Newspaper logo  
 
 
   Rights Groups Ask Government For Proof That Detainees in U.S. Custody Are Not Being Tortured

Rights Groups Ask Government For Proof That Detainees in U.S. Custody Are Not Being Tortured

Editor's Note: This story has been adapted from a press release jointly issued by the rights groups mentioned in it.

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2003-Citing news reports that the United States government may have tortured detainees or subjected them to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and medical and veterans' groups today asked agency officials for proof that that the US is honoring its obligations under domestic and international law.

"The government's blanket assurances that it is not engaging in torture or illegal interrogations, while welcome, are not enough," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "Those assurances have failed to address numerous reports documenting the torture of individuals held in U.S. custody. We are asking for records that will demonstrate whether the government is in fact complying with its obligations under domestic and international law."

In January 2003, after the release of news accounts about abuses of detainees, President Bush issued a statement saying that the United States "is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example."

Today's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request-the first of its kind to address torture-seeks details on just how the Bush Administration is "leading this fight." The ACLU and CCR filed the request on behalf of their organizations as well as Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Peace and Veterans for Common Sense.

The groups are seeking documentation on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody-including two men who died-as well as on detainees who were handed over by the US to countries known to employ torture against those in their custody. The request cited numerous credible news reports suggesting that the maltreatment of detainees "may be accepted and even encouraged by senior officials."

"These reports, if true, could severely undermine the credibility of American efforts to combat torture and promote the rule of law," said Steven Watt, a CCR attorney. "It is imperative that the government gives a proper accounting for its actions. This is the whole purpose of our request today."

Veterans groups joining today's action expressed concern that US-condoned torture could be used to justify mistreatment of American troops by enemy powers.

"It is of vital interest to military men and women all over the world that the protections against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment be even-handedly applied by all nations at all times," said Wilson "Woody" Powell, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace, an organization whose members served the United States in conflicts from World War II through Gulf War I.

Medical groups also expressed concern about the US engaging in torture. "In addition to the tremendously damaging physical and psychological consequences of torture, it is a notoriously unreliable method of obtaining information; victims frequently confess to whatever their torturers want to hear," said Leonard Rubenstein, Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights. The group was the principal organizer of the United Nations international guidelines for documentation of torture and its consequences.

Today's action came as the ACLU prepared to launch a new campaign to bring internationally recognized human rights law to the American justice system. At a conference taking place October 9-11 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the ACLU will hold workshops to help lawyers and others develop legal and organizing strategies for enforcing human rights in such areas as criminal justice, economic justice, the rights of non-citizens and women's rights. Today's FOIA request is an example of such strategies, the ACLU said.


For more information on the conference, go here. Registration for the event is already closed.


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on October 10, 2003.
  
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.17 Could carbon-capture technology be a silver bullet to stop climate change?

10.17 So many animals will go extinct in the next 50 years that it will take Earth at least 3 million years to recover, a study has found

10.16 Can We Go Electric Before It’s Too Late?

10.16 'I leave the car at home': how free buses are revolutionising one French city [with electric or hydrogen buses the cities can be much less polluted and cleaner with far fewer cars]

10.16 Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

10.16 Scottish Power shifts to 100% wind generation after £700m Drax sale

10.16 Australia should be 'exporting sunshine, not coal', economist Jeffrey Sachs tells Q&A

10.15 'It'll change back': Trump says climate change not a hoax, but denies lasting impact [1:10 video; comfortable in his willful ignorance and denial, catastropic effects will be sooner and greater for doing nothing]

News Media Matters

10.16 The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire [Distorting news and issues "analysis" almost completely where cable and Internet are least available]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

10.18 Are You Kidding Me?' Outrage as Democrats Push 'Incremental Steps' Over Bold Agenda Needed to Save Planet from Climate Catastrophe [Neoliberals still control Democratic Party leadership...]

10.18 Republicans are ramming through more judges — by holding hearings when everyone is out of town

10.18 Trump says selling weapons to Saudi Arabia will create a lot of jobs. That’s not true.

10.18 Republicans were supposed to run on their tax cuts. Instead, they’re running away from them.

10.18 The new Republican midterm strategy is to copy Democratic ideas

10.18 Beto O’Rourke shows Democrats how to talk about climate change

10.18 The Democrats’ Incredible Shrinking Message

10.18 'Lives Hang in the Balance': 21 Days Before Midterms, McConnell Admits GOP Still Salivating to Gut Medicare and Social Security

10.17 Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

10.16 The biggest political problem in America, explained in one chart

10.16 GOP plan to get Americans off food stamps puts 4 million children and seniors at risk [What would Jesus say?]

10.15  3,121 desperate journeys  Exposing a week of chaos under Trump's zero tolerance

10.15 We need tax police – and they should go after the likes of Donald Trump [growing the mafia-state; to the extent allowed all tax evaded results in additional debt or taxes on honest citizens]

10.14 Goodbye, Political Spin, Hello Blatant Lies

10.14 NEARLY EVERY MEMBER OF THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS STILL TAKES CORPORATE PAC MONEY

10.13 With Campaign Only 'Powered by People,' Beto O'Rourke Shatters All-Time Senate Fundraising Record With $38 Million Haul [nullifying Citizens United—that empowers corporations and the super-rich—with a pledged commitment returns democracy powered by the people!]

Justice Matters

10.18 Is Fraud Part of the Trump Organization’s Business Model? [Obviously!]

High Crimes?

10.18 Nicaragua used 'weapons of war' to kill protesters, says Amnesty International [why refugee immigrants rightly see jail in the US as an improvement]

10.18 How We Can End the Saudis’ War in Yemen [There is NO EXCUSE for War Crimes]

10.12 Israel’s Illegal Blockade of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza has doubled Unemployment to 50% [5:51 video]

10.12 Trump Says Murder Shouldn’t Stop Saudi Weapon Sales Because ‘We Have Jobs’ [Morals and laws be damned! Trump grows his mafia-state for patron and personal profit]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.17 Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick – even the IMF says so

10.11 Climate change will make the next global crash the worst

International & Futurism

10.18 Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says

10.18 Khashoggi Is The Tip Of The Bloody Iceberg: 10 More Reasons to Cut the US-Saudi Alliance

10.17 US-China tensions soar as 'new cold war' heats up [the world needs mutually-beneficial moral friendships among nations, not high-risk emotional outbursts]

10.17 US-China tensions soar as 'new cold war' heats up

10.17 Jamal Khashoggi: gory reports of killing emerge as Pompeo meets Erdogan [What explains Trump's opinion and behavior?]

10.16 Our leaders are destroying our future. Wentworth must be a referendum on climate change

10.16 Tax evasion: blacklist of 21 countries with 'golden passport' schemes published [mafia-states are increasing and growing, threatening financial health of non-mafia states where tax evaded becomes additional debt or taxes on honest citizens]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web

Public Service Ads: