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Third shopper reveals Primark clothing 'SOS' message

A woman in Belfast is the third shopper to find what appears to be an SOS message in at item of Primark clothing.

The handwritten note, which claims to be from a prisoner in China working under slave labour conditions, was reportedly found inside a pair of trousers bought by Karen Wisínska in a Primark store in Belfast in June 2011.

Read: Shoppers find 'degrading sweatshop conditions' on labels

The note, translated below, were found in a pair of Primark trousers bought in 2011.
The note, translated below, were found in a pair of Primark trousers bought in 2011. Credit: Amnesty International

Ms Wisínska said the trousers had remained unworn and in a cupboard until she discovered the message in them earlier this week and contacted Amnesty International.

The message, headed "SOS! SOS! SOS!" reads: "We are prisoners in the Xiang Nan Prison of the Hubei Province in China. Our job inside the prison is to produce fashion clothes for export.

"We work 15 hours per day and the food we eat wouldn't even be given to dogs or pigs. We work as hard as oxen in the field.

"We call on the international community to condemn the Chinese government for the violation of our human rights!"

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Sudan woman sentenced to death for 'being Christian'

A woman who married a Christian has been sentenced to death for not reverting back to the religion of her birth, judicial officials and Amnesty International have said.

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BREAKING: A Sudanese court has sentenced a woman to hang for apostasy after she converted from Islam to Christianity #Sudan

Meriam Ibrahim, 26, was convicted of apostasy at the weekend and given four days to switch back to Islam and thus avoid execution.

The woman is pregnant and married a Christian man from the south of the country in 2011 and took his faith. She has an 18-month-old child with her inside the jail, officials also say.

Ms Ibrahim was sentenced to death after that grace period expired, Amnesty said.

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Judge: "We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death" #Sudan

The court in the capital, Khartoum, also ordered that she be given 100 lashes for committing "zena" - an Arabic word for illegitimate sex - for having sexual relations with her husband.

Amnesty: 'Programmes like Homeland glorify torture'

Speaking about the findings Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said:

These findings are alarming, we really didn't foresee this sort of response.

People have bought into the idea that their personal safety can be enhanced in some way through the use of torture. That is simply untrue.

Programmes like 24, Homeland and Spooks have glorified torture to a generation - but there's a massive difference between a dramatic depiction by screenwriters, and its real-life use by government agents in torture chambers.

We decided as a society, a long time ago, that torture is simply wrong and can never be justified in any circumstances.

– Kate Allen

Read more: Homeland and 24 make 'torture acceptable' say Amnesty

The torture survey showed 15% of people in the UK, around three in 20, fear being tortured if they are detained by the authorities - while 86% agreed clear rules against torture were needed.

TV shows making 'torture acceptable' say Amnesty poll

More people in Britain believe torture can be justified than in Russia - thanks to popular TV shows such as 24, Homeland and Spooks, a new poll conducted by Amnesty International has said.

According to the poll, 29% in the UK think torture is sometimes necessary and acceptable to protect the public, compared to 25% in Russia.

One scene in popular TV show 24 shows a man tortured in the opening scene of the second episode. He is electrocuted by a machine that monitors his saline levels.

Selmin Caliskan, Secretary General of Amnesty speaks out against torture in Germany. Credit: Stephanie Pilick/DPA

The research is published as Amnesty launched a new Stop Torture campaign and revealed that 27 different types of torture were reported during 2013/14, in at least 79 countries so far.

US government 'spied on human rights charities'

Edward Snowden speaking to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Credit: Reuters

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has said that the US National Security Agency deliberately listened in on the activities and staff of prominent human rights organisations.

Addressing members of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg via video link from Moscow, Snowden said that the NSA had deliberately monitored bodies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

He told MEPs: "The NSA has targeted leaders and staff members of these sorts of organisations, including domestically within the borders of the United States." Snowden did not reveal which groups the NSA had bugged.

The Council of Europe invited the White House to give evidence but it declined.

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Amnesty: Pakistan 'must reform its blasphemy laws'

Human rights campaigners have called for the immediate release of a British man sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

A judge convicted and sentenced Mohammad Asghar, from Edinburgh, on Thursday following a trial. Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director Polly Truscott said:

Mohammad Asghar is now facing the gallows simply for writing a series of letters. He does not deserve punishment. No one should be charged on the basis of this sort of conduct.

Pakistan must immediately release Mohammad Ashgar and reform its blasphemy laws to ensure that this will not happen again.

EU 'miserably fails' to provide haven for Syrian refugees

The European Union has "miserably failed" to play its part in providing a safe haven for Syrian refugees, the secretary general of Amnesty International has said today.

Salil Shetty added:

Across the board European leaders should hang their heads in shame.

The EU must open its borders, provide safe passage and halt these deplorable human rights violations.

Read more: UK criticised over failing to resettle Syrian refugees

UK criticised over failing to resettle Syrian refugees

The UK has been criticised by a human rights charity for failing to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees.

Amnesty International said the Government should "hang its head in shame" for not opening its borders to the some of the millions of people displaced by continuing violence in Syria.

A child refugee from the northern province of Raqqa in Syria, reacts from the cold weather in a Syrian refugee camp Credit: Reuters

The UK is one of a number of EU countries who have offered no resettlement or humanitarian places, Amnesty added.

The Government says it has no plans to plans to resettle or provide temporary protection to Syrians, but would consider individual asylum claims.

Malala wins top humanitarian award

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Malala Yousafzai was shot in head by Taliban gunman near home in Pakistan for campaigning for equal access to education. Credit: PA

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl shot in the head by the Taliban near her home in Pakistan, will be honoured by Amnesty International in Dublin for her fearless crusade later today.

The 16-year-old, who campaigns for a women's right to an education, will be named Ambassador of Conscience, joining Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.

Malala said she was "truly honoured" by the award and would continue campaigning for equal access to education.

"I am truly honoured to receive this award and would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that there are many millions of children like me across the world who fight every single day for their right to go to school," the teenager said.

Earlier this month Malala opened the £188 million new library in her adopted hometown of Birmingham. She addressed the crowd as "fellow Brummies".

Read more: Malala opens new library**

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