HUMAN RIGHTS: Price of Dissent

A sad boom in repression

The London-based organization Amnesty International has earned a reputation as the world's public conscience on matters of political repression. Last week the conscience spoke again, with a wide-ranging, 219-page annual report on 96 countries, offering little cause for optimism. The report's major findings: the torture of political prisoners is nearly universal, the sinister practice by some governments of "disappearing" political opponents (arresting them clandestinely) is on the rise, and there has been a global increase in political murders.

The report, which covered a twelve-month period ending on April...

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