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Allegations of Torture, Unfair Trials, Misuse of Terrorism Law

(Berlin) – Russian military courts handed down guilty verdicts on February 5 and 10, 2020 in three separate, deeply flawed terrorism cases in which the defendants alleged incommunicado detention, torture, and other ill-treatment to…
Pictured (L) members of a left-wing group Set (Network) in court in Penza, Russia on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, when the court convicted seven members on terrorism charges, sentencing them to prison terms ranging from six to 18 years. (R) Eduard Nizamov.
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(Berlin, July 12, 2019) – Russian authorities have brought unfounded terrorism charges against 24 Crimean Tatars, 20 of whom were arrested during heavily armed raids on their homes in the spring of this year, Human Rights Watch said today. Security…
News

Use September 7 Meeting to Address Arbitrary Detentions, Disappearances, Abductions

(Beirut) – The Astana working group on detentions and abductions in the Syrian conflict should take immediate steps to address the Syrian government’s arbitrary detentions, torture of detainees, and enforced disappearances, 11 human…
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lock hands during a group photo in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. © 2018 Tolga Bozoglu/Pool Photo via AP
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Rushed Proceedings, Lack of Due Process, Disproportionate Sentences

  (Beirut) – Iraq’s judiciary should change its approach to dealing with detained foreign women and children who are accused of affiliation with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said…
Russian women, sentenced to life in prison on grounds of joining ISIS, sit with children in a hallway of Baghdad's Central Criminal Court, April 29, 2018. © 2018 Ammar Karim/AFP/Getty Images
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Investigate Suspects’ Abuse Claims, End Effort to Disbar Lawyer

UPDATE: On December 14, 2017, at around 7 a.m., police detained Akhral Azimov, the father of two St. Petersburg bombing suspects Akram and Abor Azimov, and took him to the Kuntsevsky district police station in Moscow. The reason for his…
Mourners place flowers at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St. Petersburg to commemorate victims of the April 3, 2017 suicide bombing on a subway train.
News

Provide Safe Passage from Deir al-Zor

(Beirut) – A group of civilians is stranded in the last remaining pocket under Islamic State (also known as ISIS) control in the city of Deir al-Zor, Human Rights Watch said today. All parties to the conflict, including the Syrian-…
A road sign welcomes people to the town of Deir al-Zor in Syria, September 20, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

Arbitrary Detentions; Separatism, Terrorism Charges

(Berlin) – Russian authorities in Crimea have intensified persecution of Crimean Tatars, under various pretexts and with the apparent goal of completely silencing dissent on the peninsula, Human Rights Watch said today. Crimean Tatars are a Muslim…
Law enforcement officials during a search in Bakhchysarai, Crimea on January 26, 2017
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Summary The mayor said, “All thieves must be killed.” He said it was an order. −Witness to the execution of Fulgence Rukundo on December 6, 2016 Rwandan security forces summarily executed at least…
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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.
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The Republican candidate for president of the United States speaks and writes approvingly of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He is referring to a program run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that subjected people the US detained…
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Endangers Freedom of Association

(São Paulo) – President Dilma Rousseff should veto a counterterrorism bill whose overbroad and vague language could be used to undermine freedom of association and expression in Brazil, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president. “…
Students demonstrate in front of Brazil´s National Congress in Brasilia to demand more investment in public education. June 27, 2013.
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Vague Language Can Be Used to Stifle Dissent

A counterterrorism bill under consideration in Brazil contains overbroad and vague language that endangers basic human rights such as freedom of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said today. Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies should reject the bill…
Students demonstrate in front of Brazil´s National Congress in Brasilia to demand more investment in public education. June 27, 2013.
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The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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Among Brazil’s Overpacked Prisons, Pernambuco Tops the List

(São Paulo) – The Brazilian state of Pernambuco has effectively turned over its vastly overcrowded prisons to hand-picked inmate “keyholders,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Pernambuco prison system holds more than three times as…
Penitenciária Agro-Industrial São João
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“Custody Hearings” Improve Due Process, Reduce Prison Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – The Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission in Brazil’s Senate should approve a bill that would introduce basic due process procedures to prevent arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said today. The measure can also reduce prison…
A judge holds a custody hearing for a detainee in São Paulo on May 11, 2015, with the participation of a prosecutor and a public defender.
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The Russian government’s response to a decade-long insurgency in Dagestan, a southern Russian republic, has been marked by serious human rights violations. Insurgents also have attacked civilians. The abuses are set against a background in…