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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).
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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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A Tunisian man formerly held in secret United States Central Intelligence Agency custody have described previously unreported methods of torture that shed new light on the earliest days of the CIA program. Lotfi al-Arabi El Gherissi, 52, recounted being…
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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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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…
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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…
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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…
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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.…
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Foreigners Arrested Outside Afghanistan Can't Challenge Detention in US Courts

(Washington, DC) - A US federal appeals court ruling today that bars the courts from hearing the claims of detainees arrested outside of Afghanistan and brought to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan leaves them without legal recourse against unlawful…
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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…
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Finally Freed From 18 Years of Prison and Internal Exile, Abdallah Zouari Still Under Tight Surveillance

(New York) - The Tunisian government should end the harassment of the human rights activist and journalist Abdallah Zouari immediately, Human Rights Watch said today. Zouari, who was imprisoned for 11 years, then forced to spend seven more in a remote…
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Renewal of Long-Term Arbitrary Confinement of Former Political Prisoner Is Feared

(New York) - Tunisian authorities should end the arbitrary banishment to a remote village of the political activist and journalist Abdallah Zouari, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent today to Minister of Justice Béchir Tekkari and Minister of…
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Ex-Political Prisoner Re-Imprisoned for Giving Media Interviews

(New York) - The Tunisian government released a long-serving political prisoner only to re-arrest him a few weeks later solely for expressing his political views to the media, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called for the Tunisian…
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‘Diplomatic Assurances’ Once Again Prove Inadequate

Authorities in Tunisia mistreated two former Guantanamo detainees who were sent home in June despite Tunisia’s pledge to the US government that it would treat them humanely, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Tunisian government is…