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April 2010

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Five of FIACAT’s monthly appeals in 2009 have
been followed up, and here is a summary.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIQUE OF CONGO – everyday torture and its impunity
Appeal proposed by ACAT France – June 2009

Despite the human rights training received by officers of the Congolese national police force, there is much still to be done – particularly with regard to the army and information services – to combat torture effectively. All the indicators available to us, particularly the reports by Congolese human rights NGOs, show that torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are still current in DRC. Even when people are arrested legally, they are often tortured or subjected to cruel treatment to extract confessions from them.

Mulumba Kapepula, an employee of the national railway company, was released on 5 June 2009 after being acquitted of the charge of ‘insulting the Head of State’. Mr Kapepula has lodged a complaint with the Lubumbashi general court alleging that he was tortured, but to date no investigation has been opened.

CHINA – Prisoner of conscience in danger: Huang Qi
Appeal proposed by ACAT Luxembourg – July 2009

The human rights activist Huang Qi, who was arrested in June 2008 for having provided legal assistance to several families of victims of the Szechuan earthquake, was sentenced on 23 November 2009 to three years in prison after an unfair trial. The people’s court of the district of Wuhou, in Chengdu, capital of Szechuan, found him guilty of ’illegal possession of State secrets’. Several dozen police officers surrounded the court, preventing Huang Qi’s supporters from gaining access, and beating some of them. Only Huang Qi’s wife and mother were allowed to attend the trial. His lawyers, who were in Beijing, were not able to take part.

Huang Qi is in poor health. A few months ago he had two tumours diagnosed, one in his stomach and one in his chest. It seems that he is not receiving the medical treatment he needs.

PETITION AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY – 20 years of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child

Appeal proposed by the World Coalition against the death penalty – October 2009
ACAT groups marked the World Day Against the Death Penalty in 2009 with a large number of activities. Members of the FIACAT network collected more than 30 000 of the 90 708 signatures calling on Yemen, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan to stop executions of minors. These petitions were handed to the embassies of these four countries in Paris on 20 November, the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

CHINA – Risk of torture for human rights activists
Appeal proposed by ACAT Germany – November 2009

Gao Zhisheng, who was abducted by police officers on 4 February 2009, was allowed, following an American campaign, to telephone his brother and could only say ‘I am OK’.
Contrary to recent reports that Gao had been killed by the Chinese security forces, ‘a well-placed source’ in the Chinese security department told an Australian journalist that Gao, a lawyer, was alive. On 21 January 2010 the Chinese Government finally admitted that he was in prison, and thus still alive. He is still subjected to torture.

Recently, Gao was allowed to call his family in the USA, journalists and other human rights activists. They confirmed that it was really Gao Zhisheng who spoke to them. However, he did not seem to speak free and probably he is still under surveillance.

ITALY – Appeal for the inclusion of the crime of torture in the Italian criminal code
Appeal proposed by ACAT Italy – December 2009

The signature campaign continued until 15 April, it reached 7500 signatures!

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