Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
May-June 2017
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Dear friends and supporters,

In this newsletter, we draw attention to our most recent casework, including the rise of human rights abuses in Turkey after the failed military coup last year and a devastating attack on a torture survivor from Mexico, that we have been assisting. We also provide the latest updates on our advocacy campaigns, policy work and events. 

Read about our exciting 26 June Campaign, where REDRESS brings you the stories behind some of the torture survivors we assist. Please support our campaign on Thunderclap here  or by following, liking and sharing the stories. You can follow the campaign at #RedressTorture

Thank you for your continued interest and support for our mission to help torture survivors seek justice and reparation.

Best wishes,

Carla Ferstman

Director

You can follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook for all our latest updates.


 

Casework

Show your solidarity with torture survivors on #26June

This 26 June, REDRESS brings you the stories behind some of the torture survivors that we assist. They tell you in their own words how their experiences of torture changed their lives and why torture is never justified.

Our first video, Bring Nazanin Home, shows husband Richard (pictured above) speak about his efforts to reunite his family was after his wife Nazanin was arrested while visiting family in Iran with their baby daughter Gabriella.

In our second video, “Tortured and Exiled", former Bahraini MP Jawad Fairooz recounts the torture he suffered after opposing the authorities during the 2011 popular uprising.  

Please show your support with these and other torture survivors by signing up to our Thunderclap campaign here and by liking, sharing and following their stories. You can follow the campaign at #Redresstorture 

Casework

REDRESS condemns murder of torture victim in Mexico

REDRESS is calling for a swift investigation into the cowardly murder of a torture victim in Mexico who was our client.

Héctor Casique was murdered on 9 June in Mexico, allegedly by members of an organised crime group. He had been a victim of torture at the hands of the police in 2013 in Cancun. After being arrested on a false murder charge in 2013, he was tortured in order to secure a confession and spent more than three years in detention until the charges against him were finally dropped in September 2016.

REDRESS submitted an amicus curiae brief before the Mexican courts on the inadmissibility of torture evidence, and had brought his case to the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


 
REDRESS among international observers monitoring trial of doctor in Turkey

Our Director Carla Ferstman joined a group of international organisations in April to observe the trial against Serdar Küni,  a Turkish doctor and veteran human rights defender.

Küni was detained as part of a wave of arrests that took place in Turkey after the failed military coup in July 2016. He was accused of “providing treatment to alleged militants” and sentenced to four years in prison for “aiding and abetting terrorist organizations”. Dr. Küni has defended his duty as a physician “to treat every person who needs urgent treatment”.

REDRESS submitted two amicus curiae briefs to the courts - one on the inadmissibility of torture evidence, and another for the pending appellate proceedings before the Gaziantep Regional High Court, on additional issues including the breadth of terrorist offenses and the principle of legality, the presumption of innocence in criminal trials and the limits on the admissibility of evidence.

Read the statement from the international delegation of trial monitors


 

Time to mend the harm to victims of Habré in Chad

On 30 May 2016, the Appeals Chamber of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) confirmed Hissène Habré‘s sentence to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, including sexual violence and rape. It also decided on the reparations that are to be awarded to victims of the ex-Chadian dictator. 

REDRESS, who had sought to intervene in the proceedings on the issue of reparations, welcomed the judgment but urged that structures be put in place to ensure that the reparations already ordered in Chad as well as by those ordered by the EAC, are implemented promptly.

The “judgment has helped to reduce some of the uncertainty that many victims felt after the trial, but a key concern for victims remains: how the reparations are to be put into effect, including how they will be funded,” said REDRESS in a statement.

Read our press release

Events and conferences

REDRESS Nederland reaffirms absolute prohibition of torture during event at the Peace Palace, in The Hague

REDRESS Nederland organised a successful high-level discussion at The Peace Palace in The Hague to debunk some myths on torture and to reaffirm its absolute prohibition, on 9 June.

The meeting took place at a moment when some States have tried to introduce exceptions to the absolute prohibition and narrow the definition of torture in order to widen the universe of permissible treatment.

The high-level discussion, Exceptional Measures for Exceptional Times: The Absolute Prohibition of Torture under Threat, brought together decision makers, diplomats, journalists, academics and representatives from international organisations and civil society to discuss how to best counteract those arguments, and to consider innovative options for the way forward.

Read our blog post "Five facts to know about torture" and our press release here


 
First regional instrument on the right to redress in Africa launched

On 8 May 2017, the first-ever regional instrument on the right to redress for victims of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment was launched by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The General Comment on the right to redress for Victims of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment, offers much needed clarification to African States on their obligations to victims of torture and ill-treatment. REDRESS, together with other human rights organisations part of the Pan-African Reparation Initiative, provided technical support during the development process of the General Comment.

On occasion of the launch, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), the  Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, the Kenyan Human Rights Commission and REDRESS organised a discussion and reception.

Read a statement from the Pan-African Reparation Initiative

Advocacy work

Protecting UK nationals at risk abroad

REDRESS is working on a new project to encourage the UK Government to strengthen its support of its nationals arbitrarily detained abroad and at risk of torture and ill-treatment. Every year, over 5,000 British and dual nationals are arrested or detained abroad. 

The UK Government currently uses a policy of discretion in order to determine whether to initially provide protection, for example, consular assistance, for a national in distress overseas as well as the strength of the representations it makes.  

We are currently supporting several British nationals and their families to seek their release, and, pending release, to have their conditions of detention improved. These include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran and Andargachew “Andy” Tsege in Ethiopia.

As part of this project, this month REDRESS and other NGOs sent a letter to the European Parliament delegation for relations with Iran to raise concerns for the European dual nationals who are currently detained in Iran.

Click here to read our latest blog post on the provision of consular assistance in Bright Blue.

For more information please contact our Advocacy Officer Josie Fathers at josie@redress.org.


 

Committee against Torture discusses non-refoulement with States and civil society

In April, the UN Committee against Torture engaged in a general discussion on the implementation of article 3 of the Convention against Torture (the non-refoulement prohibition, which covers States' obligations not to send, extradite, transfer or otherwise remove a person when to do so would expose that person to a real risk of torture or ill-treatment). REDRESS, along with States, civil society organisations and other NGOs were invited to contribute to this process.

REDRESS prepared a detailed commentary on the draft General Comment, together with a number of other leading anti-torture organizations.  Read our joint commentary

The British 10K: 9 July 2017

The British 10K race is fast approaching and our fantastic team is excited for the Westminster festivities! Our runners have worked hard to train for this challenge and raise money for the cause. This race helps to raise much-needed funds for charities like REDRESS that provide life-changing legal advice and representation to those in need. Please see our runners' fundraising pages and help them reach their goal!

Kyra http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KyraH

Callum https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Callum-Lynch-REDRESS

Rachael https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rachael-Anne-Roberts4

Lutz http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LutzOette

Alice and Hannah https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AliceHan

With more runners to come!

Alternatively, if running isn’t for you, you could organise a cake sale, summer picnic, charity barbeque… the options are endless! Feel free to contact Nora at nora@redress.org for advice and to discuss your ideas!

Torture survivors depend on your support. We ask you to give them hope to receive the help they need.

Thank you for your support.

REDRESS 87 Vauxhall Walk, London
SE11 5HJ | Tel: +44 (0) 207 793 1777
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