|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
APRIL 27, 2005
|CONTACT: Human Rights First
Sean Crowley, 202-478-6128 or email@example.com
David Danzig, 212-845-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org
One Year After the Abu Ghraib Torture Photos: U.S. Government Response 'Grossly Inadequate,' Rights Group Says; Architects of U.S. Torture Policy: Promoted, Not Punished
WASHINGTON -- April 27 -- On the eve of the anniversary of the disclosure of torture photos from Abu Ghraib, Human Rights First released a statement that called the U.S. government's response to torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody grossly inadequate. The full statement is at: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us(Under)law/etn/statements/abu-yr-042605.htm
"Abu Ghraib was just the tip of the iceberg -- the torture problem is bigger and more systematic than most people realize," said Michael Posner, Executive Director of Human Rights First. "A year later, we see the full scope of the abuse. We have also seen that those in charge of detention and interrogation operations -- and policies -- when the torture at Abu Ghraib first became public have been promoted, and that the policies that led to these widespread illegal acts are still in place. It's time for Congress to step in and undertake a truly independent investigation."
The Human Rights First statement outlines that:
In March 2005, Human Rights First, along with retired military leaders and the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - the first federal lawsuit to name a top U.S. official in the torture scandal in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight men who were subject to torture and abuse at the hands of U.S. forces under Secretary Rumsfeld's command. The parties are seeking a court order declaring that Secretary Rumsfeld's actions violated the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes and international law. For more information on the lawsuit, go to:
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HRF ABU GHRAIB ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT: Full statement is at:
Deaths in Custody: 108 People Have Died in U.S. Custody, the U.S. Government Acknowledges
Detentions Are On the Rise
The detainee population in Iraq has doubled in the past five months, rapidly approaching the level it was when the abuses documented in the Abu Ghraib photos occurred. More than 11,000 people are currently in U.S. detention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Architects of U.S. Interrogation Policy: Promoted, Not Punished
Despite evidence of pervasive abuse, and findings by the Army's own investigators of "systemic problems" and "leader responsibility" at high levels, most senior officials involved in U.S. detention and interrogation policy setting have not been punished - and many have even been promoted. See full statement for details about Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Former White House Counsel, now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller; Jay S. Bybee; William J. Haynes, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast; and Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
Torture Policies Still In Place
The numbers alone make clear the role that policy decisions have played - and continue to play - in facilitating the torture and abuse of U.S.-held detainees. Beyond the numbers:
Information on Lawsuit Against Secretary Rumsfeld: