Human Rights First Calls on Congress to End Bush Administration’s Sanction of Torture
New York—- In response to President Bush’s remarks from the Oval Office this morning defending the CIA’s interrogation program, Maureen Byrnes, executive director of Human Rights First, issued the following statement:
“President Bush today tried again to convince the American people that he has not authorized the use of torture and other unlawful abuse. But this week’s revelations about more secret Department of Justice memos reveal that behind the President’s assertions that ‘this government does not torture’ are tortured legal opinions from the Justice Department that make a mockery of the laws against torture and cruel treatment.
As the Mukasey confirmation hearings move forward this month, Senators have a responsibility to examine these issues closely. The Senate Judiciary Committee should seek a commitment from the next Attorney General that the Justice Department will not rubber stamp requests for legal cover to condone torture, even when those requests come from the White House.
It is no longer enough for the president to just assert that the CIA program is lawful when evidence continues to mount that the program has employed methods that military lawyers and Members of Congress from both parties have said constitute war crimes. Congress must act to rein in this program and ensure that all U.S. personnel abide by a single standard of humane treatment.”