Human Rights First Responds to Reports of Detainee Abuse in Yemen

Washington, D.C.In response to reports this morning of the use of torture in secret detention facilities in Yemen operated by Yemeni and United Arab Emirates forces, and potential U.S. cooperation with these forces, Human Rights First’s Raha Wala released the following statement:

“We are extremely concerned about these troubling reports and condemn U.S. complicity with torture in any form, including by obtaining information extracted by torture inflicted by another country. Torture is not only illegal, but it is immoral and counterproductive. National security experts, intelligence professionals, and military leaders have spoken out against the use of torture, and have said time and again that torture undermines our efforts to effectively root out terrorism. We urge the Trump Administration to immediately cease any actions that would erode the bipartisan consensus against torture and violate international law.”

Earlier this year 176 of the nation’s most respected retired generals and admirals sent a letter signed to then-President-elect Trump urging him to reject the use of torture. The letter, which includes 33 four-star generals and admirals, highlighted the United States’ historic bipartisan opposition to torture and called on the incoming president to continue this legacy.

“We have over six thousand years of combined experience in commanding and leading American men and women in war and in peace, and believe strongly in the values and ideals that our country holds dear. We know from experience that U.S. national security policies are most effective when they uphold those ideals,” wrote the generals and admirals. “For these reasons, we are concerned about statements made during the campaign about the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.”

In 2015 Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feinstein (D-CA) sponsored landmark anti-torture legislation that reinforces the United States’ ban on the use of torture, including waterboarding and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The legislation passed the Senate with the support of a broad bipartisan majority, which included the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence, armed services, homeland security, foreign relations, and judiciary committees.


Published on June 22, 2017


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