For Immediate Release
AIUSA media relations office, 202-544-0200 x302
Amnesty International Welcomes Congressional Passage of FY10 Homeland Security Appropriations Act Allowing Detainees to Be Tried in the US
However, human rights organization rebukes Congress and administration for blocking the release of “torture photos;” asks Congress to resist any further amendments barring detainees for trials in the United States
WASHINGTON - Geneve Mantri, Amnesty International USA's government relations director for terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights, issued the following statement in response to Congress' passage of FY10 Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would allow detainees at the U.S.-controlled detention facility in Guantanamo Bay to be brought to the United States for their trials:
"The Obama administration and the American people won a victory with Congressional passage of legislation to allow detainees in Guantanamo to be tried in federal courts in the United States. Finally both house of Congress have approved amendments that will help close the detention center that has stained America's global human rights record. This legislation would also require that Congress be informed of plans for mitigating any risks associated with the transfer of detainees into the United States.
"Amnesty International also urges Congress to follow through on its commitments in the bill and resist any further amendments to other legislation that may interfere with the prosecution of detainees in the United States.
"However, Amnesty International is deeply disappointed that this legislation will prohibit the release of additional ‘torture photos.' Human beings have been tortured and denied basic rights. The American people have been lied to. And government officials who authorized and justified abusive policies are being shielded from prosecution. This action points more firmly to the urgent need for transparency and full investigation to expose, and finally close, the book on torture."
The human rights organization reiterated its call to President Obama and Congress to support an independent commission of inquiry into human rights violations committed as part of the war on terror by or on behalf of the United States, in order to ensure accountability and signal a fundamental shift in U.S. counterterrorism policies.
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.
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