The Progressive


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For Immediate Release
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With Release of Torture Memos, U.S. Department of Justice Appears to Offer "Get-out-of-Jail-Free Card," Says Amnesty Internation

Human Rights Organization Welcomes Documents' Public Release, Reiterates Call for Long-Overdue Accountability for Abuse


In response to news that the
U.S. Department of Justice released memos that provided the legal framework
for the Central Intelligence Agency's use of waterboarding and other illegal
interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law, Amnesty
International's executive director Larry Cox made the following statement:

"The Obama administration's decision
to release the remaining U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel
memos relating to the treatment of detainees held in connection with the
war on terror is welcome. There can be no accountability in government
without transparency.

"However, the Department of Justice appears
to be offering a get-out-of-jail-free card to individuals who, by U.S.
Attorney General Eric Holder's own estimation, were involved in acts of

"No civilized definition of 'reasonable'
behavior can ever encompass acts of torture. Torture has long been recognized
to be a violation of both national and international law, and no single
legal opinion, no matter from what source, can change that.

"The president said today that this is
'a time for reflection not retribution.' The United States has had plenty
of time for reflection--there is very little information in the newly released
material that hadn't leaked out long before. He also said that the United
States is a nation of laws. But laws only have meaning if they are
enforced. The United States has laws prohibiting torture, and two-thirds
of Americans support an investigation into what has been done in their
name. That is not seeking to lay blame; that is a call for justice long

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

(212) 807-8400