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There is no 'Acceptable' Torture (Read 417 times)
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There is no 'Acceptable' Torture
Mar 14th, 2003 at 10:00am
by Amnesty International
Just days after George W. Bush reportedly assured UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello that the US is not torturing prisoners during interrogation, an article in today's New York Times quotes numerous US officials admitting that US interrogators are using such methods as holding prisoners in prolonged painful positions and withholding access to food and water.

Amnesty International, which recently has met with Department of Defense officials on this issue, renewed its call for President Bush to condemn publicly all forms of torture, and for the commander-in-chief to enforce the international prohibition on torture in interrogation of suspects.

The Times article repeatedly quotes US officials claiming they use only "acceptable techniques" for interrogation, including sleep and light deprivation and the temporary withholding of food, water, access to sunlight and medical attention, allegedly even for a prisoner who had been shot.

"The tactics US officials openly admit to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. These statements by US officials are an admission of complicity in torture," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. "Furthermore, transfer of prisoners to the custody of other countries where they are likely to be tortured is also a violation of international law. President Bush should issue a public, unequivocal statement rejecting all forms of torture by US officials and their foreign allies, just as his father did in 1992. US and international law are clear and absolute: torture is unacceptable regardless of the rationale or threat."

Amnesty International has conducted three worldwide campaigns against torture, the most recent concluding in 2002.

"While the US now may feel safer with several key suspects apprehended, US troops in Iraq may well soon be placed in harm's way and taken prisoner," Schulz warned. "American citizens would be outraged if US servicemen or women are subjected to illegal and brutal detention or interrogation such as the US admits to be practicing."

The same techniques US officials reportedly are employing -- including hooding, holding in prolonged painful positions, and denial of food and sleep -- were cited and condemned as torture in the 2002 Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and Haiti.

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