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  1. Aimee Griffin

    Guantánamo Boy -- lest we forget

    Aimee Griffin on 20 January 2010

    Anna Perera’s novel Guantánamo Boy vividly depicts the horrors behind the bars of the detention facilities in Cuba – horrors that should by now be consigned to history. Sadly, they are as real as ever.

    This Friday marks the first anniversary of President Obama’s failure to deliver on his promise of closing Guantanamo. Human rights campaigners around the world are left with a sense of hopelessness; no-one wants to believe that President Obama has let them down. 

    The story for Guantánamo Boy was conceived at a human rights benefit event in 2006 where Clive Stafford Smith spoke about Guantánamo ...

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  2. Clemency Wells

    Governor Schwartzenegger is in ‘La La’ Land indeed...

    Clemency Wells on 19 January 2010

    California state officials have proposed new lethal injection procedures, which if adopted, could bring to an end the four-year moratorium and result in executions being resumed by the end of the year.

    Imagine this scenario:

    In one state in the US 700 people languish in cells for years and often decades. Isolated from friends and family, they are constantly facing the prospect of death.

    Four years ago a judge in this state ruled that the lethal injection used to kill its citizens is unconstitutional because the pain inflicted is so immense its use constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

    This state ...

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  3. Emmanuelle Purdon 2009 BW

    Poignant appeal from the mother of a juvenile on death row in Iran

    Emmanuelle Purdon on 13 January 2010

    "To all freedom-loving people wherever they may live." A Conversation with the Mother of Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish Activist on Death Row.

    On 25 February 2008, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Farzad Kamangar to death on charges of "endangering national security" and "enmity against God" (moharebe). The death penalty was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 11 July.

    Farzad Kamangar, Iranian teacher, member of teacher union and human rights activist was arrested in July 2006 and under severe torture by the prison authorities on different occasions during his detention, they forced him to confess to charges against himself. For several ...

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  4. Aimee Griffin

    Akmal Shaikh must not be forgotten

    Aimee Griffin on 12 January 2010

     The execution of fifty three year old Akmal Shaikh has touched the lives of many in the United Kingdom. Up until the official announcement of his execution at 10.30am on the 29th December, many held on to the belief that clemency would be granted.

    Unfortunately this would not be the case and a family in the North of London were left devastated by the loss of a man who was a father, brother, cousin and friend.

    On Sunday last I witnessed a group of peaceful protestors gathered outside the Chinese Embassy to pay respect to Mr. Shaikh. Many of ...

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  5. Clemency Wells

    What’s the matter with Kansas? Perhaps not as much as previously thought…

    Clemency Wells on 12 January 2010

    On January 19 the Kansas legislature will hold four days of hearings to establish whether or not to repeal the death penalty. Should this bill pass Kansas will become the third state in as many years to abolish capital punishment.

    "What’s the matter with Kansas?" So asked Thomas Frank in his 2004 lament over the rise of conservatism in a state previously known as a bastion of liberalism. Sadly, the new climate also brought legislative support for capital punishment.

    Kansas had originally abolished the death penalty on January 30th 1907, subsequently celebrated as Abolition Day, but the legislature re-introduced ...

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  6. Chris Chang BW

    A message of thanks to supporters from Mohammed el Gharani

    Chris Chang on 08 January 2010

    I’ve just got back from Chad where I was working with Mohamed el Gharani, who was released from Guantanamo in June. Mohamed was just 14 when he was taken to the prison, and while he is delighted to be free, sadly things haven’t been easy for him since he got out.

    His family are in Saudi Arabia, and he hasn’t been able to see them since his release. The government of Chad haven’t given him a passport yet, and he’s been left on his own in a strange country as he comes to terms with ...

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  7. zero dB logo

    Music torture in the Big Brother House

    Reprieve volunteer on 08 January 2010

    We’ve all heard tales of celebrities and their diva-ish behaviour, and so a news story about a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother who claimed this morning that he’d been “tortured” is likely to be greeted with scepticism. When it becomes clear that this torture amounted to listening to some music, albeit for quite a long time, that scepticism would reach dizzying heights.

    Parents of teenagers may be more sympathetic – as would someone who had been a guest of the US Government in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Or perhaps in Bagram Airbase, in Afghanistan, or any number of unknown prisons ...

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  8. Clemency Wells

    Support for death penalty dealt a devastating blow

    Clemency Wells on 07 January 2010

    Yet more evidence that the maintenance of capital punishment is an untenable position has emerged via the New York Times. 

    Adam Liptak wrote on Monday that The American Law Institute -- a group of lawyers and legal professionals which in 1926 created the modern framework for the death penalty as part of the Modern Penal Code -- announced that it was officially jettisoning support for, and work on, the death penalty. According to Liptak this represents “a tectonic shift in legal theory.”

    Their decision follows an extensive report on the capital punishment system by the ALI in April 2009 which concluded that ...

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  9. Cori Crider

    My Guantanamo Client Is Not Your Yemeni Bogeyman

    Cori Crider on 07 January 2010

    Today at Guantánamo I met Samir Mukbel, one of Reprieve's Yemeni clients. I'm not allowed to say what he said at this meeting, but I can certainly tell you he bears no resemblance to the Yemeni bogeyman of recent cable news fame.

    I know his story well from prior meetings. Samir is a simple man, a poor man, who from age 11 worked in a plastics factory in Ta'iz. His $50 monthly paycheck went entirely to support his family. When a man from his village told him he could make three times that in Afghanistan, Samir took ...

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  10. Emmanuelle Purdon 2009 BW

    Death penalty hits its lowest point in the USA since 1976

    Emmanuelle Purdon on 05 January 2010

    According to a report by the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 2009 had the lowest number of death sentences handed down since the death penalty was brought back in 1976.
    This means judges and jury members gave the death penalty to less convicted criminals in the past year, while prosecutors gave out less death sentences.

    Only 106 people were sentenced to death which is significantly less than ten years ago (284 sentences in 1999), says the report. It is the 7th straight year of decline and 60% lower than in the nineties.

    The report says that the recent economic ...

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