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Nearly 50,000 detainees missing in Damascus

Damascus detainees missingIt was three in the afternoon when Lulu's phone stopped working somewhere in east Damascus near the Air Force Intelligence building, one of Syria's most feared security agencies.

That was last November. The 30-year-old had been shopping in Hamra, a 15-minute drive away. She has yet to come home.

Lulu's disappearance was one of many believed to have occurred in the weeks leading up to the peace talks in Geneva between President Bashar al-Assad's government and members of Syria's political opposition in exile.


US lifts veil on Obama's Guantánamo detainee review process

Gunatanamo prisonFor 19 minutes over a streaming video feed on Tuesday morning, the American public got its first glimpse into President Obama’s new review process for Guantánamo detainees, touted as a key step toward closing the notorious detention center.

The few members of the public who witnessed the session – a handful of journalists and representatives of human rights groups, more than 1,000 miles away in Virginia and watching on a 40-second delay – never heard from Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi, a Yemeni who has been held without charge at Guantánamo Bay for 12 years.


Polish ex-intelligence official says time for truth on CIA jail

CIA jail polandPoland's official stance of denying it hosted a secret CIA jail is harming its reputation and it needs to be frank about what really happened, a senior intelligence official at the time the alleged prison was operating told Reuters.

A growing weight of information gathered by rights groups, lawyers and parliamentary inquiries suggests that Poland allowed its NATO ally the United States from around 2003 to detain al Qaeda suspects in a facility in a northern Polish forest.


Amnesty International condemns Philippines police torture cell

Amnesty InternationalAmnesty International called on the Philippine government Monday to end routine torture that allegedly took place at a secret police detention facility.

The demand came after the discovery of a cell in a police intelligence facility in Binan where the human rights group alleged in a statement Monday that "officers physically abused inmates for fun."

The Philippines' Commission on Human Rights discovered a roulette wheel, with different torture scenarios described, in use at the site, and reported 44 detainees at the facility had accused at least 10 law enforcement officers of torture and extortion, Amnesty International, based in London, said.


The Secrecy Behind the Drugs Used to Carry Out the Death Penalty

death penalty drugThe sharpest battles over capital punishment today are being fought over the identity of the drugs officials seek to use in lethal injections, how those drugs are manufactured and obtained by executioners, and the obligations state officials have to share material information about the drugs with death-row inmates and the rest of the world.

Late Friday, in a case out of Missouri, the Eighth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals rendered the most significant ruling yet to come out of these battles.

The result is catastrophic for those who believe the means of capital punishment should generally be as transparent as its ends.


US Supreme Court denies appeals to delay execution

Execution of Mexican to go onThe U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals Wednesday night for Mexican national Edgar Tamayo, clearing the way for the Texas death row inmate to be executed for the slaying of a Houston police officer 20 years ago.

Tamayo's execution had been scheduled for 6 p.m. for the slaying of Officer Guy Gaddis, 24, but the death warrant remained in effect until midnight.

Texas officials have opposed appeals to stop the scheduled lethal injection, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department.


US psychology body declines to rebuke member in Guantánamo torture case

torture psychologistAmerica’s professional association of psychologists has quietly declined to rebuke one of its members, a retired US army reserve officer, for his role in one of the most brutal interrogations known to have to taken place at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian has learned.

The decision not to pursue any disciplinary measure against John Leso, a former army reserve major, is the latest case in which someone involved in the post-9/11 torture of detainees has faced no legal or even professional consequences.


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