Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
June 2016
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Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our June edition of Reparation News. This month, we provide the latest updates on new filings and ongoing cases, and on the publication of our new 'Reporting on Torture' journalist handbook, our UN briefing paper on cholera in Haiti, and comments on Libya's Draft Constitution.

Following the positive decision from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on a female Kurdish human rights defender, we are supporting further cases concerning detentions in Iran, relating to two dual UK-Iran nationals. We have also recently raised concerns over the arrest of the President of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey.

In Africa, we are working with partners to bring the case of a man tortured to death in an Egyptian prison to the African Commission. We have also filed a third party intervention in a case concerning the ‘special mission immunity’ status of an Egyptian general visiting the UK, and have also filed a submission to the UN WGAD regarding cases in Libya.

We were pleased to hear the Nepal government has agreed to increase compensation owed to the families of victims of enforced disappearances following a positive decision from the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). The decision followed an evidence submission made by REDRESS and Advocacy Forum.

Also in this issue, we highlight training REDRESS has delivered in Kenya, our attendance at a meeting on rehabilitation for torture in the OSCE region, our work on a joint briefing for the UN Committee Against Torture relating to protection from reprisals for speaking out against torture, and meetings attended to improve procedures at the African Commission and International Criminal Court (ICC).

For the latest updates, please follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Thanks for your continued interest and support for our mission to help torture survivors worldwide.

Carla Ferstman

Director


 

Case updates

©Advocacy Forum 

Nepal: Government to increase compensation for the families of victims of disappearances 

REDRESS and Advocacy Forum received a positive decision from the UNHRC in the case concerning the disappearance and presumed murder of eight youths who were taken away from their homes by the military in the middle of the night in April 2002. Following the decision, the Nepal government agreed to increase the amount of compensation offered to the victims (still minimal) though this payment has not yet been made. Advocacy Forum carried out a field mission to the remote village in the Bardiya District, where the families are based, to explain the decision and to canvass their views on remedies. A detailed submission was prepared (sent to the UNHRC and the Nepal government) to explain the additional remedies sought. It is hoped that this will encourage a dialogue with the Government, and also help the UNHRC to be more practical in its recommendations to states about what must be done to remedy the violations.


 

Turkey: REDRESS raises concerns over arrest of the President of Human Rights Foundation 

On 20 June, Şebnem Korur Financi, the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (a close partner of REDRESS), was arrested together with Erol Önderoğlu (Turkey Representative of Reporters without Borders) and journalist Ahmet Nesin, each of whom now face charges of "terror propaganda". REDRESS is in touch with the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and several other groups to raise awareness and concern about the arrests. Statements have already been made by the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the UN in response to the arrests. Ms Fiance and Mr Önderoğlu were released on 30 June 2016 while Mr Nesin was released on 1 July 2016. Their first court hearing will be held on 8 November 2016.


 

Iran: REDRESS supports cases concerning detention of two UK-Iran nationals

Last month, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued a positive and strong decision in relation to a case brought by REDRESS and Justice for Iran concerning a female Kurdish human rights defender from Iran. REDRESS is now providing support in respect of two additional cases in Iran. Nazanin Ratcliffe, a dual UK-Iran national and young mother, has been detained now for almost three months after visiting her family in Iran. Her baby child was travelling with her and is now with her Iranian family, but the British father (Richard Ratcliffe in London) cannot retrieve or travel to see the child. We are working with Richard and have filed a petition with the WGAD. The other case concerns Kamal Fourougi, elderly father of British national Kamran Foroughi. Kamal is a dual UK-Iran national who lives in the UK. He has been detained for over five years. REDRESS is working with Kamral on a variety of advocacy strategies, ahead of a meeting in the UK Parliament on 13 July.


  

Egypt: REDRESS works to bring case of tortured-to-death Egyptian prisoner to African Commission

REDRESS is working with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the El Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence to bring the case of a man who was tortured to death in an Egyptian prison before the African Commission. The case of 24 year-old Essam Ali Atta highlights the flawed investigation into his death in custody and the lack of other remedies. REDRESS recently filed a submission on the admissibility of the case to the African Commission.


 

Libya: REDRESS files submission to UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding Libyan arbitrary arrest and detention cases

REDRESS and LFJL filed two submissions concerning cases in Libya. The first was a petition to the WGAD concerning a man who was arbitrarily arrested for more than a year. The second was a case with the African Commission concerning three women and men who were arrested by members of an armed militia group near the city of Derna, Eastern Libya, in 2012 and taken to the militia’s military base. Two of the women were tortured and the whereabouts of the man is still unknown to this day. The organisations have requested the Commission to open an investigation into the enforced disappearance of the man and to provide adequate remedies to the victims.


 

Egypt/UK: REDRESS files intervention in case concerning ‘special mission immunity’ to Egyptian general visiting the UK

REDRESS has filed a third party intervention in a case concerning the grant of so-called “special mission immunity” to a visiting Egyptian general who faced allegations of torture. The hearing in this case took place on 28 and 29 June 2016 and we await the handing down of the judgment. REDRESS is concerned that the granting of such an immunity to alleged torturers on an ad hoc basis perpetuates impunity for international crimes. Read more about the case here


  

Lithuania: REDRESS regrets decision of Lithuanian court that will prevent secret detention and rendition victim from participating in investigation into CIA secret prisons

A Vilnius Regional Court issued its final rejection of REDRESS’ application for victim status for Mr Mustafa al-Hawsawi, a victim of the CIA programme, in a pre-trial criminal investigation into CIA secret prisons (also known as black sites) in Lithuania. This status would have allowed Mr. al-Hawsawi, who is currently being held at Guantanamo, to participate in the ongoing investigation, including to request access to pre-trial investigation material and to make requests to expand the investigation’s scope. Read our press release


  

Kenya: REDRESS stands in solidarity with families of murdered human rights defenders 

REDRESS sends its condolences to the families of Mr Willie Kimani, Mr Josphat Mwendwa and Mr Joseph Muiruri who were brutally killed in late June. REDRESS stands in solidarity with the International Justice Mission, for whom Mr Kimani and Mr Muiruri worked and their courageous fight against injustice.

On Thursday June 30, the bodies of Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda, and Mr Muiruri were retrieved from the Ol Donyo Sabuk River in the town of Kilimambogo, situated around 60 km northeast of Nairobi. The three bodies bore signs of torture and had their hands and legs tied with ropes. Mr Kimani had represented Mr Mwenda in a complaint against the police. Three police officers (Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Corporal Stephen Chebulet and Constable Silvia Wanjiku) have been detained and charged in connection with the murder.

This atrocious crime is another reminder of the perils victims and human rights defenders face when seeking accountability for abuses of power. It is also a wake-up call to the Government of Kenya to meet its international obligations to protect those who pursue justice.

Publications

'Reporting on Torture' media handbook launches in several languages

The new handbook was launched to support journalists to report on torture in depth, regardless of their experience. REDRESS collaborated with four human rights organisations to author the guide, which aims to encourage increased reporting on torture and support to journalists in the vital role they play in raising awareness about torture, and to ‘break the silence’ for a crime that thrives behind the scenes. The handbook is already available in English, Spanish, Arabic and Nepali.

REDRESS authored the handbook jointly with Advocacy Forum-Nepal (AF), the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos in Peru (CNDDHH), the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya (IMLU), and Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL). It was launched on 26 June, UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and is available to download on the authors’ websites, including at www.redress.org/reports


  

Haiti: REDRESS publishes briefing paper on UN response to cholera

Evidence demonstrates that as a result of its work in the region, the UN is responsible for the introduction of cholera to Haiti. REDRESS released a briefing paper providing a range of policy options to provide reparations for those affected by cholera – estimated at 9,000 deaths and an increasing number of diagnoses. The paper will feed into discussions on how the UN should respond. REDRESS was asked to contribute based on its extensive experience in reparations law and practice. 


  

Libya: REDRESS provides comments on Libya’s Draft Constitution 2016

REDRESS and Lawyers For Justice in Libya (LFJL) published comments on Libya’s Draft Constitution 2016 and sent an open letter to the Drafting Constitutional Assembly. The commentary set out Libya’s international human rights obligations for ensuring the absolute prohibition of torture; provided a comparative analysis of constitutional anti-torture protections from around the world; examined Libya’s constitutional history regarding the prohibition of torture; and made specific comments and drafting suggestions to ensure that the absolute right to be free from torture and related guarantees are safeguarded within Libya’s future constitutional document. The comments were provided in Arabic and also in English

Conferences and trainings

REDRESS delivers training for Kenyan prosecution service on victim’s legislation

Director of REDRESS Carla Ferstman and Post-Conflict Legal Advisor Beini Ye delivered a two-day training session for 25-30 members of the Kenyan prosecution service. Training focused on new Kenyan victims’ legislation which obliges prosecutors and others to implement a series of measures on behalf of victims in the context of criminal proceedings, including victim participation, protection, and remedies. As part of the training, REDRESS introduced US and South African experts to explain how victims’ provisions were successfully introduced in those jurisdictions.


  

REDRESS attends meeting on rehabilitation for torture in OSCE region

Director of REDRESS Carla Ferstman attended a meeting on rehabilitation for torture for countries in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) region. The meeting was held in Copenhagen as part of the intergovernmental initiative to set international standards that fulfil requirements of Article 14 of the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) in respect of rehabilitation for victims.


  

REDRESS works with DIGNITY to develop joint briefing for the UN Committee Against Torture – focuses on protecting those who speak out against torture

REDRESS is working with DIGNITY (Danish Institute Against Torture) on a joint briefing for the UNCAT on the need to strengthen the law on protection from reprisals and to improve the work of the Committee to protect victims and witnesses who face reprisals for speaking out against torture. The briefing will take place in Geneva in early August.


  

REDRESS presents paper on the Right to Reparations to African Commission to support improvements to communication procedure

REDRESS’ Legal Advisor Judy Oder presented a paper on the Right to Reparations at the Inaugural Forum on Law and Practice of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Johannesburg, South Africa. The forum explored ways in which the African Commission’s communication procedure could be improved. REDRESS also contributed to the organisation of the event as a member of the Steering Committee of the Litigants Group.


  

REDRESS attends ICC-NGO roundtable meetings to raise issues on the implementation of the ICC’s victims mandate

REDRESS attended the annual ICC-NGO roundtable meetings to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the ICC’s victims mandate, alongside representatives of the Registry, the Trust Fund and the Prosecutor’s office REDRESS highlighted the need for consistency and clarity on how victims’ legal representatives are chosen and appointed under the Court’s framework, and also raised concerns about the delays to implement reparations in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dylio.

Support our 10K runners on 10 July

Six runners will help us promote our mission during the Vitality British London 10K Run on Sunday 10th of July. Each volunteer will be contributing to seeking justice and reparation for survivors of torture by raising vital funds to support our pro-bono work with survivors.

Please support victims of torture by clicking on our runners' names below to donate and help them achieve their goals: 

- Clara and Benhttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claraochben

- Aliciahttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alicia-Sanchis-Mendez

- Ed and Davidhttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/edpurkis

- Fiona: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Fiona-McKay3

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