Oct. 2013


UN Accuses US of Torture


UN special rapporteur on human rights - accuses US of torture

The UN rapporteur for human rights, Juan Mendes, has accused the US of carrying out a systematic and prolonged campaign of torture against prisoners, mostly black, by holding them for extended periods of time in solitary confinement. Mr Mendez says this clearly is a grave violation of human rights and amounts to torture. He says he has asked the US government several times for permission to inspect its jails, but this has thus far been denied. Mr Mendez noted, “… the use of solitary confinement in the US penitentiary system goes far beyond what is acceptable under international human rights law.”  He stressed that the use of solitary confinement and its negative effects on inmates is widespread throughout the US penitentiary system.

More details at:  Four decades in solitary confinement…torture   and UN independent expert calls on US to ban,,,



Herman Wallace - kept in solitary confinement  for 41 years

His comments arose after the death of Herman Wallace, who had been held in solitary confinement for the last 41 years, thought to be one of the longest periods of solitary confinement known. Mr Wallace had been accused of murdering a prison guard in Lousiana State prison, also known as Angola, during a riot, but had always maintained his innocence. Several appeals to overturn his conviction had failed, despite doubts about the soundness of the evidence used against him. He was kept in solitary confinement throughout his detention, in a cell measuring just 6 feet by 9. He was a member of the Black Panthers organization, a militant black political group that fought for equal rights for blacks in the US in the 1970s. The US authorities cracked down hard on the group, and Mr Wallace always maintained that he was framed by the authorities because of his membership of the group. Finally, on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013, a US judge overturned his conviction and ordered his release. Suffering from terminal cancer, he died three days later.  Amnesty International also has weighed in on the case.  "No ruling can erase the cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions he endured for more than 41 years - confined alone to a tiny cell for 23 hours a day," the group's executive director, Steven Hawkins, said in a statement.

 More details at  dying-inmate  Amnesty International statements at   Amnesty International welcomes release of Herman Wallace  and Louisiana must release dying prisoner