Human Rights in the United States
Human rights don't start at the water's edge - there's urgent work to be done here at home.
Amnesty International works to protect human rights in the United States. Amnesty International combats taser abuse, works towards rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and advocates for individuals at risk.
The Pentagon announced the release from the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of 22 non-US nationals held there, bringing the number held in the base at the end of the year to approximately 250. One detainee was transferred from secret CIA custody to Guantánamo in March. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Guantánamo detainees had the constitutional right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in US federal courts. By the end of the year there had been rulings in the cases of only eight detainees contesting their detention as “enemy combatants” in habeas corpus petitions. The first two trials by military commission were held at Guantánamo and several others, some of which could potentially result in death sentences, remained pending at the end of the year.
There were continued reports of police brutality and ill-treatment in prisons, jails and immigration detention facilities. Dozens of people died after police used tasers (electro-shock weapons) against them. The first successful prosecution in a US court for torture committed outside the USA took place in October. There were 37 executions during the year, the lowest annual total for 15 years.