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Monday, Jul 28th

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New documents point to Briton's innocence in 1986 Florida murder

imprisoned Briton not guilty Lawyers representing Krishna Maharaj, a British businessman who has spent the past 27 years in a Florida prison for a double murder that they say he did not commit, released on Friday details of the 53 witnesses and 498 documents they plan to call on in the hope of persuading a judge to order a retrial.

Next Wednesday, the 11th judicial circuit court of Florida in Miami will set a date for a full evidentiary hearing into the Maharaj case. The hearing will constitute his greatest chance in almost three decades to prove his innocence for the murders of his business partner Derrick Moo Young and Young’s son Duane in the Dupont Plaza hotel in Miami on 16 October 1986.

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Judge blasts Defense Department but allows forced-feeding to resume

forced feeding gitmoAn unhappy federal judge blasted the Defense Department for its “intransigence” but has lifted a ban on forced-feeding of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay detainee.

In a three-page decision dated Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said she had little choice but to remove a temporary restraining order that had blocked officials from feeding Syrian detainee Mohammed Abu Wa’el Dhiab.

“Thanks to the intransigence of the Department of Defense, Mr. Dhiab may well suffer unnecessary pain from certain enteral feeding practices and forcible cell extractions,” Kessler wrote.“However, the court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.”

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US to release memo that sanctioned killing of American citizen

Al-AwlakiThe Obama administration intends to publicly reveal a secret memo outlining its legal justification for using drones to kill U.S. citizens it accuses of terrorism overseas, it emerged Tuesday.

An official told Al Jazeera that the Department of Justice has decided not to appeal a court order requiring disclosure of a redacted version of the document under the Freedom of Information Act.

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The New 'Harvest of Shame': Children Who Pick Tobacco

New harvest of shameOn May 14, Human Rights Watch issued Tobacco's Hidden Children -- a stunning report on child labor in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Interviewing kids in the fields who ranged in age from 7 to 17, the organization's researchers compiled their dismal stories of backbreaking work, inadequate water and toilet facilities, and worst of all, the chronic illness brought on by poisoning from nicotine and pesticides.

What is most troubling is that almost all of the hardship and suffering inflicted on these children is legal, so long as they are above the age of 12.

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Utah lawmaker: Bring back firing squad executions

Firing squad executionIn the wake of a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month, a Utah lawmaker says he believes a firing squad is a more humane form of execution. And he plans to bring back that option for criminals sentenced to death in his state.

Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican from the northern Utah city of Clearfield, plans to introduce his proposal during Utah’s next legislative session in January. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri floated similar ideas this year, but both efforts stalled. Ray, however, may succeed. Utah already has a tradition of execution by firing squad, with five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010, the last execution by rifle to be held in the state.

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US judge temporarily halts Guantánamo force-feeding

gitmo forced feedingA US federal judge has temporarily blocked the military from force-feeding a Syrian prisoner on hunger strike at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

It is the first time a judge has ordered a halt to force-feeding of a prisoner in Guantánamo, where last year as many as 46 of 166 inmates were force-fed at least some of their meals during a hunger strike. Several sued.

US district court judge Gladys Kessler on Friday ordered the US government to stop force-feeding Abu Wa'el Dhiab until a hearing next Wednesday. She also ordered the military to stop extracting him from his cell if he refused to go to feedings.

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Uruguayan president agrees to take six detainees from Guantanamo

Uruguayan presidentUruguayan President José Mujica said Thursday that his nation is willing to accept six detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — one of the largest groups of Arab detainees to be released to a third country.

But the Obama administration should move fast, Mujica said.  “It can’t be too long,” he said in an interview. “I only have a few months of government left.”

The Obama administration has long pledged to close the 12-year-old military facility, which has been assailed by human rights groups for its prolonged detention of suspects without charge. U.S. officials have struggled to resettle or repatriate prisoners, but Mujica quickly agreed to a request about four months ago to take some inmates.

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