English Reading Practice

Human Right Number 10:
The Right to Trial

1. Watch the video at the top of the page.

2. Read the story "The Right to Trial" just below it.

3. Do the exercise at the bottom of the page.

Here is the The Right to Trial video. You can watch it in your own language at www.youthforhumanrights.org. (Simply click the word "language" at the top of their homepage.)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes 30 basic rights that each person has, simply because he or she is human.

This is human right number 10 (the simplified version):

"10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do."

Now read the short story about this important human right.

The Right to Trial 

Malcolm is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He walks toward a store to buy a drink and he hears gunfire. He gets scared and he runs away from the sound as fast as he can.

When the police respond to the gunfire, they see Malcolm as he runs from the scene. They stop him and arrest him.

Malcolm is innocent, but he does not speak English well, and he is scared, so he cannot explain his side of the story to the police officers.

They think he is guilty so they take him to jail. Malcolm quickly loses hope. He thinks he will stay in jail forever. He knows they think he is guilty of something very bad.

Then Malcolm's lawyer comes to talk to him. He tells Malcolm not to worry, that they will work everything out at trial.

"Trial?" Malcolm says, "What trial?"

His lawyer explains, "Malcolm, you are not guilty yet. You have the right to a public trial. The law says that you are innocent until you are found guilty in a court of law."

"But these people," Malcolm says, "they put me in jail. They already decided I was guilty!"

"Yes, they put you in jail, but they cannot keep you there. And they cannot decide you are guilty. They must objectively prove you did it," his lawyer explains. "Do not worry, Malcolm. You are innocent."

Malcolm breathes a sigh of relief. He feels better.

A few months later, Malcolm goes to court, and he is found not guilty!

And now, practice:

Exercise 01

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