Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
By Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA Director of Security with Human Rights
Today John Brennan, director of the CIA, gave a live press conference responding to the Senate’s landmark report on the CIA torture and secret detention program. He acknowledged “mistakes.” He said that the program was “flawed.” He said that the CIA had now improved “management” and “planning.”
But words like these do not reflect the full gravity of torture and enforced disappearances. They downgrade this program of systematic human rights violations to a series of unforeseen complications. They make torture seem like a bad choice – instead of the crime that it is.
Here’s what Brennan should have said, without qualification: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
October 24th is United Nations Day –meant to commemorate the passage of the Charter of the United Nations. One of the principles of the UN Charter, enshrined in the preamble, is:
“to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, andto establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Torture and other ill-treatment is out of control in Mexico. © EPA/Ulises Ruiz Basurto.
For years Amnesty International has been investigating and recording evidence of torture in Mexico. The latest report, Out of Control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico, is full of shocking facts about just how widespread and toxic the problem is. We found: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The same day Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, visited the Gaza Strip saying,
“a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations”
was the root cause of latest escalation in violence, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People hosted a lecture by Noam Chomsky in the UN General Assembly hall on resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Leila Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy
Arresting its loudest critic and charging her with “treason” doesn’t seem enough for Azerbaijani officials. Last week, peace activist and human rights defender
was beaten by Kurdakhany detention facility administration staff.
An April 2014 video shows Leyla Yunus confronting officials (in Russian) about not having been allowed to use the toilet during an unlawful detention for interrogation. Although officials eventually allowed her to use a toilet (with a male guard watching her), Leyla says she was not informed of charges against her.
Less than half a year later after the detention, Leyla (and soon her husband Arif Yunus) were arrested and given ridiculous charges of treason and tax evasion. Amnesty International considers both Prisoners of Conscience and calls on Baku to release them immediately and unconditionally (add your voice to our appeal).
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Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is scheduled to be released from prison today after his 2010 conviction for lying about the torture of suspects in police custody. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Moses Akatugba was 16 years old when he was arrested by the Nigerian police in 2005.
In the years that followed, he was beaten by the police, shot in the hand, and hung for hours at the police station. After 8 years of torture and ill treatment that led to a coerced confession of his involvement in a robbery, he was sentenced to death November 2013.
Moses’ case is sadly all too familiar in Nigeria, where a recent report by Amnesty International found the use of torture and ill-treatment to be rampant SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
An encounter with the Nigerian security forces can be a dangerous thing.
The police and military routinely engage in beating people in their custody with whips, gun butts, machetes, batons, sticks, rods and cables. Rape and sexual assault are widespread Detainees can be shot in the leg, foot or hand during interrogation, or have their nails or teeth extracted with pliers.
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By Esmeralda Lopez, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for Mexico My desire to end torture in Mexico runs deep. Years ago it became too dangerous for me to visit my family in Mexico because they are only hours from Ciudad Juarez, a hot spot of violence. Some officers point to incidents of violence and the high crime rate as justification for use of torture. But I know torture is not the solution. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
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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