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TOPIC: torture

Migrant Lives

The Damning Proof Of Migrants Tortured In Libya — And Italy's Complicity

The Refugees in Libya movement has posted shocking images to awaken our consciences. But here, all is silent, and the hope for humanity is entrusted to a Europe that is reborn from the bottom up.


TURIN — "Let me die."

These were the desperate words of yet another migrant tortured by the Libyan mafia. Like many others from sub-Saharan Africa, this teenager had to leave his homeland wrecked by global apathy and injustice. And like many others, he ended up in the hands of a local criminal organization, who imprisoned him in one of the notorious camps in the Libyan town of Bani Walid.

We know of his fate from videos of his torture, which were shot in order to extort ransom from his family back home. A social movement led by the migrants, "Refugees in Libya," has been sharing this footage in hopes of awakening Europe's conscience.

But on this side of the Mediterranean, all is silent.

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Mongolian Soldiers Accuse The Military Of Using “Torture” To Maintain Discipline

Illegal punishment through the use of torture is increasingly common in Mongolia’s military, where 44 soldiers have died and 468 violations have been reported in the last decade, according to a 2022 report. Many former soldiers have been physically abused and harassed. After hearing recent reports of torture, the commission has begun training mental health professionals to serve in the military to help.

ZUUNBAYAN — Bayartsogt Jargalsaikhan had been guarding the weapons warehouse since midnight in the January freeze, and he was cold. Five minutes before his shift ended, he went inside to warm up.

That fateful decision in 2017 would get Bayartsogt and his fellow soldiers tortured by their commanding officer, leaving him permanently disabled and making him one more statistic in Mongolia’s long history of human rights violations inside the military.

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This Happened — August 18: Steve Biko Is Arrested

Steve Biko, a leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, is arrested on this day in 1977 in South Africa.

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"Putin's Sadist" — New Findings In Prigozhin Villa Include Photo Of Decapitated Africans

After the Wagner mutiny, the palatial home of the mercenary group’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was searched in St. Petersburg. Among other chilling finds was a framed photograph of the severed heads of slain Africans. It fits in with the profile of a man Proekt media calls “Putin’s Sadist.”

MOSCOW — On October 18, 2011, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who had recently announced his intention to return to the presidency, was walking through the Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg. On his way, he crossed paths with a bald man. “Great hairstyle,” Putin quipped with a smile, shook the man’s hand, and continued on to meetings with the heads of government of former USSR states who had gathered in the northern Russian city.

The bald man was Yevgeny Prigozhin, the future founder of the Wagner mercenary company; an interlocutor that would prove to play an important role in Russia's interference in the U.S. elections, in the military interventions in Syria and Libya, and most recently in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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But Prigozhin's privileged status with Putin would not last indefinitely. After Prigozhin led a mutiny against the highest echelons of Russia’s military command in late June, the sworn alliance was apparently over. In the meantime, news has since leaked that Putin met with Prigozhin and other Wagner members after the failed insurrection, adding uncertainty to the future of the group and its leader.

Still, in recent days we have been learning more and more about Prigozhin’s past. Following the insurrection, Russian police raided his house in his native Saint Petersburg, where stashes of cash, weapons and other items were found.

Most notably, officials say they found a framed photograph showing severed heads. At first, it was unclear from the censored photo who the victims were.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Francesca Mannocchi

"Save Us From Nazis," Indoctrination Stamped On Student Letters To Russian Troops

In the Ukrainian city of Izium, Russian troops left behind more than destruction, mass graves and testimony of torture. After their hasty withdrawal in early September, Ukrainians found traces of the regime's propaganda indoctrinating school children.

IZIUM — We've spent the last few days in this strategically important city northeastern Ukraine, visiting some of the buildings used by the Russians as prisons and places of torture. One particular building in Izium had served as an administration center, which became a jail during the occupation. Today, it's been partly reduced to rubble.

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The presence of Russian troops is still visible on the military vehicles marked with “Z”, symbol of the “special military operation.” There are also the remains of soldiers' food rations, boots, uniforms, all abandoned before the Ukrainian counteroffensive liberated almost the entire Kharkiv region in just a few days.

But perhaps most interestingly, we found boxes full of the letters that Russian students of all grades had sent to their soldiers to keep their morale high.

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Rubens Valente

Why Brazil Is Excavating An Infamous Torture Center 40 Years Later

As the country gears up for a politically-charged run-off election, a team of archaeologists, historians and forensics experts are set to excavate the grounds and buildings of one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, trying to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian Armed Forces carried out a coup, with support from the United States government, and installed a dictatorship that lasted for over 20 years. Although free elections returned to the country in the 1980s and a new constitution was approved in 1988, Brazil has lagged other South American countries when it comes to reconciling itself with the aftermaths of the dictatorship.

Challenging the crimes of the military elites is portrayed as a “leftist” cause in Brazil. Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has even celebrated — on several occasions, including during the Congress session that voted to impeach former president Dilma Rousseff — the torture that was committed by the regime.

In contrast, countries like Argentina and Chile have made big strides in reckoning with their bloody past and prosecuting members of the military juntas.

SÂO PAULO — For the first time, an archaeological, historical and forensic project in Brazil intends to excavate the grounds and buildings of the former headquarters of a DOI-CODI (Department of Information Operations - Center for Internal Defense Operations), the much feared intelligence agency that carried out violent political repression during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Irina Dolina

"Better If They Shot Me" — New Details Revealed Of Russian Torture Of Civilians

Testimonies have been gathered from victims who had been detained by the Russian military near Kyiv in the early weeks of the war. Some were held in a pit, others had their hands beaten with hammer, others with an axe and rifle butt. Some never made it out alive.

KYIV — In the early days of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military moved quickly to the outskirts of Kyiv and began conducting searches and arrests there. Residents of three settlements — Dymera, Kozarovichi, and Katyuzhanka — have recounted to human rights activists in recent months how they had been detained, beaten, and tortured during the occupation.

These testimonies have formed the basis of the report "Unlawful Confinement and Torture in Dymer, Kozarovychi, and Katyuzhanka in Ukraine," released together by three human rights organizations, the International Partnership for Human Rights, Truth Hounds, and Global Diligence.

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Russian-language media Vazhnyye Istorii reports some of the most heinous parts of the findings (the names of the victims have been changed).

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Cameron Manley

Putin Must Also Face The Gulag Question

Even while embroiled in the biggest foreign policy standoff of his reign, the Russian leader has been forced to acknowledge accusations of torture after leaked videos of violent abuse in prisons. Yet proposed new legislation to stem torture risks challenging a regime built on corruption and state-sponsored repression.


MOSCOW — The head of a bruised and battered prisoner hangs on his bare chest. A guard clad in camo-green lifts his knee into the half-living, half-dead face, as blood mixed with saliva and mucus drips onto the concrete floor. The prisoner’s hands are then chained, his bare legs thrust high into the air, and his horrifying screams announce the entrance of the long red pole that shall be used in unspeakable ways.

Such torture scenes must be from Russia’s Tsarist past. Or perhaps, the description comes from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1973 landmark book, The Gulag Archipelago, that first revealed details of the evil of Soviet forced labor camps?

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N.C. Asthana

Witness From The Inside: Finding The Source Of India's Police Violence

The Indian police force is built on a macho culture that promotes those who commit violence. Only the victims know the truth, and no one ever dares challenge the system.

Most Indians are familiar with heavy-handed police behavior in the form of the cops slapping people or, if they are pretending to manage law and order, beating them mercilessly with their sticks (lathis). However, the real face of police brutality often remains hidden, their notions about police torture derived largely from what they have seen in films. Only the victims know the truth.

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After Arab Spring, Tunisian Police Brutality Is Back

TUNIS — Six years ago, the Tunisian Revolution sparked the Arab Spring uprisings and overthrew the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his notoriously violent police state. Now a nascent democracy, Tunisia is once again faced with the issue of police brutality. Tunis-based daily Le Temps reports that several local and international NGOs have recently criticized police tactics, which authorities say is necessary to contain terrorist activity in the North African country.

At a recent conference organized by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), activists argued that Tunisian police have carried out mass arbitrary arrests and used physical violence and torture in interrogations. New laws outlawing torture and providing defendants with lawyers have routinely gone ignored, and detainees are subject to long periods of detention without trial.

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Lizzie Porter and Mohammed Hassan al-Homsi

Worse Than Prison, The Life Of Syria’s Female Ex-Inmates

Women held in Syria’s government prisons report psychological abuse, sexual assault and torture. But for many, the suffering they experience after their release is even worse.

When Luna Watfa refused to reveal any information to her interrogators, they took her son, 17, and threatened to torture him. "They put my son's hands behind his back, his T-shirt over his head and they took him," she says.

Watfa, now 35, was a law student when the popular uprising broke out in Syria in March 2011. But when she witnessed President Bashar al-Assad's forces shooting at and beating protesters, she decided to devote herself to documenting what she saw. In January 2014, she was arrested on a Damascus street by a gang of men whom she quickly recognized as government officers. "There were three cars with 12 guards. They came only for me," she says over Skype from her new home in Koblenz, Germany.

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Cameron Tax Info, CIA On Waterboarding, Calling Shotgun


British Prime Minister David Cameron released information from his 2009-2015 tax returns yesterday in an attempt to defuse controversy about how he profited from his late father's offshore fund, The Independent reports. The details about the family's investment company were leaked last week in the so-called Panama Papers.

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