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  1. Anita Digernes

    Remembering Jack Alderman – the longest serving death row prisoner in the US

    Anita Digernes on 29 May 2012

    Sixty-one years ago today, Jack Alderman was born in Savannah, Georgia. On 16 September 2008 he was executed by that same state for a crime he did not commit. By that time, he had spent 33 years on death row, making him the longest serving prisoner awaiting execution in the US.

    Based on the testimony of John Arthur Brown – Jack’s neighbour and a known drug addict and alcoholic – Jack was convicted for the murder of his wife Barbara in 1975. Since there was no forensic evidence against him, the District Attorney stated that he “structured the entire case” around ...

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  2. Cori Crider

    Deploying killer drones in Yemen will make us all less safe

    Cori Crider on 28 May 2012

    This week's suicide bomb in Sana'a came as no surprise here in Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been threatening an attack on Sana'a for some time now. But it may be something of a surprise to many Americans that many Yemenis would cite U.S. activity here as a root cause of the attack.

    It is of course oversimplification to blame AQAP's terrorism on U.S. intervention. Yet one of the grievances long expressed against Yemen's leadership is the extent to which it bends to U.S. counter-terrorism demands at the ...

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  3. Clive Stafford Smith

    What drones victims in Pakistan would do with $60,000 - the price of a Hellfire drone missile

    Clive Stafford Smith on 25 May 2012

    Last week I went to Peshawar, Pakistan to visit victims of CIA drone strikes. Deeply affected by the presence of the drones in their communities, they told me how they would have spent the money used to build these weapons of destruction. 

    Rasul Mana and the Voice of the Drone

    Rasul Mana comes from the village of Sirkut Burakhel Supulga in Waziristan. As we meet, he produces from his pocket a sheet of ES-PRAMCIT (Escitalopram), an anti-stress drug that is manufactured in Karachi. There is only one left in the packet of eight.

    I come from the village of Sirkut ...

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  4. Anita Digernes

    Computer Sciences Corporation torture link challenges Norway's ethical reputation

    Anita Digernes on 17 May 2012

    Read this blog in Norwegian.

    Despite its small size and relatively small voice in world politics, Norway is extremely wealthy. This is mostly because of the oil discovered in the 1970s, the profits of which are kept in the Government Pension Fund (better known as the Oil Fund), administrated by Norges Bank. The Oil Fund is at present worth nearly 369 billion pounds.

    Importantly, strict ethical guidelines have been put in place to ensure that this money isn’t used for or doesn’t contribute to human rights abuses. The Council on Ethics – established by Royal Decree in 2004 – evaluates ...

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  5. Clive Stafford Smith

    Murder by drone case at the Islamabad district court

    Clive Stafford Smith on 17 May 2012

    This morning we came to the Islamabad District Court. It is here that the most serious cases in the land may be decided – often, a death penalty case; today (for us) the question of whether various CIA operatives should be arrested for committing murder-by-drone.  I’ve been to the Islamabad District Court before. It’s a remarkable place, a row of buildings inside a chicken wire fence; indeed, it looks much more like a chicken run than a centre of justice.

    There are a series of concrete huts, open at the front to the elements, that local lawyers apparently erect ...

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  6. Clive Stafford Smith

    Federal Courts Reject Virtually All Habeas Petitions from Gitmo: Study

    Clive Stafford Smith on 14 May 2012

    A new study suggests that the federal courts are no longer going to grant habeas corpus petitions from Guantanamo detainees—even those who were cleared by the military long ago.

    Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay within the year. We all know how that turned out.

    Now, a decade into the sad experiment that is Guantánamo, we discover that the United States—supposedly a nation of laws—isn’t simply holding prisoners year after year without charge, but is rejecting their habeas corpus petitions almost out of hand ...

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  7. Clive Stafford Smith

    Peshawar Public Relations

    Clive Stafford Smith on 11 May 2012

    For the past several days I have been staying at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, as close to Waziristan as I can reasonably go. I have been meeting with various victims of the drone attacks. The Pearl would get two or three stars in Europe, but it has an unenviable history. It had been slated for conversion into an American consulate, but on June 9, 2009, a massive truck bomb destroyed a large section of it. Seventeen people were killed, and 46 injured. A little-known Pakistan extremist group, the Fedayeen al-Islam, claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding that the ...

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  8. Clemency wells by E.Purdon BW

    Delivering a little bit of racial justice

    Clemency Wells on 04 May 2012

    Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog about North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. A few weeks ago capital defence attorneys working on this issue had that rare thing in the world of death penalty defence: some really good news. 

    More than ten years ago in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina Marcus Robinson was put on trial for the 1991 fatal shooting of Erik Tornblom. Marcus Robinson is African-American. Erik Tornblom was white. In a county that at the time had a 40% African –American population, a jury composed of nine whites, two African-Americans and one American Indian ...

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  9. Ivan Teleguz

    Happy Birthday Protocol 13: ten years since Europe confirmed its abolition of death penalty

    Anita Digernes on 03 May 2012

    Ten years ago today, the Council of Europe’s ‘Protocol No. 13’ was signed by all member states - affirming the abolition of the death penalty in Europe.

    All countries but one (Belarus) agreed that “no one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed”. It aims to repeal capital punishment in all circumstances, including during wartime.

    Belarus is the only European state still practising the death penalty. During the past five years, 9 people have been executed under the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko, and the regime has been repeatedly condemned by the European Parliament and fellow European states.

    Though the ...

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  10. Clive Stafford Smith

    What the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay couldn’t tell me

    Clive Stafford Smith on 03 May 2012

    Last week, I travelled 3,500 miles to meet with the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay, Shaker Aamer. Under the Orwellian rules that govern legal visits with a prisoner there, everything he said to me is classified.

    I have to submit my notes – in this case, almost 200 pages – to the US censors and they decide what I can, and cannot, tell his family, his British lawyers, and the world.

    So I can tell you nothing that Shaker said. I can, though, tell you what I said to him.

    I asked him whether he was still being held ...

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