Feb. 13, 2013 Associated Press
JUTICALPA, Honduras (AP) — On the 14th day of each month, Jesus Garcia joins other relatives to hoist a cardboard coffin and carry it in a macabre procession down a road to the prison where two cousins died with 360 other inmates in the worst prison fire in at least a century.
It's their way to demand justice in the deaths of Antonio and Franklin Garcia, who were among many left locked in their cells as fire raced through the wooden barracks, and the handful of guards on duty ran for their lives.
"We go to the jail, in a symbolic procession with a casket, to ask for justice, but we get no answers," Garcia said. "We go to the minister of human rights and she passes it along to the president and he passes it along to the first lady, but then nothing gets done."
A year after the fire in Comayagua, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Tegucigalpa, the investigation remains open and prosecutors have filed no charges. The burned cells and electrical system are still being repaired.
While the government created a new agency told to replace the police in the prisons with specially trained guards, social workers and doctors, the three-person commission that started working last week was given no budget and has no office, according to its director, Agusto Avila.
Even the inmate who was the hero of the fire, finding keys and freeing hundreds of men, was never pardoned as President Porfirio Lobo had promised. Honduran law forbids commuting a murder sentence, so Marco Antonio Bonilla is still serving his time, working in the prison infirmary, where he was awakened that night by the screams of inmates as they were devoured by flames.
by Cora Currier ProPublica, Feb. 13, 2013
In one of President Barack Obama first acts in the White House, he ordered the closure of the CIA’s so-called “black-site” prisons, where terror suspects had been held and, sometimes, tortured. The CIA says it is “out of the detention business,” as John Brennan, Obama’s pick to head the agency, recently put it.
But the CIA’s prisons left some unfinished business. In 2009, ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer listed more than thirty people who had been held in CIA prisons and were still missing.
Some of those prisoners have since resurfaced, but at least twenty are still unaccounted for.
Last week the Open Society Foundations’ Justice Initiative released a report pulling together the most current information available on the fates of the prisoners. A few emerged from foreign prisons after the turmoil of the Arab Spring. One has died. (The report relied exclusively on media accounts and information previously gathered by human rights groups. The Open Society Foundations also donate to ProPublica.)
The report counts 136 prisoners who were either held in a CIA black site or subject to so-called extraordinary rendition, in which detainees were secretly shipped to other countries for interrogation.
Feb. 13, 2013 Associated Press
CAIRO — Washington's envoy on human rights cautioned Tuesday against the failure of Egypt's government to identify the perpetrators behind a growing number of gruesome attacks against female protesters, as nearly 1,000 women gathered in Cairo to denounce the recent sexual assaults.
Beating drums and blowing whistles, the women defied advice by some lawmakers that suggested their presence in Tahrir Square, the focal point of protests, was the reason for the mob attacks.
"A woman in the square is a revolution, but your words Afifi are shameful," read one banner in response to Adel Afifi, a member of the Islamist-dominated interim parliament, who said this week that women are subjecting themselves to attacks by mixing with men in unsafe places.
While sexual harassment of women has long been a problem in Egypt, dozens of violent attacks have been reported specifically in and around Tahrir Square since the fall of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak two years ago. Hundreds of unidentified men have taken part in attacks on women, ripping their clothes off, touching them and, in one case, raping a 19-year-old with a blade.
Feb. 13, 2013 Associated Press
A man accused of killing two Japanese visitors and injuring a dozen others after crashing his car and stabbing people in a major tourist district in Guam has been arrested and faces multiple charges, police said Wednesday.
Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, of Tamuning is accused of driving a Toyota Yaris onto a sidewalk and striking seven tourists Tuesday night at an upscale shopping area fronting the Outrigger Guam Resort in Tumon Bay, Guam police spokesman A.J. Balajadia said. Desoto continued driving on the sidewalk, crashing into the wall of a convenience store. He then left his car and started stabbing people, police said.
Desoto is charged with two counts of murder, 13 counts of attempted murder and 13 counts of aggravated assault, Balajadia said. No motive or other details on the investigation were released.
A Japanese Foreign Ministry official, who requested anonymity per ministry rules, said Wednesday that local police told the Japanese consulate 14 Japanese people were taken to the hospital, and two had died.
Feb. 12, 2013 Associated Press
CORSICANA, Texas (AP) — A 58-year-old Texas man walked free Monday after serving years for a crime he didn't commit — the repeated stabbing of a woman whose body was found on a dirt road in rural North Texas.
Randolph Arledge was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1984 for killing Carolyn Armstrong. But a state district judge in Corsicana, about 50 miles southeast of Dallas, agreed with prosecutors and Arledge's attorneys that he could no longer be considered guilty after new DNA tests tied someone else to the crime.
Judge James Lagomarsino agreed to release Arledge on bond while the process of overturning his conviction is pending. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals must accept Lagomarsino's recommendation for the conviction to be formally overturned, a process that is considered a formality.
Arledge wore shackles around his wrists and ankles at the start of the hearing, but was later taken into a back room by two deputies to have them removed. When he returned, Arledge hugged his two children. His daughter was 4 years old and his son 7 when he was sent to prison.
"They suffered more than anybody," Arledge told reporters afterward. He gestured to his daughter, Randa Machelle Arledge. "She's always talking about, she wanted me to come pick her up from school. Now she's picking me up."
His children said they remained hopeful through the years, not doubting his innocence.
Feb. 11, 2013 CNN
Chicago (CNN) -- The teenager who police say shot and killed Chicago honor student Hadiya Pendleton was on probation for unlawful use of a firearm, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday night.
Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, were each charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, McCarthy told reporters. They were also charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
They will make their first appearance in court on Tuesday morning.
Ward confessed to shooting Hadiya and two others in late January in a case of mistaken identity, McCarthy said.
Police said Ward and Williams were gang members seeking revenge against the people who had shot Williams in July -- men against whom Williams had refused to press charges when police arrested them.
He and Ward thought they had spotted members of a rival gang at the park when police said Ward sneaked up on Hadiya and her friends and began shooting. Williams was the getaway driver, the superintendent said.