US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the US Department of State July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
By Nate Smith, Military, Security, Police Co-Group Chair, Amnesty International USA
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited Washington, DC recently, soliciting U.S. support for his country’s struggle against the armed group known as Boko Haram. The struggle is a mighty one. As Amnesty International reported in April 2015, the armed Islamist movement in northeast Nigeria has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and it must be held to account. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Kimie Matsuo
Time is running out on another opportunity for the United States to do the right thing by Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, who is allegedly languishing in solitary confinement at Guantánamo after suffering torture and ill-treatment in CIA secret detention. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
On Monday the Supreme Court issued their decision in Glossip v. Gross, voting 5-4 to allow Oklahoma to continue to use midazolam in their lethal injection procedure. The Court ruled that the petitioners failed to provide an alternative method, and deferred to the District Court’s ruling that midazolam is likely to render a person unable to feel pain during the execution.
The case and the Court’s decision are narrow: they only examined the question of one particular drug used by some states in lethal injections. That means the Court did not address the bigger question of the death penalty itself and its many inherent flaws. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Every year on June 26th, we stand with victims and survivors of torture for a day of action that is marked globally. Often, the U.S. president issues a statement or makes a speech, pledging support for the eradication of torture.
This year, as we witness evasion and inaction from the Justice Department about its failure to hold anyone accountable for CIA torture, we can’t let it pass: there are too many holes, too many hypocrisies, and too many lies in these U.S. government commitments. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“When we got together, we didn’t think about getting married – we couldn’t really imagine that would ever be possible.”
Last weekend, I went back to North Carolina to witness the wedding of my dear friends, Mark and Scott. Today, as we rejoice in the amazing news from the U.S. Supreme Court – a tremendous victory for marriage equality and for the human rights of all people – I can’t help but think back to Mark’s words, shared deep from the heart before the 90 or so friends and family gathered to celebrate with them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The Obama administration is fond of saying that it wants to “look forward” on torture, not “backward;” that is, it does not want to investigate or prosecute anyone. But failure to act now could increase the risk of torture recurring under the next administration.
There are too many horrific acts – like forced rectal feeding and hydration – that we only learned of due to the report and that we must ensure will never happen again.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Take a minute to imagine this.
You are taken from your home in the middle of the day, blindfolded and shackled on a plane, then taken to a place you’ve never seen before. Here, you are subjected to some of the most degrading treatment imaginable.
- Forced rectal feeding to humiliate and exert control over you;
- Shackled into standing positions, hung naked except for diapers, forced into sleep deprivation for days and weeks;
- Held in total darkness and isolation for days with only a bucket to use for human waste.
But for dozens of men who were “disappeared” by the U.S. government and held in secret sites around the world from 2002 to 2008, this isn’t just imagination. This was reality. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Professor Noam Chomsky (photo: Donna Coveney)
This is an American Torture Story.
Majid Khan was at the mercy of CIA interrogators for 1,200 days — at least. During that time, he was stripped. He was forced into ice water baths. He was “hung up” for a day in a sleep deprivation position. He was denied solid food for seven days.
After about a year, Majid Khan went on hunger strike to protest the treatment he was receiving. The CIA responded with “involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration.” Majid’s lunch tray, consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was “pureed” and “rectally infused.” This happened repeatedly. Eventually, Majid Khan attempted to cut his wrists. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
More than 100 people were “disappeared” by the U.S. government and shuttled to secret detention sites between 2002 and 2008. Many were tortured.
Thanks to a new U.S. Senate report, we know more about how this happened than ever before. We’re calling it “The American Torture Story.” It’s a story that had to be written: and now it’s a story that must be read.
Shockingly, the US Justice Department, charged with investigating violations of the law, is apparently refusing to read to this Senate study—let alone act upon it. And as a new Amnesty International report shows: No one has been brought to justice. The United States is providing de facto amnesty to torturers.
Here’s 6 ways that those responsible have gotten away with torture – and 6 reasons we must act. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Ensaf Haidar, wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi
By Ensaf Haidar, via The Washington Post
On June 17, 2012, my husband, Raif Badawi, the father of my three children and my best friend, was arrested in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. For nearly three years, as he has languished in prison, my family has been trapped in a nightmare.
Raif is a man of principle and a respected activist in Saudi Arabia. In 2008, he started a blog where readers could openly discuss politics, religion and other social issues. But in Saudi Arabia, one can pay an unthinkable price simply for blogging. Raif was convicted of insulting Islam and violating the kingdom’s repressive information-technology laws. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST