Entries tagged with “Torture

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Military

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Jul 21, 2021

At Odds with Biden Administration’s Concern Over Use of Statements Obtained by Torture, Chief Guantánamo Prosecutor Retires

After clash­ing with Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials over the pro­pri­ety of using state­ments obtained through tor­ture from Guantánamo detainees, Army Brigadier General Mark S. Martins (pic­tured), the chief pros­e­cu­tor in the Guantánamo Military Commissions tri­als, will retire from the mil­i­tary on September 30, 2021. Martins, who had served as the com­mis­sions’ chief pros­e­cu­tor through­out the Obama and Trump admin­is­tra­tions, abrupt­ly sub­mit­ted papers on July 7 pro­vid­ing notice of his ear­ly retire­ment. Gen. Martins had recent­ly sought and obtained an exten­sion of his Guantánamo assign­ment until January 12023.

Facts & Research

History of the Death Penalty

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Feb 20, 2017

BOOKS: The Death Penalty As Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition”

In his newest book, The Death Penalty As Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition, John Bessler chron­i­cles the his­tor­i­cal link between tor­ture and the death penal­ty from the Middle Ages to the present day and argues that both are medieval relics. The book, released on February 17, 2017, asserts that cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is itself a form of tor­ture, despite mod­ern legal dis­tinc­tions that out­law tor­ture while per­mit­ting death sen­tences and executions.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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Race

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Women

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Nov 10, 2022

Death Penalty Information Center Launches Series on Human Rights and the U.S. Death Penalty

The Death Penalty Information Center, sup­port­ed by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, launched a new project on Human Rights and the U.S. Death Penalty on November 4, 2022, with a live-streamed pan­el dis­cus­sion at the German embassy in Washington, D.C. The record­ed event, which fea­tured not­ed experts and was attend­ed by schol­ars, advo­cates, and mem­bers of the world diplo­mat­ic corps, was the first in a series of webi­na­rs that will spot­light human rights issues in the use and imple­men­ta­tion of the U.S. death penalty.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Military

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Feb 15, 2022

Department of Justice Reverses Course, Rejects Use of Evidence Obtained by Torture in Guantánamo Death Penalty Case

In what one ana­lyst described as an impor­tant step to restore the rule of law,” the U.S. Department of Justice has pledged not to use state­ments obtained by tor­ture in its Guantánamo Military Commissions pros­e­cu­tion of Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Al-Nashiri. Al-Nashiri is accused of mas­ter­mind­ing the Al Qaeda sui­cide bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors in October 2000. The U.S. gov­ern­ment is seek­ing the death penal­ty against him.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Mental Illness

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Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Sep 28, 2023

Guantanamo Bay Judge Rules 9/​11 Capital Defendant Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

On September 21, 2023, a mil­i­tary judge in Guantanamo Bay ruled that Ramzi Bin al Shibh, one of five defen­dants in the 9/​11 case for whom the death penal­ty is being sought, is men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent to stand tri­al. Mr. Bin al Shibh, who has been detained for 21 years, will remain in cus­tody at Guantanamo as author­i­ties attempt to treat the post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der caused when he was forced to under­go enhanced inter­ro­ga­tions” by the U.S. government.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Military

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Sep 16, 2022

Guantánamo Prosecutor Who Advocated Use of Torture Testimony Removed from U.S.S. Cole Bombing Case

A sec­ond mil­i­tary com­mis­sions pros­e­cu­tor who had advo­cat­ed using tes­ti­mo­ny obtained by tor­ture against defen­dants in the death penal­ty tri­al of the Guantánamo detainees charged with the October 2000 bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole (pic­tured) in waters off the coast of Yemen has been removed from the case.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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Sep 14, 2017

Human Rights Groups Urge U.S. Government To Sanction Officials Accused Of Torture, Executions Under New Law

A coali­tion of 23 human rights groups, includ­ing Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, and Reprieve, has urged the United States gov­ern­ment to issue sanc­tions against for­eign gov­ern­ment offi­cials who they say have used the death penal­ty to repress polit­i­cal dis­sent by tor­tur­ing peace­ful pro­test­ers into con­fess­ing to cap­i­tal offens­es they did not commit.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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Death Row

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Oct 31, 2012

INTERNATIONAL: UN Investigator Claims Executions are Increasingly Viewed as Torture Around the World

On October 23, the United Nations’ spe­cial rap­por­teur on tor­ture, Juan Mendez, told a UN General Assembly human rights com­mit­tee that coun­tries around the world are increas­ing­ly view­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as a form of tor­ture because of the severe men­tal and phys­i­cal pain it inflicts on those sen­tenced to death.

State & Federal Info

Military

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Mar 22, 2017

Lawyers Seek Supreme Court Review Of Alleged Torture As Accused USS Cole Bomber Awaits Capital Trial

Lawyers for Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, the man accused of plot­ting the bomb­ing of the USS Cole in 2000, are seek­ing U.S. Supreme Court inter­ven­tion to pre­vent his tri­al before a mil­i­tary tri­bunal in which Nashiri faces the death penal­ty if con­vict­ed. The peti­tion for a writ of cer­tio­rari asks the Court to allow Nashiri’s lawyers to chal­lenge his mil­i­tary deten­tion — and efforts to try him in a mil­i­tary tri­bunal rather than a civil­ian court — because the CIA admit­ted­ly sub­ject­ed him to 14 years of phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and sex­u­al torture.”

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Military

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Aug 20, 2018

Military Commission Bars Guantánamo Death-Penalty Prosecutors From Using Statements by 9/​11 Detainees

A Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion judge has barred pros­e­cu­tors from using state­ments five accused 9/​11 plot­ters made to the FBI after they had been sub­ject­ed to years of tor­ture in CIA black sites. On August 17, 2018, the mil­i­tary judge, Army Colonel James L. Pohl (pic­tured), sup­pressed all use of the state­ments, rul­ing that restric­tions pros­e­cu­tors had placed on the abil­i­ty of defense coun­sel to inter­view wit­ness­es and inves­ti­gate the tor­ture made it impos­si­ble for the defense to mean­ing­ful­ly chal­lenge the state­ments’ vol­un­tari­ness and reliability.

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Mar 18, 2022

Plea Talks Are Under Way in Guantánamo September 11 Case that Could Take Death Penalty Off the Table

Military pros­e­cu­tors and defense attor­neys are report­ed­ly dis­cussing plea deals that could take the death penal­ty off the table in the Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion cas­es of five men accused of involve­ment in the September 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The nego­ti­a­tions, first report­ed by the New York Times on March 15, 2022 and sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed by defense coun­sel, would require alleged 9/​11 plan­ner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four oth­ers to plead guilty to charges of ter­ror­ism and con­spir­a­cy to com­mit mur­der in violation…

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Executions Overview

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Death Row

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Time on Death Row

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Aug 15, 2013

Repeated Execution Dates Called Psychological Torture

According to some experts, the process of repeat­ed­ly sub­mit­ting a per­son to immi­nent exe­cu­tion is a form of psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture that should be banned.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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Juveniles

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Apr 25, 2019

Saudi Arabia Condemned for Mass Execution of 37 People, Including Juveniles, After Unfair Trials

In an action con­demned by the United Nations and human rights groups as a fla­grant vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law, Saudi Arabia behead­ed 37 peo­ple, includ­ing juve­nile offend­ers, in six sep­a­rate loca­tions on April 23, 2019. It was the nation’s largest mass exe­cu­tion since January 2016. Most of the peo­ple exe­cut­ed were mem­bers of the Shi’a Muslim minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ty. The human rights advo­cates blast­ed Saudi offi­cials for tar­get­ing polit­i­cal­ly dis­fa­vored groups and dis­re­gard­ing inter­na­tion­al fair tri­al norms. At least three of those exe­cut­ed were minors at the time of their alleged…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Race

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Death Row

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Nov 01, 2013

STUDIES: Human Rights Groups Examine Death Penalty in California and Louisiana

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights recent­ly released an analy­sis of the death penal­ty in California and Louisiana. The report con­clud­ed that those states’ appli­ca­tion of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment vio­lates U.S. oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al human rights law to pre­vent and pro­hib­it dis­crim­i­na­tion and tor­ture, cru­el, inhu­man or degrad­ing treat­ment.” Researchers con­duct­ed inter­views with many of those involved in the legal sys­tem and exam­ined data on charg­ing, sen­tenc­ing, and exe­cu­tions. They found that racial dis­par­i­ties in the death penal­ty in both states con­sti­tut­ed discrimination.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Death Row

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Apr 27, 2017

Study: Texas’ Harsh and Inhumane’ Death-Row Conditions Amount to Torture’

The con­di­tions in which pris­on­ers on Texas’ death row are con­fined are harsh and inhu­mane,” vio­late inter­na­tion­al human rights norms, and amount to a severe and relent­less act of tor­ture,” accord­ing to a new study by the University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic.