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TAKOMA PARK AND SILVER SPRING, MD AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL GROUP #297

What We're Doing

  • ACTION FILE: Ensure access to justice for Wandile Dludlu and help end torture in Swaziland

Amnesty International Group 297 is advocating on behalf of Wandile Dludlu, a political activist in Swaziland. We are writing to Swazi authorities requesting investigation and resolution of his unlawful detainment and harassment. We are also urging Swaziland to adhere to its human rights obligations, including an end to harassment for Wandile and other activists, and to secure their freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

Wandile Dludlu is a member of the Swaziland Youth Congress, one of several organizations declared a "terrorist entity" by the government under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, a 2008 law that gravely threatens freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly rights. The implementation of the law has led to arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment of detainees and the prosecution of both human rights defenders and political activists, including Wandile Dludlu. In 2009, he suffered ill-treatment from Swazi authorities on two occasions. On September 4, he was unlawfully detained by police officers, who drove him to a secret location in the forest where he was forced to lie on the ground, restrained, tortured, and interrogated for several hours. Less than three weeks later, he was assaulted by security officers outside a prison while attending a peaceful assembly with other political activists and journalists. Wandile has lodged complaints to the police on each occasion, but has reached no resolution and continues to fear harassment from security forces. Since 2006, Wandile and 15 other activists have faced pending treason charges, which the state has never brought to trial. Because of the charges, he has found it difficult to find employment and has had to discontinue his law degree.

Reports of abuse of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders at the hands of Swazi police continue, including the arrests of nearly 50 activists organizing pro-democracy demonstrations in Swazilandís largest city, Manzini, in September 2010.

Sample letter

For more information on Wandile Dludluís case and human rights in Swaziland, visit Amnesty Internationalís website.

  • ACTION FILE: Demanding a Fair Trial for a Political Prisoner in China

Amnesty International Group 297 is advocating on behalf of Jelil Aval, who is serving a harsh sentence after a grossly unfair trial. We urge the Chinese authorities to carry out a full review of the case and trial proceedings, and to grant a new, fair and open trial, in accordance with international standards, failing which he should be released.

He was detained in October 1992 in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China (XUAR). He was accused of trying, with others, to re-establish the disbanded "Eastern Turkestan Islamic Party," whose leaders had been accused the authorities of leading a rebellion in Baren township in April 1990. In July 1993, eight men were tried (and subsequently convicted) for "organising and leading a counter-revolutionary group." Some were also charged with "counter-revolutionary sabotage" for allegedly buying arms, ammunition, and bomb-making equipment. Four of the men are presumed to have served their sentences and been released. The other four, including Jelil Aval, remain in detention and their sentences range from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Over the past few years, thousands of people in the XUAR have been victims of gross human rights violations. These violations include arbitrary detention or imprisonment, unfair political trials, torture, and arbitrary and summary executions. The victims are mainly Uighars, the majority ethnic group in the region, most of whom are Muslims. In addition, Uighars are suffering unemployment, discrimination, and restrictions on their religious and cultural freedoms, which has led to exacerbation of ethnic tensions between the Uighur people and the Han Chinese in the region, whose migration to the XUAR has increased of late.

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