October 2016 Minutes
(These minutes are also available to download as a PDF.)
Amnesty International UK
Glasgow West Group: Minutes of meeting
Present: CA, DC, CC, MDS, JG.
Apologies: JG2, RH, LL, MR.
- Treasurer’s report. JG submitted a report in his absence. The group has £1170.60 in the bank but is still to send the £400.00 to AIUK as agreed. JG has sent £100.00 to Daytime Group and also paid for the use of the meeting room to the end of the year.
- Scotland Committee Meeting. CC attended the recent Scotland Committee meeting on behalf of the group. Feedback included:
- The Amnesty Scotland Conference will be held on 12th November in Glasgow. Full details to be circulated soon, but is likely to include a focus on refugee issues. The group suggested that possible topics/ speakers for the conference could include Dungavel, Scottish Refugee Council, Alan Smith MEP on human rights implications of brexit. CC to pass on to Scottish Office.
- Amnesty Bookshop to open in Marchmont, Edinburgh in October.
- The remaining balance of the Scottish Groups bank account (which has been inactive for years) is being transferred to the Scotland Office. It will be available to the Scotland Committee to support and develop groups.
- MDS (former and just returned member of Glasgow West group) indicated an interest in taking on the Scotland Regional Rep role now he is back in Scotland. As a result, a call for nominations has been sent out to all groups. The group agreed to nominate MDS for this role.
- Other Items for Discussion:
3.1 The National – prisoner adopted: The National newspaper has adopted Eritrean prisoner of conscience and journalist Dawit Isaak. Full story: http://www.thenational.scot/news/freedawit-why-were-taking-up-the-case-of-a-journalist-15-years-after-he-went-missing.22738
3.2 Group Survey: CC has drafted a four question survey to send to group mailing list to get an idea of what might encourage people to attend more group meetings. General feedback was positive, with a few small suggestions. CC to finalise and circulate to mailing list.
3.3 November meeting: Support for inviting a speaker from the Glasgow Human Rights Network (a network of academics based primarily at Glasgow University) and to invite Glasgow Uni group to attend.
4.9 Group adopted prisoner, journalist Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, Uzbekistan. MR prepared a letter in Russian to Prosecutor General for the group to sign (Text in Annex below in English and Russian).
- DC to be added as an admin of the group Facebook page.
Group discussed options for other social events, including film nights, social drinks, visit to the new bookshop in Edinburgh. CA agreed to host ‘something’. Group agreed to add ‘optional post-meeting drinks’ to the agenda for the November meeting.
World Human Rights Day – Saturday 10th December: Group agreed to seek permission for a Write for Rights cards stall in Partick Library, followed by fish and chips. CC to check day time groups plans. CA to ask Mark about getting permission.
Next meeting: Thursday 10 November 2016, 7.30pm
Woodlands Methodist Church
229 Woodlands Road
Glasgow G3 6LW
Annex A: Letter on behalf of Faysal Baraket
His Excellency Mr Youssef Chahed
Place du Gouvernement
I am writing to you in relation to the case of Faysal Baraket, a Tunisian university student and member of the Ennahda Party, who was tortured and died as a result in police custody on 8 October 1991. This year marks 25 years since his death, and while a new investigation into the circumstances of his death was opened in 2009, seven years later, it has yet to reach a conclusion.
I urge your Excellency to ensure the investigation into Faysal Baraket’s torture and death, as well as others involving such abuses in police custody, reaches a conclusion without obstruction or delay; that it be thorough, independent and impartial; and that it leads to the criminal prosecution of anyone found responsible in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty. This should include any superior officers who knew or should have known of these acts.
Amnesty International has been campaigning for the past 25 years to bring to justice those responsible for Faysal Baraket’s torture and death. On 8 October 1991, Faysal Baraket was arrested by officers of the Intelligence Brigade of the Nabeul National Guard. On 17 October, his family was told by the authorities that he had died in a traffic accident. An autopsy report dated 11 October from Nabeul Hospital described external injuries of an “unidentified man” brought in by Manzil Bouzalfa traffic police. Police brought the coffin to the funeral, oversaw the burial and did not allow the coffin to be opened.
In February 1992, Amnesty International submitted a copy of the autopsy report that it had obtained to forensic pathologist Dr Derrick Pounder, Professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom, for an expert opinion. Despite the autopsy report having been altered by the authorities, it listed a number of external and internal injuries, including bruises on the soles of both feet, which allowed Dr Derrick Pounder to conclude that the death could not have been caused by a traffic accident. His conclusions corroborated eyewitness accounts gathered by Amnesty International since 1991, according to which Faysal Baraket had been tortured in the Nabeul police station.
On 1 March 2013, Faysal Baraket’s body was exhumed in the presence of his relatives, Tunisian forensic pathologists, the judge in charge of investigating the case, two representatives of the Prosecutor’s office, Dr Derrick Pounder, and three Amnesty International delegates. The forensic examination of Faysal Baraket’s remains further discredited the version of the Tunisian government under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that the cause of death had been a traffic accident.
The results were added to the ongoing judicial investigation in June 2013. Since then, the investigating judge in charge of the case has since issued summons for questioning to several police officers, but, according to Faysal Baraket’s relatives and legal counsel, none of them have so far appeared in front of the judge.
Faysal Baraket’s case is emblematic of a wider pattern of refusal of the authorities under the rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to acknowledge torture and stall investigations, leaving Tunisia with a legacy of impunity for those who committed or ordered torture. Accountability for past human rights violations is essential for Tunisia to break with the past and for restoring trust in the justice system and the security apparatus. Impunity is one of the factors that perpetuate the commission of torture and other ill-treatment in Tunisia today.
I thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Annex B: Letter on behalf of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov
E-mail address and fax number firstname.lastname@example.org & 00998 71 133 39 17.
In English, but recommend sending Russian translation below.
Prosecutor General Ihtior Abdullaev
Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan
- Gulyamova 66
I am a member of the Glasgow West group of Amnesty International. I am writing to you on behalf of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, because I believe he is a prisoner of conscience, denied his freedom solely because of his human rights work and exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
In 2008 Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a trial which did not meet international standards, in contravention of Uzbekistan’s international obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There are reports that the criminal case was fabricated in order to punish him for his human rights work and journalistic activities.
I call on the Uzbek authorities to release Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov immediately and unconditionally. Meanwhile, he is an old man and has already spent many years in prison. I am very concerned for his well-being. I heard that his health has deteriorated. I would be grateful to be reassured that he is being given appropriate medical treatment.
I look forward to your reply.
Thank you very much.
Генеральному Прокурору Ихтиёру Абдуллаеву
Генеральная Прокурора Республики Узбекистан
ул. Академика Яхъё Гуломова, 66
100047, г. Ташкент
Уважаемый Генеральный прокурор
Мы с коллегами члены группы Международной амнистии Glasgow West. Мы пишем за Салиджоном Абдурахмановым, потому что мы считаем его узником совести, лишенным свободы исключительно для выполнения его работы в области прав человека и пользования его правом на свободу выражения мнений.
В 2008 г. Салиджон Абдурахманов был осужден на 10 лет лишения свободы, после судебного разбирательства, которое не соответствовало международным стандартам, в нарушение международных обязательств Узбекистана в качестве государства-участника к Международному пакту о гражданских и политических правах. Есть сообщения, что уголовное дело против него было сфабриковано с целью наказать его за его работу в области прав человека и журналистской деятельности.
Мы призываем узбекские власти немедленно и безоговорочно освободить Салиджона Абдурахманова. Тем временем, он старик и уже сидит в лагере много лет. Мы очень обеспокоены тем, все ли у него благополучно. Мы слышали, его состояние ухудшилось. Мы были бы Вам благодарны получить заверение что он получает надлежащего лечения.
Мы с нетерпением ждем вашего ответа.