News update: Justice for crimes of torture

Of course, the nature of anti-torture work is often a sea of depressing news. However, in this news update, we would like to highlight that sometimes things can change for the better. Impunity can subside, torture may relent, and there can at times be a mild ‘sea-change’, so to speak.

On Wednesday, a US judge issued a permanent injunction against key provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would give powers to the US military to indefinitely detain a US citizen. One of the plaintiffs in the case, wrote in the Guardian:

Sometimes, it is worth believing in impossible things – like standing up to the United States government, and daring to believe you can win. Sometimes, we do. And because we did, for now at least, and for most of us, due process still stands.

Although the federal government has appealed the injunction, for now due process rights for US citizens remain.

From Tajikistan, we welcome the verdict that a police inspector has been found guilty and sentenced to seven years for torturing a 17-year-old boy. This is the first time that the domestic law criminalising torture has been used in a case since it was put in place in March of this year. Domestic laws criminalising torture are part of the obligations that states have after ratifying the UN Convention Against Torture, which Tajikistan did in 1995.

Hearings have started in a case against two police officers in Kazan, Russia on charges of torturing a man to death. The high-profile case has also resulted in the dismissal of the region’s interior minister. We hope that the victim’s family sees justice for this horrific crime.

In the Philippines, a court has also turned down an appeal from a Manila policeman who has been accused of torturing a man in detention.

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