Bahraini Jaw torture prison, by a medic ex-inmate


This video from the USA says about itself:

CNNBahrain security forces torture doctors, medics and patients

24 April 2011

A human rights group says Bahraini security forces intimidate and torture hospitalized opposition members.

Physicians for Human Rights on Friday joined the chorus of organizations that have charged Bahraini security officials with targeting doctors and patients.

The report details attacks on “physicians, medical staff, patients and unarmed civilians with the use of bird shot, physical beatings, rubber bullets, tear gas and unidentified chemical agents,” the group says.

This report echoes reports released earlier this month by Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders.

By Brian Dooley, Director, Human Rights First’s Human Rights Defenders Program:

Bahrain Medic Recounts Conditions in Jaw Prison

Posted: 06/10/2015 10:12 am EDT Updated: 06/10/2015 10:59 am EDT

Finally, after serving his three year sentence in a Bahrain prison, 47-year-old nurse Ebrahim Demastani has been released. Demastani is one of the dozens of Bahraini medics who were arrested and tortured in 2011 after they treated injured protestors during the country’s pro-democracy demonstrations in February and March of that year. He was the deputy head of the Bahraini Nurses Association, headed by Rula Al Saffar.

Demastani’s September 2011 conviction, when he was tried along with 20 other medics by a military court, triggered international outrage. Although he was temporarily released while his case was appealed, the following year, a civilian court confirmed his guilty verdict and he was rearrested with other medics and put back in jail. He shared a cell in Bahrain’s notorious Jaw Prison with pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ali Alekry until March of this year.

“I read a lot in prison, things I was too busy to read outside, and I spent lots of time reflecting on what happened and how we can better organize ourselves in future,” he told me.

He described poor conditions in the prison, with tensions building steadily as prisoners were refused proper medical treatment, sanitation, soap and changes of clothes. He estimates the number of prisoners at double the official capacity of less than 1,500. Eventually, on March 10 this year, a full scale riot broke out, sparked by a relatively minor dispute over the ID of a relative trying to visit a prisoner.

Riot police stormed Jaw and Demastani says he was tear gassed and beaten by police although “the other prisoners tried to protect me and the older ones.”

“We were kept outdoors from March 10 to March 15 without mattresses or blankets in the prison grounds — the younger prisoners especially were targeted for beatings. From 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on March 12, the beatings were very intense because images of the prison had been leaked to the outside, film taken on a mobile phone by a prisoner. When the police realized there was a phone they tried to hunt for it.”

Demastani says the police were astonished to discover 60-70 phones in Jaw’s Building 1, where he had been held, and a staggering 600 more phones in Building 4, with about one phone for every two prisoners. He says it would be very difficult for family members to smuggle in phones during visits because of the thorough searches, but that guards are bribed to supply them to inmates at a cost of around $4,000 each, which would be paid to the guards outside by a prisoner’s family.

His allegations about corruption among the guards raise further serious questions about the management of Jaw. Last week, five prison officials were sentenced to jail after an inmate was beaten to death last November.

Demastani described similar methods of abuse and torture that were documented in the mistreatment of prisoners in 2011. He says some prisoners were singled out for particular abuse and taken to Building 10, and that he was beaten there on March 12, and forced to crawl on his abdomen.

“I was with human rights defender Naji Fateel, and we weren’t allowed to sleep for 24 hours. Clerics who are prisoners were forced to say shameful words, and others were humiliated by being forced to speak in animal noises. We had to sing the national anthem. The guards beat prisoners on the soles of their feet with black plastic hoses. My leg was badly injured and I was denied medical treatment for it.”

About half of the 245 prisoners from his building were reportedly returned to it after five days sleeping outside, but the others — including Dr. Alekry — are still forced to sleep outside to this day, in tents.

The Ombudsman’s Office, much vaunted by the Bahraini government as proof of its progress on human rights, interviewed Demastani about what happened. “People from that office took down what we said, but they’ve been doing that for years and nothing has changed for the prisoners. The Ombudsman’s office is useless,” he said.

Last week, the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights strongly condemned what was happening in Jaw Prison, saying “We remind the authorities in Bahrain there is an absolute prohibition of torture under international law. There are no exceptions whatsoever to that prohibition in any circumstances.”

Demastani was the second to last medic of those tried with him to be released, and he hopes to return to work soon. His cell mate Dr. Ali Alekry still has another two years left on his sentence, and Dr. Saeed Samahiji, originally convicted with Demastani, served his sentence but is now back in Jaw serving another year for insulting Bahrain’s king.

When asked if he regrets his part in treating protestors in 2011 and helping to organize other medics during the demonstrations he says, “I am so proud of what I did. I did it based on professional ethics and my oath to the nursing profession. I’m a first aide trainer and had a responsibility to the community.”

Black Panther political prisoner Albert Woodfox free after 43 years solitary confinement


This video from the USA says about itself:

After 40 Years in Solitary, Angola 3 Prisoner Albert Woodfox Ordered Freed for 3rd Time in Louisiana

28 February 2013

A federal judge has once again ordered the state of Louisiana to release Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther who has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Woodfox and Herman Wallace, another prisoner of the “Angola 3,” were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola Prison. The Angola 3 and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism.

On Tuesday, the same federal judge that ordered Woodfox’s release in 2008 again ruled Woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. It was the third time Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors successfully reversed the two previous victories. The state is expected to appeal once again to keep Woodfox behind bars. We’re joined by two guests: Robert King, the third member of the Angola 3, who was freed in 2001 after three decades behind bars; and Mwalimu Johnson, a longtime member of the Angola 3 support team.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Jailed activist to be freed after 43 years

Wednesday 10th June 2015

Judge bars third murder trial after earlier convictions quashed

by James Tweedie

HUMAN rights groups welcomed a court order yesterday to free Angola Three inmate Albert Woodfox after 43 years of solitary confinement in the United States.

Baton Rouge district judge James Brady ordered the release of Mr Woodfox and took the extraordinary step of barring Louisiana prosecutors from trying him for a third time.

Mr Woodfox was originally jailed for armed robbery in 1971, but he escaped from the courthouse during his sentencing hearing and joined the Black Panther Party.

He was recaptured and sent to the Angola prison, named after a nearby former slave plantation, where he met Robert King and Herman Wallace.

The Angola Three, as they became known, founded a prison branch of the Black Panthers and campaigned for improvements to prison conditions, organising prison strikes and other protests.

In 1972 Mr Woodfox and Mr Wallace were convicted of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller, a crime which they always denied, and placed in indefinite solitary confinement.

Mr Woodfox has been tried and convicted twice for the guard’s death, but both convictions were overturned.

Judge Brady said the “exceptional circumstances” of the case had led him to bar the state from seeking a third trial.

In his ruling, he cited doubts that the state could provide a “fair third trial,” Mr Woodfox’s age and poor health, the unavailability of witnesses, “the prejudice done onto Mr Woodfox by spending over 40 years in solitary confinement,” and “the very fact that Mr Woodfox has already been tried twice.”

Mr Wallace died in October 2013, just days after being released from the prison.

Mr King, who was also solitarily confined in 1972, was convicted of murdering another prisoner in 1973, only to be released in 2001.

The International Coalition to Free the Angola Three’s Tory Pegram, who had worked with Mr Woodfox’s lawyers on his release, said they were all “thrilled that justice has come for our innocent friend.”

ANGOLA THREE inmate Albert Woodfox remains jailed in the US despite an order for his release as he faces a third trial for the same murder: here.

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Albert Woodfox, the last “Angola Three” prisoner still behind bars in Louisiana, must remain incarcerated for the time being. The decision came despite a district court judge’s ruling Tuesday that Woodfox be freed after more than four decades in solitary confinement: here.

The suicide of Kalief Browder, who at 16 was accused of stealing a backpack and thrown into New York’s Rikers Island prison, where he was tortured and starved in solitary confinement without ever having been convicted of a crime, has exposed before the world the barbarity of America’s “justice” system. Kalief’s three-year imprisonment was documented last year in a Pulitzer Prize-nominated exposé in the New Yorker magazine, which chronicled his struggle to adjust to life outside of prison after having been psychologically shattered by three years of incarceration at Rikers Island: here.

BLACK VOICES | Here’s Kalief Browder’s Heartbreaking Research Paper On Solitary Confinement

HOW ‘ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’ MISREPRESENTS WOMEN’S FEDERAL PRISON “While Crazy Eyes, Jimmy and Lorna are the only characters who display any mental health issues on the show, in reality 62 percent of all women in federal prison suffer mental health problems. Jails are now our country’s largest mental health providers.” [HuffPost]

The US government is drastically underreporting police killings: here.

FBI false evidence in the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

The FBI vs. Martin Luther King: Inside J. Edgar Hoover‘s “Suicide Letter” to Civil Rights Leader

18 November 2014

It was 50 years ago today that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made headlines by calling Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the “most notorious liar in the country.” Hoover made the comment in front of a group of female journalists ahead of King’s trip to Oslo where he received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient of the prize.

While Hoover was trying to publicly discredit King, the agency also sent King an anonymous letter threatening to expose the civil rights leader’s extramarital affairs. The unsigned, typed letter was written in the voice of a disillusioned civil rights activist, but it is believed to have been written by one of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan.

The letter concluded by saying, “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. … You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” The existence of the so-called “suicide letter” has been known for years, but only last week did the public see the unredacted version. We speak to Yale University professor Beverly Gage, who uncovered the unredacted letter.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

US admits FBI falsified evidence to obtain convictions

20 April 2015

The US Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that over a more than two-decade period before 2000, nearly every FBI examiner gave flawed forensic hair testimony in almost all trials of criminal defendants reviewed so far, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The cases examined include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death, 14 of whom have been either executed or died in prison. The scandal raises the very real probability that innocent people have been sent to their deaths, and that many more wrongfully convicted are languishing on death rows across the US due to FBI analysts’ fraudulent testimony.

Testimony involving pattern-based forensic techniques—such as hair, bite-mark, and tire track comparisons—has contributed to wrongful convictions in more than a quarter of the 329 defendants’ cases that have been exonerated in the US since 1989. In their pursuit of convictions prosecutors across the country have often relied on FBI analysts’ overstated testimony on hair samples, incorrectly citing them as definitive proof of a defendant’s guilt.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project are assisting the government in the nation’s largest post-conviction review of the FBI’s questioned forensic evidence. The groups determined that 26 of 28 examiners in the elite FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.

The nation’s courts have allowed the bogus testimony, masquerading as definitive scientific evidence of defendants’ guilt, to railroad innocent people and consign them to decades in prison, life in prison, or death row and the execution chamber.

Federal authorities launched an investigation in 2012 after a Post examination found that flawed forensic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people nationwide since at least the 1970s. Defendants in these cases were typically charged with murder, rape and other violent crimes.

The scandal involves about 2,500 cases in which FBI examiners gave testimony involving hair matches. Hair examination is a pattern-based forensic technique. It involves subjective examination of characteristics such as color, thickness and length and compares them to a known source.

There is no accepted scientific research on how often hair from different people may appear the same, and any hair “matches” must be confirmed by DNA analysis. However, the Post ’s 2012 review found that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of matches of hair found at crime scenes to the hair samples of defendants. The FBI gave flawed forensic testimony in 257 of the 268 trials examined so far.

In 2002, a decade before the Post review, the FBI reported that its own DNA testing revealed that examiners reported false hair matches more than 11 percent of the time.

In Washington, DC, the only jurisdiction where defenders and prosecutors have carried out an investigation into all convictions based on FBI hair testimony, five of seven defendants whose trials included flawed hair evidence have been exonerated since 2009 based on either DNA testing or court appeals. All of them served 20 to 30 years in prison for rape or murder.

In an interview with the Post, University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett said the results of the DC investigation reveal a “mass disaster” inside the criminal justice system. “The tools don’t exist to handle systematic errors in our criminal justice system,” he said.

Those exonerated since 2009 in DC include:

* Donald Eugene Gates was incarcerated for 28 years for the rape and murder of a Georgetown University student. He was ordered released in December 2009 by a DC Superior Court Judge after DNA evidence revealed that another man committed the crime. The prosecution relied heavily on the testimony of an FBI analyst, who falsely linked two hairs from an African-American mail to Gates.

* Kirk L. Odom was wrongfully imprisoned for more than 22 years for a 1981 rape and murder. He completed his prison term in 2003, but it was not until July 2012 that DNA evidence exonerated him of the crimes. A DC Superior Court order freed him from remaining on parole until 2047 and registering as a sex offender.

* Santae A. Tribble was convicted in the 1978 killing of a DC taxi driver. An FBI examiner testifying at Tribble’s trial said he had microscopically matched the defendant’s hair to one found in a stocking near the crime scene. In 2012, DNA tests on the same hair excluded him as the perpetrator, clearing the way for his exoneration.

Federal authorities are offering new DNA testing in those cases where FBI analysts gave flawed forensic testimony. However, in some 700 of the 2,500 cases identified by the FBI for review, police or prosecutors have not responded to requests for trial transcripts or other information. Biological evidence is also not always available, having been lost or destroyed in the years since trial.

Although defense attorneys argue that scientifically invalid testimony should be considered a violation of due process, only the states of California and Texas specifically allow appeals when experts recant their testimony or scientific advances undermine forensic evidence given at trial.

In a statement responding to the new scandal’s eruption, the FBI and Justice Department vowed that they are “committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance” and that are “also committed to ensuring the accuracy of future hair analysis, as well as the application of all disciplines of forensic science.”

The scandal over fraudulent testimony, however, only reveals the corrupt and anti-democratic character of the US prison system as a whole. The United States locks behind bars a greater proportion of its population than any other country, topped off by the barbaric death penalty that is supported by the entire political establishment.

Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI’s ‘mass disaster’ of false conviction. A ‘dirty bomb’ of pseudo-science wrapped up nearly 268 cases – perhaps hundreds more. Now begins the ‘herculean effort to right the wrongs’: here.

Missouri man executed after faulty hair testimony was convicted in St. Louis County: here.

Mumia Abu-Jamal needs our help!


Originally posted on JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba:

Release from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five on Mumia Abu-Jamal

mumia 3March 31 2015

Mumia Abu-Jamal needs our help!

Yesterday afternoon Mumia Abu-Jamal had a medical emergency and was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, PA. He needs our immediate help to make sure that his family will be able to visit him NOW.

If you are able to call to numbers in the United States, call these numbers now to demand hospital visitation rights for Mumia’s family:

Richard Ellers
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
rellers@pa.gov
(717) 728-5311

John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109

Schuylkill Medical Center
420 S Jackson St, Pottsville, PA
(570) 621-5000

SCI Mahanoy
Superindendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158

Prison officials cannot be trusted to provide any transparency on Mumia’s medical emergency. They indeed told us Phil Africa was fine, and he passed…

View original 80 more words

Ku Klux Klan prison guards’ murder plot in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

25 June 2014

Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or just the Klan is the name of three distinct movements in the United States. They first played a violent role against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s. The second was a very large controversial nationwide organization in the 1920s. The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They have all emphasized secrecy and distinctive costumes, and all have called for purification of American society, and all are considered right-wing.

The current manifestation is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.

The first Ku Klux Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members made their own white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.

The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, and adopted a standard white costume (sales of which together with initiation fees financed the movement) and code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA’s “Anglo-Saxon” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism. Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.

From News4JAX in the USA:

KKK murder plot highlights racism in prison

Author: Kent Justice, Weekend anchor, reporter

Published On: Apr 02 2015 10:35:12 PM EDT Updated On: Apr 03 2015 12:13:00 AM EDT

UNION COUNTY, Fla. –

A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents.

All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him.

The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime.

“A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, “Is this what you wanted?” They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it,” statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said.

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot.

“I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country,” Bondi said.

Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

“To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing,” Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. “It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.”

Officials said the officers were tied to a specific group of the Ku Klux Klan, called the Traditionalist American Knights, whose imperial wizard made threats last fall during the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri.

“In November he sent out a pamphlet in which he threatened to use “lethal force” against the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri if they in any way threatened his members. That got a lot of attention,” Potok said.

Potok says the KKK doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in recent years because most members don’t operate out in the open and don’t operate in cities.

It is usually, he said, in rural areas and the larger group doesn’t initiate actions like the corrections officers are accused of.

“So what we see are people who act as lone wolves, that’s really the dominant thing that’s happening. They get tired of the hate groups which seem to never actually do anything other than rant and rave about their enemies. They take it upon themselves to one day walk out their door and start to kill,” Potok said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says racism is alive and well even though America has evolved in past 50 years from a civil rights standpoint, that prisons have become an ideal place for racism to survive.

“Many of the prisons are controlled, or at least partly controlled, by race-based prison gangs and it’s an environment in which racial hatred really flourishes. So it’s not terribly surprising when some of that rubs off on correctional officials,” Potok said.

Florida’s Department of Corrections has seen turnover at the top and down through the ranks in recent years, following complaints of racism and the mistreatment of prisoners.

Bahraini prison abuse whistleblower Nabeel Rajab arrested


This video says about itself:

Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab

21 October 2014

Nabeel Rajab is a human rights activist awaiting trial in Bahrain, one of the West’s favorite dictatorships. Three years after the Arab Spring, protests there are still being violently repressed, and Rajab now faces up to three years in jail — for a tweet. VICE News spoke to him a few weeks before his latest arrest.

Read More: Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Leading Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab arrested for highlighting prison abuse

Head of Bahrain Center for Human Rights detained by police after speaking out over allegations of human rights abuses after riots in Jaw prison

Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Thursday 2 April 2015 19.08 BST

The Bahraini authorities have arrested a leading human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, who has spoken out against a recent outbreak of violence in one of the country’s most notorious prisons.

Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was taken into custody on Thursday after a group of security forces surrounded his house in Bani Jamra, west of the Bahraini capital, Manama, his family confirmed to the Guardian. The police carried a warrant for his arrest.

“The special forces are all around my house and they want me to go out,” he tweeted just before his arrest. Rajab had highlighted the alleged mistreatment and torture of inmates at Jaw prison in a series of interviews and articles.

Nicholas McGeehan, of the campaigning group Human Rights Watch, said: “The Bahraini authorities should be investigating the allegations of torture in Jaw prison, not arresting people who’ve been researching and reporting it.”

“Few prisoners were left unwounded by the end of the siege. Their bodies are burned by grenade explosions, their limbs broken by frequent beating, and they have been left without medical attention,” Rajab said in an account of what happened during the unrest for the Huffington Post.

“Since the assault, all visitation has been suspended. The government says this is because of damage to the facilities, but the visitation centre was not damaged by the attack. More likely, it is to suppress the prisoners from telling their stories and showing their injuries,” he wrote.

Rajab was initially arrested in October on accusations of posting derogatory tweets about a group of his countrymen allegedly cooperating with Islamic State (Isis). He had posted a series of tweets in reaction to a video released by Isis that featured a group of Bahraini men talking about their cooperation with the terrorist organisation.

He was subsequently released on bail last year but was sentenced to six months in prison in January after being found guilty of defaming the government. Activists said at the time that the Bahraini authorities were also furious with Rajab because he had spoken out about rights abuses in his country during visits to a number of western countries.

Prince Zaid, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said last month that a government which arrests people for a tweet is weak,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. “The government of Bahrain has shown its weakness once again.”

The London-based Index on Censorship also condemned Rajab’s detention on Thursday. “Bahrain must stop the harassment of Nabeel Rajab,” said the group’s chief executive, Jodie Ginsberg. “The country has committed publicly to respecting human rights, but continues to flout its international commitments by denying its citizens the right to peaceful protest, peaceful assembly and to free expression.”

The US-based Human Rights First said the activist’s arrest marked an alarming setback for Bahrain. “This is a brazen move to openly target a dissident leader at a time when the Bahraini government is pushing to have remaining US arms restrictions to the kingdom lifted and preparing to host a major Formula One race in two weeks,” Human Rights First’s director, Brian Dooley, said.

“The regime has made clear that muted criticism from the US and elsewhere doesn’t stop it from targeting its human rights leaders. Washington should impose consequences for these violations.”

FIDH/OMCT/ECDHR/BCHR/BIRD/ADHRB joint letter to the EU on the arrest on Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain: here.