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Chains we can believe in: Bagram jail detainee unlawfully held, court rules December 15, 2011

December 14, 2011

by legitgov


Chains we can believe in: Bagram jail detainee unlawfully held, court rules –Appeal court tells British ministers to ask US to end Yunus Rahmatullah’s seven-year ordeal at notorious Afghan prison 14 Dec 2011 The government has been ordered by three senior judges to secure the release of a Pakistani man captured by British special forces and held by the US in Afghanistan’s notorious Bagram jail without trial for more than seven years. The judges ruled that Yunus Rahmatullah, 29, who was handed over by the SAS to American forces in Iraq in 2004 and then taken to Bagram, is being unlawfully detained. They ordered a writ of habeas corpus to be issued so he can be freed.

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Troy Davis remembered by Antone De’Jaun Correia December 11, 2011

My uncle, Troy Davis, was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to death in 1991, three years before I was born. He was in jail my whole life, but I knew him very well. I visited him with my mother – his sister – on death row in the Georgia state prison every other week until his execution in September and he became a father figure to me.

Troy was wise, respectful, motivated and a great listener. He didn’t like the position he was in but said he had to learn from it, and used that experience to give me advice. He told me to pick the right friends and not to run away when things got rough; to keep my head up in school and take criticism positively. My uncle was a good family man before he went to prison. My grandma used to tell me that when he got a paycheck he’d give half to her to help pay the bills at home. He was responsible and respectful from a young age.

On 19 August 1989 a police officer called Mark MacPhail was shot dead in a car park in Savannah. My uncle was there at the time and, based on eyewitness testimony, the police decided he’d done it – but they had the wrong person from the get-go. Later we got lawyers to go through the case. They did very rigorous investigations and found there was no evidence to prove my uncle committed the crime – no DNA, no gunpowder residue, nothing at all. Most of the witnesses withdrew their original statements, and another man was implicated in the murder. We appealed, and the execution was stayed three times over the past four years, but on 21 September 2011 Troy was killed by lethal injection.

It was a tough time for my family. My grandma had died in May, so we lost two important parts of the family in the space of five months, but I think we coped pretty well. You’ve just got to learn from things and keep moving. My uncle’s death opened a big can of worms for Georgia and all the other death-row states. The case provoked a huge amount of debate in the US, and we received support from people all over the world.

What Troy did for me in my life will never be forgotten Now I’m hoping to go to Georgia Tech to study robotic engineering. With good work put in, good things come out. My uncle helped me understand that, and I really can’t thank him enough.

Since De’Jaun Correia wrote the above, his mother, Martina Davis Correia, an anti-death penalty activist, died after a long illness on 1 December, aged 44.

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U.S. hikers’ release from Iran prison delayed again September 20, 2011

Tehran, Iran (CNN) — The lawyer trying to get two American hikers freed from prison in Iran was not able to get a signature on bail paperwork because a judge is on vacation until Tuesday, he told CNN Sunday.

Bail has been paid for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, lawyer Masoud Shafiee said, but he needs the signatures of two judges to prove it.

He went to a judge’s office Sunday, when he was in court on a separate case, to see if he could get the second signature, but was told that the judge is on vacation until Tuesday and that Shafiee will have to return then, the lawyer said.

Separately, a delegation of American Muslim and Christian leaders asked Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release the hikers, his office said Sunday.

Oman involved in U.S. hikers’ release

The four leaders who met with him in Tehran included Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a photo of the meeting showed.

The head of the human rights department of the Iranian judiciary, Mohammad Javad Larijani, linked the case of Fattal and Bauer to America’s treatment of detainees.

“If the U.S. is so sensitive about two of its spies and tries to free them, it should look at the way it treats other nationalities,” he said in an interview Sunday with the semi-official Fars news agency.

Fattal and Bauer have been held as spies for more than two years, after they apparently crossed an unmarked border between Iran and Iraq in July 2009.

The two men and a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, were seized while hiking in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Iranian authorities arrested them, claiming they were spies and had entered the country illegally. Shourd, who is Bauer’s fiancee, was released last year for medical reasons, although authorities said her case remains open.

Fattal and Bauer were convicted last month of spying and entering Iran illegally, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Ahmadinejad recently said they could be freed, raising hopes that have been dashed and raised again several times since then.

He said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show that they will be released on humanitarian grounds “in a couple of days.”

But the judiciary shot back that only it could make decisions about their release.

Shafiee then announced that all the paperwork had been filed for them to be freed on bail, but their release was delayed.

He said he was “very hopeful” they would be released on Saturday, but the process is being held up by the lack of a judge’s signature.

Shafiee said he would not know for sure the amount of the bail or who paid it until he sees the signed document. Earlier reports put it at $500,000 for each American.

An Omani official flew to Iran on Wednesday to help work on any negotiation, a Western diplomat told CNN at the time.

Oman helped secure the release of Shourd, posting her bail last September, a senior Obama administration official said at the time.

Ahmadinejad is slated to travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported. He is expected to give a speech and meet with several other presidents and Iranians living in the United States.

But his visit is not linked to moves to release the Americans, said Larijani of the Iranian judiciary.

CNN’s Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.

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Synagogue Bomb Plotters Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison July 1, 2011

Three men convicted of plotting to blow up New York synagogues and to fire heat-seeking missiles at U.S. military planes were sentenced to 25 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan handed down punishments today against James Cromitie, 45, Onta Williams, 35, and David Williams, 30, who were found guilty in October of crimes including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. A fourth defendant, Laguerre Payen, had his sentencing postponed pending a psychiatric evaluation.

McMahon called Cromitie and his co-defendants “thugs for hire,” adding that “I am nonetheless convinced a sentence of 25 years, a quarter of century behind bars, is sufficient to punish you for what happened and what didn’t happen.”

The men were accused of planning to bomb the Riverdale Temple, a Reform synagogue in the Bronx section of New York, and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, an Orthodox synagogue, in May 2009. They also sought heat-seeking missiles to fire at aircraft at the Stewart Air National Guard base in Newburgh, New York, the U.S. said.

Prosecutors sought life sentences for the three men, saying they were career criminals and willing participants in a plot organized by a government informant, Shahed Hussain, who was posing as a member of the Pakistani terrorist organization Laiksh-e-Mohammad.

‘Little Respect’

“They have shown little respect for the law throughout their adult lives,” the U.S. said in a sentencing memorandum dated June 8. “This investigation revealed what their rap sheets never could: that these defendants were among the handful of people in the country who would actually agree to join forces with a terrorist to bomb synagogues.”

The defense argued that the men were the victims of entrapment, lured into the plan by a paid government informant who gave them money for rent, food and car fare, and who promised them $250,000 in cash, a BMW, vacations in Puerto Rico and a barbershop.

The case is U.S. v. Cromitie, 09-cr-00558, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

© Copyright 2011 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Casey Anthony Blood Lust June 30, 2011

It’s the story that demands breaking live coverage on not one but two, three cable news networks.

­“Another day of powerful testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial,” resounded the anchors on cable news.

“Another day of disturbing testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial.”

Mainstream media is reporting and analyzing every gory detail.

“There were a lot of people upset in court today and that’s because we were hearing testimony about Calee’s limbs,” recounted one reporter. “Her legs being chewed on by animals her trunk torso being dragged off and chewed on.”

The American public literally clamoring to hear it all as people get in near brawls lining up for a seat in the courtroom.

Ask anyone on the street they can tell you why.

“There is something about this case that is mesmerizing and I do think it is because it is a young girl,” said a passerby in Washington DC.

“I mean you can speculate that she is a fairly attractive young mother,”
speculated another. “Why else this case? It doesn’t involve a famous person.”

“It’s like a modern day soap opera,” added one more.

And nearly everyone you ask knows who Casey Anthony is.

“Someone who murdered her kid, who allegedly murdered her kid in Florida,”
said a stranger in Washington DC.

And one part of the formula for media coverage and obession this journalism professor says can’t be ignored: Casey Anthony is white.

“If it were minorities it would have to be a foot ball player or a politician or something along those lines,” said Chris Chambers, journalism professor at Georgetown University.

 But does this one criminal trial affect the lives of Americans?

“No,” and “probably not,” according to a few people we talked to on the streets.

Nonetheless America can’t get enough.

According to pollsters at Pew research, last week Casey Anthony was one of the top five newsmakers in mainstream news, after people such as the president of the United States and Republican John Huntsman, who made it official that he’s running for president himself.

And the viewers seem to want her to be. Headline News, which has been delivering wall to wall coverage has seen a huge boost in ratings as a result. Media watchdogs report coverage has been sending prime-time ratings surging to first and second place spots on many a day over the last several weeks. 

Meanwhile, men like Michael Austin arrested in 1974 for a murder and armed robbery he didn’t commit, will never get a fraction of the attention. An injustice that most people will never have heard of.

He was exonerated after a difficult battle and serving 27 years in prison, despite plenty of evidence of innocence including an alibi (proof he was working), and a description that pegged the 6’5” black man as a light skinned man of 5’8.”

It’s just one of many cases Americans may never hear about, as they tune into “another day of disturbing testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial,” on the airwaves.

That attention whether it matters to greater society or not.

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