Reports of U.S. Complicity in Torture of Prisoners Triggers Demand for a White House Investigation
Interview with Jamie Fellner, director of U.S. Programs at Human Rights Watch, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
As the White House prepares for war against the government of Saddam Hussein, the attention of the world has long since moved from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf. But with thousands of U.S. troops still deployed in Afghanistan, questions have been raised about the conduct of American military and intelligence agency personnel toward suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists they now hold.
A recent Washington Post article described how prisoners held in the CIA interrogation center at Bagram air base in Afghanistan are subject to "stress and duress" techniques, which include "standing or kneeling for hours." Other allegations of improper conduct include the withholding of medical care or pain medication from injured prisoners and the turning over of suspects to third countries with documented records of employing torture to extract information. Because the secret detention center at Bagram and another on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia are not subject to U.S. standards of due process, what goes on at these sites is unmonitored by Congress or human rights groups.
Since the Washington Post report was published on Dec. 26, Human Rights Watch has demanded that the Bush administration investigate these allegations of abuse and mistreatment "or risk criminal prosecution." Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch, who examines the charges that U.S. forces have engaged in torture.
Contact Human Rights Watch by calling (202) 612-4321 or visit their Web site at www.hrw.org
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