The father who went undercover to find his son’s killers

After police failed to solve his son’s murder, Francisco Holgado infiltrated the local criminal underworld in pursuit of those responsible. He became a national hero – but at what cost? By Matthew Bremner

At 4.30am on 22 November 1995, taxi number 69 pulled into the Campsa Red petrol station in La Constancia, a scruffy neighbourhood in the centre of Jerez. The driver stopped at pump 1, got out of his car and dragged the nozzle to its fuel inlet, but the pump wouldn’t turn on. When he went to look for the attendant, he saw that the door to the station’s shop had been smashed. Magazines and papers were strewn across the floor. Then the driver noticed blood on the shop’s walls, and ran to a payphone to call the emergency services.

Within minutes, municipal police arrived. One of them found a trail of blood, which led to an office behind the cash register. When the door to the room wouldn’t open, they forced it open. Barricaded inside, behind a photocopier, a young man lay slumped on the floor, inert and bleeding heavily. He was still breathing.

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A reading of past assisted dying debates records breathtaking ignorance and lies | Marshall Perron

There have been 28 failed attempts to pass voluntary euthanasia bills in Australia. Are legislators too busy or lazy to get the facts?

As the law to permit voluntary assisted dying has been introduced to the Victorian and New South Wales parliaments in September, it is interesting to reflect on past contributions on the same subject.

Since the federal parliament overturned the first voluntary euthanasia law, the 1995 Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, in 1997, there have been 28 failed attempts to pass similar legislation in the states.

Related: Assisted dying laws to be debated in New South Wales and Victoria

Related: We should end the suffering of patients who know they are dying and want to do so peacefully | Peter Singer

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The Lavinia Woodward case exposes equality before the law as a myth | Afua Hirsch

The leniency shown by the courts to a “promising” Oxford graduate reveals the social and racial inequality at the core of our justice system

On Tuesday, as happens every other day of the year, a criminal appeared in an English court, pleading for leniency. The fact that the offender – who pleaded guilty to a frenzied knife attack on her boyfriend last year – is a woman, is not particularly unusual. 8,447 women were sent to prison in the UK last year, the vast majority for crimes less serious and less violent than this.

In many ways this perpetrator, Lavinia Woodward, aged 24, is a lot like our other female convicts. She spoke of having suffered abuse at the hands of an ex-partner. She described the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse. She had, the court heard, had “a very troubled life”.

Related: Oxford student given suspended sentence for stabbing boyfriend

She was able to demonstrate her potential future contribution to society

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Euthanasia a choice for people with disability? It's a threat to our lives | Craig Wallace

Offering people with disability euthanasia is no act of equality. It’s a cruel one way exit when we’re locked out of basic health care

Legislation has been introduced into the Victorian and New South Wales parliament seeking to make it the first jurisdiction to legalise euthanasia since the Northern Territories brief window in the 1990s.

Like the rest of the community, people with disability debate euthanasia with many views, but a number of us are genuinely concerned that legalised suicide will encroach on our rights and see the vulnerable among us subjected to financial, social, emotional and other pressures to take our own lives.

Related: Victoria’s assisted dying bill includes severe penalties for abuse of scheme

Related: Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination | Margaret Somerville

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Jeff Sessions defends free speech moments before siding with Trump on NFL

The attorney general claims to support both free speech on campuses, and Trump’s ire over football players who refuse to stand for national anthem

US attorney general Jeff Sessions faced accusations of hypocrisy after he delivered an impassioned defense of free speech, then moments later backed Donald Trump’s claim that athletes who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.

Related: What do you think about NFL players protesting during the national anthem?

Related: Five things Trump could be doing – instead of raging about football

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Contaminated blood scandal victims allowed to sue government

About 500 claimants – surviving victims and families of the deceased – given permission to seek compensation

About 500 victims and relatives of haemophiliac patients killed by contaminated blood products have been given permission to sue the government for compensation.

Related: What is the contaminated blood scandal?

Related: Contaminated blood survivor: ‘I think they just expected us to die’

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'A feeble no may mean yes': Indian court overturns rape conviction

Activists say Delhi high court’s decision in case of film director Mahmood Farooqui sets a worrying precedent on consent

An Indian court has overturned a rape conviction against a film director, ruling that a “feeble no” can signal consent, especially in cases where the alleged victim is well-educated.

Women’s rights activists said the decision “muddies the water” around consent in a country struggling to curb high levels of sexual violence, rampant street harassment and deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes towards sex.

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Why I needed to let my little brother die | Cathy Rentzenbrink

The families of people in a persistent vegetative state will now be spared the ordeal of a lengthy court case. This was the right decision

My little brother Matty was knocked over by a car on his way home from a snooker hall near Snaith in Yorkshire in 1990. He was 16 and we desperately wanted him to survive.

If Matty’s accident had happened a few years earlier he would have died in the road – but he was intubated, resuscitated, and had some holes drilled in his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain. So he remained in a critical condition for a few days, and then opened his eyes at the rate of a few millimetres a day, and that was really all he ever did. He couldn’t go to rehabilitation because there was nothing to rehabilitate. So we brought him home and built a bungalow extension on to the pub where we lived, and carried on hoping and dreaming that if we loved him enough we could reverse his brain damage.

Related: The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink review – uplifting memoir

Unless you’ve stared into the blank eyes of someone in a vegetative state, I just don’t care about your arguments

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Trump's latest travel ban: what's new, who's covered, and why now?

On Sunday, the Trump administration issued its third travel ban in less than a year – and some key revisions make it more expansive than its predecessors

On Sunday evening the Trump administration issued its third travel ban in less than a year, opening yet another chapter in the heated legal and civil rights battle that has dominated much of the president’s first nine months in office.

Trump’s ban has gone through many iterations, from a chaotically implemented first attempt that was blocked by a series of federal courts, to a streamlined version that was refined even further by the supreme court and eventually allowed to come into effect in June.

Related: Trump travel ban extended to blocks on North Korea, Venezuela and Chad

Related: Five things Trump could be doing – instead of raging about football

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It doesn’t make sense to leave alcohol out of the drugs debate | Letters

Blaine Stothard is puzzled as to why recent articles have not mentioned alcohol, and Owen Wells says the criminalisation of drugs in 1971 has a lot to answer for

It was interesting and puzzling to see John Harris’s piece on illegal drugs (I was relaxed about Britain’s drug culture evolution… , 23 September) two days on from the five points of view on whether or not drugs should be legalised (G2, 21 September). Interesting in the light of the government’s drug strategy but puzzling in that neither piece mentioned alcohol. Looking at statistics about illegal drugs without considering the wider context will result in the continued pursuit of policies that are only partially informed and based on legal and moral concerns rather than public health concerns.
Blaine Stothard
London

• What most commentators on drug legalisation ignore is that until the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, most drugs were legally obtainable in the UK (the exceptions were LSD and amphetamines). Before the act came into effect there were about 900 registered heroin addicts in the country, most of them members of the medical profession, and most in employment. It was the prohibition of heroin in 1971 that led directly to the huge increase in drugs misuse and the enormous, illegal industry to manufacture and supply them. Legalisation would simply be to recognise the disaster that was caused by the criminalisation of drugs in 1971.
Owen Wells
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

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