Rights groups wants US special prosecutor on torture

American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch urge attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to scrutinize CIA torture.

Rights groups wants US special prosecutor on torture

World Bulletin/News Desk

U.S. civil rights groups on Monday called on the U.S. Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA's use of torture and other extreme measures during interrogations.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA included significant new information about the nature of tactics, the decisions that led to their use and the number of prisoners involved.

Administration officials have said the Justice Department has no plans to reopen its investigation into the conduct of CIA interrogators toward detainees captured after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

But the groups said the report's findings warranted a fresh criminal investigation.

"We believe the failure to conduct a comprehensive criminal investigation would contribute to the notion that torture remains a permissible policy option for future administrations; undermine the ability of the United States to advocate for human rights abroad; and compromise Americans' faith in the rule of law at home," the groups wrote.

Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said authorities had already conducted two criminal investigations but that the Department had declined to prosecute anyone on the grounds of insufficient admissible evidence.

He said investigators had reviewed the Senate committee's report but found no "new information" that they had "not previously considered."

International human rights monitors and politicians, including United Nations figures, have also called for criminal investigations of U.S. officials implicated in the CIA's harsh interrogations.

The summary, compiled by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the CIA employed “brutal” interrogation techniques including the use of nudity, waterboarding, sleep deprivation for as long as 180 hours, and “rectal hydration.”

It said lawmakers and the White House were misled by the agency about the effectiveness and the extent of the brutality of the techniques.

It also said a special prosecutor must be permitted access to the files from a 2009 Justice Department investigation that examined alleged law violations by the CIA while interrogating terror suspects at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and at a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2002.

That inquiry ended in 2012 without bringing criminal charges.

In its editorial “Prosecute Torturers and Their Boses,” the New York Times argues that a criminal investigation would mean ensuring that “this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments.”

“These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of ‘severe physical or mental pain or suffering,’” it said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Aralık 2014, 14:30