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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

Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Proposals Threaten Women’s Health, Safety, and Rights

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” So said Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. But Trump's other words and actions during and before the campaign made a mockery of that statement. We all know his record: the public…
Women take part in a protest against then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016
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Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch received a letter from a woman who explained she had been brutally gang raped by strangers in an abandoned lot in Tulsa in 1971, when she was 12 years old. Though she had been literally torn open by the assault, she…
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In any normal case, in any ordinary court, judges hold preliminary hearings to narrow the issues and move the case closer to trial. But there is nothing ordinary about the prosecution of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And the…
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If the Taliban prisoners released could have been prosecuted, they should have been

Though questions have been raised about whether the Obama administration should have exchanged five Guantanamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, one thing is clear: The decision shouldn’t impede U.S. efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.…
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Each week seems to bring news of sexual assaults being handled badly by college campuses across the country. I just received an email from my own alma mater, Brown University, reassuring its alumni that the attacker in a recent case will not, in fact, be…
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The sight of a man, free, who used to be in chains, is breathtaking. And so I gasped as Salim Hamdan walked into the lobby of my hotel in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, one evening in January. Now in his mid-40s, he looked heavier and happier than I remembered…
News

Terrorists face real consequences in US civilian courts

The American public has had a pretty good demonstration over the last couple of weeks in how a US federal court handles a big terrorism case. The New York City trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, on charges of conspiring to kill…
News
One of the first things I learned in my training as a volunteer for a New York City hospital's rape crisis center was that sexual assaults are often shrouded in silence. For some survivors, women and men alike, the silence is partial. They can't bring…
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You know something is wrong when defense lawyers have to hike to Starbucks to find Internet access they feel they can—relatively, anyway—trust. But that’s exactly what lawyers for the five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks felt they…
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With Congress back in session, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester will soon consider whether to adopt new provisions in a defense-spending bill allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the U.S. for trial by federal courts. …
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The family of a Gitmo detainee twice cleared for transfer remains pessimistic, despite Obama's speech vowing reform

Muhammad al-Baidhani, an 11-year-old Yemeni boy with a mop of brown curls, only knows his father from photos and a one-hour video conference every two months. Before Muhammad was born, his father was captured and sent to the U.S. military prison at…
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Why Obama doesn’t need Congress to start to make good on his promise.

President Barack Obama finally broke his long silence on Tuesday on the need to close Guantanamo. Echoing comments he made four years ago -- when, on his second day in office he promised to close the facility within a year -- he said "Guantanamo is not…
News
In the 50 years since Betty Friedan’s "Feminine Mystique" opened a discussion of the oppression behind the American ideal of domesticity, we have seen significant progress in how society views violence against women, particularly violence in the home. The…
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In spring 2011, a federal government employee in her 30s was sexually assaulted in the District by a man she met on an Internet dating site. At Washington Hospital Center, where she went for a forensic exam so medical personnel could collect evidence from…
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Zero Dark Thirty, the movie drama of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has spawned a wide array of commentary. None is as misleading or morally disturbing, however, as the one from former CIA counterterrorism chief Jose Rodriguez, who seized on the film as an…