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Edward Snowden wins Swedish human rights award for NSA revelations

Edward SnowdenWhistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance.

Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow. In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.

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Lack of money at World Food Program leaves 1.7 million Syrians without aid

Syrian refugees food shortageA funding crisis has forced the World Food Program to suspend assistance to 1.7 million Syrian refugees, the U.N. agency announced Monday, warning that “many families will go hungry” without the aid.

The program, which provides electronic vouchers for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt to buy food at local stores, faces a $64 million shortfall, the agency said, attributing the problem to “unfulfilled” donor commitments.

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Former al Qaida hostage recounts nightmare – of dealing with FBI

Matt SchrierThe only thing as bad as being tortured for months as a captive of jihadists in Syria was dealing with the U.S. government afterward, according to one former American hostage.

Matt Schrier, 36, a freelance photographer held by extremists for seven months in 2013 until he escaped, said that the bureaucracy he endured upon his return home was a second kind of nightmare after the months of abuse he experienced while a hostage.

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UN torture report condemns sleep deprivation among US detainees

UN torture reportThe US military has retained the power to inflict prolonged sleep deprivation on detainees, despite moves by the Obama administration to eliminate interrogation techniques that amount to torture and ill-treatment, the United Nations warned on Friday.

In a review of the human rights record of the US, the first of its kind since 2006, the world body’s committee against torture has slammed the country for its ongoing violations of international treaties.

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UN panel raps US record on torture

stop torturePolice brutality, military interrogations and prisons were among the top concerns of a U.N. panel's report Friday that found the United States to be falling short of full compliance with an international anti-torture treaty.

The report by the U.N. Committee Against Torture, its first such review of the U.S. record since 2006, expressed concerns about allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, particularly the Chicago Police Department's treatment of blacks and Latinos.

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Morocco hosts 'masquerade' civil rights forum

Morrocco sham civil rights forumMorocco’s foremost civil liberties activists won’t attend an international forum on human rights on Thursday launched by the government in the tourist hub of Marrakech. After numerous government attempts this year to bar them from organizing, the activists call the event “a farce” designed to perpetuate misconceptions about the state’s self-branded progressivism.

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights, known by its French abbreviation AMDH, says that this year's World Forum on Human Rights — an annual gathering of international rights activists — is a “masquerade” designed to deceive Western political and business partners about the North African kingdom's 2011 political reform project, launched in response to an ongoing popular movement for civil liberties. A handful of other rights groups are also boycotting the event.

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UN torture experts weigh in on disputed Senate CIA interrogation report

CIASeven top United Nations human rights experts on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama “not to yield” to demands from the Central Intelligence Agency that key material be edited out from a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices.

In an open letter, the experts called on Obama to release the Senate report “in the most complete and comprehensible form possible, allowing the victims and the public to fully understand the facts.”

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