List of HRDs’ Cases

  • Malaysia: 589 protesters detained in Kuala Lumpur
    March 10, 2011, 10:31 pm
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    On 1 August, co-ordinated protests throughout Malaysia commemorated the 50th anniversary of Internal Security Act (ISA), a 1967 law that allows a preventive detention (or detention without trial or criminal charges) under limited, legally defined circumstances. In practice, however, the ISA has been consistently used against government dissidents and human rights defenders, which is why there have been long-standing calls from civil society to abolish the repressive law.
    The main vigil in Kuala Lumpur was broken up by police in riot gear. The crackdown resulted in 589 people being detained, including 44 children (persons below 18 years old) and 40 women. Several protesters also sustained minor injuries during the arrests. more…

  • Indonesia: Maluku journalist murdered
    March 10, 2011, 10:07 pm
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    Mr. Ridwan Salamun was killed on 21 August 2010 while covering news on a communal clash between villagers from Banda Ely and Fiditan in Tual, Maluku. Mr. Ridwan Salamun suffered fatal injuries from a spear wound and a gash on his head. The communal clash was triggered by a minor disagreement that quickly escalated into violence between the villagers. Residents of Banda Ely reportedly told a motorcyclist from Mangun hamlet, Fiditan, Tual to slow down while driving through their neighborhood. The motorcyclist then went back to his own neighborhood and gathered together some friends to attack those who allegedly rebuked him. more…

  • Bangladesh: Human rights NGO is refused extension of anti-torture project
    March 10, 2011, 9:19 pm
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    On 11 February 2010, the NGO Affairs Bureau issued a letter refusing the extension of Odhikar’s project. The NGO Affairs Bureau claims that its refusal to allow the extension of the project is based on the Ministry of Home Affairs’s objection. Odhikar’s project, entitled “Human Rights Defenders Training and Advocacy Programme in Bangladesh”, focuses mainly on the issue of torture. The project’s activities include advocacy on criminalizing torture, establishing a tribunal against torture, and organizing roundtable discussions on torture-related issues. It also has campaign programmes advocating Bangladesh to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OP-CAT). more…

  • Indonesia (Papua): Journalist murdered
    March 10, 2011, 9:07 pm
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    Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is was killed in Indonesia. Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is was a journalist who regularly reported on corruption aOn 28 July 2012, Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is, journalist, had been reported missing, His motorbike and helmet were found at the Wali-Wali bridge of Merauke in Papua.

    On 30 July 2010, his body was found naked and handcuffed floating in the Maro River of Merauke in Papua, Indonesia. Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is was a journalist who regularly reported on corruption and illegal logging practices in Papua. His articles were published in Jubi magazine and his videos were shown on http://tabloidjubi.com until early this year.

    On 20 August 2010, after a post-mortem examination of the body, Indonesian police revealed that Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is was murdered and drowned in the river. Signs of torture were also found on Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is’ body. It is believed that his murder may be linked to his work covering controversial issues such as corruption and illegal logging in Papua. It may also be linked to his coverage of the regional election that took place on 2 August 2010.nd illegal logging practices in Papua. His articles were published in Jubi magazine and also his videos were published in http://tabloidjubi.com until early this year. On 30 July 2010, Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is’ body was found naked and handcuffed floating in the Maro River of Merauke in Papua, Indonesia. He had been reported missing since 28 July 2010 when his motorbike and helmet were found at the Wali-Wali bridge of Merauke in Papua. After a post-mortem examination of the body, Indonesian police revealed on 20 August 2010 that Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is was murdered and drowned in the river. Signs of torture were also found on Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is’ body. It is believed that his murder may be linked to his work covering controversial issues such as corruption and illegal logging in Papua. It may also be linked to his coverage of the regional election that took place on 2 August 2010. more…

  • India: 5 HRDs arrested during fact finding mission
    March 10, 2011, 8:18 pm
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    Five human rights defenders and women human rights defenders were arrested during a fact-finding mission. The names of the five defenders are Mr. Gnana Diraviam, Mr. Anandan, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, Ms. Niharga Priya, and Ms. Sudha. The five were participating in a human rights On 15 August 2010, around 6.30 p.m., participants of a human rights training, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, Ms. Niharga Priya, Ms. Sudha, Mr. Gnana Diraviam and Mr. Anandan went to the Veeravanallur Police Station, in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, to gather information in relation to allegations of torture of a Dalit youth by police officers at the station as part of their fieldwork exercise. The human rights training course was organized by NGOs, the Dalit Foundation (DF) and People’s Watch (PW), from 11 to 20 August 2010, in Nagamalai Puthukottai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The DF works to eliminate caste discrimination and caste-based violence, with a particular emphasis on Dalit women and manual scavengers, and the PW provides legal support and human rights education.

    The five human rights defenders identified themselves, and requested permission to Ms. X, Sub-Inspector of police, and Mr. Y, Inspector of police, to be provided with documents relating to the case. As a result, they were questioned and kept in the police station. It is alleged that Mr. Z is one of the alleged perpetrators in this case.

    Later in the evening, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, Ms. Niharga Priya, and Ms. Sudha requested to leave the police station and come back the next day, but Mr A, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Ambasamudram, refused, arguing that they had to be further questioned. Mr. Gnana Diraviam then tried to call a program assistant from the training program, but his mobile phone, as well the phones belonging to the other defenders, got confiscated. The five defenders were taken to separate rooms to get their identification marks, and were kept in the police station until 11 p.m.

    At 11.45 p.m., the group of defenders arrived under police escort at the house of the Judicial Magistrate in the nearby town of Cheranmahadevi in order to be remanded into judicial custody. They were charged with using the Indian Penal Code under Section 170 (impersonating a public servant), Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), Section 416 (cheating by impersonation) and Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation). They learnt that the complainant in the case against them was Ms. X. The group was then taken to the hospital for medical examination. The three women defenders were then transferred to Kokarakulam Women’s Sub Jail in the city of Tirunelveli, and the two male defenders were taken to Ambasamudram Sub Jail.

    During the evening, staff members of PW tried to call the Veeravanallur Police Station to enquire about the situation of the five defenders, in vain. One staff went to the police station to meet the group, but was asked to sign some papers without being told what they were and then to leave the station immediately.

    Finally, it is reported that in the case remand report, Mr. Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of PW-India, Member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), and a member of the Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions, was referred to as an “absconding accused”, although no charges had been filed against him, nor was he present at the police station at the time of the arrest of the five defenders.

    On 15 August 2010, five human rights defenders and women human rights defenders were arrested during a fact-finding mission. The names of the five defenders are Mr. Gnana Diraviam, Mr. Anandan, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, Ms. Niharga Priya, and Ms. Sudha. The five were participating in a human rights training course organized by the Dalit Foundation and People’s Watch, from 11-20 August 2010, in Nagamalai Puthukottai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. This training course gathered together 61 participants from all over the country and included two days of fieldwork exercises on fact-finding and documentation.

    On 15 August 2010, around 6:30pm, as part of their fieldwork exercise in the training programme, the 5 human rights defenders and women human rights defenders went to the Veeravanallur to look into a torture case of a Dalit youth . At 6:30pm, they arrived at the Veeravanallur Police Station to get a statement from police authorities on the said case. Sub Inspector Ms. P. Roswin Savimo, who was then coming into the police station, saw Mr. Gnana Diraviam, one of the 5 human rights defenders. She recognized him from when she was working at the Thirupavanam Police Station, which is located at the Sivagangai District, where Mr. Gnana works as a human rights defender. She invited the group to have coffee with her. The group accepted and Sub-Inspector Ms. P. Roswin Savimo requested a constable to buy coffee for them at the nearest coffee shop.

    It took some time for the constable to return from the errand as the nearest coffee shop is located almost a kilometer away. While they were waiting for the coffee to arrive, Mr. T. Murugesan, the Inspector of Police of Mukudal Police Station and in charge of the Veeravanallur Police Station entered the station.Mr. T. Murugesan saw the 5 human rights defenders talking with Ms. P. Roswin Savimo and he asked them who they were. The 5 human rights defenders shared with him in detail and told them about the training programme that they were participating in. They shared with him that they were doing fieldwork exercises on human rights investigation and documentation and were visiting the police station to get the statement of the police on the case of the tortured Dalit youth. The 5 human rights defenders also showed Mr. T. Murugesan their training manual, which had on its back cover the details on the two groups organizing the training, People’s Watch and the Dalit Foundation.
    While Mr. T. Murugesan was questioning the 5 human rights defenders, he often stepped out of his room to take phone calls. The 5 human rights defenders did not suspect anything by the way he was questioning them.

    At around 9:30pm, Mr. Ramu, the Deputy Superintendent of the Police of Ambasamuthram arrived at the Veeravanallur police station. It was at that time that the 5 human rights defenders started sensing something wrong and feeling a threatening attitude from the policemen who were in the room. The 5 human rights defenders were asked to move to another room where there were 5 chairs set out for them. Outside the room, three (3) constables were posted, guarding the door.
    It was at this point that the 3 women human rights defenders in the group, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, Ms. Niharga Priya, and Ms. Sudha, stood up and told the policemen that they need to go immediately and that they will come back the next day when information on the case they were asking about would be available. Mr. Ramu, in a very rude manner, then told the 3 women human rights defenders that since the police station is a government building, they can come and go as they please, but they have to remain since they need to be questioned more thoroughly.
    At this point, the 5 human rights defenders started calling through their mobile phones Mr. Pandian, one of the Programme Assistants assisting in the training programme. When Mr. T. Murugesan saw that the 5 human rights defenders were trying to call someone, he immediately confiscated all their mobile phones.

    The police then took each the 5 human rights defenders into separate rooms to get their identification marks. The 5 human rights defenders were kept in the police station until 11:00pm.

    At around 11:45pm, the 5 human rights defenders were taken by Mr. T. Murugesan to Cheranmahadevi, to the house of the Judicial Magistrate, to be remanded to judicial custody. Mr. T Murugesan was accompanied by Ms. P. Roswin Savimo and another Sub-Inspector, Mr. Murugan. It should be noted that Mr. Murugan is one of the alleged perpetrators in the case that brought 5 human rights defenders to the police station in the first place, the alleged torture of a Dalit youth.
    Before the Judicial Magistrate, one of the women human rights defenders in the group, Ms. Bharathi Pillai, spoke for 20 minutes and explained that they did not know what were the charges against them. It was only then that the Judicial Magistrate read out to them the charges:
    (a) Section 170 of the Indian Penal Code (Impersonating a Public Servant)
    (b) Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (Assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty)
    (c) Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code (Cheating by impersonation)
    (d) Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (Punishment for criminal intimidation)
    It was also only at that time that the 5 human rights defenders learned that the person who filed the complaints against them was Ms. P. Roswin Savimo, the female Sub-Inspector who had invited them at the police station to stay and have coffee with her.
    From the house of the Judicial Magistrate, the 5 human rights defenders were taken to the hospital for medical examination. Thereafter, the 3 women human rights defenders were taken to the Kokarakulam Women’s Sub Jail in Tirunelveli, while the 2 male human rights defenders were taken to the Ambasamuthram Sub-Jail.

    They were remanded finally at 2:00am. A bail hearing has been scheduled for 18 August 2010, and if granted, the 5 human rights defenders will be released, but the charges against them shall remain.
    Apart from the 5 human rights defenders, the remand report also named Mr. Henri Tiphagne as an ‘absconding accused’ despite the fact that no charges have been filed against him, nor was he present at the police station at the time of the arrests. Mr. Henri Tiphagne is the Executive Director of People’s Watch India, Member of the Executive Committee of the Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). Mr. Tiphagne is also a member of the National Core Group of NGOs of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India. People’s Watch is a member of the Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI).
    training course organized by the Dalit Foundation and People’s Watch, from 11-20 August 2010, in Nagamalai Puthukottai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. more…

  • India: Anti-torture activist arrested
    March 10, 2011, 8:07 pm
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    On 7 April 2012 at 9.45am, Mr. Kirity Roy was arrested policemen of the Anti Terrorist Cell of Kolkata and charged in connection with his involvement in organizing a People’s Tribunal on Torture. His arrest was related to a case filed against him in 2008 by the Anti-Terrorist Cell for holding the People’s Tribunal on Torture, a project under the National Project on Preventing Torture in India.1 During that event, victims narrated to the public acts of torture committed on them before panel members consisting of eminent experts such as the former Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court and the former Chairperson of the National Commission on Women.

    Mr. Kirity Roy has been very active in the work of combating torture and impunity.
    He is the Secretary of Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a Kolkata-based human rights organization and the National Convenor of Program Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI).
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  • Sri Lanka: Human rights worker abducted and found dead
    March 10, 2011, 4:42 pm
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    On 11 February 2010, Mr. Pattani Razeek, Managing Trustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF) and represented CTF in the executive committee of FORUM-ASIA was abducted . Mr. Razeek was last seen in Polonnaruwa, a town in the North-Central Province of Sri Lanka.
    In the afternoon of 11 February 2010, Mr. Razeek, was in Polonnaruwa in a van together with other staff of his organization, the Community Trust Fund (CTF), on their way home from a mission when their van was intercepted by another vehicle, a white van. In Sri Lanka, ‘white vans’ have been known to be the preferred vehicles of groups responsible for abductions and disappearances. Mr. Razeek alighted from their vehicle, approached the men in the white van and exchanged greetings in Arabic with them, indicating that the men are Muslim. After talking to them for some minutes, Mr. Razeek went back to his colleagues and told them that he will be joining the group in the white van that according to him was heading to the Eastern provincial town of Valaichchenai. He assured his colleagues that he will be meeting up with them later.
    After much delay in the police investigation, his body was only found and exhumed on 29 July 2011 by the police in Kavathamunai, Oddamavadi, Valaichenai. P. Razeek was the.Razeek’s body was sent to Batticaloa Hospital on 28 July 2011 for post-mortem. The post-mortem was completed on 2 August 2011 with the body released to the family on the same day. Samples of Mr. Razeek teeth, skin, hair, etc were taken by the Colombo Crimes Division and sent to the Gene Tech lab for DNA testing on 4 August 201. Mr. Razeek’s son, Riskhan supplied blood to the Gene Tech Lab on 8 August 2011. Stomach samples from Mr. Razeek’s body were sent to the Government Analyst on 5 August 2011.
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