Success Stories

Yecenia Armenta, Mexico

Yecenia Armenta was freed from prison in June 2016. Detained on 10 July 2012, she was beaten, near-asphyxiated and raped during 15 hours of torture until she was forced to “confess” to being involved in her husband’s murder. Amnesty supporters took some 300,000 actions for her as part of our Stop Torture and Write for Rights campaigns. “When I receive all these letters saying that I’m not alone,” she said, “it makes me feel great. And I think: ‘Yes, it’s true, I’m not alone.”

Fred Bauma and Yves Makwamba- Democratic Republic of Congo

Youth activists Fred and Yves were released at the end of August 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An amazing 170,000 people took action for the pair as part of Write for Rights. “Every letter, every visit, every word has strengthened us and reinforced our determination in this long but just struggle for freedom and democracy,” said Yves. Ten of their fellow activists, all members of the LUCHA youth movement, were also released in 2016.

Jeanette Solstad Remo – Norway

June 2016 marked the end of Jeanette Solstad Remø’s fight to have her right to be recognised as a woman, without compromising her dignity and human rights. Norway passed a new law giving transgender people access to legal gender recognition through a quick, accessible and transparent procedure. Through Write for Rights 2014, thousands of people supported Jeanette’s campaign, leading to a historic legal change that has done away with Norway’s shameful legacy of invasive procedures that violate human rights.

Maxima Acuna- Peru

In May 2017, all criminal charges were dropped against Máxima Acuña, a peasant farmer who is defying one of the world’s biggest gold mining companies. Over 300,000 actions were taken on behalf of Máxima, many of which urged the Peruvian authorities to protect her and her family from violence, harassment and intimidation, and to publicly recognize Máxima’s legitimate and important work as a human rights defender working on issues of land and the environment. Máxima told Amnesty that Write for Rights has given her “the feeling that I am protected, that my children are protected”. The letters have made a difference to her to know that “there are people who are helping us to seek justice”.

 Albert Woodfox – USA

On his 69th birthday, February 19, 2016, Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox walked free – 44 years after he was first put into solitary confinement. He was the USA’s longest serving prisoner held in isolation. Nearly every day for more than half of his life, Albert Woodfox woke up in a cell the size of a parking space, surrounded by concrete and steel.For the first time in more than four decades, Albert Woodfox is now able to walk outside and look up into the sky.

Albert Woodfox. © AI USA/Jasmine Heiss

I’d like to thank our friends at Amnesty International and Amnesty USA for their remarkable support these last years, culminating just recently in the Write for Rights Campaign

Albert Woodfox, 2015 Write for Rights case

Phyoe Phyoe Aung – Myanmar

Phyoe Phyoe Aung is a young human rights defender and Secretary General of one of Myanmar’s largest student unions. On March 10, 2015, she and 50 other students were arrested by police for their peaceful demonstrations against an education law they believe limits freedom of education. Phyoe Phyoe Aung was charged with a range of offenses including taking part in an unlawful assembly and inciting the public to commit offenses against the State. She faced up to nine years’ imprisonment and was a prisoner of conscience. She was freed on April 8, 2016.

Phyoe Phyoe Aung. Credit: Mizzima News

Thank you very much each and every one of you. Not just for campaigning for my release, and the release of other prisoners, but for helping to keep our hope and our beliefs alive.

Phyoe Phyoe Aung, 2015 Write for Rights case