The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update February 8-14


Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

Our feature image above shows a Bushman child from Botswana where his people are subject to virulent racial discrimination.



Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.




This week we turn our attention to the Against Malaria Foundation. They are highly rated by GiveWell. Their mission–

What do they do? AMF ( provides funding for long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) distributions (for protection against malaria) in developing countries.

Does it work? There is strong evidence that distributing LLINs reduces child mortality and malaria cases. AMF has conducted post-distribution surveys of all completed distributions to determine whether LLINs have reached their intended destinations and how long they remain in good condition. AMF’s post-distribution surveys have generally found positive results, with some exceptions, but have some methodological limitations.

Nonetheless, we call upon you to support the fight against malaria, the main killer of children in Third World countries.



Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is racism. Help stamp it out.


We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

You can download this book

Look for these logos:







Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United    and raise your voice against slavery in the Thai chicken industry.



Urgent Action Victory! – Governor Stays Execution After Juror Plea

On 8 February, the Ohio Governor issued an eight-month reprieve for Raymond Tibbetts, who was due to be executed on 13 February. The decision came after he received a letter in support of clemency from one of the jurors from the 1998 trial.

Raymond Tibbetts was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of Fred Hicks in 1997. The sentence survived the appeals process despite what a federal judge described in a dissent in 2011 as the trial lawyer’s “failure to engage in basic preparation” of mitigation evidence about the defendant’s traumatic upbringing. Evidence raised on appeal, she wrote, “revealed a much more chaotic and abusive environment” in parental and foster care than the jurors had heard about. Such “shocking” and “utterly disturbing” details would have given them “compelling” reasons to vote for life, she wrote. In January 2017, however, the Ohio parole board recommended by 11 votes to one that the Governor deny clemency. The majority acknowledged Raymond Tibbetts’s “traumatic” childhood, but decided that they could not “say, with any reasonable degree of confidence, that the outcome of the trial would have been different had his trial attorneys presented that mitigation evidence in the manner suggested by his current attorneys”.

A man who served as a juror at Raymond Tibbetts’s trial wrote a detailed letter dated 30 January 2018 to Governor John Kasich after reviewing the mitigating evidence which had been seen by the parole board but not the jury. The juror expressed his “deep concerns about the trial,” in light of this information and concluded that “[b]ased on what I know today I would not have recommended the death penalty.” In an Ohio capital case, a jury must be unanimous for the death penalty for that to be the outcome.

The former juror wrote: “Governor, if we are going to have a legal process that can send criminals to death that includes a special phase for mitigation shouldn’t we get it right?” He wrote that “this is not about my conscience beyond having an opportunity to explain how I believe the trial process was not well served in this case”. He urged the governor to commute the death sentence. Among his reasons were “the truly terrible conditions, understated at trial, of Tibbets (sic) entire childhood”; “The lack of preparation if not outright malpractice on the part of the defense for the sentencing phase”; and “The apparent ineptitude of the defense team in not calling Tibbets sister to testify”. He also suggested that the scant nature of the mitigation case had allowed the prosecution to “dismantle” it. In her 2011 dissent, the federal appeals court judge had noted that not only had the abuse been mentioned only “vaguely and in passing” at the trial, “it is important to remember one of the State’s tactics during the penalty phase was to challenge the legitimacy of the defense’s mention of childhood abuse, however minimal the reference”.

On 8 February, Governor John Kasich wrote to the Chair of the Ohio Parole Board requesting that the board convene a new hearing to review the case “in light of this new information”. To “facilitate this process”, the Governor said he had issued an eight-month reprieve. The Warrant of Reprieve holds that the death sentence will now be carried out at 10am on 17 October 2018 “unless further reprieve or clemency is granted”.

Raymond Tibbetts’s defense team has expressed its gratitude for “the crucial support of Ohioans to Stop Executions, Amnesty International, and other grassroots organizations who mobilized their strong network to contact Ohio’s Governor on behalf of Ray.”

No further action by the UA Network is requested at present. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.



Urgent Action Update: Tortured Journalist Must Be Immediately Released

On 8 February, human rights activists reported that two SNB officers leading the investigation on the case against detained journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev had been suspended and that the General Prosecutor’s Office had initiated investigations into allegations of torture and fabrication of a criminal case. Bobomurod Abdullayev, however, remains in SNB detention.



Urgent Action: Azeri Activist Conscripted Despite Ill-Health


Azeri activist Ulvi Hasanli has been conscripted for military service, despite being in ill-health, and sent to the zone of the unresolved conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. Following a medical examination in September 2017, he was exempted from military service until 2019 on grounds of ill-health; an ultrasound showed he had inflamed kidney and kidney stones. However late in October the decision was reversed and he was detained and taken to a military base to begin his military service. Amnesty International believes he is being targeted because of his peaceful activism.



Urgent Action Update: Threats to Journalist Reporting Disappearances

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Mexico’s missing people

On 19 January a television reporter published videos from surveillance cameras that suggest that police from Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, were involved in six of seven cases of disappearances that occurred in late December and early January. Days after, the reporter received threats on Twitter.




Urgent Action Update: Forcibly Returned Woman Faces Treason Charges

A woman named Koo Jeong-hwa (aged 24, previously identified as Lee Su-jung in China) has been detained since 3 December 2017 in North Korea and a decision on her sentence is expected from the Ministry of State Security in March 2018. She is at risk of being sent to a political prison camp together with her 4-year-old son, where they may be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.




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