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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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The Moroccan police arrested Taki Machdoufi in El-Ayoun, Western Sahara, in 2010, and interrogated him over five days about fatal clashes that had just taken place between Sahrawi protesters and the police. Each time the Sahrawi activist denied any role…
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No Fair Trials Until Courts Reject Statements Obtained by Torture, Abuse

(Rabat) –Morocco’s courts are convicting defendants based on confessions they claim were obtained through torture or falsified by police, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country’s judicial reform agenda needs to include stronger…
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Polisario Front Should Allow Man It Detained Free Contact With Family

(New York) - The Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement, should allow a man it detained in September immediate access to his family, Human Rights Watch said today. The group detained Mostapha Selma Sidi Mouloud on September 21, 2010,…
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Secret and Illegal Detention, Ill-Treatment in Custody

(Rabat) - Suspects arrested under Morocco's counterterrorism law routinely face serious human rights violations that compromise their right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 56-page report, "‘Stop Looking for Your…
Report
 Morocco: “Stop Looking for Your Son” Illegal Detentions under the Counterterrorism Law Summary Recommendations to the Government of Morocco Introduction Methodology Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment:  Morocco…
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Seven Facing Charges in Military Court After Visiting Tindouf Refugee Camps

(New York) - Moroccan authorities should release three well-known Sahrawi activists held since October 8, 2009, on charges of "harming state security," or provide them with a prompt and transparent trial, Human Rights Watch said today. If Morocco insists…
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Naâma Asfari Convicted for ‘Showing Contempt' Toward Police

(Washington, DC) - The conviction and imprisonment of the Western Sahara human rights defender Naâma Asfari on August 27, 2009, for "showing contempt toward a public agent" shows that Morocco continues to punish peaceful activists who show their support…
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Three Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Information about ‘Ghost’ Detention

(New York) – In the most comprehensive accounting to date, six leading human rights organizations today published the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody and whose current whereabouts remain unknown. The…
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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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Joint letter to Tony Blair from Human Rights Watch and Liberty

Human Rights Watch and Liberty are deeply concerned about the British government’s stated intention to seek diplomatic assurances against torture in order to deport terrorism suspects to their home countries or to third countries where they would be at…