Congress Votes to Enforce Ban on Torture

Response to Senate’s vote on interrogation policy legislation from Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First’s Washington Director.

Washington – We welcome the Senate vote today to restore dignity and the rule of law to prisoner treatment and interrogation policy by requiring adherence to the Army Field Manual by all U.S. interrogators. This legislation will ensure that the United States no longer employs interrogation methods it would condemn if used by our enemies against captured Americans. Its enactment will send a clear message to the people of the United States and the rest of the world that the United States is serious about honoring its commitments to uphold the Geneva Conventions and all prohibitions on torture and other inhuman treatment.

This bill, which the House passed in December, will now go to President Bush’s desk. We urge him to sign it. Doing so will strengthen our intelligence gathering efforts, make our nation and our troops safer, and begin to repair the damage to America’s honor and moral authority in the world.

We recognize that the President has threatened to veto the intelligence bill because of this important provision. Regardless of his decision, today’s vote is momentous. Both Houses of Congress and the five remaining presidential candidates have now expressly declared that they reject the policies of torture and other official cruelty that have stained our national reputation, endangered our troops, and hindered efforts to bring the perpetrators of terrorist crimes to justice. We have good reason to believe that the next administration will abandon this misguided legacy of abuse and work with Congress to uphold American values and the rule of law.

Click here to read a letter to the leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from forty-three retired military leaders in support of the legislation.

 

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Published on February 13, 2008

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