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Ten Questions: #7

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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December 8, 2010

When the United States appeared before the U.N. to defend its human rights record, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh assured the world that the U.S. had “thoroughly investigated” alleged abuses of detainees in U.S. custody, and that “appropriate corrective action has been taken.” Koh also asserted that the Justice Department’s initial investigation into torture was actively looking into allegations of abuse by the CIA and other civilian agencies.

Drawing largely from material that has been covered in, we have come up with 10 follow-up questions for the U.S. about its compliance with domestic and international prohibitions against torture.

In November 2002, the CIA tortured a detainee recently identified as Gul Rahman to death at its secret “Salt Pit” interrogation facility in Afghanistan, stripping him, shackling him, dousing him with water, and leaving him exposed in frigid weather overnight; he died of hypothermia. It has been reported that Attorney General Eric Holder specifically directed Special Prosecutor John Durham to investigate this case and others that the CIA’s Inspector General had referred to the Justice Department, only to have the Bush Justice Department decline to prosecute. Is the Justice Department in fact investigating the Salt Pit killing? What is the status of Durham ‘s investigation, if any, of this case?