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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 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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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…
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US military commissions revoke for al-Qaida suspects the standard of justice extended to Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg In the course of three days in late August, I travelled from Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, Germany, where an international…
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Resettling Those No Longer Considered a Threat Helps Advance Effort to Close the Prison

(Berlin) - The German government's decision on July 7, 2010, to accept two Guantanamo Baydetainees for resettlement is an important step in closing down the prison, Human Rights Watch said today. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that…
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(New York) – The Central Intelligence Agency secretly operated illegal prisons for terrorism suspects in multiple locations in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005, according to a report released today by the Council of Europe, a European…
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The European Parliament should condemn European complicity in the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program of “extraordinary renditions” and secret detention of prisoners, Human Rights Watch said today. The report of the European Parliament’s…
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Report Stresses Further Need to Investigate Secret Detention and Rendition to Torture

A new report by the European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on illegal CIA activity in Europe is a powerful indictment of European governments’ complicity in CIA abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. “The report shows how European governments acted as…
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European governments should take concrete steps to help close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter sent to EU foreign ministers. sent to EU foreign ministers. In the letter, Human Rights Watch commends…
News

Regarding the EU Call to Close Guantanamo

Human Rights Watch commends the collective call by the European Union to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center that was made at the E.U.-U.S. summit last month. The closing of Guantanamo would be a positive and welcome development. But the closing…
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Council of Europe Rejects Minimum Standards for Diplomatic Assurances

A Council of Europe expert group has rightly decided not to develop guidelines for the acceptable use of diplomatic assurances to justify sending people to places where they are at risk of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. “We welcome this decision…
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Council of Europe Deadline Is Today; European Parliament to Begin Hearings

European governments must provide detailed information about their participation in or knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency’s unlawful detention and transfer of terrorist suspects. Two European bodies are investigating the CIA’s activities in…
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German Chancellor Should Call for New Rights Strategy in Afghanistan, Iraq

(New York) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder should not sacrifice human rights concerns when mending fences with the United States, Human Rights Watch said ahead of Schröder’s meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House today.   "…