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Thursday, Apr 24th

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One of the Darkest Periods in the History of American Prisons

American prison abusesIt has been an extraordinary three weeks in the history of the American penal system, perhaps one of the darkest on record. In four states, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, the systemic abuse and neglect of inmates, and especially mentally ill inmates, has been investigated, chronicled and disclosed in grim detail to the world by lawyers, government investigators and one federal judge.

The conclusions are inescapable: In our zeal to dehumanize criminals we have allowed our prisons to become medieval places of unspeakable cruelty so far beyond constitutional norms that they are barely recognizable.

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Oregon man claims FBI present at his torture in UAE

Yonas FikreA former Oregon businessman is suing the U.S. government and two FBI agents he says had him tortured in the Middle East after he refused to become an informant.

Yonas Fikre, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Eritrean descent, says the agents were present when he was imprisoned and tortured in the Gulf nation for 106 days, The Oregonian reported Thursday.

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Guantánamo Bay hunger strike worsens

Gitmo hunger strikeA long-running hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo has worsened since Barack Obama promised action to close the controversial prison camp in a landmark speech last Thursday.

On the eve of Obama's address, there were 103 prisoners on hunger strike, with 31 being force-fed by military authorities and one in hospital. Since then, not a single prisoner has stopped their strike, and now 36 of the detainees are being force-fed to keep them alive, with five of them being hospitalised.

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Gaza exports have plummeted under Israeli blockade

GazaAfter a wave of international flotillas laden with humanitarian supplies for Gaza were headed off by Israeli forces, with one standoff resulting in nine deaths, Mahfouz Kabariti had a new idea: a reverse flotilla that would carry symbolic Gazan exports like embroidery, carpets, and dates to foreign customers.

Gazans need “trade not aid,” says the dapper Mr. Kabariti as he polishes his glasses at an open-air restaurant in Gaza City. The vast Mediterranean stretches into the distance behind him, a seemingly open portal to the world.

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New light shed on US government's extraordinary rendition program

RenditionA groundbreaking research project has mapped the US government's global kidnap and secret detention programme, shedding unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years.

The interactive online project – by two British universities and a legal charity – has uncovered new details of the way in which the so-called extraordinary rendition programme operated for years in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to avoid detection in the face of growing public concern.

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Guantánamo hunger strikers subject to harsh new method of force feeding

Guantanamo force feeding detaineesHunger-strikers being force fed at Guantánamo Bay are shackled to a chair, fitted with a mask and have tubes inserted through their nose and into their stomachs for up to two hours at a time, according to revised guidelines in use at the camp.

The guidelines, which were updated after the latest protest by inmates began in February, detail the process of involuntary feeding and how after the sessions, detainees are kept in a "dry cell" to prevent them vomiting. News of the 30-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual – which was first published on Monday, by al-Jazeera, and has since been confirmed to be genuine by the US military – comes amid fresh questions over the ethics of force-feeding protesters at the prison.

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Lawyer in long fight for former Abu Ghraib detainees

Abu GhraibA Detroit-area lawyer has been fighting for almost a decade to win compensation for four men who spent time in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

CACI Premier Technology, a Virginia company that handled interrogations at Abu Ghraib, has asked a federal judge to dismiss Shereef Akeel's lawsuit, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday. A hearing is scheduled Friday in Arlington, Va.

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