• Press Release

U.S. Authorities Must Investigate Detainee Abuse Claims in Wikileaks Files, States Amnesty International; Findings Consistent with Earlier Amnesty International Report

March 27, 2011

Amnesty International Press Release

For Immediate Release:

Friday, October 22, 2010 


Contact:  Wende Gozan Brown, 347-526-5520, [email protected].

(London) — Amnesty International called on the United States to investigate just how much U.S. officials knew about the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held by Iraqi security forces, following WikiLeaks’ release today of new files indicating such abuse.

“We have not yet had an opportunity to study the leaked files in detail but they add to our concern that the U.S. authorities committed a serious breach of international law when they summarily handed over thousands of detainees to Iraqi security forces — who, they knew, were continuing to torture and abuse detainees on a truly shocking scale,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The new disclosures appear to closely match the findings of “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detentions and Torture in Iraq,” a report published by Amnesty International in September 2010, detailing the widespread torture and other ill-treatment of detainees that Iraqi forces committed with impunity. Thousands of Iraqis who had been detained by U.S. forces were transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010 under an agreement between the United States and Iraq that contains no provisions for ensuring protection of the detainees’ human rights.

“These documents apparently provide further evidence that the U.S. authorities have been aware of this systematic abuse for years, yet they went ahead and handed over thousands of Iraqis they had detained to the Iraqi security forces,” said Smart.

The United States is a party to the U.N. Convention against Torture, the main international treaty prohibiting torture, which requires all states to refrain from transferring detainees to the authorities of another state that could commit torture.

 “The United States failed to respect this obligation in Iraq despite the great volume of evidence, available from many different quarters, showing that the Iraqi security forces use torture widely and are allowed to do so with impunity,” said Smart. “The information said to be in these documents also underscores the urgent need for the Iraqi government to take concrete measures to end torture, ensure the safety of all detainees, and root out and bring to justice those responsible for torture and other serious human rights abuses, however senior their position.”

Amnesty International continues to campaign for full accountability in the cases of all those detainees tortured and ill-treated by U.S. military personnel in Iraq, such as those in Abu Ghraib prison.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International video comment and video case study at http://tiny.cc/AI-wikileaks

For more information please visit www.amnestyusa.org.


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