Tag: torture

12 Stories you missed while following the ‘hack’ that never was

The country has its sights firmly placed on the spectacle occurring over the hack/leak of documents that may or may not have influenced the election. It’s irrelevant. The people of the United States cannot grant the Central Intelligence Agency (or any intelligence agency) the power to cast doubt on the results of elections via unconfirmed, unsourced, and politically biased findings. At the end of the day, the precedent set by allowing a secret agency to veto election results is the death of democracy.

So what did you miss while this was occupying the national narrative? Lots. Troops are deploying to Afghanistan, the Boko Haram is back in the headlines, a new pipeline fight, and much more.

CIA chief warns Trump against torture

torture

The director of the CIA, John Brennan, has warned President-elect Donald Trump against resuming the use of torture.

Mr Brennan told the BBC, in an interview broadcast this morning, that “the overwhelming majority of CIA officers would not want to get back into” the use of torture such as waterboarding. He added: “Without a doubt the CIA really took some body blows as a result of its experiences.”

President-elect Trump has said he would “bring back waterboarding” and “a hell of a lot worse.” Last week, he told the New York Times that “if [torture] is so important to the American people, I would go for it.” Trump’s choice to succeed John Brennan as CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, has incorrectly suggested that torture is legal.

Mass rapes to mass protests: violence against women in 2016

Impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Donald Trump hasn’t helped.

From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) are a time to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighbouring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of “command responsibility,” in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.

Burma: New Wave of Destruction in Rohingya Villages

820 Newly Identified Destroyed Buildings; UN-Aided Investigation Urgently Needed

New satellite imagery of Burma’s Rakhine State shows 820 newly identified structures destroyed in five different ethnic Rohingya villages between November 10-18, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. The Burmese government should without further delay invite the United Nations to assist in an impartial investigation of the widespread destruction of villages.

The latest images bring the total number of destroyed buildings documented by Human Rights Watch in northern Rakhine State through satellite imagery to 1,250. US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, at a November 17 UN Security Council meeting on the deteriorating situation in Rakhine State, called for international observers to be allowed to investigate and for aid groups to have their access restored. After a short visit by diplomats to the area, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on Burma, said on November 18, “The security forces must not be given carte blanche to step up their operations under the smokescreen of having allowed access to an international delegation. Urgent action is needed to bring resolution to the situation.”

Violent Weekend in Southern Mexico Leaves 24 People Dead

At least 24 people, some bearing signs of torture, were killed in a series of incidents over the weekend in Mexico’s violence-plagued southern state of Guerrero, officials have said.

Faced with an uptick in bloodshed the state governor held an “urgent session” with army commanders and federal and state police in an effort to strengthen security in the region, the state’s security spokesman Roberto Alvarez told a Mexican television channel on Monday.

“The bodies of nine males with visible signs of torture” were discovered on Sunday night on a road between the towns of Tixtla and Atliaca, in Guerrero’s central region, the state’s secretary of security said in a statement on Monday.

UK Royals must raise torture and death penalty on Bahrain trip

The Government must ensure that the UK Royal Family raise the issue of torture and the death penalty when they visit Bahrain in the coming week, human rights organization Reprieve has said.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are due to visit Bahrain this coming week (7-11th). The Government has said the trip will “strengthen the UK’s warm bilateral relations” with the country, among others in the region.

The visit comes amid growing concerns for an innocent man who faces execution in Bahrain, after he was tortured into a forced ‘confession.’ Mohammed Ramadan, a policeman and a father of three, was arrested in 2014 after he attended a protest. He was forced to give statements that he later recanted. His ‘confession’ was subsequently used as the basis for his conviction and death sentence.

Egypt: Serious Abuses in Scorpion Prison

Authorities at a maximum security prison in Cairo that holds many political prisoners routinely abuse inmates in ways that may have contributed to some of their deaths.

Staff at Scorpion Prison beat inmates severely, isolate them in cramped “discipline” cells, cut off access to families and lawyers, and interfere with medical treatment, according to the 80-page report, “‘We Are in Tombs’: Abuses in Egypt’s Scorpion Prison.” The report documents cruel and inhuman treatment by officers of Egypt’s Interior Ministry that probably amounts to torture in some cases and violates basic international norms for the treatment of prisoners.

UK ‘has not checked’ whether Saudi police training led to torture

The UK has failed to check whether training it has provided to Saudi police has contributed to abuses including torture and the death penalty, new research by human rights organization Reprieve has revealed.

Since 2009, the British College of Policing has provided training to officers from the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, which oversees policing, prisons, and executions in the country. Human rights organization Reprieve has discovered that the College has carried out no checks that would establish whether human rights abuses, such as torture, have resulted from the training.

Rendition victim “staggered” as MI6 official implicated in his abuse breaks silence

A man who was rendered to Gaddafi’s Libya in a joint MI6-CIA operation has written to Sir Mark Allen, the former MI6 official who was responsible for his ordeal, following a rare public comment by Sir Mark.

In a recent article for the Catholic Herald, Sir Mark Allen – formerly head of counter-terrorism at MI6 – argued for a faith-based “answer to terrorism.”

The article, published in August, was Sir Mark’s first known public comment since the exposure in 2011 of his role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition of two families to Libya – including Abdul Hakim Belhaj, his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar, and the al-Saadis, who included a child as young as six. The Catholic Herald piece was published a day before the UK Crown Prosecution Service publicly confirmed its decision not to charge Sir Mark over the affair.

Thailand: Break Silence on Day of the ‘Disappeared’

Thailand’s government has failed to abide by its pledge to make enforced disappearance a crime under Thai laws, Human Rights Watch said today. August 30 is the United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

After years of advocacy by human rights groups, the Thai government on May 24, 2016, announced it would submit a bill to the national assembly that would criminalize torture and enforced disappearances. The government also said it would ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. However, the government provided no timeframe for implementing these pledges.

“Another year has passed with the Thai government failing to address the grave problem of enforced disappearances in the country,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “As a result abusive officials continue to evade the punishment they deserve because Thai laws still don’t criminalize these cruel practices.”

Government secrecy in renditions prosecution challenged

The UK government’s refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Government’s role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12.