Lawyers for two Guantánamo detainees, arguing before the European Court of Human Rights on Dec. 3, accused Poland of providing a secret torture site for the Central Intelligence Agency's "extraordinary rendition" program. The case involves 48-year-old Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national facing terror charges in connection with the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and 42-year-old Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian who has never been charged with a crime. According to their lawyers, Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were victims of the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" and waterboarding techniques, as well as mock executions. Crofton Black, a researcher with the human rights organization Reprieve and witness to the closed trial, called the Polish government's investigation into the matter nothing more than a smoke-screen.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Dec. 1 urged the prosecutor's office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite inquiry into international crimes committed in Afghanistan. In November the ICC released the Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (PDF) finding that over 14,300 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2007 and that violence against women has increased. The report also stated that armed anti-government groups and government armed forces have reportedly recruited and used children in attacks. The HRW said that the Afghanistan situation has been under analysis by the ICC since 2007 and that given the alleged ongoing commissions of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC should now expedite their fact-finding mission to Afghanistan.
The attorney for Belkacem Bensayah and Djamel Ameziane, two Algerian detainees being held in Guantánamo Bay said on Nov. 29 the two will oppose their release back to Algeria, which could take place as early as this week. The two claim they would likely face persecution should they be released back to their home country. The US is bound by its international obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture, as well as other international conventions, to prevent returning a national to a state where he or she will likely face persecution or torture. Bensayah has requested he be released to Bosnia, while Ameziane has asked to be released to Canada.
Gen. Amadou Haya Sanogo, leader of the March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into civil war, was arrested Nov. 27 on charges of murder, complicity to murder, assassination and kidnapping. According to one of the arresting soldiers, Sanogo had repeatedly ignored summons by Mali's Ministry of Justice. Twenty-five armed soldiers arrested Sanogo in his home in Bamako and took him to appear before a judge, after which he remained in custody.
The Afghanistan Justice Ministry has proposed new provisions to the nation's penal code that allow for stoning as punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported Nov. 25. According to the advocacy group the provision of the proposed penal code, drafted by a Justice Ministry led working group, provides that married individuals found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse outside a legal marriage will be stoned to death. Also included in the draft law is that if the "adulterer" is unmarried the individual faces a sentence of 100 lashes. Under the Taliban regime which ruled Afghanistan from the mid-1990's through the 2001 US intervention stoning was the punishment for adultery and other moral crimes. According to HRW, Afghanistan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which precludes nations with the death penalty from making adultery a capital offense.
The P5+1 world powers, which include the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany, reached an agreement (PDF) with Iran on Nov. 24 committing Iran to limiting its developing nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. The agreement outlines a six-month program, although the US holds that this agreement is only an initial step, and the full force of its sanctions against Iran will not be lifted until [it has been determined that] Iran has come into full compliance with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In a speech regarding the agreement, US President Barack Obama made the following remarks regarding the agreement:
Bahraini authorities on Nov. 23 arrested and charged two former Guantánamo Bay detainees for plotting an attack in Bahrain. Reports indicate authorities caught the former detainees as they attempted to cross into Bahrain from Saudi Arabia on the King Fahad Causeway using forged passports. Bahrain's Interior Ministry has yet to identify the arrestees but noted that both were found to be carrying large amounts of money. The ministry also noted that the arrest comes just days before Bahrain hosts the 32nd meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organization of six Gulf states seeking to effect "coordination, integration and inter-connection" between member states "in all fields." There is, however, no express indication that the former detainees plotted to attack the GCC meeting.
Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (AKA Abu Omar) has gone on trial in absentia in Italy on charges of criminal association with the goal of terrorism and aiding illegal emigration with the goal of terrorism, based on an investigation from 2002. Before the investigation could be concluded and charges filed, Nasr was kidnapped from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003, through the US Central Intelligence Agency's "extraordinary rendition" program. Prosecutors requested a prison sentence of six years and eight months for Nasr's alleged role in organizing false documents in order to recruit people for a terror camp. A verdict is expected within the next month.