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Algeria 'silencing critics' in run-up to polls

Amnesty International accused the authorities in Algeria on Monday of silencing critics and stepping up curbs on freedom of expression in the run-up to its presidential election this week. "Mounting curbs on freedom of expression in the run-up to Algeria's upcoming elections underscore disturbing shortcomings in the country's overall human rights record," it said. "Moves to silence critics and quash social unrest are at the forefront of a number of human rights concerns," Amnesty said ahead of Thursday's election.

Jailed China activist defiant as court rejects appeal

A prominent Chinese legal activist defiantly denounced a court as "absurd" on Friday as it upheld his jail sentence for supporting anti-corruption protests, his lawyer said. Xu Zhiyong, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison in January for backing demonstrations in which a handful of activists held up banners calling for government officials to disclose their assets, as Beijing cracks down on a burgeoning rights movement. Beijing's high court rejected his appeal and upheld its original verdict, his lawyer Zhang Qingfang told AFP, but his client remained resolute.

Jailed China activist defiant as court rejects appeal

A prominent Chinese legal activist defiantly denounced a court as "absurd" on Friday as it upheld his jail sentence for supporting anti-corruption protests, his lawyer said. Xu Zhiyong, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison in January for backing demonstrations in which a handful of activists held up banners calling for government officials to disclose their assets, as Beijing cracks down on a burgeoning rights movement. Beijing's high court rejected his appeal and upheld its original verdict, his lawyer Zhang Qingfang told AFP, but his client remained resolute.

Jailed China activist defiant as court rejects appeal

A prominent Chinese legal activist defiantly denounced a court as "absurd" on Friday as it upheld his jail sentence for supporting anti-corruption protests, his lawyer said. Xu Zhiyong, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison in January for backing demonstrations in which a handful of activists held up banners calling for government officials to disclose their assets, as Beijing cracks down on a burgeoning rights movement. Beijing's high court rejected his appeal and upheld its original verdict, his lawyer Zhang Qingfang told AFP, but his client remained resolute.

10 Central American migrants kidnapped twice in Mexico

Ten Central American migrants were kidnapped in northern Mexico on the same day they were freed from a first abduction, a human rights group said Thursday. The military rescued at least 40 migrants on March 19 in Reynosa, a city bordering the United States, according to Amnesty International. But 10 of them, most from Guatemala, were snatched again as they headed to a shelter run by the Roman Catholic Church. "Their whereabouts remain unknown," Amnesty said in a statement, lamenting that the migrants had not been afforded any protection by authorities.

Amnesty raises alarm over Red Crescent worker held by Syria

Rights group Amnesty International has raised concern about the detention of a Syrian Red Crescent worker who has not been heard from since her arrest by authorities in January. In a statement released late Wednesday, the group said Maryam Haid was arrested on January 13 by men believed to be members of the Syrian Criminal Security forces. Amnesty said Haid was initially detained at a Criminal Security branch in Damascus, but there had been no word on her whereabouts or condition since her arrest.

Nepal must toughen fight on women's "fallen womb" crisis -Amnesty

By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU, Feb 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When pregnant Nepali teenager Reena Pokharel began labor in her remote village, her family consulted a soothsayer, pressed her stomach and told her to cough to force the baby out. After four days of painful labor, the 17-year-old delivered a girl. But with no skilled midwives present, her placenta was not immediately removed, triggering a debilitating health condition that left her unable to perform daily tasks.

Amnesty urges Russia to release jailed Olympic critic

Amnesty International has urged Russia to immediately release from prison a leading activist who criticised the environmental damage caused by the Sochi Olympic Games. Yevgeny Vitishko was sent to a penal colony for three years on Wednesday for damaging a fence in a verdict widely condemned by rights groups as an attempt to silence a prominent critic of the Sochi Games.

India blocks funds to Amnesty over sourcing concerns

The Indian government has frozen funding of nearly half a million dollars to the rights group Amnesty International's local offshoot over concerns about the source of some of the cash, a newspaper reported Saturday. The home ministry decided to prevent Amnesty India from taking receipt of the money from its parent organisation in Britain after around a third of the overall amount was traced to an offshore trust. The trust, based on the island of Gibraltar, was set up by a gambling tycoon who has been convicted of fraud in the United States, said the report.

Malaysia postpones execution after outcry

Amnesty International on Friday said Malaysia has postponed plans to execute a man for murder in a case that sparked an outcry from rights groups. Chandran Paskaran, a Malaysian, was sentenced to hang in 2008 for killing another man in a fight five years earlier in the southern state of Johor. Amnesty had earlier revealed that it learned the execution of Chandran, 35, was set for Friday. The government of the Muslim-majority country is tight-lipped about its application of capital punishment and AFP was not able to confirm the global rights group's claims.
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