UN : US accused of torture
Posted by musliminsuffer on October 31, 2007
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
UN : US accused of torture
Ian Munro Herald Correspondent in New York
Under fire … the US government has been criticised by the UN.
October 31, 2007
THE United States’s willingness to resort to harsh interrogation techniques in its so-called war on terror undermined human rights and the international ban on torture, a United Nations spokesman says.
Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said the US’s standing and importance meant it was a model to other countries which queried why they were subject to scrutiny when the US resorted to measures witnessed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison.
Mr Nowak was speaking after releasing his finding that the use of torture was routine and widespread in Sri Lanka ,despite laws against it.
“I am very concerned about the undermining of the absolute prohibition of torture by interrogation methods themselves in Abu Grahib, in Guantanamo Bay and others, but also by rendition and the whole CIA secret places of detention. All that is really undermining the international rule of law in general and human rights but also the prohibition of torture,” said Mr Nowak.
“(Other countries) say why are you criticising us if the US, the most democratic country with the oldest history of human rights, if they are torturing you should first go there. It has a negative effect because the US is a very powerful and important country and many other countries take the US as a model.”
His comments come amid continuing controversy over whether the use of waterboarding – which simulates drowning – is torture. US senators are threatening to stop the appointment of Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s new nominee for Attorney-General, following Mr Mukasey’s refusal to condemn waterboarding at judiciary committee hearings recently.
Reports have linked CIA interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects, including alleged 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to the technique.
President Bush has said the US does not restort to torture, but his administation has refused to say if waterboarding has been used. During waterboarding a cloth is used to cover a prisoner’s mouth and water poured over it, triggering the gag reflex.
Commenting on his investigation into Sri Lanka, Mr Nowak said that the use of torture in counter-terrorism operations was prone to become routine.
During his visit there this month he received many “consistent and credible” allegations from detainees who claimed they were ill-treated by police.
He said that he was alerted to a new form of torture which his medical aide had initially thought was impossible. It involved individuals being suspended only by their thumbs which were bound together so they could be hoisted into the air.
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