USA: Still failing human rights in the name of global

January 20, 2010

USA: Still failing human rights in the name of global

The same obligation applies equally to acts amounting to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 16). Victims of such abuse are entitled to rehabilitation, compensation and other effective remedies.10


Judge Hogan emphasised that as described in Musa’ab Al Madhwani’s “classified testimony about his conditions of confinement, which I find to be credible, the United States was involved in the prisons where he was held, and believed to have orchestrated the interrogation techniques, the harsh ones to which he was subject”. Amnesty International believes that Judge Hogan should now expressly refer the allegations on to the appropriate US government authorities with a view to their investigation. Such investigations must include a determination of whether Musa’ab Al Madhwani was subjected to enforced disappearance at any time during his detention, specifically in the ‘Dark Prison’ in Kabul, where detainees did not have access to the ICRC. Like torture, enforced disappearance is a crime under international law. Those responsible must be brought to justice.


A year after President Obama took office, however, accountability and access to remedy for the human rights violations committed against detainees in the “war on terror” seem as remote as ever.11 In the case of Musa’ab Al Madhwani, he continues to be without judicial or other effective remedy for the human rights violations he has endured, and indeed he remains in indefinite detention without charge at Guantánamo after Judge Hogan ruled that his detention was lawful under US law.


Defending his detention before Judge Hogan, the US administration had sought to rely not upon statements made by Al Madhwani during his custody in Afghanistan but upon 23 reports of interrogations of him conducted in Guantánamo between 3 March 2003 and 27 September 2004 and summaries of statements he made during these interrogations. The administration claimed that the detainee would by this time have recovered from any abuse he suffered in Afghanistan; that the conditions of detention at Guantánamo were not coercive; and that statements he made in the Naval Base were reliable. Judge Hogan, pointing out that Al Madhwani’s PTSD “seemingly exacerbated the taint from any harsh treatment”, disagreed:


“It should come as no surprise that during Petitioner’s first Guantánamo interrogation, which was conducted on the day Petitioner arrived at Guantánamo, he was gripped by the same fear that infected his Afghanistan confessions. His Guantánamo interrogators did little to assuage that fear. According to the reliable evidence in the record, multiple Guantánamo interrogators on multiple occasions threatened Petitioner when he attempted to retract statements he now claims were false confessions…