Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Amy E. Ferrer, Associate Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
aferrer@bordc.org
(413) 582-0110

Press Release

Thousands Demand Accountability for Torture

Hundreds of lawyers, teachers, health professionals, and interfaith religious leaders explain how lawlessness impacts their work
NORTHHAMPTION, Mass. -

Yesterday, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC)
sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as members of the Senate
Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, a series of letters on behalf of concerned Americans
seeking restoration of the rule of law. More than 4,000 individuals
from all 50 states raised their voices to demand an independent
investigation-and if warranted, prosecution-of former officials
responsible for torture.

BORDC has submitted these
letters to the Attorney General Holder and Congress shortly before
Torture Accountability Action Day (June 25) and the UN International
Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26), for which the
organization has also published an online calendar of anti-torture and pro-accountability events across the country.

Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of BORDC said, "The Justice
Department's reluctance to prosecute former officials who enabled
torture imposes real costs on teachers, people of faith and legal and
health professionals-all of whom have joined together to implore the
Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor."  According to Chip
Pitts, President of BORDC's Board of Directors, "Until our government
prosecutes the officials who enabled torture, law-abiding Americans
will remain victimized by the other threats to our constitutional
values, like preventive detention and warrantless spying."

The 4,000 individuals who wrote to the Attorney General and Congress joined either a general letter
open to all signers, or one of four letters presenting the unique
perspectives of educators, legal professionals, health professionals,
and people of faith:

  • More than 400 educators
    have voiced concerns about their educational mandate: "Young people are
    smarter than many adults think, and the preferential treatment of
    senior officials who commit heinous crimes-relative to the
    school-to-prison pipeline that ensnares many of their peers for
    relatively innocuous misbehavior-does not escape their attention."
  • According to more than 200 lawyers,
    "The severity of systemic disadvantages in the criminal process grows
    more disturbing-and the system's legitimacy grows less secure-when
    violations of our nation's most fundamental commitments carry no
    consequences for potential criminals who wield political influence."
  • More than 100 faith leaders
    from a wide variety of traditions suggested that "[j]ust as our beliefs
    lead us to condemn crimes against all, including the 'least' of
    humankind, so also do they lead us to demand accountability of all,
    including those who hold themselves to be humankind's ‘greatest.'"
  • More than 100 health professionals
    observed that "[e]fforts within our professions to hold our members
    accountable for their role in torture are part of the solution, but do
    not complete it....Until our nation investigates and prosecutes those
    responsible for torturing detainees, the future use of torture will
    remain a risk facing our nation, our professions, and their respective
    values."

Formed in 2001 after the
passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee is
a national organization defending constitutional rights and civil
liberties violated by "war on terror" policies.  BORDC's mission is to
promote, organize, and support a diverse, effective, national
grassroots movement to restore and protect civil rights and liberties
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. For information, please visit www.bordc.org or call 413-582-0110. 

###

Defending Rights & Dissent strengthens our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression.  

About the merger of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation

In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.

While BORDC was established to fight the PATRIOT Act in the wake of its passage under the Bush administration, DDF was founded

Judge Blocks Biden From Continuing 'Inhumane' Trump Policy to Deport Families

"This is not the end of the battle against this practice," said one rights group, "but it is a major step to ensure that the U.S. welcomes these asylum-seeking families—as we should."

Jessica Corbett ·


400+ Economists Press Congress to Permanently Expand Child Tax Credit

Such an expansion would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," they said.

Andrea Germanos ·


Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass 'Imperiled' Polar Bears

"We're hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Cruel and Callous': Biden Slammed for Resuming Deportations to Battered Haiti

"Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a 'friend' of Haiti. A 'friend' does not continuously inflict pain on another friend," said Guerline Jozef of the Haitian Bridge Alliance.

Kenny Stancil ·


Indian Civil Society Groups to Biden: Force J&J to Share Vaccine Recipe With the World

"His administration has the moral, legal, and if necessary, financial power to lift intellectual property barriers and persuade J&J to license its vaccine."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo