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Report: Over 4 percent of U.S. death row inmates innocent

lethal executionsOver 4 percent of people sentenced to death are innocent, according to what authors of a report published Monday say was a “conservative,” statistics-based estimate.

Advocates against the death penalty told Al Jazeera that number is astoundingly high. But for one exonerated death row inmate, the figure seems incredibly low — and he believes he’s more qualified to estimate the number of innocents on death row than professors and analysts.

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Window Opens On Secret Camp Within Guantanamo

camp  7 guantanamoAttorney James Connell has visited his client inside the secret Guantanamo prison complex known as Camp 7 only once, taken in a van with covered windows on a circuitous trek to disguise the route on the scrub brush-and-cactus covered military base.

Connell is allowed to say virtually nothing about what he saw in the secret camp where the most notorious terror suspects in U.S. custody are held except that it is unlike any detention facility he's encountered.

"It's much more isolating than any other facility that I have known," the lawyer says. "I've done cases from the Virginia death row and Texas death row and these pretrial conditions are much more isolating."

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CIA’s harsh interrogation tactics more widespread than thought, Senate investigators found

CIA torture widespreadThe CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques on foreign terror suspects – a practice that has provoked international condemnation – was more widespread than the agency has publicly acknowledged, Senate investigators have learned.

Moreover, the CIA’s own internal documents confirm the agency’s culpability in the hypothermia death of one Afghan captive – an incident that also has never even been publicly discussed, McClatchy was told.

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Dick Cheney: 'If I would have to do it all over again, I would'

Dick CheneyFormer Vice President Dick Cheney says if he had to make the same decisions and actions regarding the waterboarding of prisoners, he would.

Cheney was speaking to students at American University in Washington, D.C. when he said he had no regrets about the U.S. use of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding on terrorism suspects.

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US human rights record chastised in UN report

US human rights recordThe UN has delivered a withering verdict on the US's human rights record, raising concerns on a series of issues including torture, drone strikes, the failure to close Guantánamo Bay and the NSA's bulk collection of personal data.

The report was delivered by the UN's human rights committee in an assessment of how the US is complying with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which has been in force since the mid 1970s.

The committee, which is chaired by the British law professor Sir Nigel Rodley, catalogued a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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US pharmacists urged not to give lethal drugs to states for executions

execution drungsSeveral human rights and anti-death penalty groups have asked the American Pharmacists Association to prohibit members from participating in executions, a request that comes as states increasingly turn to pharmacists for lethal injection drugs.

The groups, which include Amnesty International, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, are targeting drugs made by compounding pharmacies. Such drugs, which are not federally regulated, are individually mixed versions of medications that prison systems are finding increasingly difficult to obtain.

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Human rights group labels Syria’s use of barrel bombs a war crime

Barrel bomb use by SyriaThe Syrian government’s campaign to clear rebels from the city of Aleppo by pummeling residential neighborhoods with so-called barrel bombs constitutes a war crime because the weapons cannot be aimed at combatants, according to a detailed report released Monday by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

The report, which cataloged what it said were 266 bombings that affected 340 different sites around the city from Nov. 1, 2013, to the end of February this year, provided a legal rationale for viewing the barrel bombs, which often are nothing more than barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters, as different from other munitions used in the war.

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