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House, Senate continue talks on torture amendment to defense bill

[JURIST] House and Senate negotiators are continuing talks to reconcile versions of a defense appropriation bill, with both sides largely agreeing to a torture ban [JURIST document] proposed by Sen. John McCain [official website], but with other provisions remaining in dispute. Negotiators hoped to reach a final bill by the end of this week, but additional provisions dealing with detainees held by the US have held up an agreement. Although initially opposed to a ban on torture and inhumane treatment of detainees in the Senate version, House negotiators have apparently accepted that provision, with Rep. Duncan Hunter [official website] saying the final version will likely contain the ban [JURIST report]. The White House has threatened a veto [policy statement] over the McCain amendment, although it has remained in negotiations with Senate and House members on the legislation. The McCain amendment was backed by a 90-9 vote [JURIST report] in the Senate. Comments made Wednesday by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signaled a shift in policy [JURIST report], however, with Rice saying the US would ban its interrogators from treating detainees inhumanely. Reuters has more.

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