Amnesty Urgent Actions
Accueil Urgent Actions 2023 09

09

Man sentenced to death over Twitter posts
On 9 July, the Specialized Criminal Court sentenced 54-year-old retired teacher Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi to death for his peaceful online activity on Twitter and YouTube. The charge sheet cited several tweets based on which Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi was convicted, including posts in which he criticized the Saudi King and Crown Prince and Saudi’s foreign policy, called for the release of detained religious clerics, and protested increased prices. The death sentence against Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi, who has a total of just 10 followers on both of his anonymous Twitter accounts is a marked escalation in the kingdom’s crackdown on any form of dissent. Amnesty International calls on Saudi authorities to quash Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi’s conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally.
Florida sets its sixth execution of the year
The State of Florida is due to execute Michael Zack on 3 October 2023 for a murder committed in 1996. Twenty-seven years old at the time of the crime, he is now 54. At trial, four medical experts for the defence testified that in their opinion he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and severe depression. Michael Zack’s FAS diagnosis and his history of «severe cognitive and adaptive impairments» has led an expert to conclude that he «always has functioned as an individual with intellectual disability». The US Constitution bans the execution of people with intellectual disability.
Unjustly held Yemeni at risk of deportation
Yemeni asylum seeker, Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo, who has been arbitrary detained in Egypt for over 20 months, is at risk of deportation to Yemen, where his life would be at risk. Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo and his family were forced to flee Yemen for Egypt in 2014 after being subjected to violent attacks with impunity following his announcement of his conversion to Christianity on social media. Egyptian security forces arrested him on 15 December 2021 and forcibly disappeared him for two weeks, before bringing him for interrogations before a prosecutor, who ordered his pretrial detention pending investigations on bogus charges of «joining a terrorist group» and «defamation of the Islamic religion». He is held solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, conscience and belief and must be immediately released; any plans to deport him must be halted.
Protester sentenced to death in unfair trial
Protester Abbas Deris is at risk of execution in relation to the November 2019 nationwide protests in Iran. On 4 July 2023, his lawyer publicly stated that the Supreme Court had upheld Abbas Deris’ conviction and death sentence for «enmity against God» (moharebeh). In late October 2022, a Revolutionary Court in Mahshahr sentenced Abbas Deris to death following a grossly unfair trial marred by «confessions» aired on state television weeks after arrest. Abbas Deris’ request for judicial review remains pending before the Supreme Court.
Arbitrarily detained critic risks harsh sentence
Hisham Kassem, a prominent Egyptian opposition politician and publisher, is facing a sentence of up to three years in prison on defamation and other politically-motivated charges brought against him solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression, including for publicly criticising a former government minister. His trial has been marred by breaches of his right to adequate defence and other fair trial safeguards. A verdict is expected on 16 September. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Health risk for detained anti-torture T-shirt protester
Mahmoud Hussein, a protester who had already spent two years in arbitrary pretrial detention for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt, was re-arrested on 30 August. After his release on bail in 2016, he was convicted of bogus charges and sentenced to life imprisonment in his absence in a grossly unfair trial by an emergency court marred by allegations of torture. He is detained at Badr 1 prison pending his retrial, amid concerns over his health. He must be immediately and unconditionally released as his detention is solely linked to the exercise of his human rights, including by wearing an anti-torture T-shirt.
Arbitrarily jailed journalist must be released
On 25 September, the High Court in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, rejected detained journalist Stanis Bujakera’s bail application. Stanis Bujakera was arbitrarily arrested on 8 September at N’djili Airport in Kinshasa as he was about to board a flight to the city of Lubumbashi. He was unlawfully detained for three days before being placed under provisional detention on 11 September. His mobile phones and computer were seized and searched without a warrant. The DRC authorities have charged him with «spreading rumours» and «disseminating fake news» in relation to an article they allege he authored. Amnesty International believes Stanis Bujakera is being persecuted for his journalistic work. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.