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Amnesty report accuses US of violating torture ban

[JURIST] Amnesty International Wednesday released [press release] its 2005 Report [overview], condemning governments for failing to show principled leadership, betraying promises on human rights, failing to confront their lack of success with fighting terrorism, and persisting with failed but politically convenient strategies. The report says US policies which came to light after the Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prisoner abuse allegations, "dilute the absolute ban on torture". According to the summary of Amnesty's findings on the US:

Photographic evidence of the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by US soldiers became public in late April, causing widespread national and international concern. President Bush and other officials immediately asserted that the problem was restricted to Abu Ghraib and a few wayward soldiers.

On 22 June, after the leaking of earlier government documents relating to the "war on terror" suggesting that torture and ill-treatment had been envisaged, the administration took the step of declassifying selected documents to "set the record straight". However, the released documents showed that the administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violated the UN Convention against Torture and that the President had stated in a central policy memorandum dated 7 February 2002 that, although the USA's values "call for us to treat detainees humanely", there are some "who are not legally entitled to such treatment". The documents discussed, among other things, ways in which US agents could avoid the international prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including by arguing that the President could override international and national laws prohibiting such treatment....
The report also criticizes President Bush's failure to apply the Geneva Conventions to those captured in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, and calls for the closure of the base, describing it as "the gulag of our time." AP has more.

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