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Wednesday, Apr 16th

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Uganda: no country for gay men

Uganda homophobiaBernard Randall, the British gay man charged with homosexuality-related offences in a Ugandan court, glances up sceptically when I walk into his lawyer's chambers. His Ugandan partner, Albert Cheptoyek, sits protectively in front of him, closer to the door, on a rickety wooden bench. Cheptoyek's white shirt illuminates his dark sweaty skin, while Randall's oversize dull-coloured clothes match his face, making him almost invisible.

And that perhaps may just be the effect he needs to get through the ordeal of having the content of a sex tape of him and his 30-year-old partner splashed over newspapers and across the media here. And not just any media, but the media of a country that has declared homosexuality to be an evil practice, a cancer imported from the west that must be stamped out no matter what the cost.

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Unspeakable horrors in a country on the verge of genocide

GenocideA massacre of the innocents is taking place in the heart of Africa as the world looks the other way.

One man describes how his four-year-old son's throat was slit, and how he saw a snake swallowing a baby. A woman explains that she is caring for a young girl because her mother went searching for medicine and was bludgeoned to death with Kalashnikov rifles. A young man tells how he was bound and thrown to the crocodiles, but managed to swim to safety.

This is the world of horrors that the Central African Republic (CAR) has become. Thousands of people are dying at the hands of soldiers and militia gangs or from untreated diseases such as malaria. Boys and girls as young as eight are pressganged into fighting between Christians and Muslims. There are reports of beheadings and public execution-style killings. Villages are razed to the ground.

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Thousands sentenced to life without parole for nonviolent offenses

ALCU studyAt least 3,728 prisoners in the United States will spend the rest of their lives in prison for non-violent offenses according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) study published on Wednesday.

The study found that 79 percent of these prisoners were convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes and 20 percent of nonviolent property crimes like shoplifting. Most of these cases were sentenced under mandatory minimum guidelines, for which judges had no choice but to dole out a life without parole sentence.

“Fairness has departed from the system,” said one judge as he sentenced a nonviolent offender to life in prison without parole.

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Guantánamo judge orders Pentagon to let him read Red Cross-U.S. correspondence

Red Cross filesThe military judge in the Sept. 11 trial ordered the U.S. government Wednesday to turn over all correspondence from the International Committee of the Red Cross about the treatment of the alleged 9/11 conspirators in Guantánamo detention, a blow to Pentagon arguments that the contacts are confidential.

Defense lawyers hailed the decision by the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, who will review years of reports between the Geneva-based aid agency and the United States dating to the Bush administration to decide if the material is relevant to the defense of accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators.

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Report slams US doctors involved in interrogations

torture and medical professionAn independent panel of military, ethics, medical, public health, and legal experts today charged that U.S. military and intelligence agencies directed doctors and psychologists working in U.S. military detention centers to violate standard ethical principles and medical standards to avoid infliction of harm.

The Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers (see attached) concludes that since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) and CIA improperly demanded that U.S. military and intelligence agency health professionals collaborate in intelligence gathering and security practices in a way that inflicted severe harm on detainees in U.S. custody.

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Canadians Seek Dick Cheney's Arrest For War Crimes During Upcoming Visit

Dick CheneyAn international volunteer organization urged Canadian authorities to arrest former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on war crimes charges when he visits the 2013 Toronto Global Forum later this week.

Lawyers Against the War argued in a letter dated Sunday that Toronto Police Chief William Blair and Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen have a duty to arrest Cheney "as a person suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.”

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US defends drone strikes as 'necessary and just' in face of UN criticism

UN  berates dronesThe US government has defended its use of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries in front of the UN, telling a chamber full of largely critical nations that in President Obama's view the deployment of unmanned aerial attacks against al-Qaida targets was "necessary, legal and just".

Representatives from a slew of nations, including Brazil, China and Venezuela, lined up to berate the Obama administration for its intensive use of drone strikes. But the US delegation told a plenary meeting of the general assembly in the UN building in New York the president had taken steps to introduce new guidance and standards, and to set out the legal rationale for unmanned weapons deployed in the fight against al-Qaida and affiliated threats.

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