26 June: United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Despite being prohibited in the strongest terms by international law, many men, women and children continue to be tortured every day all over the world. Torture brutalises societies for generations and leaves terrible long-lasting physical and psychological scars on survivors.

For the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, REDRESS is sharing the stories behind some of the survivors that we assist in their own words. Watch their videos below so you can judge for yourself how wrong torture is.

At a moment when some States are seeking to weaken the absolute ban on torture and narrow definitions of torture to widen the universe of what is permissible treatment, this 26June please say NO to those who say that torture can be justified.

Please follow, like and share their stories on social media and with the people you know. You can follow the campaign at #26June and #RedressTorture.

Thank you to all those who supported our Thunderclap campaign.

All the films were directed and edited by Hunter Charlton. 

Thank you for your support.

In Their Own Words: the stories behind the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture 

In Bring Nazanin Home, Richard speaks about his efforts to be reunited with his three-year-old daughter Gabriella and his wife Nazanin, who remains in prison in Iran.

 

In Tortured and Exiled, former Bahrain MP Jawad Fairooz describes his painful feelings of homesickness after being tortured and forced into exile to the UK.

 

 

 

In Rape as Torture, Necati describes how he was raped by a State official in a makeshift migrant detention center in Crete and how this experience changed his life forever.

 

 

In Pinochet's Prisoners, Leopoldo Garcia Lucero, a Chilean torture survivor, describes his 40-year fight for justice, until he received justice in his case in a landmark ruling in 2013.

 

 

 

 You can read more about their stories below or follow the campaign at #RedressTorture and #26June

Bring Nazanin Home: Richard speaks about his campaign to #FreeNazanin

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 37 year old charity worker, was on holiday visiting her family in Iran when she was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on 3 April 2016.

She was about to return home to the UK with her baby daughter Gabriella. She was later sentenced to five years in prison following a secret trial. She is being held in Evin Prison in precarious conditions. She spent at least 45 days in solitary confinement.

Her daughter Gabriella remains stranded in Iran with her grandparents.

Richard, Nazanin’s husband, has been campaigning for their return home to the United Kingdom. He has asked the UK government to do more to help.

You can support Nazanin’s petition on Change.org here. Or support the #FreeNazanin campaign on @FreeNazanin on Twitter and Facebook. 

Tortured and Exiled: Former Bahrain MP Jawad Fairooz

Jawad Fairooz is a former Member of Parliament from Bahrain. 

During Bahrain's popular uprising of 2011, Jawad and other fellow members of the al-Wefaq party resigned in protest at the violent repression by the authorities of the protests, during which two protesters died.

Jawad’s house was attacked by Molotov cocktails. He was taken from his home by masked men and held in solitary confinement for more than 43 days. He suffered other forms of torture and ill-treatment. He was questioned about his political activities, and subjected to blindfolding, stress positions, beatings, sexual assault and humiliating acts and insults. His wife was also questioned by police for several hours.

Jawad was prosecuted on charges relating to his freedoms of expression and opinion, and freedoms of peaceful assembly and association. He was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence in an unfair trial.

He was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship while in a trip to the UK in 2012, and has remained stateless since. Since leaving Bahrain, Jawad has yet to received reparation or an apology from the Bahraini government. 

REDRESS has raised his case before the UN and Bahraini authorities. Read more about his case here.

Rape as Torture: The Story of Necati

In May 2001, Necati Zontul, a Turkish national, boarded a boat from Istanbul to Italy with over one hundred other migrants.

The boat was intercepted by Greek coastguards and escorted to the island of Crete, where he was kept for 12 days in a disused building. There, the migrants were assaulted and Necati was raped with a truncheon by one of the Greek coastguard officials.

After failing to obtain justice in Greece, REDRESS brought his case before the European Court of Human Rights. In 2012, the Court found that Greek coastguard officials tortured Necati and ordered Greece to pay him €50,000 in compensation.

The Court considered that the rape of a detainee by a State official was an especially grave and abhorrent form of ill-treatment, amounting to torture in this case. 

Pinochet's Prisoners: Leopoldo's fight for justice

On 11 September 1973 Augusto Pinochet overthrew Socialist President Salvador Allende in a military coup in Chile. Leopoldo Garcia Lucero was taken as a political prisoner and held for 635 days in the National Stadium and other concentration camps.

During his torture, Leopoldo was severely beaten; burned; subjected to electric shocks and death threats and other methods of torture. As a result, he lost most of his teeth, his face was disfigured and his spine and one of his arms severely damaged rendering him permanently disabled.

In 1975 he and his family were expelled from Chile. He eventually received refugee status in the United Kingdom.

On 20 March 2013, Leopoldo's case was heard by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the highest human rights court in the Americas, in a case brought by REDRESS. 40 years had passed and no-one had ever been prosecuted and punished for his torture. A few months later, the Inter-American Court ordered Chile to pay Leopoldo $20,000 in compensation for the lack of justice in his case. Leopoldo also received an apology from the Chilean government and payment for medical treatment he received in the UK.

 


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