05-20-2018  6:41 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Portland jury issues million verdict against landlord

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has ordered a rental-property company to pay more than million after a man fell through a rotting walkway at his Portland apartment complex.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Robert Trebelhorn argued that Los Angeles-based Prime Group, which owns the...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...

Kelly Clarkson honors school victims at Billboard Awards

An emotional Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in tribute to the recent school children and teachers who died in Texas, barely able to speak as she urged the audience and the world to do more to prevent deadly shootings from happening.Clarkson, who is hosting the show, said she...

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

Venezuela keeps voting stations open amid light turnout

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Voting centers across Venezuela's capital appeared largely empty during Sunday's...

Police response to Texas school shooting remains unclear

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Santa Fe High School had conducted active shooter drills, armed police officers...

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Sherpa climbing guide who scaled Mount Everest for a record 22nd time last week...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Joe Sterling CNN


Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is accused of ordering human rights violations to crackdown
on protesters

 

Editor's note: Note graphic content.

(CNN) -- Syrian security forces, soldiers and pro-regime militias used sexual violence to torture people in detention and sexually abused women and girls as young as 12 in raids, a new report said Friday.

The Human Rights Watch report, based on interviews with victims of sexual abuse, tells of shocking accounts of rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia.

"Syrian security forces have used sexual violence to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of the human rights organization.

"The assaults are not limited to detention facilities -- government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps."

The details emerged, the report said, despite a stigma surrounding sexual violence and a reluctance to talk publicly because of fear and shame. It is the latest report of abuses in the turbulent country, in the throes of a 15-month-old nationwide uprising after the government launched a crackdown against protesters.

Male and female detainees -- many of whom were political activists or simply attended protests -- reported "sexual torture" at Military Intelligence Branch 248 and Branch 235 (known as "Palestine Branch") in Damascus; the military intelligence facilities in Jisr al-Shughur, Idlib, and Homs; the political security branch in Latakia; the air force intelligence branches in Mezze, Latakia, and Homs; and the Idlib Central Prison.

Using pseudonyms, Human Rights Watch recounted the victims' stories.

Khalil, who had been detained in Idlib province, described extensive torture over a three-day period.

"They forced me to undress. Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They used a stapler to put nails in my fingers, chest, and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The nails in the ears were the most painful. They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again."

Nour, detained at the "Palestine Branch," said she and three other women "were repeatedly raped."

"They would take turns with us. More than one man would rape you. It wasn't every day, but it was regular ... "

Amer, imprisoned in Latakia, said, "They undressed me, tied my hands behind my back, and hit me on my private parts."

Samih, a man detained in Latakia, described beatings and "rape for the boys."

"We would see them when the guards brought them back to the cell. It's indescribable. You can't talk about it. One boy came into the cell bleeding from behind. He couldn't walk. It was something they just did to the boys. We would cry for them."

Toufiq, a military defector, said a friend in his unit admitted to having participated in a gang rape of two women during a home raid in Homs. He said saw video on his friend's cell phone that confirmed the gang rape.

Suha said Shabiha members raped her 28-year-old neighbor in Homs province. Selma, also in Homs province, heard her neighbors being raped. Yousef said he watched soldiers from security forces rape his wife in Daraa.

Women in Syria and those who've fled to neighboring countries have had a tough time getting help. Emergency responders know about the abuse because they have worked with sexual abuse survivors.

A women's rights activist, called Leila, said Syrians have limited access to medical and psychological treatment and have worked to provide abortions and safe houses. She said her group worked to help two teenage girls raped by Shabiha members during a house raid.

Human Rights Watch lacks evidence that high-ranking officers commanded their troops to commit sexual violence during home searches, ground operations or in detention. But commanders in many of the cases "knew or should have known" about the crimes, the group said.

"Information received by Human Rights Watch, including from army and security force defectors, indicates that no action has been taken to investigate or punish government forces and shabiha who commit acts of sexual violence or to prevent them from committing such acts in the future," the report said.

"The international community urgently needs to address the human rights violations going on in Syria," Human Rights Watch's Whitson said. "The Security Council should send a strong signal to the Assad government that they will be held accountable for sexual violence and other human rights violations -- by referring the situation to the ICC," the International Criminal Court.

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