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  1. Clemency wells by E.Purdon BW

    Forty years in isolation

    Clemency Wells on 17 April 2012

    In 1972: the British government declared a state of emergency over the miners’ strike, the Watergate scandal broke, the last US ground troops were withdrawn from Vietnam. 

    In 1972: a pair of Wrangler jeans cost $12, a gallon of petrol cost 55 cents and ABBA were riding high on the top of the charts.

    In 1972: Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King were convicted for the murder of prison guard Brent Miller. Ever since then the so-called ‘Angola Two’, Wallace and Woodfox (King was released in 2001), have been held in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. 

    The Louisiana State Penitentiary ...

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  2. Ken Macdonald QC

    Does Osborne know what philanthropy is?

    Ken Macdonald QC on 16 April 2012

    Let me start with a confession: I chair an organisation called Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty and secret prisons around the world. We have freed scores of men and women from death row in the United States, and our lawyers have returned no fewer than 66 prisoners from Guantánamo Bay.

    We work in China and Pakistan, where we monitor the silent killer drones, and we have brilliant young lawyers and investigators who could increase their incomes tenfold by moving to the City or to Wall Street tomorrow. But instead of drowning themselves in champagne in Stock Exchange ...

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  3. Drone from beneath

    Obama administration silencing Pakistani drone-strike lawyer

    Medea Benjamin on 11 April 2012

    When is the last time you heard from a civilian victim of the CIA’s secret drone strikes? Sure, most of them can’t speak because they’re deceased. But many leave behind bereaved and angry family members ready to proclaim their innocence and denounce the absence of due process, the lack of accountability, the utter impunity with which the U.S. government decides who will live and die.

    Shahzad Akbar (pictured right, on the left), a Pakistani lawyer who co-founded the human rights organization Foundation for Fundamental Right, filed the first case in Pakistan on behalf of family members ...

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  4. Cori Crider

    Smoke and mirrors in the British battle over ‘secret justice’

    Cori Crider on 11 April 2012

    A struggle is brewing in England over the fate of British justice. In a wide category of cases against the government, British spies are seeking to muzzle British judges, supposedly to appease the CIA. It’s a bad idea predicated on a myth, and the British people shouldn’t fall for it.

    Full disclosure: I am not a Briton. I’m from Texas, but for years have watched British courts closely from my perch in London at Reprieve, a human-rights law firm that defends people who have been tortured or held in secret detention around the world. Judges here have ...

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  5. Clive Stafford Smith

    Six lives saved in 2011, thanks to the British Foreign Office

    Clive Stafford Smith on 11 April 2012

    Too much bad news swirls around us; sometimes we should celebrate the positive. Yesterday the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office published William Hague's speech on consular services, committing 'to increase our focus on vulnerable people.'

    This is welcome news for Reprieve and the British nationals we assist: there can hardly be someone more vulnerable than a penniless person who some foreign government wants to put to death.

    Reprieve now has over 25 staff and we fight on the behalf of dozens of people - from those kidnapped and delivered to torture to those facing execution round the world. We began ...

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  6. Crofton Black

    PREAL: the 'torture textbook' that took CIA interrogators to the dark side

    Crofton Black on 05 April 2012

    Ten years ago – 3 April 2002 – US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld hailed the capture of a man by name of Abu Zubaydah, then regarded as a high-ranking al-Qaida operative.

    In reply to fevered speculation about what would happen to the new captive, Rumsfeld said: “He will be properly interrogated by proper people who know how to do those things.”

    Ten years later, who those people were, what they knew how to do, and where they learnt it, has become an increasingly widely circulated story. A new piece fitted into the jigsaw today, with the publication by Truthout’s Jason ...

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  7. Aditi Gupta

    You Don’t Like the Truth

    Aditi Gupta on 29 March 2012

    This powerful film features excerpts from seven hours of the prison’s CCTV video footage of Canadian agents interrogating Omar. It reveals in excruciating clarity how his joy at meeting representatives of his own government turned to despair when he realized that they had not come to Guantánamo to help him. Commentary on the footage is provided by Khadr’s US and Canadian lawyers, journalist Michelle Shephard, former US guard Damien Corsetti, and former prisoners, including Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg. The footage was released by the Canadian courts after a ruling that Khadr’s rights had been violated ...

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  8. Clive Stafford Smith

    A response to Texas' charge of 'intimidation' against Reprieve

    Clive Stafford Smith on 29 March 2012

    The Guardian has reported an extraordinary attack on Reprieve by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Reprieve is accused of "'intimidation and commercial harassment' of manufacturers of medical drugs used in lethal injections". We are "authoritarian ideologues who menace and harass private citizens who decline to submit to Reprieve's opinion on the morality of capital punishment by lethal injection." The Guardian is correct that this is "astonishingly vivid language"; it is also defamatory nonsense, and I would like to set the record straight.

    This week, I was in Copenhagen, meeting with the Ulf Wiinberg, the CEO of Lundbeck ...

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  9. Aditi Gupta

    Abu Zubaydah: The 10 year anniversary of his capture and detention

    Aditi Gupta on 28 March 2012

    Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, more commonly known as Abu Zubaydah, is a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia. He was held in secret detention by the CIA of the United States of America from the time of his abduction from a house in Faisalabad, Pakistan on 28th March 2002 until approximately 6th September 2006, when it was announced that he was transferred to the custody of the U.S. Department of Defence ('DOD') at Guantánamo Bay. He remains in indefinite detention in DOD custody at Guantánamo Bay. However he has never been charged with any crime ...

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  10. Aditi Gupta

    Please sign the UK e-petition calling on the UK Government to free Shaker Aamer

    Aditi Gupta on 28 March 2012

    February 14th marked the 10th anniversary of the arrival at Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison. On that day, his family and his lawyers in London launched an e-petition on the British government's website (, entitled, "Return Shaker Aamer to the UK".

    This petition calls on the government - and, specifically, the Foreign Office and the Foreign Secretary, William Hague - to "undertake urgent new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the U.K. from continuing indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay." This ...

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