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October 2010 (19)
Oct 29 2010 1:36PM
MI6, torture, secrecy and dirty words

You can watch the first ever public speech from a serving chief of MI6 here, delivered yesterday to a select gathering of journalists. Given that the UK only stopped pretending that MI6 doesn’t exist in 1994, on the surface this seems...

Oct 28 2010 1:59PM
200,000 forced from their homes for a shopping mall and cinema

Its hard to imagine being woken up in the middle of the night by bulldozers which are literally tearing down your house while youre still in it. But this is a reality for nearly 200,000 people living in Nigerias town of Port Harcourt...

Oct 27 2010 5:39PM
Tariq Aziz: the death penalty is not a popularity contest

News that Tariq Aziz is to face hanging for crimes committed as deputy prime minister of Iraq isn’t going to lead to an international outcry of the kind we sometimes see with the death penalty. This, to use the Daily Express’ phrase...

Oct 26 2010 3:59PM
Tasers under fire again - this time in Swansea

The Sun carries a story today about police in Swansea being caught on camera using a Taser electro-shock weapon on a man who appears to already be on the ground. Another officer who’s restraining him then appears to punch the man...

Oct 25 2010 2:05PM
No investigation required: an investigation <em>is</em> required after WikiLeaks revelations

Looks to me as if the devastating account in the WikiLeaks “Iraq War Logs” of how the abuse of detainees in Iraq occurred on a vast scale during 2004-9 has thrown a whole new light on this tragic, blood-soaked period in Iraq’s history...

Oct 22 2010 3:07PM
It gets LGBT er

It’s been a mixed bag in terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) news this week, to say the least. Which do you want first, the good news or the bad? Russia was told by the European Court of Human Rights yesterday that...

Oct 21 2010 1:48PM
Cuts, protests and the spirit of Ari Up

Cuts, cuts, cuts. Fair or unfair? I’m no economist (neither are Osborne, Alexander or Johnson!) and wouldn’t claim to be able to judge it properly. But – like many others – I can’t help worrying about the damage the spending review may...

Oct 20 2010 5:24PM
Dreaded cuts

Working for Amnesty you often come across things which turn your stomach, but I found news about the graphic video showing the torture of Papuan villagers- apparently by military personnel- intensely difficult to watch. The footage was...

Oct 19 2010 1:29PM
When did you stop beating your wife?

The old Catch-22 thing where interviewers sometimes try to trap their interviewees with a loaded question that leads to two equally unpalatable answers – in this example, either (1) I haven’t stopped, or (2) I have stopped – comes to...

Oct 14 2010 1:24PM
Preview Screening Tonight: The Stoning of Soraya M

Tonight I’ll be attending a preview screening here at the Human Rights Action Centre of “The Stoning of Soraya M”, an award-winning feature film based on a true story. The title tells you everything you need to know really – based on a...

Oct 13 2010 5:37PM
The Fiction question

We are in the very midst of award season at the moment, today there is a lot of buzz about the Man Booker announcement, and the unprecedented move to grant the award to a comic novel, for the first time in the history of the prize...

Oct 12 2010 2:19PM
A Keane launch for Amnesty's education

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the office and visit the real world. And yesterday that meant a trip to Harris City Academy Crystal Palace in South London for the launch of Amnesty’s new education pack.The pack, entitled A Matter of...

Oct 11 2010 1:39PM
Torture in Northern Ireland: lessons still not learnt

Hundreds of men and women convicted of terrorism offences in Northern Ireland are planning to appeal against convictions based on confessions that were, they allege, beaten out of them. So says a new film on the Guardian site today...

Oct 8 2010 12:46PM
Imagine: a world with no death penalty

The 9th of October is, as any self-respecting Beatles fan will probably tell you, the day John Lennon was born. Had he survived Mark Chapman’s bullets – and another 30 years of rock star fame and turbulence (not to mention ordinary...

Oct 7 2010 8:02PM
Beware of the toxic sludge!

For the past couple of days images have been emerging from Hungary of menacing toxic red sludge following a chemical spill from an alumina plant reservoir in Veszprem. Today the BBC has reported that the spill has contaminated water...

Oct 6 2010 4:43PM
The real superstars - Women of Zimbabwe Arise

Cheryl’s decision to not give Gamu a shot at the live shows was clearly a bad one. Putting through two wannabe pop stars – in fact the only two of the eight contestants who fluffed their lines – at the expense of excellent singers such...

Oct 5 2010 1:56PM
The Wisdom of free speech: from Albania to Syria

I’ve got to admit I was never a fan of Norman Wisdom, pratfalls and mugging not being my thing. But then again … there was something interesting about his whole screen persona and his amazing success. Was he a trailblazer for freedom...

Oct 4 2010 3:59PM
Burma... it's all over to Nick

Today it’s all been go in Brussels. The Belgian capital is playing host to the leaders of Europe and Asia for an all-important summit.And for Amnesty that means the perfect chance to push the problems in Burma back up the global agenda...

Oct 1 2010 3:08PM
Setting the cat among the pigeons in east Africa

Today's UN report detailing war crimes committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003 has been beset with controversy and defensive rebuttals from first Rwanda and today Uganda. The much debated and well-leaked Mapping report details the...