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Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Allows Transfer of Two Transvestites to Prisons Compatible with their Sexual Orientation

(Mar. 14, 2018) On February 19, 2018, Justice Luis Roberto Barroso of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court ruled in a habeas corpus proceeding that two persons who self-identified as transvestites and who had been placed in a men’s prison cell be transferred to a prison that is “compatible with their gender identity.” (Ministro determina transferência […]

Germany: Costs of Phone Calls in Prisons Must Reflect Market Prices

(Dec. 1, 2017) In a decision published on November 28, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) found that the constitutional requirement of social rehabilitation of sentenced persons is violated when a prisoner is charged excessive fees for phone services. An inmate’s request for a reduction of the costs for a prison phone call […]

Israel: Increase in Prisoners’ Living Space Mandated

(June 30, 2017) On June 13, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, accepted petitions submitted by several associations and ordered the state to increase the personal living space allotted to every prisoner in the country within the next nine months to a minimum of three square meters (SM; approx. 32.3 […]

Israel: Expansion of Rabbinical Courts’ Enforcement Authority over Divorce Refusers

(Apr. 25, 2017) On April 3, 2017, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Rabbinical Courts (Enforcement of Divorce Judgements) (Amendment No. 8) Law, 5777-2017 (Amendment Law). (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, official gazette, SH] 5777 No. 2627 p. 593, available at KNESSET NATIONAL LEGISLATION DATABASE (in Hebrew).)  The Amendment Law amends the Rabbinical Courts (Enforcement of […]

Brazil: New Law Prohibits the Use of Handcuffs on Pregnant Inmates During Labor

(Apr. 24, 2017) On April 12, 2017, three laws related to the treatment of women during childbirth and its aftermath were adopted in Brazil. Law No. 13.434 amends article 292 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prohibit the use of handcuffs on pregnant women inmates during medical and hospital preparatory procedures for delivery and […]

Brazil: Decree Enacted to Regulate Use of Handcuffs

(Oct. 6, 2016) On September 26, 2016, Decree No. 8,858 was enacted to regulate the use of handcuffs in the Brazil. (Decreto No. 8.858 de 26 de Setembro de 2016, PLANALTO.)  The decree follows the guidelines established in articles 1(III) and 5(III) of the Brazilian Constitution, which provide for the protection and promotion of human […]

Israel: Law Authorizing Force-Feeding of Prisoners Held Constitutional

(Oct. 5, 2016) On September 11, 2016, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and various human rights organizations to declare void legislation passed by the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in July 2015, authorizing force-feeding of prisoners on a hunger strike. (HC 5304/15 IMA v. Israel Knesset (Sept. 11, 2016), STATE […]

Sri Lanka: Criticism of Ongoing Use of Torture

(May 13, 2016) In a statement following a nine-day trip to Sri Lanka, Juan E. Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, claimed that criminal and terrorism investigators in Sri Lanka still use torture against detainees, even though the use has declined since the end of the country’s civil war seven years ago. While […]

Norway: District Court Says State Violated Breivik’s Rights

(Apr. 26, 2016) On April 20, 2016, the District Court of Oslo announced its verdict in the human rights case brought by Anders Behring Breivik, who had been convicted in 2012 of the murders of over 70 people. (Press Release, Oslo District Court, Verdict: Lawsuit Regarding Prison Regime and Claimed Violation of Human Rights (ECHR) […]

Cambodia: Plan to Reform Torture Prevention Committee

(Apr. 19, 2016) Although plans have not been made concrete, Cambodia’s Interior Minister, Sar Kheng, has announced that the government’s Committee Against Torture will be reformed. The announcement came on April 8, predating the April 13, 2016, release of the annual U.S. Department of State human rights report that criticized Cambodia on the issue of […]