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July 25, 2005

No pain, no gain

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are clearly in good company:

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – In an unprecedented report, Iran’s hard-line judiciary acknowledged widespread human rights violations in prisons, including the use of torture, state-run media reported Sunday.
The report said prison guards and officials in detention centers have ignored a legal order banning torture. It also said police have made several arrests without sufficient evidence and held suspects in undeclared detention centers.
The report, which was broadcast on state-run radio and appeared on the front page of several newspapers, said a judicial investigation had discovered human right violations including the “blindfolding and beating” of defendants, a 13-year-old boy jailed for stealing a hen, a woman who was imprisoned because her husband was a fugitive and a man who has been in prison since 1988 with a verdict in his case.
The report has been handed over to the head of judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, [who last year ordered] a ban on the use of torture for obtaining confessions – a move seen as Iran’s first public acknowledgment of the practice.
Iran’s constitution specifically outlaws torture, but human rights groups say the Islamic Republic’s security forces routinely use it to extract confessions.

So pretty much like Bush’s America—except that Iran has actually admitted to the abuse, and torture isn’t (even theoretically) banned in the U.S. Moreover, the Bush administration is doing all it can to ensure it never will be [September 2005: link dead, no substitute available]:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year’s defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon’s treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.
The Bush administration, under fire for the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and questions over whether its policies led to horrendous abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, put lawmakers on notice it did not want them legislating on the matter.
In a statement, the White House said such amendments would “interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war.”
“If legislation is presented that would restrict the president’s authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice,” the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.

Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee had been weighing a range of amendments intended to prevent further abuses in the wake of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Under discussion were measures that would establish the legal status of prisoners at Guantanamo; bar the holding of “ghost” detainees whose names are not disclosed; and ban cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

Not gonna happen with Bush at the helm.

Posted by Stephen at 12:21 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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