Two Years in Prison for Gay Sex in Turkmenistan

Expand A screen showing a portrait of Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inside the terminal of the newly built airport in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 17, 2016.  © 2016 Reuters In Turkmenistan, men who have sex with men continue to be arrested and imprisoned on sodomy charges. In mid-March independent media in the region reported the arrest of a […]

Sri Lankan Officials Stoke Covid-19 Communal Hate

Expand A Sri Lankan firefighter sprays disinfectants near a mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 10, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena Eleven years since the end of Sri Lanka’s long and brutal civil war, the government has disavowed promised steps toward truth, justice, and accountability for war crimes. Instead, recent years have witnessed a […]

Azerbaijan Should Release Jailed Opposition Leader

Expand Tofiq Yaqublu (file photo). © Azadliq Radiosu/RFERL Friday marks two months since Tofiq Yagublu, one of Azerbaijan’s top political opposition figures, was thrown behind bars for his activism. Police arrested Yagublu on March 22, three days after President Ilham Aliyev, in his first major speech addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, implied he would use the […]

Hungary Rejects Opportunity to Protect Women from Violence

Expand Candles and silhouettes representing victims are placed during a rally to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women outside the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, November 25, 2018. © 2018 Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP Amidst a disturbing global uptick in reports of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdowns, Hungary has taken a leap […]

Azerbaijan: Opposition Leader Arrested

Expand Policemen bringing the opposition leader Tofig Yagublu to Nizami District Court of Baku, March 23, 2020. © 2020 Azadliq Radiosu/RFERL (Berlin) – Azerbaijani authorities have arrested a prominent opposition leader and ardent government critic, Tofig Yagublu, on spurious hooliganism charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Yagublu’s arrest comes days after President Ilham Aliyev made comments suggesting […]

Lebanon: Spate of Free Speech Prosecutions

Expand Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations to demand better living conditions on October 21, 2019 in downtown Beirut. © ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images (Beirut) – A spate of prosecutions since the outbreak of nationwide protests on October 17, 2019 against activists and journalists critical of government policies and corruption is threatening free […]

Kyrgyzstan: Women’s Activists Detained

Expand Kyrgyz policemen detain an activist of the Femen women’s rights movement at Victory Square during celebration of the International Women’s Day in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Sunday, March 8, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Vladimir Voroni (Berlin) – Kyrgyzstan police held about 70 activists, most of them women, for hours on March 8, 2020 without telling them […]

More Americans Favor Decriminalizing Sex Work

A new report published today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Center for Transgender Equality, and 22 other United States-based human rights organizations finds that 52 percent of Americans and two-thirds of voters age 18 to 44 years support decriminalizing sex work. Decriminalizing sex work means ending laws that make it illegal […]

Philippines: Free Senator; End Attacks on Rights Defenders

Expand Jailed Senator Leila de Lima votes during the midterm elections in Paranaque, Philippines, May 13, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo (Manila) – Philippine authorities should immediately release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for three years, and drop the politically motivated charges against her, Amnesty International, FORUM-ASIA, and Human Rights Watch said […]

Russia: Court Convicts Journalist for Activism

Expand Maxim Vernikov at his verdict announcement, Yekaterinburg, Russia. February 11, 2020.  © 2020 Private (Moscow) – A Russian court on February 11, 2020 found a journalist criminally responsible for involvement in an “undesirable” organization, Human Rights Watch said today. The journalist, Maxim Vernikov, was the first person convicted under a 2015 law that allows […]