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Pentagon confirms consideration of rule banning use of statements made under torture

[JURIST] A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the US Defense Department is considering a formal written rule that would ban statements made during torture from any proceeding before US military commissions [JURIST news archive]. The Wall St. Journal reported early Wednesday that the rule had already been approved and would be issued later this week, but Bryan Whitman said the information provided to the paper had been incorrect: no final approval had yet been made and the rule was still under consideration. A rule would take the place of an informal understanding by military prosecutors that such evidence would not be permitted. Pentagon policy already prohibits torture and the use of statements from it, but Whitman said a rule could help demonstrate that the UN Convention Against Torture [text] was being applied to Guantanamo detainees. The Pentagon and rights activists have disagreed as to what constitutes "torture" and, therefore, what might constitute evidence derived from that.

Next week the US Supreme Court hears Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [Duke Law backgrounder; JURIST report], which challenges the constitutionality of the Guantanamo military commissions. AP has more.

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