Wrongs and Rights
By Michael King, Fri., May 31, 2002
The 2002 report is not all bad news. Some human rights success stories of 2001:
In Mexico, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, environmental activists and prisoners of conscience, were released in November 2001 after two and a half years behind bars. The Montiel and Cabrera cases had been the focus of an intense grassroots campaign by Amnesty International members.
In Myanmar in July, U Pa Pa Lay and his cousin U Lu Zaw, two Burmese comedians known as the "Moustache Brothers," and their colleagues U Aung Soe and U Htwe were released from prison after five years. Overall, 280 political prisoners have been released since high-level talks between the military government and the National League for Democracy began in December 2000.
In Turkey, Eren Keskin, a leading member of the Human Rights Association, and Osman Baydemir, its vice-president, received repeated death threats because of their human rights work. Following an Urgent Action appeal by Amnesty International, the death threats stopped. "I have been a human rights defender for 10 years, but it was only after Amnesty International issued the Urgent Action that for the first time the authorities proposed to protect me and my colleague," said Keskin. "I highly appreciate the activities of the Amnesty members on our behalf and send my warmest thanks to them."
For more information on Amnesty International and the annual report, see amnestyonline.amnestyusa.org.
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