October 2009 (18)
Oct 30 2009 2:37PM
Iran: Casting the last stone
I’m still staggered that anyone could think it’s OK to partially-bury someone in the ground and throw stones at them until they’re dead. I’d be pretty sickened if I heard that some sadistic criminal had done it. But for this punishment...
Oct 29 2009 1:39PM
Zimbabwe does the UK Home Office know something we dont?
Things are once again looking bad in Zimbabwe. Despite a burst of optimism after Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe formed the ‘Inclusive Government’, it doesn’t seem to be working out. Unless, it seems, you’re the UK Home Office, who...
Oct 28 2009 4:59PM
Should Gary Glitter be executed ?
… is the hypothetical question posed by a Channel 4 drama coming out in November. I say posed , but what we’re getting, apparently, is a 90-minute feature-length drama – The Execution of Gary Glitter – “set in an imaginary Britain in w...
Oct 27 2009 12:57PM
Water wars?
Back in 2006 I took a day out from the Amnesty office to “job-swap” at the news desk of The Independent at their (then) office at Canary Wharf in east London. All very interesting. For one thing: what a studious atmosphere! More like a...
Oct 26 2009 5:12PM
More arms to abusers
Have a look at this clip from French TV channel TF1 (about 20 minutes in – you can fast forward). You’ll see Armoured Personnel Carriers transporting soldiers to brutally put down a peaceful demo in Conakry, Guinea, last month. When so...
Oct 23 2009 4:29PM
Lost in torture music
As the old Buzzcocks favourite puts it, “Noise annoys”, and at first glance there’s something almost comical about claims that music was used to torture “war on terror” prisoners. Loud music can be annoying , but it doesn’t actually to...
Oct 22 2009 5:29PM
A light blow to justice in East Jerusalem
When Palestinian men suffer “light blows” at the hands of the Israeli police in East Jerusalem it’s apparently not worth prosecuting. Or so it appears. According to Yesh Din, a human rights group that has taken a case on behalf of some...
Oct 21 2009 6:00PM
Killing the mentally ill
Akmal Shaikh, a man from north London, is currently facing execution , in the next few days, in China. There’s strong evidence that he may be mentally ill, suffering from bipolar disorder: he had reportedly left London to set up an air...
Oct 19 2009 2:39PM
UK asylum removals to Iraq not just a farce, a disgrace
An attempt by the UK Border Agency last week to forcibly remove some 44 refused Iraqi asylum seekers and send them back to Baghdad appears to have been conducted by the Keystone Cops – or rather the Keystone Private Security Contractor...
Oct 16 2009 2:58PM
Members of the jury ...
A couple of years ago I had two weeks off work because I was called up for jury service. A cushy number? Not really. Going to Snaresbrook crown court every morning to hear about a large-scale cocaine smuggling case was – interesting, y...
Oct 15 2009 2:27PM
Ten films that shook the world
First it was Disney films and Robert Louis Stevenson adaptations ( Kidnapped !), the Bond films (Roger Moore period), then the adolescent stuff – Jaws , The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (couldn’t get in, it was an “18”-rater!), and then...
Oct 12 2009 2:36PM
Will the US-UK entente cordiale ruin progress on major Arms Trade Treaty?
There was much talk over the weekend about Hillary Clinton’s whistle-stop tour around Europe. During her whirlwind tour the US Secretary of State managed to make a pit-stop at Westminster where she reassured Gordon Brown of the US-UK s...
Oct 9 2009 7:08PM
Tehran and Washington: united in death
Alarming news from Iran (again). This time it’s the fact that there’s been a death sentence over the election protests. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani , a 37-year-old, is now facing death by hanging for the crime of supposedly taking up arms...
Oct 8 2009 4:44PM
Best human rights film ever made? Gandhi. Or maybe not
At the weekend my partner was watching Gandhi , one of our DVD rentals from (the excellent) Sofa Cinema. “I’m not that interested”, I said. “Seen it”. “Not that good.” “Ben Kingsley as Gandhi? Hmm, not sure.” I was stubborn, adamant. I...
Oct 8 2009 1:42PM
Sri Lanka - what will happen when the monsoon comes?
Today is National Poetry Day in Britain. At Amnesty we recently received the very moving poem below from a Sri Lankan living in Canada who is trying to imagine what life in the detention camps in Sri Lanka must be like for a child. Thi...
Oct 7 2009 6:15PM
Will the London Olympics mean a pot of gold for people traffickers?
Looking forward to the London Olympics? Well, it’s a fair bet that so are the trafficking gangs who force people into prostitution, domestic servitude or no-or-low-pay labouring jobs. In less than three years’ time the athletes and spe...
Oct 6 2009 4:18PM
My son was taken from my lap in order to be executed
Today’s Guardian reports on what appears to have been the appalling death of a man who was allegedly tortured to death in detention by members of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah-led intelligence services. According to the report, Hai...
Oct 5 2009 1:19PM
Four dead in old Ohio
… which, as middle-aged hippies like me will tell you, is a line from Neil Young’s student protest song “Ohio” (“Gotta get down to it / Soldiers are cutting us down / Should have been done long ago / What if you knew her and found her...