Al Jazeera.net – 2005-02-13 10:51:47
(February 10, 2005) — A US human rights group has alleged that at least 37 detainees died of torture in US detention centres at Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
The World Organisation for Human Rights USA on Thursday also said an upcoming report by the US government to the United Nations Committee Against Torture was likely to sidestep abuses committed during its “war on terror”.
Morton Sklar, the organisation’s executive director, said there were legal memorandums issued at the highest level in the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Defence “justifying and encouraging the use of torture as a military necessity in time of war”.
The human rights group said that at least 37 detainees had been executed by torture during interrogations.
It also alleged that torture is not limited to those captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, saying a number of US residents and US citizens had also been tortured.
The group accuses the US of rampant use of torture. The group also accused the US government of having foreign countries detain suspected terrorists so they could be interrogated using “harsh” techniques not permitted in the US.
It added that the US government held terror-suspects for long periods without charges.
“The key point we are trying to make is that the US government is trying to sidestep these issues in its official report to the UN Committee Against Torture in order to avoid further embarrassment,” he said.
“The position they seem to be taking in all of these cases is that it’s a few lower-level people who are responsible for these abuses and the US government is prosecuting them,” Sklar said.
“Contrary to the US government’s approach, we believe that the United States itself is responsible for these policies, set these policies in motion and needs to take responsibility for its actions,” he added.
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