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House backs proposed torture ban

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives late Wednesday voted 308-122 in support of the so-called McCain Amendment [JURIST document], designed to prohibit the cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in US custody. The non-binding vote instructs negotiators working to finalize the 2006 military spending bill, to which the amendment is attached, to include the amendment in the final version. The amendment was attached to the Senate version of the spending bill in a 90-9 vote [JURIST report], and was later unanimously reaffirmed [JURIST report] in the Senate. The amendment also prohibits detainee treatment that is not in accordance with the US Army field manual on interrogation techniques. The Army has reportedly given provisional approval for new guidelines [JURIST report] which could push the legal limits on interrogation, though the Pentagon has denied [Reuters report] that changes are planned. The White House has expressed opposition to the amendment [policy statement, PDF], saying that it would interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism and would restrict the President's ability to conduct war effectively. McCain has said that he hopes to reach an agreement with the White House in the next few days. Reuters has more.

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