International human rights group Amnesty International has obtained satellite images of North Korea that expose some of its largest prison camps, where hundreds of thousands of people, including children, are believed to be kept "in horrific conditions."
"The gruesome reality of North Korea's continued investment in this vast network of repression has been exposed. We urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those prisoners of conscience held in political prison camps and close the camps immediately," said Rajiv Narayan, Amnesty International's East Asia researcher.
Amnesty's detailed report said that the new findings are of "grave concern," as it shows that North Korean authorities are investing in and maintaining political prison camps – described as places of "systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations, such as forced hard labor, denial of detainee's food quota as punishment, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." more >>
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini was robbed at knifepoint at Iran's Rajai Shahr prison, the American Center for Law and Justice confirmed, sparking further fears for his life.
"Pastor Saeed is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives. Pastor Saeed's 'cell' is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, allowing dangerous prisoners – murderers and rapists – unfettered access to him 24 hours a day," ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow shared in an update earlier this week.
"He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene." more >>
The U.S. government is being criticized by the American Center for Law and Justice for releasing an Iranian nuclear scientist as part of negotiation talks with the Islamic Republic, while failing to strike a deal for imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini and other Americans held in Iran.
"This is betrayal," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, according to Fox News. "A betrayal because not only did they not get the release of the three Americans, but they said they are working on this 'on the margins.' Our citizens are on the margins and then we are releasing an Iranian convicted on working on the nuclear issue."
The ACLJ, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., has spoken at length about the U.S.-Iran negotiations, and asked why the Obama administration did not insist on the release of the pastor, who is serving eight years in prison because of his Christian faith. more >>
A mother is currently fighting for custody of her daughter who was forcibly taken from her via cesarean section after the High Court ordered it done. The High Court ordered the procedure for the Italian woman who was visiting Britain on a work trip because she suffered a mental breakdown.
The woman reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder and had not been taking her medication at the time of the meltdown. She called police to help her locate her missing passports, and the police, upon learning of her alleged bipolar disorder, took the woman to the hospital for evaluation. Instead of a traditional hospital, though, the police took her to a psychiatric hospital, where she was held under the Mental Health Act.
Mr. Justice Mostyn gave the order "for the birth to be enforced by way of cesarean section," and then the baby girl was taken into the custody of Essex social workers. Now a family is close to adopting the 15-month-old girl, and her biological mother is protesting and asking for her to be returned to her family. more >>
The Amish couple who allegedly took their 10-year-old daughter out of the U.S. in order to avoid giving her chemotherapy has reportedly returned to the country but is still in hiding. Family members say that the girl, now 11, is cancer-free after receiving all-natural treatments.
"She's a vibrant, healthy girl," her grandfather, Isaac Keim, told the Akron Beacon Journal. "What kind of gift would that be, if we could get this resolved and they can come back home without a fear of being in contempt of court or having their child snatched away? We're praying every day that this thing can be resolved and they can get their lives back together."
Andy and Anna Hershberger decided to stop chemotherapy treatment after their daughter, Sarah, asked them to do so. more >>
An Amish family not wanting to treat their 10-year-old daughter's leukemia in the traditional way is reportedly on the run and may have left the U.S. in order to avoid treatment.
Andy and Anna Hershberger allegedly took their daughter, Sarah, and left their home in Ohio in order to avoid treating Sarah's leukemia with chemotherapy and radiation. The sheriff's office is not actively looking for the family, who was last seen this past summer.