16 April 2010

Afghanistan: BBC Claims Secret Torture Facility is Operating in Afghanistan; Amnesty International Calls for Investigation

The disturbing report by the BBC that a secret detention facility is still operating at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and that inmates are being subjected to abusive treatment that far exceeds the limits set in President Obama’s January 2009 Executive Order Ensuring Lawful Interrogations demonstrates all too vividly that the United States cannot so easily turn the page on the torture and other abuses unleashed as part of the global war on terror.

Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA’s Policy Director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights, said: "Executive orders and prohibitions are meaningless unless they are backed up by the full force of law. The failure of the Obama administration to prosecute any of the individuals responsible for the abuses that were committed under the previous administration contributes to a culture of impunity in which abuses of the sort alleged by the BBC can flourish.

"This is the moment of truth for the Obama administration. The treatment and activities outlined in the BBC report, if true, would constitute criminal offenses under both U.S. and international law. Amnesty International is calling on President Obama to launch an immediate investigation into the BBC’s allegations. If there is any substance to these reports administration officials should ensure that any individuals associated with the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody are brought to justice."