Taser International Unveils Newest Civilian Stun Device- Amnesty International USA Renews Call for Independent Safety Review – Update from Co-host Dalia Hashad
Families in New York with a loved one in prison won a long-awaited victory on January 8, 2007 when Governor Spitzer committed to end the burdensome, back door tax on collect calls to inmates’ families.
Since 1996, families of inmates have had no choice but to pay phone rates 630% the normal consumer rates to speak with their loved ones. And for the past 11 years, New York State has been collecting nearly 60 percent of the profits of these charges, $16 million in 2005. Family members have complained that the exorbitant phone rates forced them to choose between maintaining their relationship with a loved one and putting food on the table.
Governor Spitzer declared that instead of raising funds via a backdoor tax imposed on the family members of inmates, the state will pay for mandated services in prisons using the State’s General Fund. Families should begin realizing savings in early April, when the General Fund will assume costs for these mandates services, including health care and family-based programs.
Guest – Annette Dickerson – coordinator for the NY Campaign for Telephone Justice on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights
Guest – Rachel Meeropol – CCR staff attorney also working on the case.
Egyptian cleric kidnapped off the streets of Italy by the CIA. An Italian judge has indicted more than 20 CIA agents on the kidnapping and rendering of Egyptian cleric. Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, set down on paper his version of his abduction in Italy and imprisonment in Egypt. The 6,300-word letter, written in Arabic script and smuggled out of Egypt’s Torah Prison by a visitor, is now in the hands of Italian prosecutors, who say they plan to offer it to the court as his testimony in absentia. Read letter here.
Guest – Jumana Musa – Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for Human Rights and International Justice
Judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar
Last Wednesday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that the government should delay the execution of Saddam Hussein’s half brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan Ibrahim, and Judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court. Both were sentenced to death with Saddam. Talabani said the delay would allow the government to quote ‘examine the situation,’ without further elaborating. The two were found guilty, along with the former Iraqi leader, of involvement in killing 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the northern town of Dujail. Ibrahim and al-Bandar were originally scheduled to be executed with Saddam on Dec. 30. Their executions were postponed, however, until after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended a week ago.
Lawyers from the Partnership for Civil Justice, working with former Attorney General and attorney for Saddam Hussein, Ramsey Clark have been working feverishly since late December to halt the execution.
Guest – attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard with the Partnership for Civil Justice to Law and Disorder.