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February 28, 2013 | By Sandra Hernandez
The Department of Homeland Security began releasing immigrants from detention centers across the country this week, in anticipation of looming budget cuts. Contrary to what some Republicans in Congress have said, those released are not criminals but rather low-risk detainees, such as asylum-seekers, foreign nationals who overstayed visas and undocumented immigrants arrested for minor offenses who were granted bail but were unable to post the money. In other words, immigrants who pose no risk to public safety but are still facing deportation trials.
February 12, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times
FT. MEADE, Md. -- Top officials at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, denied Tuesday that hidden microphones or other devices were installed in the courtroom, meeting huts and prison compound to enable government intelligence officials to eavesdrop on confidential sessions between defense lawyers and five detainees in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The witnesses also testified that legal mail for the detainees is not routinely opened and reviewed, except during prison-wide inspections to check for contraband.
January 20, 2013 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Suspected insurgents continue to be tortured at numerous Afghan detention facilities, the United Nations reported Sunday. More than half of the 635 detainees questioned by U.N. investigators in the 12 months ending in October were ill-treated or tortured, including being subjected to severe beatings or electric shocks, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said. The allegations, which the Afghan government calls "exaggerated," are likely to complicate discussions about the handling of detainees, a source of debate between the United States and Afghanistan as the countries prepare for the departure of most foreign troops next year.
January 9, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - Syrian opposition fighters Wednesday released 48 Iranians captured in August in exchange for the freeing of at least 2,130 detainees held by President Bashar Assad's government, in the largest prisoner swap of the country's civil war, officials said. Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the special envoy to Syria for the United Nations and Arab League, denounced the peace plan Assad unveiled this week as sectarian and one-sided, offering little hope that a diplomatic solution to the country's violence will be found any time soon.
December 22, 2012 | By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
Illegal immigrants who are arrested in minor crimes will no longer be targeted for deportation, the Obama administration announced Friday in an apparent concession to the increasing number of jurisdictions pushing back against its Secure Communities program. Immigrant advocates as well as some police chiefs and sheriffs have complained that detention orders under the program were being issued indiscriminately, snaring people who were driving without a license or selling tamales on private property.
December 13, 2012 | By Janet Stobart, Los Angeles Times
LONDON - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled in favor of a German man who alleged he was kidnapped and tortured in 2003 as part of a U.S. rendition program involving the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners. Khaled Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, said he was mistaken for a terrorism suspect associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers. He was arrested in Macedonia and held by the CIA for months in a prison in Afghanistan. Masri was released in Albania in May 2004.
November 14, 2012 | By Alex Rodriguez
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to free several Afghan Taliban detainees, a gesture that suggested Islamabad may be willing to help Washington and Kabul reconcile with Afghan insurgents. The exact number of militants to be released was not known, though Pakistani media reported that it was not more than 10. It was also unclear whether any of the detainees were major figures within the Taliban hierarchy. Pakistani officials announced the planned release as Afghan President Hamid Karzai's top peace negotiator, Salahuddin Rabbani, prepared to wrap up a four-day visit to Islamabad aimed at enlisting Pakistan's help in revving up momentum for peace talks.
October 25, 2012
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is once again confronting questions about problems in the nation's largest jail system. The latest allegations center on whether deputies in his department routinely denied bail to people arrested for minor offenses - even after they were ordered released by a judge - solely because of pending immigration investigations. The sheriff's office denies that such a policy exists, although it acknowledges that the department holds immigrants under a federal immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities.
September 26, 2012
Re "The detainee problem," Editorial, Sept. 23 The Times writes: "The administration needs to make more of an effort to arrange the repatriation or resettlement of individuals no longer considered a threat. " The Department of Homeland Security cannot unilaterally return foreign detainees without an approved travel document from their countries. The DHS has released many - probably hundreds, if not thousands - of foreign-born detainees who have been ordered deported but have not been accepted back in their native countries.
September 26, 2012
Re "Expanding on soda's role in growing obesity ," Sept. 22 In the 1950s, Pepsi had a radio jingle that said, "Twelve full ounces, that's a lot. " Now fast-food places advertise 44-ounce drinks. The problem isn't what people drink, it is how much they drink. Don Gately Valencia ALSO: Letters: Deporting ex-detainees Letters: Sun Village, then and now Letters: A good example for Congress
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