Despite the fact that his trial was held in a chaotic manner during the last half of 2019 with many postponements and irregular date changes, he remains in detention and still faces the death penalty. The last hearing took place on 31st December and it is not known whether further hearings will take place before the sentence is announced.
On 29 November 2019, six UN Special Rapporteurs for human rights wrote a joint letter to the Saudi Arabian authorities regarding the conditions of arrest and detention of Salman Al-Awdah and three other Saudi Arabian religious figures also facing the death penalty.
Although his father’s situation has not improved, Abdullah Alaoudh was very touched by the mobilisation of ACAT activists during the 2019 night of vigil and shared his feelings on twitter.
2) Germain Rukuki
On 17th July 2019, the Burundian Court of Appeal in Ntahangwa upheld the conviction of human rights defender Germain Rukuki. The decision was handed down at a public hearing without the knowledge of Germain or that of his lawyers. They were only informed on July 22nd, six days later. His lawyers announced that they would appeal to the Supreme Court. In an opinion of 13th August 2019, made public on 25th September 2019, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, after examining his situation, declared that the deprivation of liberty of Germain Rukuki is arbitrary in that it is contrary to international provisions on the rights to freedom of association, expression and opinion. On 10th April 2020, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi reiterated its recommendation to release with immediate effect those arbitrarily detained, citing Germain Rukuki. The Burundian government remains deaf to these calls and Germain Rukuki is still being held to this day.
3) Mancho Bibixy
He was in Kondengui Central Prison during the brutally repressed riots that broke out on 22nd July 2019. He was then moved, together with other detainees accused of being ringleaders. However, he resurfaced on 18th August 2019, his 35th birthday, and sent a message from Kondengui prison that was reported in the press.
On 15th August 2019, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion (No. 46/2019) declaring Mancho Bibixy’s detention as arbitrary and noting numerous violations of fair trial rules in the proceedings leading up to his conviction. He then asked the Cameroonian authorities for his immediate release and for him to obtain compensation for the harm he had suffered. On 3rd October 2019, the President of the Republic of Cameroon decided to release 333 people arrested within the context of the conflict in the English-speaking north-west and south-west regions. Mancho Bibixy, imprisoned since 19th January 2017, did not benefit from this presidential gesture.
He is still imprisoned in Yaoundé. The prison is overcrowded and the coronavirus crisis is making people fear the worst for the health of those imprisoned there. On 13th April 2020, the press reported several cases already identified in this prison and others throughout the country.
4) Huang Qi
Six months after his trial behind closed doors, journalist Huang Qi was sentenced in July 2019 to 12 years in prison and four years with no political rights for “divulging state secrets”. Since the start of his imprisonment in 2016, Huang Qi has been deprived of medical care despite suffering from chronic kidney disease, hydrocephalus and lung and heart problems. His condition is critical and could be fatal if he is not released on medical grounds. In addition, the authorities impose arbitrary restrictions on him: Huang Qi, for example, is only allowed to spend 100 yuan per month at the prison’s commissary, or about 13 euros. His 87-year-old mother Pu Wenqing, who is suffering from cancer, is still prevented from visiting her son in prison and is subject to daily police surveillance.
5) Amal Fathy
Amal Fathy had been released on probation since 27 December 2018, but on 20th March 2020, the Public Prosecutor’s Office lifted all restrictions on her. She is however still at risk of re-arrest at any time since she was convicted in a second case concerning a Facebook video in which she denounced sexual harassment in Egypt and the government’s inaction.
6) Rodolfo Alvarez Medrano
On January 15, 2020, a federal judge ruled that Rodolfo was entitled to a new trial in a Texas court in order to challenge the analysis of the gang expert detective at his trial, Robert Alvarez. Alvarez was removed from office in 2011 after being convicted of misappropriating official information, violating the civil rights of a detainee, and stealing and falsifying government records. As of early April 2020, no court date was known.
At the same time, Rodolfo, with the help of his lawyer, continues to work to try to put an end to the Texas “law of parties” which allows, as in his case, for a person who is neither the direct perpetrator nor the mastermind behind a murder to be sentenced to death.
7) María Márquez de Favela
The investigation into the enforced disappearance of her son Adrián is still ongoing. María still doesn’t know what happened to him. Together with her “Families United for Truth and Justice” association, she continues to search for and meet with the authorities to find those who have disappeared in Ciudad Juárez and the surrounding area.
All the demonstration of support she received as part of the Night of Vigil has helped her to continue her efforts.
8) Déogratias Mushayidi
He has been imprisoned for more than 10 years now, having been arrested in March 2020. There is till date no sign of any forthcoming release.
9) Nguyễn Trung Tôn
Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton is still serving a 12-year prison sentence for “activities aimed at toppling the people’s administration”. His health has not improved and he is still suffering from the aftermath of a violent assault in 2017. Since the beginning of his imprisonment in July 2017, he has not been provided with any medical treatment. His family continues to be harassed and intimidated by the police.
10) Trần Thị Nga
After serving almost a third of the prison sentence imposed on her in 2017, human rights defender Tran Thi Nga was released ahead of time and immediately exiled to the United States on 10th January 2020. Her two young sons and her partner were able to leave Vietnam and accompany her to Atlanta, Georgia, where she now needs to rebuild her life.
On 1st February 2020, the ACAT Foundation awarded Tran Thi Nga its Engel-du Tertre prize for human dignity, in recognition of her courage and her fight for fundamental rights.
On this occasion, Tran Thi Nga addressed the following message to ACAT and its supporters:
“I would sincerely like to thank you, human rights organisations such as ACAT, individuals, the media, religious organisations and the entire global civil society. Thanks to your compassion and your support, I have regained my freedom, and I thank you all sincerely. But please do not stop helping those who are still in prison in Vietnam. Many are still languishing behind bars, and they need your help. Please continue to fight on our side. »
The Vietnamese authorities have for some years resorted to a strategy of forced exile of dissident voices. In January 2017, human rights activist Dang Xuan Dieu – borne up during the 2016 Night of Vigil – was released from prison before serving half of his original sentence, on condition that he left Vietnam for France. In October 2018, human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as “Me Nam”, supported during NDV 2018, was also allowed to leave her cell to board a plane to the USA with her family.