Man Beaten into Rape Confession Released
Stanley Wrice was released today from Pontiac Correctional Center in Chicago, after more than three decades behind bars. Wrice was convicted and sentenced to 100 years in prison for a 1982 sexual assault on the strength of a confession Wrice says was elicited by beatings. Wrice is among more than two dozen inmates who say they were tortured by officers under the command of Chicago police officer Jon Burge.
As he ordered Wrice be set free, Judge Richard Walsh said yesterday that officers John Byrne and Peter Dignan had “lied” about the way they’d treated Wrice, who testified police beat him with a flashlight and a 20-inch piece of rubber, and then conspired to cover up the abuse. A key witness for the prosecution testified that he too, was beaten by the same officers until he agreed to give false testimony against Wrice at trial.
Despite more than $80 million dollars having been paid out to Chicago police torture victims, no Chicago police officers were ever convicted of torturing suspects. Burge is serving a 4 ½-year sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil suit when he said he’d never witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects. Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who was the Cook County state’s attorney when Wrice was charged has neglected to comment on the recent overturning of his conviction.
Top Indian Court Un-Legalizes Homosexuality
Gay sex is once again illegal in India. Earlier today, the Indian Supreme Court reinstated an 153-year-old British colonial era law proscribing gay sex. The court ruled that a lower court in Delhi had improperly overturned the law, further suggesting that should homosexuality become legal in the world’s largest democracy once again, it would need to be by act of parliament. Author Vikram Seth told NDTV news channel, “Today is a great day for prejudice and inhumanity and a bad day for law and love. But law develops and love is resilient and prejudice will be beaten back. I wasn’t a criminal yesterday but today I certainly am. And I propose to continue being a criminal. But I do not propose to ask the permission of their lordships when deciding who to love and whom to make love to.”
U.S., U.K. Suspend Aid to Syrian Rebels
British and American non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition has been suspended after the Islamic Front, a new umbrella group of several Islamist factions, took control of opposition army bases at the Bab al-Hawa crossing near the border of Turkey from the American-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) last week. Non-lethal U.S. aid provided to the FSA has included armored vehicles, night vision goggles, and communications equipment. This suspension should not affect humanitarian aid as that distributed through aid groups and the United Nations.
Space Station Freezing
The crew of the International Space Station may need to perform a space walk in the near future to repair mission critical cooling systems. Those cooling systems shut down earlier today in response to low temperatures, with one radiator at -75 degrees. According to NASA spokesperson Josh Byerly, the situation is not life-threatening, but has resulted in restricted operations on the ISS. “The crew was never in any danger,” said Byerly. Adding, “they’re fine for the near future.”
ISS’s ground crew believes the problem may have been caused by a malfunctioning flow control valve for the station’s coolant rings, the same systems that malfunctioned earlier this year. Mission managers are trying to determine whether a software fix can get the valve working again, or whether a spacewalk will be required. Troubleshooting may take up to two weeks.
NASA spacewalks have been suspended since astronaut Luca Parmitano’s spacesuit filled with water in July, but Roscosmos spacewalks have continued without problems.