Headlines for Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- Length: 5:48 minutes (10.61 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 256Kbps (CBR)
Video evidence calls police response to protesters at the G20 into question
New video evidence showing police misconduct during the G20 protests has prompted and independent investigation in London. During the protests last week, police attacked a man who was walking home from work. Soon after the man collapsed and died. Now that officer may face manslaughter charges after video footage capturing the event was passed to the media. From London, Naomi Fowler reports:
The police version of events has changed as events have unfolded and in particular, since footage passed to the media by a concerned onlooker appeared on national TV. It corroborates the statements of witnesses who claimed police had assaulted Ian Tomlinson in an unprovoked attack. The footage clearly shows police hitting Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him violently to the ground as he walked away from them with his hands in his pockets. The police had claimed that protesters impeded access for medics. But the footage shows the police standing and looking at him as he lay on the ground and protesters came forward to help him. Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission appointed the City of London police force to investigate the incident, despite its officers having been involved. They may now appoint their own independent investigators. Some MPs are calling for an independent inquiry into the heavy-handed policing throughout the G20 demonstrations. Naomi Fowler. FSRN. London.
Journalist Roxana Saberi charged with espionage
The Iranian government has charged journalist Roxana Saberi with espionage. Saberi, who holds dual US and Iranian citizenship, has been in jail since February. Iranian new agencies are reporting that Saberi has pleaded guilty to all charges.
Uganda anti-terrorism force accused of torture
Uganda’s Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force unlawfully detains and brutally tortures suspects – that according to a new report released today by Human Rights Watch. The Task Force, more commonly referred to as JATT is a combined effort of the Ugandan military, police and other security forces to weed out members of opposition militias. Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch says there is evidence that many innocent people have been subject to brutal custody. Burnett says the torture techniques include rubbing chili paste in the eyes, noses and mouths of those in custody, beatings and whippings. She says some of the anti-terrorism forces in Uganda have received funding and training by the US. Human Rights Watch is calling on the United States to make an inquiry into the extent of its connections with JATT and to take human rights abuse issues up with the Ugandan government.
Private prison in Texas found responsible in inmate death
A Texas State court of appeals has upheld a $42 million judgment against the GEO Group, a corporation formerly known as Wackenhut, in a lawsuit brought by the family of a man brutally murdered in the company’s Willacy County prison. FSRN’s Ansel Herz reports from Austin.
Gregorio de la Rosa was nearing the end of a six-month sentence in 2001 when he was attacked by two inmates. De la Rosa was beaten for about 20 minutes, while, according to the three-judge panel, prison officials stood by laughing and smirking. The judges called the GEO Group’s conduct “a disgusting display of disrespect for the welfare of others and for this state's civil justice system.” This is one of many recent setbacks for the GEO Group. Its West Texas Reeves County Detention Center was wracked by two riots in February. And another inmate died there of unnatural causes last month. Bob Libal of the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership says this a massive judgment against the GEO Group.
“I think every protest and lawsuit against the private prison industry makes public officials think a little harder about a decision to build a private prison. The GEO group in many ways exemplifies the problems of the private prison industry, and I think their problems are at the forefront of an effort to re-think whether we should be building private prisons and turning over prisons and detention centers to private corporations."
The GEO Group, which now operates 19 prisons in Texas, has seen three of its facilities in the state closed in the past two years. Several bills up for consideration in this legislative session seek to create new regulations over private prisons in Texas. Ansel Herz. FSRN. Austin.
Reno school district at fault in Muslim bullying case
And finally, a judge has ordered a Reno, Nevada school district to pay a 350-thousand dollar settlement to a Muslim girl who was bullied into drooping out of high school in 2004. After Jana Elhifny was bombarded with a death threat and physical harassment, she said she was too afraid to attend school. School administrators did not stop the bullying and told Elhifny to expect the treatment and advised her to not wear her headscarf.