New volunteer – welcome Rhiannon!

people meeting in cafeWe are delighted to have Rhiannon Cajipe-Stansfield volunteer with our group. Rhiannon will help us out with social media in general and will also help with the publicity around our Spoken Word event on 9th February. It’s great to have a new person join our team as we badly need help with social media, website and general PR for our cause – raising the profile of the work of Freedom from Torture and the tragic need for that work. Here she is being briefed (and bribed with chocolate brownies) by Sally and Moira.

Our autumn newsletter is here!

Newsletter coverHuge thanks to Sally Macpherson, our newsletter editor, on production of yet another edition full of interesting information and comment. You can find it here. Those of you who are on our supporters’ lists will get it by post or email early this week. Enjoy and do let us have any material for future editions. Our newsletter is published twice a year – March and September.

Spoken Word event announced

doorway We are thrilled to announce an evening of spoken word, poetry, standup, live music and more, celebrating the transformative power of words. This will happen on Sat 9th Feb 2019 and details are on our Events page.

Tickets are £15.00 and can be reserved by emailing our very own scarf creator, Alison on,  with ‘ticket request’ in the subject line.

You can find out more about the star attraction, John Hegley on his website  and his Facebook page.

Standing together against hate

Sikh temple with crowd

The Leith Sikh temple, the Edinburgh Gurdwara, was subject to an arson attack a few days ago, 28th August 2018. This shocking hate crime was met today by a wave of solidarity and love as community leaders from across Scotland joined with local people to show support for the Sikh community. Speakers today included faith and political leaders and the event was broadcast live on Sikh Channel, though it was noted that subtitles would be needed as (almost) everyone present ‘spoke Scottish’. One speaker declined to say that any group was welcome here because everyone is already part of the community – no ‘them’ or ‘us’. ‘We’ stood together against hate and in support of each other. It was a powerful message to a group which is  long-established in Leith and whose members are held in the highest regard and affection across the city. They provided refreshments for the crowd, which was bigger than expected, but everyone was welcome. This Freedom from Torture group was proud to be represented at this event.

One of the Sikh community, Trishna Singh, is doing the Edinburgh Kiltwalk on 16th September to raise funds for Sikh Sanjog. What better way to show solidarity with the community than to sponsor her?

Great Book Festival events

Group of readers at book festival

Thanks to everyone who made our #ImprisonedWriters sessions at the Edinburgh International Book Festival so special this year. We were guests of Amnesty Scotland with whom we have a warm and mutually-supportive relationship.

We had almost-full audiences each evening to hear the writings of our clients and several new people have now joined our Edinburgh group. To do this you only need to contact us. Our readers were generous with their time and their involvement and we thank them sincerely. They were Mohammad Sabaaneh, Omar El Akkad, DJ Semtex, A L Kennedy, Mary Lynn Bracht, Antti Tuomainen, Sue Purkiss and Lin Anderson. Freedom from Torture‘s CEO, Sonya Sceats, introduced the organisation and we are grateful for her support in travelling from London with her young family. 

We are looking forward to next year already! Watch this space for details.

Women empowering Women

Group of people at the Book Festival

‘Women empowering Women’ is the theme of this evening’s Imprisoned Writers session at the Edinburgh Book Festival – 5.30 – 6.15pm. We, the Edinburgh Freedom from Torture group are honoured to be chairing this once more. We are the guests of Amnesty Scotland again this evening and are so proud to have this public association with them. Sonya Sceats, CEO of Freedom from Torture, will speak about the organisation and its work before heading back to London with her family. We are so grateful for her coming up to support our work in this way.

Imprisoned Writers events

We are looking forward to hearing from Freedom from Torture CEO, Sonya Sceats about the organisation and its work at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today. We are proud to host this (and tomorrow’s) Imprisoned Writers’ session and are excited about the line-up of authors who will read the work of our clients in the Write to Life group. This is such an important way of enabling those voices to be heard, in a world which increasingly seeks to stifle dissent in any form.

Our reading authors today are Mohammad Sabaaneh, A L Kennedy, Omar El Akkad and DJ Semtex. See you there!

Book Festival events on 18/19th August

Entrance to EIBFWe are all looking forward to hearing the work of Freedom from Torture clients being read by published authors this weekend at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. On Saturday we’ll hear Mohammad SabaanehOmar El Akkad, DJ Semtex and A L Kennedy. On Sunday we will meet Mary Lynn Bracht, Antti Tuomainen, Sue Purkiss and Lin Anderson. They are all also appearing in the Book Festival speaking about their own work or related issues so you have a double chance to see them. 

Hope you can join us. These Imprisoned Writers events are free but ticketed on the day. Our events are at 5.30pm on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of August.  Like all the events in the Imprisoned Writers series, they last for 45 minutes. We are delighted that Freedom from Torture’s CEO, Sonya Sceats, will be there to tell you a little about the organisation. See you there!

Cake for Freedom from Torture

cake and bikesTraining for next July’s Cycle against Torture ride has started! Heidi and Moira cycled 25 miles from Edinburgh to a wonderful cafe in the village of Gifford – the Lanterne Rouge. Their scones are spectacular but this blueberry cake was even better. What a view we had out the window as we sat contemplating the 25 miles home. We took the train a bit of the way, so that was all right for this stage of the training. Send us your training stories and pics!

Greetings from Germany

A message fTwo photos of a man and womanrom our planners and riders, Carolyn Burch and Richard Raggett:

“We’re thrilled to see that the planning for this great project is taking shape! We’re trying hard to get in shape ourselves, as we cycle part of the Iron Curtain Trail in Germany, though as a training exercise it is slightly undermined by the regular ice creams that are a basic essential in 30 degrees! But we’re intending nevertheless that when July comes round we’ll be set up for / with a couple of ‘legs’! Meanwhile we’re getting geared up to join in with the planning of the ride once we get back home to Fife in mid August. Please encourage all your friends to look at the website and support the ride! Vorsprung durch technik!”