This weekend, fifteen of our Edinburgh amnesteam found ourselves in London for the 2015 Amnesty Student Conference.

We attended a panel discussing the campaign to decriminalise abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It’s safe to way that we all learned a lot about the impact of the eighth amendment on the lives of women. The amendment makes it possible to prosecute women in Ireland for seeking abortions outwith the limits of incredibly strict guidelines. In Northern Ireland, the medical professionals who partake in unlawful abortions can also be prosecuted. Huge thank you to Ruth Bowie, Emma Campbell, and Donagh Stenson for sharing their stories and the stories of Irish women.

Following workshops, lunch, and the result of the Raise Off (congratulations to the winning teams!), we got the chance to participate in an exciting action at three London landmarks – Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and The London Eye – before moving on to protest outside the US Embassy. Why, you ask?

Albert Woodfox, age 68, has been in solitary confinement in Louisiana since his conviction in 1972 for the murder of a prison guard. He has always maintained his innocence, claiming he was targeted because of his affiliation with the prison chapter of the Black Panthers. There is no physical evidence to link him to the crime; the conviction relied primarily on the testimony of an eye witness who received favours, including his release, for co-operation. Albert’s conviction has been overturned three times yet he remains in prison as the state appeals every decision in his favour. In June 2015, a federal court ordered Albert’s immediate release, but the state appealed again and he remains in jail pending further ruling. (Write for Rights. Amnesty International, 2015.)

Edinburgh Big Ben

All in all, an excellent first day. Roll on tomorrow.



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