Holder Decision to Drop CIA Torture Investigation Criticized
Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that the Department of Justice will drop its criminal investigation of CIA agents involved in torture, Human Rights First’s Melina Milazzo said: “Torture is illegal and out of step with American values. Attorney General Holder’s announcement is disappointing because it’s well documented that in the aftermath of 9/11 torture and abuse was widespread and systematic. These cases deserved to be taken more seriously from the outset. When you don’t take seriously the duty to investigate criminal acts at the beginning, resolution becomes even more difficult a decade later. It’s shocking that the department’s review of hundreds of instances of torture and abuse will fail to hold even one person accountable.” In 2006, Human Rights First released a report, Command’s Responsibility, examining the deaths of almost 100 detainees in U.S. military custody. Human Rights First found that although nearly half of those cases appeared to have been the result of homicide or physical abuse, U.S. officials were punished in connection with only 12 of those cases. Moreover, the stiffest sentence given to a U.S. official for a torture-related death was only 5 months in prison.