Friday, November 15, 2013

  • Jailed for Life for Stealing a $159 Jacket? 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Crimes

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    A shocking new study by the American Civil Liberties Union has found that more than 3,200 people nationwide are serving life terms without parole for nonviolent offenses. Of those prisoners, 80 percent are behind bars for drug-related convictions. Sixty-five percent are African-American, 18 percent are white, and 16 percent are Latino — evidence of what the ACLU calls "extreme racial disparities." The crimes that led to life sentences include stealing gas from a truck, shoplifting, possessing a crack pipe, facilitating a $10 sale of marijuana, and attempting to cash a stolen check. We speak with Jennifer Turner, human rights researcher and author of the new ACLU report, "A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses."

  • Calle 13’s René "Residente" Pérez on Revolutionary Music, WikiLeaks & Puerto Rican Independence

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    Calle 13, one of Latin America’s most popular bands, released a new song this week featuring an unlikely collaborator — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The song, "Multi_Viral," also features Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and the Palestinian singer Kamilya Jubran. To create the lyrics, Calle 13 lead singer and songwriter René Pérez asked followers on Twitter to express their social justice concerns in a live brainstorming session with Assange. This is not the first time Calle 13 has made headlines for its political work. In 2005, the group quickly recorded and released a song about Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos just hours after he was shot dead by the FBI. They have called for the release of independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who has spent more than 32 years in jail, and have spoken out about police brutality and government spying. We speak with Pérez, better known as "Residente." His group has won a record 19 Latin Grammy Awards.

    Haz click aqui para ver la entrevista en español (Watch the interview in Spanish).

  • Burning the Evidence: Gunmen Torch Records Documenting War Crimes, Missing Children in El Salvador

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    On Thursday, armed men sabotaged an El Salvadoran nonprofit dedicated to finding children who went missing three decades ago during a time when the United States was backing Salvador’s military government. The intruders broke into the Pro-Búsqueda Association for Missing Children, destroyed four of its offices, and set fire to its archives. They also stole computers, possibly containing sensitive information about children stolen by members of the military between 1980 and 1992. El Salvador’s human rights ombudsman, David Morales, told the Associated Press the attack could be related to an appeal before the country’s Supreme Court that would eliminate amnesty for people who carried out war crimes. We go to San Salvador, El Salvador, to speak with Monserrat Martínez, who works in the investigation unit of the Pro-Búsqueda Association for Missing Children. We are also joined by Alexis Stoumbelis, the executive director of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.

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