Japanese man granted retrial after 45 years on death row

Iwao Hakamada, 87, was convicted of four murders in 1968 but granted ‘temporary release’ in 2014 after new evidence emerged

A court in Japan has granted a retrial to a man – thought to be the world’s longest-serving death row inmate – who was sentenced to hang for the murders of a family of four almost six decades ago.

The Tokyo high court ruled on Monday that Iwao Hakamada, 87, should be tried again for the crimes in a decision campaigners said was a “step towards justice”.

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Australian justice appointed to Hong Kong court argues foreign judges shouldn’t ‘vacate the field’

Exclusive: Some legal figures have raised concerns about message his appointment sends in light of Beijing’s crackdown on freedom in Hong Kong

The former Australian high court judge Patrick Keane has dismissed criticism of his appointment to a top Hong Kong court, saying he weighed up the role carefully but believed foreign judges should not “vacate the field”.

Legal figures have noted Keane’s eminent record, but some raised concerns about the message his appointment sends in light of Beijing’s increasing crackdown on rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

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Anger as Pakistan court frees rapist after he agrees deal to marry his victim

Dawlat Khan had received a life sentence for the rape of a young deaf woman but a council of elders intervened to offer a compromise

A court in Pakistan has caused outrage after it freed a convicted rapist when he agreed to marry his victim.

Dawlat Khan, 25, had been sentenced to life imprisonment in May by the district court of Buner, in north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, for the rape of a young deaf woman.

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Share your views on Indonesia’s new laws criminalising sex outside marriage

We’d like to hear from people living in or who are planning to visit Indonesia what their views are on the country’s new controversial legislation outlawing extramarital sex

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, has approved legislation that outlaws sex outside marriage as one of several sweeping changes to the country’s criminal code.

The new code, which will apply to Indonesians and visiting foreigners alike and has prompted alarm from human rights campaigners, will also prohibit cohabitation between unmarried couples.

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Indonesia passes legislation banning sex outside marriage

Rights groups say amended criminal code underscores shift towards fundamentalism

Indonesia’s parliament has overhauled the country’s criminal code to outlaw sex outside marriage and curtail free speech, in a dramatic setback to freedoms in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Passed with support from all political parties, the draconian legislation has shocked not only rights activists but also the country’s booming tourism sector, which relies on a stream of visitors to its tropical islands.

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Hong Kong withholds British lawyer’s visa, delaying Jimmy Lai trial

Hong Kong’s immigration department withheld Timothy Owen KC’s application for an extension of his work visa on Thursday

Hong Kong has temporarily blocked a top British human rights lawyer from representing jailed pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai, in a trial stymied by delays and calls for an intervention from Beijing.

British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen was set to represent Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily, who has been in jail on protest-related offences since his high-profile arrest in 2020.

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Young girls being sold in India to repay loans, says human rights body

Notice issued to Rajasthan state government demanding police inquiry into ‘abominable’ practice

Young girls in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan are being sold as “repayment” for loans their parents cannot afford, the national body that protects human rights has said.

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the state government demanding a police inquiry and answers within a month to what it called an “abominable” practice.

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Failure to investigate UK imports linked to forced Uyghur labour unlawful, court told

World Uyghur Forum brings high court challenge against government agencies over Xinjiang cotton imports

UK government agencies have broken the law by not investigating the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced Uyghur labourers in China, the high court has heard.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is challenging the home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA), claiming a failure or refusal to investigate imports from Xinjiang, allegedly home to 380 internment camps, was unlawful.

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Indian minister calls for abolition of 1,500 laws dating back to Raj

Archaic laws include fining those who fail to beat a drum to beat back locusts or report money found in street

An Indian minister has called for his country to abolish 1,500 archaic laws dating back to the British Raj.

On the statute book are laws that range from equating kites with aircraft so that anyone wanting to fly a kite needs a licence, to a requirement for car inspectors to have “well-brushed” teeth.

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UK accused of letting refugees make dangerous Indian Ocean boat journeys

MoD personnel escorted refugees away from Diego Garcia in boat with no record of having radio or lifesaving equipment, lawyers say

Lawyers have accused the UK of facilitating dangerous onward boat journeys by Tamil refugees who had arrived at the British-claimed territory of Diego Garcia in distress.

Fishing boats that fled Sri Lanka were escorted to the Indian Ocean island after getting into difficulty but the same vessels were later permitted to leave without basic safety equipment, putting passengers – including children – at “grave risk”, lawyers have claimed.

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UN vote to ignore human rights abuses in China leaves west in dead end

Result not to debate its own damning report shows many states are unwilling to take sides in power struggle between China and west

In a display of raw Chinese political power, the UN has voted to turn its back on a report written by its own human rights commissioner that accused Beijing of serious human rights abuses and possible crimes against humanity in Xinjiang province.

The 47-strong UN human rights council meeting in Geneva voted on Thursday by 19 to 17 to reject an American-led call for a debate on the report at the next human rights council in spring. Eleven countries abstained. A simple majority was required.

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West weighs calling for China Uyghur abuses inquiry at UN

Battle over influence at Human Rights Council, with Beijing warning of ‘politicisation of human rights’

Western powers are weighing the risk of a potential defeat if they table a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council calling for an independent commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses by China in Xinjiang.

The issue is a litmus case for Chinese influence at the UN, as well as the willingness of the UN to endorse a worldview that protects individual rights from authoritarian states.

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‘Our people are still trapped’: Uyghur exiles demand action on abuses

Campaigners criticise failure of UN report to label China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities genocide

“I feel like my house is on fire, it’s burning down and my children, my family is trapped inside,” said Zumrat Dawut via video link. “I scream and scream for the world to come, and help me put out the fire, but at times I feel like no one is coming to our rescue.”

Last Wednesday, as Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, finished her term and released a long-awaited report on abuses in Xinjiang, Dawut was protesting alongside other Uyghur exiles in Washington DC.

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Lawyer criticises UN report’s failure to call Uyghur oppression ‘genocide’

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC says outgoing human rights chief’s report on China makes it easier for international community to do nothing

The UN’s failure to mention the word genocide in its report alleging serious human rights violations by China against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province is an “astonishing” lapse, according to a leading British human rights lawyer.

The 45-page report from the outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, landed minutes before her term ended on Wednesday, outlining allegations of torture, including forced medical procedures, as well as sexual violence against Uyghur Muslims.

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Five key points from the UN report on Xinjiang human rights abuses

Damning report cites human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in north-west Chinese province

China has committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province that could amount to crimes against humanity, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner has said in a long-awaited and damning report.

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