‘Inhuman Belgian prisons’, Dutch court says


This video says about itself:

Belgian jail loses keys

1 November 2012

The governor of one Belgian jail has been suspended after keys to the cells went missing.

The chaplain of Leuven prison has mislaid his master set and staff fear inmates could have got their hands on them.

It means the lucky prisoner will be able to open any of the 180 cells and the doors that separate the twenty sections.

Officials are trying to get the bottom of the matter.

A number of staff went on strike for several hours on Wednesday in support of the suspended governor.

They returned to work later that evening and maintenance staff are in for a busy few days.

The locks on all the cells are having to be replaced one by one.

Translated from Leen Vervaeke, 1 August 2017, in Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Dutch court refuses extradition to Belgium; Prisons are ‘inhuman and degrading’

Usually, such an extradition request is a formality, but on Tuesday, the International Law Chamber of the Amsterdam Court refused to send the suspects to Belgium. Reason for this is a devastating report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the Council of Europe (CPT), published two weeks ago. In that report, the CPT wrote that it had never seen such a bad situation as in Belgium in Europe in 27 years.

Sometimes three prisoners live in a one person cell, with fungi on the walls, without toilet or running water.

Cameroon military tortures innocent children as ‘anti-terrorism’


This video says about itself:

Cameroon’s Secret Torture Chambers: Fotokol

19 July 2017

Amnesty International has collected evidence of over a hundred cases of illegal detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing of Cameroonian citizens falsely accused of supporting or being a member of Boko Haram, at around twenty sites across the country.

Using testimony and information supplied by Amnesty International, Forensic Architecture reconstructed two of these facilities – a regional military headquarters and an occupied school – in order to confirm and illustrate the conditions of incarceration and torture described by former detainees.

Read more here.

From Amnesty International:

Cameroon: Amnesty report reveals war crimes in fight against Boko Haram, including horrific use of torture
20 July 2017, 00:01 UTC

• Detainees subjected to severe beatings, agonising stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death

• Widespread torture at 20 sites, including four military bases, two facilities run by intelligence services, a private residence and a school

• Calls for US and other international partners to investigate their military personnel’s possible knowledge of torture at one base

Hundreds of people in Cameroon accused of supporting Boko Haram, often without evidence, are being brutally tortured by security forces, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

Using dozens of testimonies, corroborated with satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence, the report ‘Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: human rights violations and war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram’ documents 101 cases of incommunicado detention and torture between 2013 and 2017, at over 20 different sites.

“We have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the atrocities and war crimes committed by Boko Haram in Cameroon. But, nothing could justify the callous and widespread practice of torture committed by the security forces against ordinary Cameroonians, who are often arrested without any evidence and forced to endure unimaginable pain,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

“These horrific violations amount to war crimes. Given the weight of the evidence we have uncovered, the authorities must initiate independent investigations into these practices of incommunicado detention and torture, including potential individual and command responsibility.”

Amnesty International wrote to the Cameroonian authorities in April 2017 to share the report’s findings, but no response was provided and all subsequent requests for meetings were refused …

The report also highlights the presence of US and French military personnel at the BIR base in Salak, and calls for these governments to investigate the extent to which their personnel stationed at Salak, or regularly visiting, may have been aware that illegal detention and torture was taking place on site.

Amnesty International delegates have directly observed French soldiers during one visit there, while more than a dozen former detainees held there between 2015 and 2016 said they saw and heard white, English-speaking men at the base, including some in military uniform. This has been confirmed by photographic and video evidence showing uniformed US personnel, some of whom are stationed there.

“Given the frequent and possibly prolonged presence of their military personnel, the US government and other international partners should investigate the degree to which their personnel were aware of illegal detention and torture at the Salak base, and whether they took any measures to report it to their hierarchy and the Cameroonian authorities,” said Alioune Tine.

Amnesty International wrote to the US and French Embassies in Cameroon on 23 June 2017, requesting further information about what their personnel knew and what was reported. The US Embassy responded on 11 July and their letter can be found in the report. No response was received from the French Embassy.

Cameroonian troops tortured and killed prisoners at base used for U.S. drone surveillance: here.

90-year-old Indonesian accuses Dutch colonial army of torture


This 2008 video is called Torture prison, from Dutch colonialism in Indonesia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Indonesian claims compensation from the Netherlands for torture

Today, 09:49

In the court in The Hague a 90-year-old Indonesian says he was tortured by Dutch soldiers in the former Dutch East Indies in 1947. He claims 50,000 euros compensation from the Dutch government.

The man named Yasman himself is not present in The Hague. The trial goes through a Skype link with a court on Java. The case was instituted by the Dutch Ereschulden Foundation.

It is the first time that an Indonesian charges the Dutch state for torture in former Dutch East Indies. The state has already paid damages for executions and rapes during the Dutch military actions there, but so far not (yet) for torture. That makes the case important, says lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld who defends Yasman.

Electrocuted

The torture is said to have occurred in 1947, in the first military campaign of the Netherlands to stop Indonesian independence.

Zegveld: “The man was in training at the Indonesian army at that time, was detained and imprisoned in a sugar factory in east Java near Kebon Agung, was tortured there, beaten with sticks on his head, cigarettes burned on his skin and he has been electrocuted. That way he has been imprisoned for thirteen months.”

Whether Yasman’s story is correct is difficult to determine because there is no evidence, Zegveld acknowledges. “That’s why it is so important for the court to hear the man. It depends very much on his statement, but his story is quite detailed, and his sister says he was gone for a long time. When he returned, he was greatly famished. May be that all is enough.”

“There is not much more available, but his story is useful in the context of the [so-called as euphemism] police actions when violence was used.” The term ‘police actions’ describes the Dutch military actions in Indonesia.

Injuries

The Dutch state acknowledged that the places where Yasman said he had been imprisoned were indeed prisons. The Red Cross has also written reports stating that in those places things happened “incorrectly”.

The purpose of today’s hearing is to hear Yasman’s story. If the court continues with the case, then, according to Zegveld, an expert will go to Indonesia to look at the man’s injuries.

He must then judge whether the dents on his skull and the burns on his skin are indeed the result of the abuse in the 1940’s.

Secret Saudi-UAE-USA torture prisons in occupied Yemen


This video from the USA says about itself:

C.I.A. Torture: Interrogating The Interrogators | The New York Times

21 June 2017

Two men who proposed interrogation techniques widely viewed as torture are part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of former C.I.A. detainees. Deposition videos, obtained exclusively by The New York Times, reveal new insights into the enhanced interrogation program and the C.I.A. officials behind it.

Read the story here.

By MAGGIE MICHAEL of Associated Press:

June 22, 7:57 AM EDT

In Yemen‘s secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates

MUKALLA, Yemen — Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme – including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture.

The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers and Yemeni military officials. All are either hidden or off limits to Yemen’s government,

The Saudi puppet Yemeni government in exile, only present in territory occupied by the Saudi absolute monarchy and its allies’ invasion forces.

which has been getting Emirati help in its civil war with rebels over the last two years.

The secret prisons are inside military bases, ports, an airport, private villas and even a nightclub. Some detainees have been flown to an Emirati base across the Red Sea in Eritrea, according to Yemen Interior Minister Hussein Arab and others.

Several U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the topic, told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies. They said U.S. senior military leaders were aware of allegations of torture at the prisons in Yemen, looked into them, but were satisfied that there had not been any abuse when U.S. forces were present.

Inside war-torn Yemen, however, lawyers and families say nearly 2,000 men have disappeared into the clandestine prisons, a number so high that it has triggered near-weekly protests among families seeking information about missing sons, brothers and fathers.

None of the dozens of people interviewed by AP contended that American interrogators were involved in the actual abuses. Nevertheless, obtaining intelligence that may have been extracted by torture inflicted by another party would violate the International Convention Against Torture and could qualify as war crimes, said Ryan Goodman, a law professor at New York University who served as special counsel to the Defense Department until last year

At one main detention complex at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla, former inmates described being crammed into shipping containers smeared with feces and blindfolded for weeks on end. They said they were beaten, trussed up on the “grill,” and sexually assaulted. According to a member of the Hadramawt Elite, a Yemeni security force set up by the UAE, American forces were at times only yards away. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

“We could hear the screams,” said a former detainee held for six months at Riyan airport. “The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber.” He was flogged with wires, part of the frequent beatings inflicted by guards against all the detainees. He also said he was inside a metal shipping container when the guards lit a fire underneath to fill it with smoke.

Like other ex-detainees, he spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being arrested again. The AP interviewed him in person in Yemen after his release from detention.

The AP interviewed 10 former prisoners, as well as a dozen officials in the Yemeni government, military and security services and nearly 20 relatives of detainees. The chief of Riyan prison, who is well known among families and lawyers as Emirati, did not reply to requests for comment.

Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, said the abuses “show that the US hasn’t learned the lesson that cooperating with forces that are torturing detainees and ripping families apart is not an effective way to fight extremist groups.” Human Rights Watch issued a report Thursday documenting torture and forced disappearances at the UAE-run prisons and calling on the Emirates to protect detainees’ rights.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has praised the UAE as “Little Sparta” for its outsized role in fighting …

U.S. forces send questions to the Emirati forces holding the detainees, which then send files and videos with answers, said Yemeni Brig. Gen. Farag Salem al-Bahsani, commander of the Mukalla-based 2nd Military District, which American officials confirmed to the AP. He also said the United States handed authorities a list of most wanted men, including many who were later arrested.

Al-Bahsani denied detainees were handed over to the Americans and said reports of torture are “exaggerated.”

The network of prisons echoes the secret detention facilities set up by the CIA to interrogate terrorism suspects in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama disbanded the so-called “black sites.” The UAE network in war-torn Yemen was set up during the Obama administration and continues operating to this day.

“The UAE was one of the countries involved in the CIA’s torture and rendition program,” said Ryan Goodman, a law professor at NYU, who served as special counsel to the Defense Department until last year. “These reports are hauntingly familiar and potentially devastating in their legal and policy implications.”

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition meant to help Yemen’s [puppet] government [in exile] fight Shiite rebels known as Houthis …

A small contingent of American forces routinely moves in and out of Yemen, the Pentagon says, operating largely along the southern coast. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has escalated drone strikes in the country to more than 80 so far this year, up from around 21 in 2016, the U.S. military said. At least two commando raids were ordered against al-Qaida, including one in which a Navy SEAL was killed along with at least 25 civilians.

A U.S. role in questioning detainees in Yemen has not been previously acknowledged.

A Yemeni officer who said he was deployed for a time on a ship off the coast said he saw at least two detainees brought to the vessel for questioning. The detainees were taken below deck, where he was told American “polygraph experts” and “psychological experts” conducted interrogations. He did not have access to the lower decks. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation for discussing the operations.

Senior U.S. defense officials flatly denied the military conducts any interrogations of Yemenis on any ships.

The Yemeni officer did not specify if the ‘Americans on ships’ were U.S. military or intelligence personnel, private contractors, or some other group.

Two senior Yemen officials, one in Hadi’s Interior Ministry and another in the 1st Military District, based in Hadramawt province where Mukalla is located, also said Americans were conducting interrogations at sea, as did a former senior security official in Hadramawt. The three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the U.S. role.

The AP learned the names of five suspects held at black sites who were said to have been interrogated by Americans. The Yemeni official on the ship identified one of the detainees brought there. Four others were identified by former detainees who said they were told directly by the men themselves that they were questioned by Americans.

One detainee, who was not questioned by U.S. personnel, said he was subject to constant beatings by his Yemeni handlers but was interrogated only once.

“I would die and go to hell rather than go back to this prison,” he said. “They wouldn’t treat animals this way. If it was bin Laden, they wouldn’t do this.”

Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor and Desmond Butler in Washington and Ahmed al-Haj and Maad al-Zikry in Yemen contributed to this report.

Investigating the Yemen prison interrogation programs.

The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE), in coordination with Yemeni proxy forces, are operating a network of torture chambers in the war-torn country into which hundreds of men have been disappeared: here.

Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan’s vice presidential torture, sexual abuse scandal


This video says about itself:

The Shady Afghan Warlords Whom the US Pays to Fight the Taliban

Afghan Warlords (2009): Despite shady pasts, powerful warlords are given recognition from Washington in return for their support fighting drug traffickers and the Taliban. We take a look at America’s new pragmatic approach.

One such character is Gul Agha Sherzai, aka The Bulldozer and Governor of Nangarhar for the last five years. After striking a political deal with President Karzai, he became a power broker to be reckoned with.

Ruling from his Jalalabad palace, Sherzai shows off his power: The Taliban is no danger. I have defeated them. By Afghan standards, security in his region has drastically improved along with an impressive fall in drugs production. Its hard to argue that he’s been anything but a success to enthuse US counter-narcotics officials. However, his past is less than pristine.

An expert on the region says: To be an effective leader there, at some point you had to have been involved in the commission of atrocities, together with the accumulation of enormous wealth and that means opium.’ Sherzai allegedly got wealthy during his time as governor of Kandahar taking a cut from the opium profits from the area. While his former associate has been serving a life sentence in the US, he’s been enjoying a high-profile collaboration with Washington. Why? Theres a perception [in] the West that he’s somebody who can be rehabilitated. He was simply deemed more useful.

From the BBC:

Afghan Vice-President Dostum flies to Turkey amid torture claims

Afghanistan’s Vice-President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, has left the country amid claims that he ordered his men to kidnap, beat and rape a political rival last year.

Afghan officials confirmed he had left Kabul for Turkey on Friday night.

General Dostum has not been charged with any offence, and the incident is under government investigation. …

The vice-president is a former [?] warlord with decades of experience in Afghanistan’s turbulent political arena.

He is blamed for some of the worst atrocities in the country’s long-running civil war, but joined its national unity government in 2014.

The allegations against him come from Ahmad Eshchi, a former ally, who says he suffered days of severe beatings and sexual abuse at Gen Dostum’s command.

He said the vice-president and 10 other men assaulted him while he was forcibly kept at Gen Dostum’s residence in November 2016.

The ex-warlord denies the claims and has said that Mr Eshchi was detained by the country’s intelligence service. …

In 2008 Gen Dostum went to Turkey amid similar allegations that his personal militia had abducted, beaten and sexually assaulted a political rival in Kabul, then fired on police who responded to the incident.

The U.S. will never win the war in Afghanistan: here.

CIA torture, new revelations


This video from the USA says about itself:

Report Details New Facts About CIA Torture

Read more here.

Turkish regime threatens torture of British journalist


This video says about itself:

25 October 2016

After the botched coup attempt in Turkey, human rights groups quickly reported the ill-treatment of prisoners. The ruling AK party, however, blocked an independent investigation. DW portrays people whose accounts support those allegations of torture.

By James Tweedie in Britain:

Star reporter held by armed Turkish police

Thursday 11th May 2017

Sweeney cornered over anti-Erdogan articles

MORNING STAR reporter Steve Sweeney was detained for eight hours in Turkey on Tuesday after travelling there to interview victims of the army crackdown on majority-Kurdish cities.

Mr Sweeney and his companion were stopped at a police road checkpoint near the south-eastern city of Cizre on Tuesday.

He told the Star that when police realised they were journalists, they called in the army and anti-terrorist officers.

They were grilled by the roadside for five hours, surrounded by 16 heavily armed men and armoured vehicles.

Officers emptied their bags and photographed their notepads and books on Syria’s Kurdish north.

“They treated us like we were criminals or terrorists,” Mr Sweeney said.

Pointing to the headline on a Morning Star website article by Mr Sweeney — calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “tyrant” — their interrogator said: “If you wrote something like that in Turkey you’d be arrested and tortured.”

The officer focused on Cambridge-born Mr Sweeney’s surname, asking him if he was from the north or south of Ireland and suggested he was a supporter of the IRA and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

And he demanded to know why the reporter had changed his Twitter account to the “protected” setting half an hour earlier, saying he “was too late anyway.”

Ominously, the troops invited the pair for a “picnic” in the mountains across the border from PKK positions in Iraq.

The detainees were released after Mr Sweeney’s colleague contacted the British embassy in Turkey.

They were told it was “not safe” in the area and sent to Cizre to stay the night.

But the only open hotel in the devastated town was full so they drove on to nearby Silopi — where they were held for an other three hours at the police station and told to leave town early in the morning.

Journalists’ union NUJ president Tim Dawson welcomed the release of Mr Sweeney and his colleague. He said: “Sadly, Steve’s experience mirrors that of many in the media who are under attack daily by this regime which has jailed 150 journalists and closed down more than 150 media organisations since last year’s failed coup.

Mr Dawson said he was in Istanbul last week “and heard directly from members of the Turkish journalists’ union, Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi, about the attacks on journalists and a free press, as well as meetings [with] journalists who had served long prison sentences for trying to report fairly.”