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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.
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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.
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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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Iran’s judiciary claims it has no political prisoners. Human Rights Watch set out to prove them wrong. Researcher Faraz Sanei speaks with Amy Braunschweiger about the new Human Rights Watch report, who Iran is persecuting and why, and if President Hassan…
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Three Opposition Figures Detained for Almost Three Years Without Charge

(Beirut) – Three major opposition figures in Iran have been under house arrest or detention for 1,000 days with no charges against them, notwithstanding President Hassan Rouhani’s promise to release political prisoners, Human Rights Watch and the…
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Trial Set to Resume as Detention Approaches 2 Years

(New York) - Iranian authorities should immediately release two American hikers who are being tried on apparently politically motivated charges of espionage and illegal entry, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial of Josh Fattal, 27, and Shane Bauer,…
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Habibollah Latifi to be Hanged on December 26

Update: December 29, 2010 During the early morning hours of December 26, 2010, the chief warden of Sanandaj prison informed a crowd of several hundred people who had gathered outside the prison gates that Habibollah Latifi's execution had been halted.…
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Reports Say 7 Baha'i Leaders Have Been Sentenced to 20 Years Each

(New York) - The Iranian judiciary should set aside any judgments issued in closed judicial proceedings against seven Baha'i leaders and release them immediately given that no evidence appears to have ever been presented against them, and they have not…
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His Excellency Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani Head of the Judiciary Islamic Republic of Iran His Excellency Abbas Jaafari Dolatabadi Tehran Prosecutor Islamic Republic of Iran Your Excellencies: We are writing to you in connection with the status…
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His Excellency Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani Head of the Judiciary Islamic Republic of Iran His Excellency Abbas Jaafari Dolatabadi Tehran Prosecutor Islamic Republic of Iran   Your Excellencies,  We are writing to you in connection with the status…
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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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Hanging of Behnoud Shojaie Is Third in 2009

(New York) - Iran hanged juvenile offender Behnoud Shojaie on October 12, 2009, despite an unequivocal international ban on such executions, and an initial pardon by the victim's family, Human Rights Watch said today. Shojaie, now 21, was executed for a…
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Stand up for Persecuted Human Rights Activists; Shut Guantanamo

(New York) - The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama should encourage him to apply his stated principles to both foreign and domestic human rights policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nobel committee awarded the prize…