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Amnesty launches Christmas letter campaign

Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman’s story is one of 12 the human rights group wants to highlight – and get help with – before 2012 is out.

Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman
Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman
Image: Amnesty International

EACH CHRISTMAS, AMNESTY International runs a letter-writing marathon which aims to highlight cases of prisoners of conscience and at-risk people across the world.

Last year, more than 1.3 million letters, emails and faxes were sent from 75 different countries to plead with governments and regimes to release and protect these vulnerable people. Today, tomorrow and on Sunday, TheJournal.ie will bring you three of the 12 cases being highlighted this year as part of Write for Rights 2012.

On 17 December 2011, Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman and a male friend were part of a large protest near Tahrir Square. Soldiers attacked the protesters, who fled. As she began to leave, Azza saw a group of soldiers beating a young woman and removing her clothes.

Without caring for her own safety she and her friend, along with other protesters, tried to carry the young woman away to safety.

The soldiers knocked Azza to the ground and an army officer shot her friend in the knee. They beat Azza severely, continuing to rain down kicks and blows on her even after she lost consciousness. The incident was recorded and the video posted on the internet by activists.

Azza woke in hospital, where doctors found that her skull had been fractured in two places and there were other injuries all over her body. Her bed sheets needed to be changed repeatedly as they kept getting soaked through with blood.

In spite of the official complaint she lodged, the Egyptian authorities have not held anyone to account for attacking her. They have not given her any compensation or rehabilitation to help her to recover.

You can find out how to help Azza here or log on to amnesty.ie/shinealight for details of the other 11 cases.

This is Azza’s story in her own words (Warning: Viewers may find some of the content of this video upsetting.)

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