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This Week in Civil and Human Rights News

Activists hold signs during the delivery of the final report on the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College. Edgard Garrido / Reuters

1. Saudi Arabia: Counter-terror court sentences human rights activist in relentless onslaught against civil society. April 25: Issa al-Hamid was sentenced to 9 years for a few charges such as “inciting [people] to breach public order” and “insulting the judiciary”. He was convicted by the Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), which has been recently known to imprison human rights activists.

"This systematic pattern of cracking down on peaceful activists in the name of fighting terror, seems to be intended to terrorize and punish anyone who exposes gross human rights violations that the authorities are intent on hiding from the world.” – James Lynch, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. 

2. 13-Year-Old Boy With Toy Gun Shot by Baltimore Police Officers. April 27:  The officer stated that the child had a toy gun and the officers were forced to shoot him as they believed it to be real. His statements caused controversy as it seemed to have blamed the mother. The incident happened shortly after the 6 million dollar settlement to Tamir Rice’s family and the same day as Freddie Gray’s funeral. 

3. Alabama city: Use bathrooms matching biological sex or face 6 months in jail. April 29: City council members in Oxford, Alabama unanimously stated that transgender people must use the bathroom of their biological sex or they will receive 6 months jail time or a $500 fine. This ruling was a response to Target’s announcement proclaiming Transgender Men and Women can use whatever restroom they are comfortable with in their stores.

4. A Damning Report on Mexico’s Missing 43 Students. April 25: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released a report that revealed major inconsistencies in the government’s investigation of the 43 missing students in Mexico. They found that the suspects who confessed to the crime only confessed after being tortured which makes their admission to the crime inadmissible. 

5. Civil rights hearings held over Flint's lead-tainted water. April 29: Several people presented at the hearings held in Flit and explained how they were affected by the Crisis. One woman explained how it took 3 months after the crisis was acknowledged to learn that all houses required water filters. City officials heard stories from local residents who were poisoned by the water and health has deteriorated by the crisis. 

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