"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me." -- Troy Davis
Troy Davis knew that the battle to stop
his execution was about something bigger -- and so did his family. His
sister Martina joined Amnesty more than a decade ago because she knew
that other families, besides hers, were suffering at the hands of unjust
Martina used all of her strength to
battle two things: cancer and human rights abuses. In death penalty
cases, families of both murder victims and death row inmates endure
unknowable pain. Martina's body finally gave out on Dec. 1, ten years
after her doctors thought she would live, and a few months after her
brother was executed. I was so privileged to have worked by her side for
a dozen years and to have been with her in her final days.
Amnesty members should feel proud that
we helped Martina raise her voice for her brother. We are heartbroken by
this loss, but we know what we must do. We must continue the fight for
other families, because we are all connected as one human family.
We have no time to lose. There are families facing serious human rights abuses right now.
Fatima Hussein Badi of Yemen may only have days to live.
Arrested for the murder of her husband, she was questioned by police
for hours without a lawyer. When she refused to confess, police brought
in her brother Abdullah.
Fatima was threatened with rape in the
presence of her brother, who then confessed to save his sister from
being raped. They were both sentenced to death, and Abdullah was
executed in 2005.
The pain of separation can be nearly unbearable.
Shin Sook-ja, a radio announcer in North Korea, and her two daughters
were sent to the secret Yodok political prison camp over 24 years ago.
Yodok is notorious -- inmates are beaten and malnourished. Many
prisoners die in detention.
Sook-ja and her daughters were punished
because her husband, Oh Kil-nam, requested political asylum. Kil-nam has
not heard from his family in 20 years.
These families wait for reunion, justice, freedom, a ray of hope.