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Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
News
My heart sank as my colleague told me recently about the latest torture victim from Iraq who had contacted us to share his story. I had heard the same kinds of accounts from other victims of torture in detention, including the same names of two…
Juveniles’ cell at Tal Kayf prison, taken in April 2019 and shared confidentially with Human Rights Watch, shows extreme overcrowding at the prison.
News
The perversity of what passes for a criminal justice system in Bahrain will be on full display on  July 13, when Mohamed Ramadan and Hussein Moosa make their final bid to escape execution. The two are scheduled to appear before the country’s…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
News
If one were intent on spreading coronavirus, one would pack many people into tightly crowded, unhygienic spaces with poor ventilation, irregular access to water, deficient medical care, and little testing to know who is infected with the virus. One…
Inmates are lined up during a security operation under the watch of police at Izalco prison in San Salvador, El Salvador, on April 25, 2020.
News

In crowded, unhygienic prisons, the spread of the disease presents a serious threat. Will President Sisi put reason before punishment?

  In a country like Egypt where basic rights are severely stifled, there are many rights-related ramifications during a public health crisis. One of the most urgent is the impact on vulnerable groups, such as those in closed, densely crowded…
An Egyptian police officer at the entrance of the Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
News
The death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two years after ISIS lost most of its Iraq territory and less than a year after the last major battles against ISIS in Syria. While al-Baghdadi’s death means that his…
Men, suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State, gather in a prison cell in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on October 26, 2019.
News
Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
News

The Family Separation Issue in the United States is Symptomatic of a Much Broader Global Problem

Following a substantial increase in the enforcement of the Trump administration’s policy to separate migrant children from their parents, anti-immigrant policy and rhetoric hit a flashpoint last week. Images and audio of…
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News
President Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un yielded very little in terms of firm denuclearization commitments from North Korea. It delivered nothing on human rights. In fact, the non-binding joint communique marking the summit didn’t…
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk together before their working lunch during their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Erns
News
Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
News

Prisoners with Disabilities Serving Time in Solitary, Face Physical, Sexual Abuse

How is it that 50 percent of Australia’s prison population has a disability? Eighteen percent of Australia’s general population has a disability. The most common type of disabilities found in prisons are mental health conditions. People with…
A prisoner lies in his solitary confinement cell in the safety unit at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, northern Queensland.
News

Ill-treatment of Prisoners Continues Unabated

“The last time I saw my son alive, he was begging me to save him. He told me that the policemen holding him in custody beat him with a belt the entire night, forcing him to confess to the crime.” Leonard Valdaris’s son Agnelo…
Police officers in New Delhi, India in January 2016. Police in India are often accused of protecting colleagues from accountability for abuses.
News
When a child makes the mistake of breaking a law, the state needs to be especially careful in meting out punishment – out of sheer humanity, and because the chances of rehabilitation are so much higher in someone so young. And indeed…
Children at a “socio-educational” unit in the state of Ceará in October 2016.
News
In early October 2016, Human Rights Watch warned of the dire human rights consequences that could result if the Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha'abi) participated in screenings of men and boys fleeing Mosul for suspected…
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News
The killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies. …
A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
News

A Postmortem Report, a Special Public Prosecutor, and an Eyewitness Testimony Turned the Tide in the Case of 20-Year-Old Aniket Khicchi

Aniket Khicchi and Ratan Vani were arrested on October 26, 2013, for alleged theft and taken to the Vanrai police station in Mumbai’s Goregaon neighbourhood. Khicchi died that night. The police did not inform Khicchi’s family either of the arrest or of…
Police officers in New Delhi, India in January 2016. Police in India are often accused of protecting colleagues from accountability for abuses.
News

Police Are Rarely Held Accountable for Custodial Deaths, As the Case of 22-Year-Old Altaf Shaikh Shows

“From his affidavit it appears that he has already made up his mind and has given a clean chit to the police officers,” the Bombay High Court found in October 2009 in response to an affidavit from the assistant commissioner of police of Maharashtra’s…
Copy of post-mortem report of Altaf Shaikh, September 11, 2009.
News

How the Police Disregard the Laws Designed to Prevent Torture and Mistreatment in Custody

“He was crying bitterly, he was saying, ‘Daddy save me, save me. They have been beating me the whole night. They will kill me, Daddy. These policemen will kill me.’” Leonard Valdaris, father of 25-year-old Agnelo, is haunted by the last words…
Agnelo's grave.