Enduring Abuse: Torture and Cruel Treatment by the United States at Home and Abroad

Document Date: April 27, 2006

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Torture of detainees. Secret government kidnapping. Indefinite detention.

These ideas should not represent the United States of America. Torture is un-American. And we need to tell our leaders and the rest of the world how deeply we oppose our government’s unconscionable involvement in these acts.

Exactly two years after images from Abu Ghraib prison shocked people everywhere and tarnished America’s standing as a champion of freedom, the ACLU is releasing a detailed report on the United States’ failure to comply with the universal prohibition against torture – abroad and at home. The ACLU filed the report with the United Nations Committee Against Torture, which will review the United States’ compliance with the treaty in early May.

The report, “Enduring Abuse: Torture and Cruel Treatment by the United States at Home and Abroad,” documents a systemic pattern of torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody abroad. It exposes the federal government’s failure to reverse the policies that led to this abuse or to hold a single high-ranking official responsible. The report also shows that torture and abuse is not limited to actions by military personnel overseas in the “war on terror,” but in fact is far too common at home – through pervasive prison rape, abusive conditions at supermax prisons, and taser use by local police.

The ACLU report is based on our ongoing advocacy against torture in the courts, in Congress, and through Freedom of Information Act requests that led to the compelled production by the U.S. government of over 100,000 pages of documents on the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan. We are committed to holding the U.S. government accountable to human rights obligations at home and abroad.

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