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Summary In late 2014, police officers entered the home of Lim Ok Kyung, a smuggler in her forties from North Korea’s South Hwanghae province. The police were looking for, and found, home appliances smuggled from China. Lim Ok Kyung was detained at a…
News

Torture, Lack of Due Process, Arbitrary Punishment, Corruption Rampant

(Seoul) – The North Korean pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary and lacks any semblance of due process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Former detainees described systematic torture, dangerous and unhygienic…
An overhead illustration of people in a crowded jail cell
News

Halt Executions

(Beirut) – Bahrain’s authorities should overturn the death sentences following unfair trials against two men who say they were tortured, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said today. The Court of…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
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
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.
News
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.
News

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
News

“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.
News

Custody Hearings Help Curb Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – A pilot program in northeastern Brazil is reducing the number of people sent to pretrial detention, a major factor in prison overcrowding and gang recruitment, Human Rights Watch said today. The program in Maranhão state promptly brings…
News

Anticipated Protests Risk Further Violations

(Beirut) – International racing bodies responsible for scheduling the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix from April 19 to 21, 2013, have taken no steps to address human rights abuses that appear to be directly linked to the event. Bahraini security forces…
News

Systematic and New Violations and Impunity

(Geneva) – United Nations member states should scrutinize Bahrain’s deplorable human rights record during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council on May 21, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today. The international…
News
New York - Even as US President Barack Obama declared that "the world is safer" without Osama bin Laden, his Homeland Security office was bracing for a possible revenge attack. The United States and other potential targets are right to be…
News

Ex-Members of Parliament, Physicians Held Without Charge; Activist Reported Tortured

Update: At approximately 10 p.m. on May 4, 2011, Bahraini authorities released Dr. Nedhal al-Khalifa and two of her associates from CID headquarters in `Adlyia, where they were being detained. The condition and whereabouts of al-Khalifa's husband, Dr.…
News

UAE, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq Violations Detailed

(Dubai) - Governments in the Middle East were responsible for serious human rights violations over the past year, including harassment and attacks against human rights defenders and organizations that document abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. At a…