USA: Congress has rubber-stamped torture and other abuses

By passing the Military Commissions Act, the United States Congress has, in effect, given its stamp of approval to human rights violations committed by the USA in the “war on terror”, said Amnesty International today.

Amnesty International’s reaction to the legislation comes on the day that the organisation published a major report exposing the role of the US in the secret detention of hundreds of people in Pakistan as part of the ‘war on terror’. Some of these “ghost prisoners” have later re-surfaced at the US military detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but the whereabouts of countless others remain unknown.

Amnesty International believes that the USA’s newly-approved legislation leaves the USA squarely on the wrong side of international law, and has turned bad executive policy into bad domestic law. Amnesty International will campaign for repeal of this act and fully expects the constitutionality of this legislation to be challenged in the courts.

In the “war on terror”, the US administration has resorted to secret detention, enforced ‘disappearance’, prolonged incommunicado detention, indefinite detention without charge, arbitrary detention, and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

“Thousands of detainees remain in indefinite military detention in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Congress has failed these detainees and their families.

“President Bush has defended the CIA’s use of secret detention and in the debates over the Military Commissions Act, members of Congress have done the same. This policy clearly violates international law.”

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