Burned, Beaten, and Electrocuted: One Survivor’s Shocking Story of Torture in Morocco

Farida Aarrass has spent the last 5 years campaigning for justice for her younger brother Ali Aarrass (Photo Credit: Filip Claus/Amnesty International).

Farida Aarrass has spent the last 5 years campaigning for justice for her younger brother Ali Aarrass (Photo Credit: Filip Claus/Amnesty International).

By Jihane Bergaoui, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for Morocco and Western Sahara

In December 2010, Ali Aarrass, a Belgian-Moroccan coffee shop owner was extradited from Spain to Morocco, where Moroccan intelligence held him in a secret prison for 12 days in Témara, near the capital city of Rabat.

Ali described the anguish his muscles and joints experienced while he was suspended from his wrists for extended periods of time, the searing pain of feeling his flesh being burned by cigarettes, enduring excruciating electric shocks to his testicles, having his head held under water until he fainted, being raped with a glass bottle, and having the soles of his feet beaten raw. He remained in the secret holding facility until he signed a “confession” pre-written for him in Arabic – a language he does not speak.

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No One To Trust, Nowhere To Turn In Nigeria

The gruesome video footage gathered by Amnesty International provides fresh evidence of war crimes in north-eastern Nigeria. © EPA

The gruesome video footage gathered by Amnesty International provides fresh evidence of war crimes in north-eastern Nigeria. © EPA

By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

At Amnesty International, we are no strangers to suffering. Documenting human rights abuses is our daily work. Sometimes, however, we unearth evidence of such depravity that it leaves even our hardened investigators almost lost for words.

This has been the case with our revelations of war crimes from Nigeria today. The materials come from a recent mission by an Amnesty International research team which investigated widespread human rights abuses in Borno state, a region which gained worldwide notoriety following the kidnapping in April of more than 240 school girls by the armed group, Boko Haram.

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Activists Demand That Chicago #StopTorture

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It’s been one week since activists across the United States showed their support for torture survivors through rallies and our photo solidarity campaign.

But the fight is far from over. Demand justice for Chicago torture survivors. Call on the Chicago City Council to ensure reparations for police torture survivors by passing the Reparations Ordinance for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors.

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The Anniversary the United Arab Emirates Wants You to Ignore

Mohamed al-Mansoori United Arab Emirates

Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori is among those detained for political dissent in the UAE (Photo Credit: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images).

There’s an anniversary this week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that its government wants the world to ignore.

The country has the reputation as being the “welcoming and open” Middle Eastern country, and the government works hard to burnish that image around the world. UAE political reformers know better, and a year ago, a trial of 94 government critics exposed the reality that dissent is muzzled and political freedom severely limited.
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The Science of Torture

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The stench of rotting flesh coming from the tiny, cramped cell overpowered him. This was the smell of torture.

As soon he set one foot inside the small room at a police detention center in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Forensic Doctor Duarte Vieira was shocked. He had never seen anything as bad – and he had seen plenty.

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Start Now: 6 Ways You Can Help #StopTorture

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More than one hundred men and women of color were tortured by Chicago police commander Jon Burge between 1972 and 1991 – and they are still calling for justice.

As Amnesty International’s Stop Torture Campaign gains momentum across the globe, their stories make it clear that, as U.S. based activists, our work must begin in our own backyard. Decades of brutality tore apart Chicago torture survivors’ families and communities and they have been denied the reparations needed to make them whole.

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3 Ways You Can Help End Torture in the Philippines

Activists in masks at an Amnesty International rally in Manila calling for an end to torture and human rights violations in the Philippines (Photo Credit: Jes Aznar/AFP/Getty Images).

Activists in masks at an Amnesty International rally in Manila calling for an end to torture and human rights violations in the Philippines (Photo Credit: Jes Aznar/AFP/Getty Images).

By Nerve Macaspac, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for the Philippines

Torture is illegal in the Philippines. Yet Philippine police and military continue to use torture to extract information or force an admission of guilt from individuals they arrest for alleged crimes.

Alfreda Disbarro was punched in her stomach and face by a senior police officer in Manila. Her eyes were poked and her head banged against the wall. The police accused her of being a drug pusher. This happened in October 2013 – four years after the country’s Anti-Torture Act was passed.

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