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  1. Emma Draper by Emmanuelle Purdon 2011

    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's televised 'confession'

    Emma Draper on 16 August 2010

    Iran's attempt to quell public outcry over stoning sentence falls spectacularly flat.

    Last Wednesday evening a woman appeared on a state-run television channel in Iran, confessing to her involvement in the murder of her husband. Almost completely shrouded in a black chador, she read out a statement in which she described how a relative had come to her home with electrical devices, wire and gloves, and electrocuted her husband while she watched. Her words were dubbed into Farsi, obscuring the sound of her real voice.

    Whether or not this woman was really Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, as was claimed, is ...

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  2. Clara Gutteridge BW

    Kenya's recent renditions

    Clara Gutteridge on 16 August 2010

    The extra-judicial transfer of two Kenyan nationals from Nairobi to Kampala last week shows that rendition is here to stay for East Africans.

    Hassan Agade and Christopher Magondu were arrested in Kenya last week. On the eve of a habeas hearing challenging their detention in a Kenyan court, the men were flown with no process to Uganda, where they have been charged with 97 offences related to last month's bombings in Kampala.

    Kenya's practise of rendition dates from at least 1976, and accelerated in the years following 9/11, when Kenya became the leading regional ally of the ...

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  3. Death row - cell

    Death row inmate may be executed because of clerical error

    Chloe Strowger on 16 August 2010

    An inmate on death row in Alabama has failed to persuade the federal appeals court to allow another appeal to be filed on his behalf after a clerical error beyond his control meant that his papers sat unopened beyond the deadline.

    The law firm in New York that was handling inmate Cory Maples’ case returned the copies of his court ruling, unopened. By the time the mistake was realised, his time to appeal had passed. In what can only be described as unbelievably poor case management, the firm explained that the reason the delivery went unnoticed for so long was ...

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  4. Clare Duffy

    Clare Algar shortlisted for Voluntary Sector Award

    Clare Duffy on 11 August 2010

    We’re absolutely delighted that Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar, has been shortlisted as a ‘Voluntary Sector Achiever of the Year’ by Women in Public Life Awards.

    The Awards aim to highlight and reward the achievements of outstanding women role models who pursue leadership roles, make a difference to lives in the work they do and inspire others to do the same.

    Since leaving the corporate world and taking a massive 6 figure salary cut to join Reprieve in 2008, Clare’s extraordinary leadership and zeal has helped Reprieve achieve outstanding results and global recognition; Reprieve’s vast increase ...

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  5. Generic - barbed wire

    Strange bedfellows in fight to save Kevin Keith

    Kate Morris on 11 August 2010

    ‘Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows’, as the fool in The Tempest says. Few would deny that a man on death row and a death penalty supporter fall into the category of strange bedfellows.

    But with Kevin Keith facing execution on 15 September, and with copious evidence suggesting his innocence, he is certainly in a miserable situation – and now even self-declared death penalty supporters have pulled together with public defenders to ask Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to spare Kevin’s life.

    Kevin, 46, was convicted of murdering three people and wounding three more in February 1994. Prosecutors claim that ...

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  6. Generic - Gitmo

    Prisoner? What prisoner?

    Mariam Kizilbash on 09 August 2010

    It appears that four of America’s most highly-valued terrorist prisoners were secretly moved to Guantánamo Bay in 2003 – years earlier than had previously been disclosed – then whisked back into overseas prisons before the Supreme Court could grant them access to lawyers.

    This is just one of several creative techniques the US have employed during the ‘War on Terror’ to exclude prisoners’ rights to due process. Terms such as “enemy combatant” have removed legal protection under the Geneva Conventions, while domestic legislation has been rushed through to give more powers to the executive government.

    During times of emergency, the ...

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  7. Generic - barbed wire

    Pakistan’s new anti-terror law: guilty until proven innocent?

    Mariam Kizilbash on 06 August 2010

    In his article ‘Fighting Terror’, Robert Fisk wrote: “In the Western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words. It is about semantics. It is about the employment of phrases and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history, and about our ignorance of history.” More than any other, the word that has defined and dictated the vagaries of global power and how they have been portrayed in the press over the past decade has been ‘terror’.

    Most recently, this most resonant of words has inspired a new version of Pakistan’s anti-terror ...

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  8. Death row - cell

    A disciplinary measure too far: North Korean cabinet official executed over policy failures

    Chloe Strowger on 05 August 2010

    Former North Korean Cabinet official Kwon Ho Ung, who was once chief delegate for ministerial talks with South Korea, has been executed.

    Although sources are unidentified and details cannot be confirmed by the South Korean intelligence agencies, it is believed that he was shot by firing squad for failures over policy.

    Following the sinking of a South Korean military vessel back in March, tensions between the two states have been rife as North Korea deny claims by South Korea that they were behind the death of 46 South Korean sailors.

    Worryingly, it is not uncommon for North Korea to execute ...

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  9. Death row - cell

    Kenyan Court of Appeal rule mandatory death penalty 'unconstitutional'

    Emma Draper on 03 August 2010

    On Friday the Court of Appeal in Kenya unanimously ruled that the mandatory death penalty for murder was unconstitutional. This judgment will save the lives of hundreds of prisoners on death row.

    It was held that the automatic imposition of the death penalty violated the right to life, and amounted to inhuman punishment, as it provides no opportunity for a convicted individual to adduce evidence of mitigating circumstances. The Court also stated that the same reasoning would apply to other crimes currently bearing a mandatory death sentence, such as treason and robbery with violence.

    A new set of judicial procedures ...

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  10. Generic - cell exterior small window

    18-year-old Iranian girl faces death by stoning for adultery

    Chloe Strowger on 29 July 2010

    Teenagers tend to be pigeon-holed in one of three ways: hood-wearing hooligans, self-indulgent depressives or iPhone-obsessed brats; so where do girls like Azar Bagheri fit in?

    At the tender age of 14 her marriage was arranged. Just a few months later she was accused of adultery by her husband, who has since denounced their marriage, and arrested. At trial Azar was sentenced to be stoned to death.

    Now 18-years-old, Azar has spent most of her teenage years on death row because Iranian authorities have recently become reluctant to execute minors (although this was not always the case). However, this did ...

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