Guinea| Alleged plotters being “hunted down”, 60 arrested for “trying to kill Camara”

posted on 12.09.2009 by

Reports of score-settling in Guinea, from BBC:

Alleged plotters who tried to kill Guinea’s junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara are being “hunted down” and arrested, the military government says.

Junta spokesman Idrissa Cherif told the BBC more than 60 people had been held over last week’s assassination attempt.

Other reports say troops are torturing and killing people and residents of the capital, Conakry, are living in terror.

Rights groups say Capt Camara, who is recovering after treatment for a bullet wound in the head, should step down.

He was flown to Morocco for surgery after the incident – with conflicting reports on the seriousness of his injuries.

Junta officials say Lt Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite, head of the presidential guard, carried out the attack on Capt Camara. He has not been caught. [...]

More here.

UN urges probe into alleged abuses at Greek detention center

posted on 10.26.2009 by Lisa

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday called for investigations into recently reported violent incidents at a detention center in Greece. Read more

Concerns over conditions in Iraqi camps – UN top envoy

posted on 10.26.2009 by Lisa

Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, on Monday voiced concerns over the humanitarian situation in a camp north of Baghdad, housing some 3400 Iranidan dissidents, members ofthe People’s Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI). Read more

On Administrative Detention

posted on 10.21.2009 by Lisa

From the International Law Observer:

Administrative detention has been a contentious topic for international lawyers since its invocation by governments claiming that it is a principal tool in the often-lawless global ‘War on Terror’. Despite the popularity that this mechanism has earned amongst a growing number of states, principally those participating in the ‘War on Terror’, it has been neglected that the use of preemptive detention is illegal when used arbitrarily and disproportionately in a manner that does not allow for any remedy at all to be sought against this egregious violation of the fundamental human right not to be subjected to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. [...]

More here.

Editorial: Freeing migrant detainees

posted on 10.13.2009 by Lisa

From the Miami Herald:

Seriously ill immigration detainees can’t wait for the reforms announced last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Detained for more than five months at the Glades County Detention Center, Rosemarie has bled daily as a result of a fibroid tumor in her uterus. Early on, the facility had medical records documenting her need for surgery. Yet she remains in a solitary-confinement cell referred to as the “medical ward” without so much as a window for daylight. Rosemarie, who is from Haiti, still awaits surgery.

Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center advocates on behalf of detainees like Rosemarie, who despite being confined in “civil” immigration detention often suffer treatment worse than inmates serving criminal sentences. How many other vulnerable immigrants languish in detention without adequate medical care, their lives at risk until either their cases are resolved or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) manages to fix its detention system?

ICE should release vulnerable detainees — now. It simply is not equipped to address serious medical needs. If it can’t deliver necessary medical care in a timely manner, ICE should not detain people who need such treatment.

No doubt Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano intends to improve conditions in the nation’s dysfunctional immigration jails. Her announcement last week laid out a welcome plan to create what ICE chief John Morton calls a “truly civil detention system.”

While the goal is laudable, changing facilities and penal culture will take time. Meanwhile, ICE should respond to the urgent need for fixes without delay.

More here.

ICJ: Broader mandate for prosecutor essential to achieve accountability over U.S. torture and other “war on terror” crimes

posted on 08.26.2009 by Lisa

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today welcomed the decision of United States Attorney General Eric Holder to mandate Assistant US Attorney John Durham to “conduct a preliminary review into whether [US] laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations.”

The Attorney General’s initiative marks a first step towards full disclosure of and accountability for unlawful US practices concerning the treatment of detainees secretly held by the CIA as part of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism strategy. Those practices included serious human rights violations amounting to crimes under international law.

The ICJ nonetheless is deeply concerned by the statement of the Attorney General that “the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.” Read more

International Commission of Jurists: Syrian Authorities Must Immediately Release ICJ Commissioner Muhannad Al-Hasani

posted on 08.21.2009 by Lisa

The International Commission of Jurists has urged the Syrian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Muhannad Al-Hasani, an ICJ Commissioner in Syria. Mr. Al-Hasani was arrested on 28 July 2009 and charged with the offenses of “weakening national sentiments,” and “spreading false news.” The unlawful and arbitrary detention follows a campaign of harassment against the Commissioner for his work as a lawyer and human rights defender in Syria, including his monitoring of trials before the State Security Court. Read more

“I thought that when I got to America, I’d be free, but then I was in prison again.”

posted on 04.30.2009 by Lisa

A new report from Human Rights First, on “U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers: Seeking Protection, Finding Prison”.

In March 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took over responsibility for asylum and immigration matters when the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) was abolished. With this transfer, DHS was entrusted with the duty to ensure that the United States lives up to its commitments to those who seek asylum from persecution. These commitments stem from both U.S. law and international treaties with which the United States has pledged to abide. Yet, those who seek asylum—a form of protection extended to victims of political, religious and other forms of persecution—have been swept up in a wave of increased immigration detention, which has left many asylum seekers in jails and jail-like facilities for months or even years. [...] The U.S. detention system for asylum seekers, which lacks crucial safeguards, is inconsistent with international refugee protection and human rights standards. [...]

More here.