Report of Syrian “torture chambers” adds new dimension to the conflict

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A report issued Tuesday 3 July by Human Rights Watch (HRW) details 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies. Their presence and details about the types of torture, implements used and who was carrying it out have been shared by some 200 people interviewed by HRW in the past 15 months, […]

Syrian amnesty reported by state media

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Sunday 15 January announced an amnesty for protestors, state media are reporting, at least the second in the 10 months of civil unrest that has come perilously close to civil war. More than 3,000 prisoners have reportedly been freed by previous amnesties, while other amnesties appear to have […]

World headlines: US judge beats daughter, 45 Chinese miners pulled out alive, time shifts

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – World headlines include the following, over the weekend: Clocks go back in the US, a week after Europe moves from summer to winter time – NPR Chinese mine workers, some 200-strong, pulled out 45 miners Saturday who had been trapped for more than 48 hours after an explosion – CBS, Xinhua Pakistan […]

ICRC tells Reuters it may help in Palestine, Israeli prisoner swap

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The International Red Cross, ICRC, has offered to help facilitate the swap of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners, next week in Egypt, Reuters reports Monday morning 17 October. Officials involved in the negotiations have told media in the region that the swap could involved up to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli soldier Gilad […]

Israeli soldier Shalit promises in swap for large number of Palestinians

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Palestinian and Israeli authorities are saying that they have reached an agreement that will free anywhere from 450 to more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel in exchange for the freedom of soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held for five years. The swap will reportedly take place next week, the Israeli […]

Former Libyan prisoner Hamdani gives first interview

Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Swiss media are drawing attention 21 April to the plight of Max Goeldi, who has now purged half of a four-month prison sentence in Libya. The 19 months of detention the Swiss businessman served before he was judged for visa violations did not count towards purging his sentence. A letter written […]

Switzerland takes 2 Guantanamo Uyghur prisoners

Two brothers, accepted on humanitarian grounds, will settle in canton Jura Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The Swiss federal and Jura cantonal governments have agreed that Jura should accept two more inmates from the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Bern announced Wednesday 3 February. Geneva in January announced it had welcomed Switzerland’s first such prisoner. […]

Island-nation in Pacific may take 17 Guantanamo prisoners

The US government has been talking to the island nation of Palau, reports CNN, about taking 17 prisoners from Guantanamo, part of President Obama’s plan to shut down the Cuban prison. Palau is a former US trust territory that became independent in 1994. The prisoners under consideration are a Chinese minority group of Muslims, Uighurs. […]

Obama about-face on torture photos release sparks debate

US President Barack Obama has provoked the ire of Amnesty International and civil liberties groups by saying he has stopped the planned 28 May release of photos showing US soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama said (BBC video) that the photos are not as sensational as those seen at Abu Ghraib in Iraq […]

Zimbabwe prisoners die from lack of health care, food

Update 4 April Prisoners in Zimbabwe are dying from malnutrition and disease due to lack of supplies and inhumane conditions, reports a documentary by the South African Broadcasting Association, released Tuesday 31 March. It shows images of men too emaciated to stand or bring food to their mouths. “Zimbabwe is undergoing an humanitarian crisis, with […]