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Utah lawmaker: Bring back firing squad executions

Firing squad executionIn the wake of a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month, a Utah lawmaker says he believes a firing squad is a more humane form of execution. And he plans to bring back that option for criminals sentenced to death in his state.

Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican from the northern Utah city of Clearfield, plans to introduce his proposal during Utah’s next legislative session in January. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri floated similar ideas this year, but both efforts stalled. Ray, however, may succeed. Utah already has a tradition of execution by firing squad, with five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010, the last execution by rifle to be held in the state.


US judge temporarily halts Guantánamo force-feeding

gitmo forced feedingA US federal judge has temporarily blocked the military from force-feeding a Syrian prisoner on hunger strike at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

It is the first time a judge has ordered a halt to force-feeding of a prisoner in Guantánamo, where last year as many as 46 of 166 inmates were force-fed at least some of their meals during a hunger strike. Several sued.

US district court judge Gladys Kessler on Friday ordered the US government to stop force-feeding Abu Wa'el Dhiab until a hearing next Wednesday. She also ordered the military to stop extracting him from his cell if he refused to go to feedings.


Uruguayan president agrees to take six detainees from Guantanamo

Uruguayan presidentUruguayan President José Mujica said Thursday that his nation is willing to accept six detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — one of the largest groups of Arab detainees to be released to a third country.

But the Obama administration should move fast, Mujica said.  “It can’t be too long,” he said in an interview. “I only have a few months of government left.”

The Obama administration has long pledged to close the 12-year-old military facility, which has been assailed by human rights groups for its prolonged detention of suspects without charge. U.S. officials have struggled to resettle or repatriate prisoners, but Mujica quickly agreed to a request about four months ago to take some inmates.


US manipulates number of Gitmo hunger strikers, says detainee

Gitmo hunger strikesA Yemeni Guantánamo prisoner who was cleared for release four years ago claims 17 people held at the detention facility have been waging a hunger strike and are being subjected to brutal force-feedings by medical officers.

In harrowing letters sent to his attorneys at the U.K.-based human rights charity Reprieve and obtained by Al Jazeera, Emad Hassan said the hunger strikers have been “divided into two groups.”


Texas inmate granted stay of execution, cites botched Oklahoma execution

Campell stay of executionA federal appeals court has stayed the Texas execution of a convicted rapist and murderer, saying that his defense team should have more time to make their case that Campbell is intellectually disabled.

Robert James Campbell’s execution had been scheduled for Tuesday. It would have been the first execution in the United States since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma left an inmate writhing in pain before death.

His defense team now will have more time to appeal his death sentence.


'Nowhere To Go,' Ugandan LGBT Activist Applies For Asylum In U.S.

No plce to go: uganand activistCiting an environment of fear, persecution and anti-gay violence in his home country of Uganda, John Abdallah Wambere has applied for asylum in the United States.

Wambere, 41, came to prominence for his work with Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights and provides health and education services.

He announced his decision to seek asylum at a on May 6 in Boston. Wambere is currently living in Cambridge, Mass.


New documents point to CIA rendition network through Djibouti

Djibouti rendition flightsNew evidence culled from a court case involving CIA contractors has revealed flight paths through Djibouti that appear to indicate the country’s role as a hub of the CIA’s rendition network in Africa, according to documents released by the U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve and New York University’s Global Justice Clinic.

The documents could support the case of Mohammad al-Asad, a former CIA detainee who is suing the government of Djibouti for its alleged role in hosting CIA “black sites” – specifically the one where he says he was detained and tortured for two weeks between Dec. 2003 and Jan. 2004. A Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” had previously confirmed that several individuals had in fact been detained in Djibouti, according to two officials who read the still-classified report and who spoke to Al Jazeera.


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