Tuesday 11 December 2018

Five finalists for Front Line Defenders award

Pictured L-R Ms Noeline Blackwell, Board of Trustees, Front Line Defenders, Mr Pat Breen TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Averil Power, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD and Ms Mary Lawlor, Executive Director, Front Line Defend
Pictured L-R Ms Noeline Blackwell, Board of Trustees, Front Line Defenders, Mr Pat Breen TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Averil Power, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD and Ms Mary Lawlor, Executive Director, Front Line Defend

Brian Byrne

THEY are all either in jail, facing the threat of jail or in hiding.

Five human rights campaigners were named as finalists for the Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk yesterday.

Among them are Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano, an LGBT activist and the first transgender woman to stand for public office in Ecuador, who is living in a safe house after receiving death threats.

Fellow nominee, Mexican Juan Carlos Flores Solis, spent 10 months in prison for leading opposition to the construction of a gas pipeline near an active volcano.

The finalists also include three human rights lawyers.

Chinese Guo Feixion has been repeatedly jailed and tortured for "challenging corruption," according to the State-funded human rights organisation.

Rasul Jafarov, who is currently being detained, was arrested in Azerbaijan on "bogus charges of illegal enterprise, tax evasion and abuse of official power".

In Egypt, Yara Sallam has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment and two years' police monitoring after she was arrested with other protesters during a demonstration against the controversial protest law in June 2014.

Executive director Mary Lawlor said the €15,000 award "celebrates the courage" of human rights defenders.

The winner will be announced on May 1.

Irish Independent

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