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December 21, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Miguel Facusse has his share of enemies. Even his friends acknowledge that the man who may be the most powerful person in Honduras is no angel. Around his neck, he wears gold medallions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary; on his desk, he usually keeps a pistol - although he tells a reporter in a rare interview, "I removed it so you wouldn't see it. " The 89-year-old businessman travels this capital city in an armored SUV followed by bodyguards in a chase car and crisscrosses the country in his King Air turboprop, swooping down in other Central American nations where he also has businesses.
December 13, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The judge in the military commission case against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other suspected Sept. 11 plotters ruled that details of harsh interrogation techniques used on them would be kept secret during their trial, a decision that human rights advocates called an attempt to hide the fact that the men were tortured. The order, signed by Army Col. James L. Pohl on Dec. 6 and made public Wednesday, represents a clear victory for U.S. military and Justice Department prosecutors in the opening round of pretrial disputes.
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.
December 6, 2012 | By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - After months of delays, U.S. lawmakers finally passed a trade bill with Russia. And perhaps no one was as deeply moved as investor William Browder. His emotions had nothing to do with the commercial implications of the legislation, which normalizes trade relations with Russia and should give a boost to big American exporters such as Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co. Instead, Browder's focus was entirely on a provision that would punish Russians accused of human rights abuses, specifically those involved in the 2009 death of his onetime Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.
December 4, 2012 | By Ramin Mostaghim
TEHRAN -- Jailed Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has halted her hunger strike after the Iranian judiciary agreed to drop a travel ban against her daughter, her husband said Tuesday. Sotoudeh had endured nearly seven weeks without food, drinking salt and sugar solutions, to protest her 12-year-old daughter Mehrave being banned from leaving the country. The couple claimed their daughter was being punished for the alleged crimes of her mother, who has defended dissidents.
December 3, 2012 | By Ramin Mostaghim
TEHRAN -- As imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh pressed on with her hunger strike, Iranian lawmakers said they would visit her in Evin Prison to gauge her health. Sotoudeh is serving a six-year sentence in the Tehran prison after being convicted of acting against national security and spreading propaganda against the government, charges that human rights groups claim are a smokescreen for stopping her defense of Iranian dissidents. The jailed attorney has spent nearly seven weeks on hunger strike in protest of a travel ban imposed on her young daughter.
November 23, 2012 | By David Ng
Sculptor Anish Kapoor has released his "Gangnam Style" video, a human-rights themed take on the popular music video by South Korean pop star Psy. The video features cameo appearances by museum staff across the world, including staff from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Kapoor, who was born in India and lives in London, has said the video is intended to be a tribute to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who created his own "Gangnam Style" video...
November 17, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - Russian officials are promising a tough response to U.S. legislation that would impose sanctions on Russian officials if Congress finds them responsible for violating human rights. The U.S. House on Friday passed a bill that establishes permanent normal trade relations with Russia, repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, which had imposed limits on trade because of the Soviet Union's treatment of Jews. It had been waived annually since 1989, two years before the Soviet Union collapsed.
November 16, 2012 | By Alex Rodriguez
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Human rights groups have denounced Pakistan's decision this week to carry out its first execution in four years, calling it a worrying step backward in a country that had been adhering to an informal moratorium on capital punishment since 2008. Muhammad Hussain, 45, was executed by hanging Thursday at a jail in the central Punjab city of Mianwali. A former soldier, he was sentenced to death in 2009 for fatally stabbing one of his superiors over a personal dispute in the eastern Pakistani city of Okara.
October 31, 2012 | By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Gay marriage advocates fighting tightly contested ballot initiatives in four states are getting a lift from actor Brad Pitt, who is donating $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign's National Marriage Fund and calling on others to match his efforts. "It's unbelievable to me that people's lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days," Pitt wrote in an email going out Wednesday to supporters of the gay rights group. "In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples - our friends and neighbors - are worthy of the same protections as everyone else.
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