While the nation watches as the city of Baltimore awaits justice from the investigation of the role of Baltimore police in the death of Freddie Gray, Chicago has just made history in holding police accountable for abuse.
By Mariano Machain, Amnesty International’s campaigner on Mexico
I have seen Claudia Medina cry many times. She cried when she told me about the torture, including sexual abuse, she suffered at the hands of Mexican marines in 2012.
She also cried when she explained what it is like to live with federal charges pending over her head, accused of being a member of a criminal gang, facing the risk of being arrested again at any time. Then once more when she told me about how her children were suffering.
But today is the first time I have seen her cry out of joy and relief.
In the early morning of November 2, 1983, Darrell Cannon was taken from his home by a battery of now notorious white Chicago police detectives to a remote area on the far southside of Chicago where he was interrogated about the murder of a drug dealer… When Cannon persisted in denials, the detectives forced him into the back seat of their car, pulled down his pants, and repeatedly shocked him on his genitals with an electric cattle prod.
The physical and mental scars that the victims like Darrell Cannon carry will never be healed, but with this reparations ordinance, at least they will finally begin the path to closure. Instead, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several other Chicago Alderpeople will not support the reparations efforts.
Nerve Macaspac, Country Specialist for the Philippines, Amnesty International USA
Torture not only remains prevalent in the country but has also become a form of entertainment for its police.
The Senate torture report alleges several grave abuses – such as use of rectal feeding and rehydration in the absence of medical necessity – that were not authorized by even the dubious legal memos, and thus do not fit the Justice Department’s rationale. Even Alberto Gonzales, attorney general under President George W. Bush, has said he is troubled by evidence suggesting the CIA went beyond Justice Department guidance. The Senate torture report also concludes that the CIA “repeatedly provided inaccurate information” to the Justice Department.
If the Justice Department already knew of the abuses reported in the Senate torture report, it must do more to explain why it found no basis for prosecutions. And if the Justice Department did not have access to this information, how can it dismiss the Senate torture report’s new evidence out of hand?
Nor is it sufficient for the Justice Department to cite “good faith” reliance on dubious legal guidance as a basis for closing investigations. The U.S. is bound by international law to ensure accountability for torture.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.