January 21, 2014 |
With peace talks due to begin this week in Switzerland, a report lays out new evidence that the Syrian government engaged in the “systematic torture and killing” of detainees that it says could support charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. A team of legal and forensics experts, including three lawyers with experience prosecuting war crimes in Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia, was asked by a London law firm acting on behalf of Qatar to review about 55,000 images said to show bodies of people who died in Syrian custody.
January 9, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - A former bodyguard for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the first in a series of review hearings that the Obama administration is holding to speed up the eventual closure of the U.S. military prison for terrorist detainees, the Pentagon announced Thursday. Mahmoud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, who allegedly underwent militant training at a secret camp in Afghanistan, is no longer a "significant threat" to the United States and is eligible for transfer from the prison at some point, the review board members decided.
December 26, 2013 |
KAILUA, Hawaii - President Obama praised Congress on Thursday for making it easier to transfer Guantanamo detainees to other countries, but noted that lawmakers' actions fell short of the flexibility he needs to close the prison. Obama cited his repeated requests to Congress for cooperation in closing the detention center at the U.S. naval station in Cuba, which he has vowed to do since his first presidential campaign. "The continued operation of the facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists," the president said in a statement from Hawaii, where he is spending his Christmas vacation, after he signed the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2014 fiscal year.
December 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As many as half of Guantanamo Bay's 158 detainees could be transferred from the U.S. prison to their home countries under a provision in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress was expected to approve late Thursday. Human Rights First, a civil rights advocacy group, called the law "a significant step forward" in opening the jail doors for scores of detainees and perhaps someday closing the facility at the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
December 5, 2013 |
TUCSON - For months, even in the 100-degree-plus desert heat, Alejandro Castear always grabbed a heavy sweater when he left his southern Arizona home. The sweater wasn't to wear, he says, but to fend off chilling memories of his time in a freezing detention center for people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Castear says he experienced what immigrant rights groups say is a common practice - detaining immigrants in frigid cells to pressure them to agree to deportation.
November 29, 2013 |
BEIJING -- North Korea said Saturday the 85-year-old Korean War veteran from Palo Alto it detained last month was held because of “hostile acts” against the Communist regime during the war and during his 10-day trip as a tourist. Pyongyang's official news agency also published what it said was a letter of apology from the retiree, Merrill Newman, and added that the North Koreans had accepted his apology -- implying that he might soon be released. The statements said Newman had directed anti-Communist guerrillas during the 1950-53 war and had asked his North Korean guides during his October trip for help getting in touch with any survivors or their families still living in North Korea.