint of the church toward our nation, for instance, is the same destruction willed by our sworn enemies, something is askew.

The cross is the supernatural comprehensive work of God reconciling us to Himself, to one another and to His creation.

The gospel is amnesty extended until Christ appears. The work Jesus did 2,000 years ago is not in the rear-view mirror. What happened at the cross is an ever-unfolding demonstration of glory. Its power is a spiritual nuclear reaction, the splitting of the atom of desire in God in an ever-increasing chain reaction of love and power.

Amnesty isn’t cheap grace, it is the revelation of an incredible exchange.

Our complete pardon and release from the judgment due us.

You, me, the whole of creation was carried in the condemned body of the Creator that day.

When He died, our death sentence breathed its last.

We need an encounter with the revelation of the glory of the cross to liberate us and empower us to set others free, too.

Who knows the true details of the terrible events surrounding that young woman’s original trial and conviction.

I do know the Lord said, “Pray for amnesty and watch for a sign for the earth.”

A few days later, she was acquitted by an Italian appeals court.

She came home.

For me that’s a sign revealing God’s heart toward His world.

It can be summed up in a word:amnesty.

It’s time we got to really know the power in the blood that speaks for us from Calvary.

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

By Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda.

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