AP, CNN, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST (USA)

Worldcrunch

CLEVELAND - Ariel Castro, 52, the man charged with keeping three women captive for almost a decade will appear in court for the first time on Thursday.

Castro is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.

They were held captive until one of them escaped on Monday.

On Wednesday Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping – covering the three women and a daughter born to Berry in captivity – as well as three counts of rape.

Reuters reports that he owns the house where the women were oppressively kept in dungeon-like squalid conditions, where they were raped, starved, beaten, and kept in chains.

The police had detained two of Castro’s brothers on Monday but they were later released, as they appeared to have no involvement with this crime, according to the AP.

The Washington Post notes that they both have outstanding warrants for separate misdemeanor cases and will also face a judge Thursday on those matters.

Castro, a school bus driver who lost his job last fall, had been thought to live alone in the house by neighbors. CNN writes that they describe him as “a very outgoing person, a nice man,” but in hindsight “he had been fooling us.”

The alarm was raised on Monday when Amanda Berry managed to get the attention of a neighbor and escape when Castro briefly left the premises.

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Geopolitics

Taliban Redux, Cleaned-Up Image Can't Mask Their Cruel Reality

Twenty years later the Islamist group is back in power in Afghanistan, but trying this time to win international support. Now that several months have passed, experts on the ground can offer a clear assessment if the group has genuinely transformed on such issues as women's rights and free speech.

The Taliban have now been in power for almost five months

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

The international community is closely monitoring the Taliban, after the group re-seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

There is legitimate reason for concern. The Taliban are again ruling through fear and draconian rules.

The Taliban’s last regime, in the mid-1990s, was marked by human rights violations, including massacres, mass detentions and rape. The regime collapsed on Nov. 14, 2001, shortly after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism.

Even after the Taliban officially fell from power, their subsequent two decades of insurgency produced various gross human rights violations, an encompassing term under international human rights law.

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