“I’d like to thank our friends at Amnesty International and Amnesty USA for their remarkable support these last years, culminating just recently in the Write for Rights Campaign”
-Albert Woodfox, 2015 Write for Rights case. He is now free.
On his 69th birthday, February 19, 2016, Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox walked free – 44 years after he was first put into solitary confinement.He was the USA’s longest serving prisoner held in isolation. Nearly every day for more than half of his life, Albert Woodfox woke up in a cell the size of a parking space, surrounded by concrete and steel.For the first time in more than four decades, Albert Woodfox is now able to walk outside and look up into the sky.
“Thank you very much each and every one of you. Not just for campaigning for my release, and the release of other prisoners, but for helping to keep our hope and our beliefs alive.”
-Phyoe Phyoe Aung, 2015 Write for Rights case. She is now free.
Phyoe Phyoe Aung is a young human rights defender and Secretary General of one of Myanmar’s largest student unions. On March 10, 2015, she and 50 other students were arrested by police for their peaceful demonstrations against an education law they believe limits freedom of education.Phyoe Phyoe Aung was charged with a range of offenses including taking part in an unlawful assembly and inciting the public to commit offenses against the State. She faced up to nine years’ imprisonment and was a prisoner of conscience. She was freed on April 8, 2016.
“Right now I am overwhelmed by feelings that I am still coming to terms with. I feel joy, and so much emotion. To everyone who has stood by me, I give my heartfelt thanks. Without this support, my freedom would have been almost impossible. I want to thank you and to urge you to continue your efforts, don’t stop the beautiful work you are doing for the human rights of others. Sometimes justice is delayed, but it comes.”.
-Yecenia Armenta, 2015 Write for Rights case. She is now free.
In July 2012, Yecenia Armenta was taken into police custody in Mexico and brutally tortured. The police beat her for hours, raped her and threatened to kill her children. In spite of independent medical evidence that torture took place, the ‘confession’ was used to charge Yecenia with no proof at all. She was released in 2016.
“I am happy to finally be free after more than 17 months of imprisonment. I thank Amnesty International and all those who fought in one way or another for my release. I look forward to seeing my family and friends to continue the fight for democracy and freedom in my country.”
– Fred Bauma, 2015 Write for Rights case along with Yves Makwambala. They are now free.
Fred and Yves are human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were imprisoned for their peaceful human rights activism and were considered prisoners of conscience. They were freed on August 30, 2016
Thank you to Amnesty International’s supporters! Your campaign has been successful, as my release shows. But my case is not over yet. Please keep supporting me, my community and others in Cambodia. We can achieve the most success when we all work together.”
– Yorm Bopha, 2013 Write for Rights Case. She is now free.
Yorm Bopha is a Cambodian housing rights activist, previously imprisoned for defending her community’s rights at the former Boeung Kak Lake in the capital Phnom Penh, where thousands of people had been forcibly evicted since 2007. Yorm Bopha’s case was featured in Write for Rights 2013, and she was released the same year.
“Thank you for your hard work and your campaigns to secure my release from prison…Your letters, phone calls, and petitions were my protection during the months I spent in solitary confinement. You were my voice when I had none.”
– Birtukan Mideska, 2009 Write for Rights Case. She is now free.
A prisoner of conscience sentenced to life in prison, Birtukan Mideksa was held for nearly two years in Ethiopia solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression and association. Her case was featured in Write for Rights 2009, during which thousands of people from around the world petitioned for her release by sending letters to the Government of Ethiopia. Birtukan was released in October 2010.
“I am overwhelmed. I thank Amnesty International and their activist for the great support that made me a conqueror in this situation. Amnesty International members and activist are my Heroes”
– Moses Akatugba, 2014 Write for Rights Case. He is now free.
Moses Akatugba was sixteen years old when he was arrested under suspicion of armed robbery in 2005. Moses spent more than three months in police detention, where he says that police officers repeatedly beat him with machetes and batons. He told Amnesty that they tied and hung him up for several hours, and then used pliers to pull out his toe and fingernails. Finally, Moses was forced to sign two pre-written confessions, and was sentenced to death in 2013. During Write for Rights 2014, activists took more than 800,000 actions on Moses’ behalf, and now he walks free!
“I am alive today, after 33 arrests, because members of Amnesty International spoke out for me. Amnesty International is our big sister. When I’m in prison, if I know that someone, my big sister, is shouting for me, telling people about me, then I feel less distressed, less frightened and less alone.”
– Jenni Williams, 2011 Write for Rights Case. She is now free.
Jenni Williams is the leader of WOZA, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and was featured in Write for Rights 2011. She has endured dozens of arrests and beatings for leading peaceful protests demanding social and political reforms in Zimbabwe. WOZA has inspired tens of thousands of women and men to stand up for their rights to free speech and assembly and the fulfillment of basic needs such as food and education.