SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has written to a Nigerian man on death row to send a message of hope at Christmas time as part of Amnesty International’s annual letter-writing campaign ‘Write for Rights’.
Moses Akatugba is on death row in Nigeria for allegedly stealing mobile phones. He told Amnesty that when he was arrested as a 16 year-old schoolboy, he was hung up for hours, beaten, shot at and had his fingernails pulled out. He was then forced to sign a pre-written confession for armed robbery. Last year he was sentenced to death, despite the fact that he was a child when he was arrested.
During the campaign Amnesty encourages supporters and members of the public to write letters of solidarity to political prisoners or people suffering human rights abuses around the world, and letters or emails to the authorities to demand their release or protection.
Mr Durkan said: “I was horrified to hear about what has happened to Moses. At 16 he was tortured and is now on death row, and I am very glad to add my name to the campaign to get him out of prison. In the meantime, I hope that my message of support – and those of many others – will give him the strength to carry on despite his horrendous circumstances. I would also urge as many people as possible in Derry and throughout the North to take part in this important campaign.”
Karen Middleton, Amnesty’s Individuals at Risk Campaign Manager said: “When you’re sitting down to write your Christmas cards why not add one of our Write for Rights cases to your list. Every year the people who are part of the campaign, and their families, tell us what a difference it makes to know that they haven’t been forgotten, that people all over the world are thinking about them and demanding their release.”
For more information about Write for Rights, this year’s cases and how to get involved, visit: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/write