Recent Allegations of Death by Torture Must Be Investigated

Stoptorture-nrcat The Rev. Richard Killmer, the Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), an interfaith coalition of more than 270 religious organizations nationwide, released this statement today:

"Allegations of death by torture of three detainees in 2006 held at the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay must be investigated thoroughly by the President and the U.S. Congress.  According to Scott Horton, in an online article that will appear in the March 2010 print issue of Harper's Magazine, three individuals who were about to be released were likely tortured to death by suffocation when rags were stuffed in their mouths so they were unable to breathe.  The official report at the time claimed the three had committed suicide by hanging themselves.  But a former Guantanamo guard has recently stepped forward with information suggesting that the three detainees died at the hands of U.S. personnel. 

This evidence of murder by torture demands a full and thorough investigation by the President and Congress and the appointment of a Special Prosecutor by the Department of Justice. It also adds to the now overwhelming demonstration of need for a Commission of Inquiry that would carry out a thorough investigation of all U.S.-sponsored torture since 9/11.

Congress and the American people must learn what happened to those three detainees for the sake of justice, confidence in our institutions, and the soul of our nation." 

The 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called for a commission of inquiry to investigate our nation's use of torture. The assembly also called upon the Attorney General to "obtain the appointment of a special counsel with full authority to investigate and prosecute any official or officer of the United States government who bears direct or command responsibility for having ordered or participated in violations of law in the mistreatment of persons detained by the government of the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib Prison, or elsewhere, or in transporting persons into detention in nations that have known records of brutality and torture." This action is available (it's a large PDF file) as are additional resources to help us work to end torture.

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