The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

Full ICRC Report Further Underscores Extent Of Torture And Abuse By U.S. Officials

Justice Department Should Appoint Independent Prosecutor And Turn Over Torture Memos, Says ACLU


full report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
made public late Monday on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody
further underscores the extent of the systemic and far-reaching use of
torture by American personnel and provides further evidence of the need
for accountability for government officials who broke the law.

In light of this report - the newly
revealed portions of which emphasize the role played by medical
personnel in torture and abuse - the American Civil Liberties Union
renews its call for the Justice Department to appoint an independent
prosecutor to investigate the authorization of torture at CIA prisons
and for the release of several legal memoranda used by the Bush
administration to justify it. The memos, authored by former Office of
Legal Counsel officials Steven Bradbury and Jay Bybee and demanded as
part of an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, supplied the legal
framework for the Bush administration's interrogation program. The
deadline for the government to release the memos or justify withholding
them is April 16.

The ACLU, through its John Adams
Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has
worked with under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel
for several of the Guantanamo detainees whose treatment was addressed
in the ICRC report.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"The ICRC report provides further
confirmation of the systemic use of torture against prisoners in CIA
custody and underscores that the CIA's torture program was endorsed and
authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration. The
Justice Department must now make good on President Obama's commitment
to transparency by making public the legal memos that supplied the
basis for the CIA's torture program. It's also imperative that the
Justice Department appoint an independent prosecutor to conduct a
criminal investigation. Government officials who violated the law
should not be shielded from investigation. Transparency and
accountability are critical to the restoration of the rule of law."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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