FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“No One is Above the Law, Not Even the President”
Statement of Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director
| > Report to the UN Committee Against Torture|
> Government Torture and Abuse
NEW YORK -- Two years since the publication of the notorious photos depicting torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, only a small number of low-ranking soldiers has been prosecuted, with great fanfare. The Bush administration has steadfastly refused to hold high-level officials accountable for creating the policies and tolerating a permissive climate that resulted in the abuse of detainees. That denial of accountability must end if we are to ensure that we never repeat the mistakes of Abu Ghraib.
The ACLU is determined to hold the Bush administration responsible not just for torture and abuse of detainees, but for the many other abuses of power that are taking place in the name of fighting terrorism.
By ordering kidnapping and by "rendering" individuals to be tortured abroad, by conducting warrantless eavesdropping on Americans here at home and by issuing secret demands for our library records and other personal information, President Bush is violating America’s values of freedom and fairness. America cannot hold itself up as a moral beacon to the world if we violate the rule of law and engage in illegal spying, torture and secrecy.
Fortunately, Americans increasingly are raising concerns. A recent poll conducted by the ACLU found that 65 percent of Americans “strongly disapprove” of government-sanctioned torture, 70 percent oppose secret home searches and 54 percent oppose the warrantless surveillance program. On the subject of combating terrorism, 60 percent of respondents believe the president should work with Congress and the courts, within the time-honored system of checks and balances established in the Constitution.
Significantly, at least a third of Republican voters polled expressed concern that President Bush is operating outside of the law. And senior Republicans in Congress have begun demanding more information and oversight.
No one is above the law, not even the U.S. president. After all, how can America fight for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan when we allow the president to break the law here at home?
For the results of the ACLU’s poll go to:
More information on the ACLU's lawsuit to hold top U.S. officials accountable for torture of detainees is online at: www.aclu.org/rumsfeld