December 22, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program.

The organizations point out that the information detailed in the report leaves no doubt that crimes were committed as part of the government’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program and that the United States is obligated by both domestic and international law to prosecute such crimes.

The letter stated:

Even though our organizations have dedicated tens of thousands of staff hours to researching, litigating, and advocating on concerns related to torture and other ill-treatment in the RDI program, the depravity of the tactics and immensity of the enterprise still astound us. There is no need to repeat the details in this letter to you, but we believe it is fair to say that many of these crimes would be horrific even if committed by an individual acting alone; but when done as part of a deliberate, coordinated government program, the crimes are more shocking and far more corrosive to U.S. democracy.

The New York Times editorial board also called today for a full and independent criminal investigation.

Others who have called for a criminal investigation include Juan Mendez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture; Ben Emmerson, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism; Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Harold Koh, a former legal advisor to the Department of State said there is “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.”

The letter is available at:
https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/aclu_and_hrw_letter_torture_special_prosecutor_-_12-22.pdf

More information is available at:
https://www.aclu.org/national-security/why-criminal-investigation-necessary

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