Thursday, November 11, 2010

US: Torture Should Not Go Unpunished

Human Rights Watch, November 9, 2010

It is beyond shocking that a former US president can publicly claim responsibility for torture and the next day the US government can say it will not pursue charges for destroying evidence of that torture. It sends the ugly message that there are no legal consequences in the United States for committing the most heinous of international crimes.
Joanne Mariner, terrorism and counterterrorism director

(New York) – The US government is wrong to not criminally prosecute CIA officials who destroyed evidence of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. The televised statements of former President George W. Bush acknowledging his personal responsibility for ordering torture demonstrate the need for the Obama administration to pursue prosecutions of senior US officials responsible for planning and authorizing the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, Human Rights Watch said.

Acting US Attorney John Durham, who is also in charge of an ongoing investigation into improper interrogations of detainees, announced today that he would not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of CIA videotapes showing interrogations of terrorism suspects. “It is beyond shocking that a former US president can publicly claim responsibility for torture and the next day the US government can say it will not pursue charges for destroying evidence of that torture,” said Joanne Mariner, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program director at Human Rights Watch. “It sends the ugly message that there are no legal consequences in the United States for committing the most heinous of international crimes.”

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