Archive for the ‘prison’ Category

Coke, Superstars, Booze, Jail and Rehab: Amy Winehouse

November 5, 2008

Singer Amy Winehouse’s husband, jailed for an assault on a pub landlord in 2006 and perverting the course of justice, has been released from prison.

Blake Fielder-Civil, 26, of Camden, north London, was jailed for 27 months for assaulting James King at the Macbeths pub in Hoxton, east London.

From the BBC

Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil

Blake Fielder-Civil admitted assault on the pub landlord

He also admitted trying to bribe Mr King to withdraw his complaint.

He is believed to have checked into rehab soon after he was freed from Edmunds Hill Prison in Suffolk.

In July Fielder-Civil was jailed by Snaresbrook Crown Court after admitting both charges against him.

The nine months he spent in jail on remand was deducted from his sentence.

It is believed his time in rehab is a part of the terms of his release.

Winehouse was not present when her husband was released from prison.

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Iran: In Infamous Torture Prison is American Studying Women’s Rights

November 5, 2008

Iranian-U.S. student Esha Momeni, who has been held behind bars in Tehran since mid-October, is accused of a security offense in the Islamic republic, the judiciary spokesman said Tuesday.

AFP

“Her accusation is an offense against (national) security. Her file is at the preliminary stage of investigation,” Alireza Jamshidi said at a weekly press briefing.

He said Momeni was being held at Tehran’s Evin prison.

Last month, her lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told AFP that she was arrested on Oct. 15 for her involvement with a women’s rights equality campaign.

Momeni, a graduate student at the Northridge campus of California State University, had traveled to Iran to carry out research for her thesis on women’s rights, the lawyer said.

He said she holds both Iranian and U.S. nationality.

Over the past year Iran has arrested several women involved with a One- Million-Signature campaign, launched two years ago to call for changes to Iranian laws deemed discriminatory to women.

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Tehran skyline may 2007.jpg
Skyline of Tehran, Iran

China arrests suspects in Tibetan riots

March 31, 2008
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China lashed out at the Dalai Lama on Monday, accusing him of being a hypocrite who has deceived the west about his political agenda as authorities announced they had detained suspects in four deadly arson cases in Tibet.

Jiang Zaiping, the vice chief of the Public Security Bureau in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, said investigators have taken into custody suspects responsible for arson attacks on three shops — including a clothing outlet where five young women were burned to death — and one in nearby Dagze county, the Tibet Daily newspaper reported Monday.

The fires killed a total of 12 people, state media has reported.

Authorities have taken 414 suspects into custody in connection with the anti-government riots, Jiang was quoted as saying. Another 298 people have turned themselves in, he said.

The Tibetan regional government also announced that the families of two of the women killed were given compensation of $28,170, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It did not say how many suspects were involved in the four arson cases or give any other details.

An official who answered the telephone at the Lhasa Public Security Bureau said no senior officials were available to give details. He refused to give his name. It was unclear how many suspects had been directly involved in the four arson cases.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080331/ap_on_re_as/china_tibet_247

Vietnam showcases McCain at “Hanoi Hilton”

March 5, 2008
By Grant McCool

HANOI (Reuters) – In the prison everyone calls the “Hanoi Hilton,” artifacts in glass cabinets and black-and-white photographs on the walls recall the historic link between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Vietnam.

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Vietnamese are mostly reticent about their views on U.S. politics, but they know the story very well of U.S. Navy pilot John McCain’s plane being shot down in 1967 over Hanoi and how he was dragged out of a lake to spend 5- years as a prisoner of war.The Hoa Lo prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the Americans, is now a museum and was visited by Senator McCain in 2000. Most of the complex was torn down a few years ago to make way for an apartment and office tower complex.

The Hoa Lo prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the Americans, is now a museum and was visited by Senator McCain in 2000. Most of the complex was torn down a few years ago to make way for an apartment and office tower complex.

McCain and other veterans such as Democratic Senator John Kerry were instrumental in helping the U.S. government establish diplomatic relations in 1995 with their former enemies, 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

“He conducted activities that had a positive impact on bringing the two nations closer,” said retired Colonel Nguyen Van Phuong, 81, who headed a Vietnamese delegation in 1973 that negotiated with the U.S. on the repatriation of American prisoners of war, including McCain.

“That is a point that Vietnamese people who follow current affairs do recognise,” the greying, uniformed Phuong said in an interview in his modest house along a narrow lane in Hanoi.

McCain clinched the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. media projected on Tuesday, capturing enough support nationwide to be the party’s candidate in the November election.

At the prison whose entrance still bears the words “Maison Centrale” from the 1899-1954 period it was used by French colonial rulers to imprison Vietnamese independence fighters, tourists pull up regularly in buses to walk around.

 

 

FLIGHT SUIT DISPLAYED

The flight suit and other gear worn by McCain when he was shot down on October 26, 1967 is propped up in a glass cabinet with a caption that has recently been updated.

“After returning to his country, John McCain became the Republican Senator from Arizona and he is currently a candidate in the 2008 election,” the caption says.

Exhibits describe the heavy bombing of Hanoi and say the POWs were treated well, but McCain says he was put in solitary confinement, beaten and tortured.

By coincidence, Pete Peterson, another former POW who became the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam in 1995, visited the prison museum on Sunday with a group of American business executives.

Peterson told Reuters Television that McCain “understands the benefits of having a friend rather than an enemy sitting out in a very sensitive part of the world”.

Without mentioning the U.S. war in Iraq and the inevitable comparisons that have been made, the former envoy said: “It’s just a very sensitive time in America’s history and it will be interesting to see how the election turns out.”

Chuck Searcy, a veteran who has made his home in Vietnam since the mid-1990s, said he hoped if McCain became U.S. President, his ties to the Southeast Asian country would help with wartime legacies.

“Landmines and unexploded ordnance which litter the countryside and which have impeded economic development and recovery, that might be enhanced,” said Searcy, who works on the issue through representing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

“We might get further along the road with the thorny issue of agent orange.”

Studies have shown the compound of dioxin, a component of “agent orange” herbicides sprayed by the United States during the war, is still present in so-called “hot spots” at levels hundreds of times higher than would be accepted elsewhere.

(Additional reporting by Nguyen Van Vinh)

Hundreds at funeral of Vietnam pro-democracy activist

February 16, 2008

By Frank Zeller
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HANOI (AFP) – Hundreds of Vietnamese relatives and supporters on Saturday attended the funeral of veteran pro-democracy activist Hoang Minh Chinh, a politically charged event held under heavy police scrutiny.

Several dissidents in the one-party state were able to attend the ceremony for the Communist Party veteran-turned-activist who spent much of his life in jail or under house arrest for advocating a multi-party system.

“Today is a big event for democratic activists because Professor Chinh is one of our most renowned activists,” said another prominent critic of the government, Pham Hong Son, who has also spent years in prison.

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dissidentfuneral_080216084520

A Hanoi street. Hundreds of Vietnamese relatives and supporters ...
A Hanoi street. Hundreds of Vietnamese relatives and supporters on Saturday attended the funeral of veteran pro-democracy activist Hoang Minh Chinh, a politically charged event held under heavy police scrutiny.
(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Close Guantanamo

January 14, 2008

By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The chief of the U.S. military said Sunday he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been “pretty damaging” to the image of the United States.

Michael G. Mullen
Michael Mullen

“I’d like to see it shut down,” Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.

His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison’s opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his….

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Secretary Negroponte: Secure The Release of At Least One Jailed In Vietnam

January 13, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 13, 2008

In the endless, general discussions of international diplomacy, sometimes, it seems, absolutely nothing is accomplished.

For that reason, we urge U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, who travels to Vietnam this week, to make a commitment to free Le Thi Cong Nhan, a young Ho Chi Minh City attorney in a communist Vietnam jail.

Le Thi Cong Nhan in court in Hanoi on 11 May 2007

Ms Nhan is one of the latest activists to be sent to prison bt communist Vietnam.
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In early November, 2006, just before President George W. Bush and other heads of state from around the globe assembled in Hanoi for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC), Ms Nhan’s apartment was surrounded by communist Vietnam police. Her phones and internet were cut off. She was told she was not allowed to leave her home.

Ms Nhan, she was told, had spoken out against human rights abuses in Vietnam, one crime; and then she used the internet to spread her views, her second crime in Vietnam.

The BBC reported on 16 November 2006, “The move seems to be part of a general attempt to prevent anyone from disrupting the summit.”
Nguyễn Minh Triết and First Lady Trần Thị Kim Chi meet with George W. Bush and Laura Bush at the President's Palace, November 2006.

Nguyễn Minh Triết and First Lady Trần Thị Kim Chi meet with George W. Bush and Laura Bush at the President’s Palace, Hanoi, November 2006, during the APEC summit.
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The BBC also reported, “Miss Cong Nhan’s mother was told by police that her daughter cannot leave her apartment or talk to foreigners until … after the Apec summit has finished.”

Another factor in Ms Nhan house arrest may have been this: she was scheduled to defend a British woman of Vietnamese origin potentially facing the death penalty for drug smuggling.

Despite communist Vietnam’s verbal assurances that it stands for a free and fair judicial system, defense attorneys who take positions contrary to the state’s are often in for at least ridicule and often harassed or imprisoned.

Soon after Vietnam was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO), on 6 March, 2007, Ms Nhan was arrested and accused of collaborating with overseas pro-democracy advocates and using the internet to spread her views.

On May 10, Ms. Nhan was tried and found guilty of “spreading propaganda intended to undermine Vietnam’s Communist government.”

About a month later the President of Vietnam, Nguyễn Minh Triết, visited with President Bush in the White House.

At their White House meeting on June 22, 2007, President Bush told Mr. Triết , “In order for relations to grow deeper, it’s important for our friends to have a strong commitment to human rights and freedom and democracy.”

Mr. Triết has shown little or no inkling of a reaction to the President of the United States’ urgings.

Left, Presidents Triết and Bush in the White House.
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Ms Nhan was sentenced to four years in prison by the Hanoi People’s Court.  She was also ordered to serve several years’ house arrest after the completion of her prison sentence.

So, we ask Mr. Negroponte, as the second most senior full-time U.S. diplomat, to commit to seek the immediate freedom of Ms Nhan.  She is a political prisoner among many others. 

If the communist government of Vietnam is serious about its pledges made before and during the APEC summit in 2006, if communist Vietnam is serious about honoring the pledges it made to gain entry into the WTO and if President Triết is serious about his pledges to President Bush when the two met in Washington D.C. in June, 2007, then the release of Ms Nhan would be a delightful, if symbolic, signal that Vietnam truly intends to become a member of the civilized community of nations.

Just today, January 13, 2008, the President of the United States said during his address in Abu Dhabi, “You cannot expect people to believe in the promise of a better future when they are jailed for peacefully petitioning their government.”

The president continued, “And you cannot stand up a modern, confident nation when you do not allow people to voice their legitimate criticisms.”

Words mean nothing unless Vietnam and the United States act upon their words — and their beliefs.

Related:

Vietnam Striving to be Good WTO Participant

China, Vietnam: Global Issues

We encourage all to contact their elected representatives on this and all human rights issues.

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Vick Dog In Slammer; Wants a Mike Tyson Free Ride

November 19, 2007


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 19, 2007

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has begun serving his prison sentence so he can get out of custody as soon as possible.
The length of Vick’s sentence won’t be determined until next month.
Steve Blando, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal’s Service headquarters in Washington, confirmed that Vick turned himself into custody but would not provide additional details. The Associated Press reported that Vick is being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va.“From the beginning, Mr. Vick has accepted responsibility for his actions and his self surrender further demonstrates that acceptance,” Billy Martin, one of Vick’s lawyers, said in a statement.

“Michael wants to again apologize to everyone [who] has been hurt in this matter and he thanks all of the people who have offered him and his family prayers and support during this time.”

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson of Richmond, who will sentence Vick on Dec. 10, signed an order Monday to allow the U.S. Marshal’s Service to take Vick into custody.

Vick, who surrendered to authorities in Richmond, was put in custody “based solely on his desire to begin his period of incarceration prior to his sentencing hearing and not because of a violation of any condition of his bond,” Hudson wrote.

In August, Vick pleaded guilty for his role in a dogfighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels at his former property in Surry County, Va. Vick acknowledged financing the operation beginning in 2001 through this past spring. In a plea agreement, Vick admitted the operation involved the “victimization and killing of pit bull dogs.”

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Vick faces between 12 and 18 months in prison, although Hudson could impose a sentence below or above that range if he sees fit.

“The sooner he gets in, the better it is for him if he wants to play football again,” said Atlanta criminal defense attorney Jerry Froelich, who has followed Vick’s case. “He should have gone into custody right away.”

Staff writers Jeremy Redmon and D. Orlando Ledbetter contributed to this article.

Related:
American Accountability: Mike Tyson Gets One Day in Jail

As More Take a Chance On Fleeing North Korea, Routes for All Budgets

November 18, 2007

By Blain Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 18, 2007; Page A01

SEOUL — Brokers here are busily selling what they call “planned escapes” from North Korea.
Given enough money, the brokers say, they can now get just about anyone out of the dictatorial Stalinist state that human rights activists call the world’s largest prison.

A low-budget escape through China via Thailand to Seoul, which requires treacherous river crossings, arduous travel on foot and several miserable weeks in a Thai immigration jail, can cost less than $2,000, according to four brokers here.

A first-class defection, complete with a forged Chinese passport and an airplane ticket from Beijing to Seoul, goes for more than $10,000. From start to finish, it can take as little as three weeks.

Read the rest:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/17/AR2007111701699.html?hpid=topnews

To Oprah and All Her Fans: Everything is Relative

November 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 5, 2007

Oprah Winfrey, “Who hasn’t had a bad day in her life,” according to celebrity disaster control and public relations consultant Peter Shankman of Manhattan, issued a teary-eyed apology to her South African school’s students and their parents after allegations of child sexual abuse by a matron were uncovered.

Ms. Winfrey, the highly regarded mega-millionaire, has invested some $40 million into an South African education center for about 150 young women, which is highly commendable. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah said whenever a child has the courage to come forward, adults should listen.

Oprah also said the revelation of the allegations had sparked “one of the most, if not the most devastating experience of my life.”

Now, child abuse and any sexual abuse is insidious, life-changing and often devastating.  It is not to be belittled.  But it is not death, cancer or the life that refugees face either.

Oprah Winfrey said, “This has shaken me to the core.”

This is as bad as Oprah’s life has ever gotten?  Or will ever get?
Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey smiles as she arrives for the Chicago premier of 'The Color Purple' in a  Thursday, May 3, 2007 photo. Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's 'The Education of Little Tree,' from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival 'error' for including a work considered the literary hoax of a white supremacist.  'The archived listing was posted in error and has been removed,' Winfrey spokeswoman Angela DePaul told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, adding that she did not know long 'Little Tree' had been on the site. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

Oprah Winfrey

We think what really brought Oprah to tears was the revelation that Jay Leno wouldn’t be able to talk about her dilemma because his writers are on strike. We heard one PR queen say, “She cried like a baby when she heard the story broke on a night with only late night re-runs. Now THAT’S a TRAGEDY.”

And by emphasizing her own emotional distress, Oprah seemed to cover over the people really hurt and wronged.  The students.  Her students.  A PEOPLE Magazine editor we spoke to said, “Oprah is partly to blame.  She put her name on that school then didn’t ensure a safe environment.  She needs to step up.”

Even Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote, “I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa ‘one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life’ — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims.”

On the November 6, 2007 TODAY show on NBC, feelings were expressed, but in very muted tones.

Oprah promised to love, cherish, comfort and care for her “little ones” and she handed out her cell phone number.

She told the media she was their “Mamma Bear.”

But when you are 5 or 6 time zones away and in a different culture and on a different continent, the amount of hugging and helping has to be done through accountants.

We believe, if a crime committed in Africa is the worst thing ever to happen to a Chicago-based multi-millionaire and TV personality; then life is just about as terrific as it can be. Oprah apparently has no clue about what is going on in cancer treatment centers, refugee camps and millions of other places filled with tragedy, crime, unlawful death, pain and agony.

Heck, in Thailand and Cambodia they just don’t abuse little girls, they sell them to predators first.  Try human trafficking as a real cause for celebrity interest.

Oh, Oprah has HEARD all the stories, and even visited some slums in her limo: but she is always free to travel home to her Ivory Tower.

Fifteen minutes in the slums of Bombay or Manila, we bet, would make Oprah lose her lunch.  She’d have no fluids left for tears.

We are tired of teary-eyed divas with few worries worth noting. 

Paris Hilton cried after she was sentenced to a Hollywood slammer for, what, 23 days? Ellen cried because she had to send a puppy (that she had already given away to someone else) back to the adoption agency.  

And Heather Mills cried, I guess, because she might only screw Paul McCartney out of $60 million: not the full $300 million she thinks she deserves.  And besides, says Heather, the newspapers have been “simply wicked.”
Photo

Well my heart is broken.

Lord Have Mercy! These are DISASTERS? Whoever is listening to this drivel and thinks these are real tragedies should run, not walk, to the nearest neighborhood AA meeting and hear an hours worth of real life problems. Heck, in Vegas there are guys that have lost more money gambling than Oprah has ever MADE. Now that’s a tragedy. And a fifteen minute visit to a communist prison in Vietnam or China, we’ll bet, would more than quadruple the trauma Oprah is experience because of sexual abouse 5,000 or more miles away.

And ladies of America, if you have sympathy for these hugely rich people with bad nail and manicure tragedies: go find someone with real heartache and lend a hand. Don’t stew for one second over these charlatans.

Remember “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”?  The song about the tragedy of Evita Peron? Well, she slept herself into South American stardom and didn’t deserve one tear drop.

At least Marie Osmond figured out that tears had been shed over, and over, and over again.  So she fainted!

Evita and Marie deserve no tears.

And neither do any of the above mentioned show people of dubious intentions and questionable tragedies.

Related:
Rich, Good Looking Doesn’t Make You Happy: So Crying on TV Gets Attention?
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Oprah the Avenger

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
November 6, 2007

I  can’t summon any schadenfreude for Oprah Winfrey, just sympathy — both for her good intentions and her determination to live up to them. And I pity anyone foolish enough to stand in her way.

I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa “one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life” — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims. Still, my heart refused to harden.

I recalled that when Winfrey opened the $40 million school in January, I criticized her dismissal of inner-city kids here in the United States as only interested in “an iPod or some sneakers.”

I thought that insult was gratuitous and wrong. But I couldn’t argue with her basic point that South Africa has desperate poverty and a rudimentary educational infrastructure, and I applauded her attempt to give a few special girls an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams.

Now that the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, I’ve got to applaud the way Winfrey is handling the situation. I have the sense that she wouldn’t hesitate to do a little “enhanced interrogation” of some staff members if that was what it took to get to the bottom of what really happened.

A now-fired dormitory matron at the school, Virginia Mokgobo, 27, was arrested last week. She pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of assault, indecent assault and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts and was released on bail.

Police said that at least seven students had submitted statements in support of the allegations, but it was not known how many were alleged victims of abuse and how many were witnesses.

“When I first heard about it, I spent about a half-hour going around my house crying,” Winfrey told South African journalists yesterday, speaking from Chicago in a video news conference.

All about Oprah? Not a fair question, when you recall that Winfrey has disclosed that she was the victim of sexual abuse as a young girl. There’s every reason to believe that the allegations of abuse at the school have, as Winfrey said, “shaken me to my core” — not her celebrity core, but her real core.

Since first hearing of the allegations in early October, she has flown to South Africa twice. She put the school’s headmistress on administrative leave and has since said that she will not renew the woman’s contract — the first step in what she described at her news conference yesterday as “cleaning house from top to bottom.”

She apologized personally to angry parents, telling them, “I’ve disappointed you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” She has hired her own investigative team to assist South African authorities, and if someone is found guilty of the charges, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winfrey offered to build a new prison.

Of course, we don’t yet know if any abuse actually took place. The magistrate who released Mokgobo on bail told her, “These kind of offenses are very prevalent in this court” — an acknowledgment that sexual abuse of girls, usually by male teachers, is far too common in South African schools. But in the case of Winfrey’s school, we don’t yet know the specific allegations, much less whether there is evidence to support them.

We know that students complained months ago about not being allowed to eat junk food — hardly a red flag. But we also know that some parents began complaining in March, just two months after the Leadership Academy opened, that the school was too strict in limiting visits, telephone calls and e-mail contact with their children. In retrospect, that might have been an important warning.

Winfrey’s school — lavishly appointed, with state-of-the-art science labs and a yoga studio — is meant to be an island of unlimited possibility. But isolating the school’s 450 students so thoroughly from negative influences may also have kept out needed sunlight — and may have allowed problems to fester in the dark. As Winfrey cleans house, I think she might want to restructure the model and allow more of an organic relationship between the school and its community.

She gave the students her private phone number and e-mail address so they can contact her immediately with problems and concerns. Winfrey may not be an expert on running a school — yet — but I’m confident she understands the most important thing: There is no more sacred trust than caring for other people’s children.

The writer will answer questions at 1 p.m. today here. His e-mail address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.