Server Issues

November 30, 2007 in main by Rob Hallam

Hi folks. We had a few hours of server downtime yesterday as the datacentre link was unresponsive. Everything is back to normal now.

However, we are still apparently having problems with sending email – which means that if you are registering for the blog and it says a confirmation mail will be sent to you, you probably won’t get that email. I’m trying to get this fixed, so bear with us. In the meantime we can register people manually, so if you want to sign up to post, give me an email (you can find my address on the contact page).

Thanks for your patience!

Update: Email is working. Please register as normal. If there are any further issues, please let me know.

by Emma

Women in Northern Ireland have least access to abuse support services in UK

November 29, 2007 in main by Emma

Amnesty International, as part of the End Violence Against Women coalition, have called on the Northern Ireland government to provide proper services for women who have experienced violence.

Currently these women have less access to services  than anywhere else in the UK.

To see the full article, click here.

by Emma

Raise Off

November 27, 2007 in main by Emma

Amnesty’s First Annual Student RAISE-OFF is unveiled on 17 November at this year’s student conference in Manchester, and excitement and a healthy competitive spirit are already running rampant on campuses across the UK.This is the chance for your student group to prove that it can raise the most donations for Amnesty. Already have a rivalry with a neighbouring university? Challenge them to a raise-off and see who will excel! Between now and 14 March 2008 we’re asking you to be as creative and organise as many events as possible. Why not take the plunge and try a sponsored skydive, otherwise known as a jump-off? Or you can hold a cakesale, a film night, a concert, a sponsored silence, or a charity club night. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll be helping raise vital funds and awareness for Amnesty’s work.The reward? Besides the satisfaction of supporting Amnesty, and the recognition for out-competing your fellow student groups across the UK, there will be exciting prizes for the top individual and top group fundraisers presented in April 2008.

Don’t delay as time is of the essence! And best of luck!

We are really excited about this, so post your ideas!

Find out more about the skydiving here.

AIUK Condemns Detention Plans

November 26, 2007 in news by Rob Hallam

Edit: Emma beat me to it. if you want to read what I wrote, you can get it after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry →

by Emma

Ten good reasons why not to extend pre-charge detention…

November 26, 2007 in news by Emma

Amnesty International UK today released ‘Ten good reasons why extending pre-charge detention is a bad idea’, outlining the strong case against government proposals to extend the time for which police can hold terrorism suspects without charge.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

‘While the case for extending pre-charge detention is full of holes and losing support week on week, the case against – both in principle and in practice – is very strong.

‘Locking people up for two months without charge is no way for a liberal democracy to act. Extremists want to undermine our liberties and terrorism shows no respect for human rights. The government needs to step up and show a principled opposition to terrorism, not take away people’s rights.’

The BBC commented on the report along with one by Justice. 

Let us know your opinion… comment on this post to start the discussion! 

For the ten good reasons, click below.

Read the rest of this entry →

UN: Tasers “a form of torture”

November 25, 2007 in information, news by Rob Hallam

A UN committee has recommended that police forces give up the use of Tasers:

The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture… In certain cases, they can even cause death, as has been shown by reliable studies and recent real-life events

Though the recommendations were directed at Portugal, who has recently bought the new X26 model for their police force, they are likely to be felt worldwide if they mean that the use of Tasers contravenes the Convention against Torture (1984). The recommendations come in the weeks following the deaths of 6 men in North America who died after being Tasered.

Less than two weeks ago in the UK, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) decided that there would be no criminal charge against the armed police officers who twice Tasered a man on a bus in Leeds who had gone into a diabetic coma. Nicholas Gaubert has said that he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress as a result of the incident, where a ‘real’ firearm was being pointed at his head as he was being shocked. Mr Gaubert said he was told the police believed he looked “Egyptian”.

The use of Tasers as a first line of action – instead of a non-lethal alternative to firearms – is becoming problematic. Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty Internation USA said,

The danger of Tasers is that they seem safe, they seem easy and therefore I think it’s natural that police will be inclined to use them much more quickly than they would ever use a gun

The recent deaths indicate that Tasers are anything but safe; but as they are still easy, they are prone to being misused.

by Emma

Guantanamo’s sixth anniversary

November 24, 2007 in actions, events, unsubscribe by Emma

On the 11th of January 2008, Guantánamo Bay will have been running for six years.

Amnesty International is therefore stepping up its campaign for the closure of the base and the fair and safe transfer of all prisoners.

There are three things that they ask us to do:

Write to your MP or MSP

Check for actions and demonstrations.

Raise awareness by organising an event. We are running our Unsubscribe stall on the 5th of December, so if anyone is free to help out please let us know and if anyone has more ideas on spreading awareness, don’t be afraid to share.

Comedy Night @ The Stand

November 22, 2007 in events, main by Rob Hallam

Just to let everyone who wasn’t able to go know, the comedy night last night was a great laugh. The comedy was delivered by Gary Little, Kevin Bridges, Gus Tawse, Carly Baker and Parrot. There jokes were great and the crowd lapped them up. The raffle gave away an MP3 player, a DVD player, a bottle of champagne, two bottles of wine and the obligatory box of chocolates. We’re not sure how much it raised yet, but I’m sure all who came along enjoyed themselves. I certainly had great fun, and I’d recommend you catch any of the comedians if you can.


by Emma

GU Amnesty Committee Meeting 21/11/07 – Minutes

November 22, 2007 in minutes by Emma


– stall on Wednesday 5th.
– setup – Helen H, Dawn, Sinead
– Sandwich boards for photos
– Dawn to find out what we do with the photos afterwards
– sweets/food?
– Unsubscribe workshop for next week’s meeting.


– Helen H to contact Star
– Venue – union? bar money? talk to QMU.
– Band – Dawn to email Andrew. Everyone to ask around.


– Emma to contact Falun Gong lady – get details from Helen S
– China exhibition, irrepressible.


– “breaking news” on
– Subcity radio – Dawn to find out.


– discussion about responsible campaigning next week or week after.

Concern for Bilal Hussein, AP Reporter Detained in Iraq

November 22, 2007 in information, news by Rob Hallam

An Associated Press photographer who has been detained by the US military in Iraq without charge for over 19 months is to now presumably to be charged with having links to terrorist groups, though exact charges are unknown. The case against Bilial Hussein will be prosecuted under the Iraqi criminal code, with an investigative magistrate to determine if there is sufficient evidence to try him.

The problem is, the military have not disclosed what they are specifically accusing him of, or what evidence they will be presenting at the hearing. This makes the case for his defence a little tricky. What’s more, US security forces argue that can continue to detain him even if he is acquitted:

“I think there is still a provision, should it be determined that he still poses a threat, that he can be held as a security detainee … even though he was found to be not guilty for criminal acts by a court”

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman

This assumption is predicated on the US arguing that the UN resolution gives them broad discretionary powers to detain people they believe to pose a “security threat”.

Joel Campagna of the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed his concern over Hussein’s detention, saying

“Governments are increasingly using these detentions as a way to justify their own repression of their media”

The military intends to file a complaint to bring a case against Hussein as early as 29 November, despite AP’s intensive investigation (conducted by former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe) having found that he was nothing other than a journalist working in a war zone.