ACLU Lauds House Judiciary Committee on Torture Investigation

May 7, 2008 12:00 am

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For Immediate Release
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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union lauds the House Judiciary Committee and especially its chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for compelling former members of the Bush administration to appear before the committee as part of an investigation of the authorization of illegal torture of prisoners in US custody by the highest public officials in the executive branch.

“The House Judiciary Committee is setting in motion something that should have started four years ago when the public learned about the torture of prisoners in US custody at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo bay detention facilities.” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. Fredrickson added that the ACLU urges the committee to “focus clearly on who did what at the highest levels of government, and whether crimes were committed. It’s time to legally compel Bush’s team to tell the truth.”

“The investigation must be independent and focus on the highest levels of government,” said Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders. “It’s time to conduct a full investigation to determine what laws may have been broken and whether crimes were committed.”

Yesterday, the House Constitution Subcommittee met for a hearing on torture and there is clear congressional interest in this issue, as 12 of 13 members of the subcommittee were in attendance.

The ACLU suggests to the committee that in addition to John Ashcroft, John Yoo and David Addington, there are others who should be compelled to appear. George Tenet, Douglas Feith and Condoleezza Rice should be compelled to testify if they will not come before the committee voluntarily.

Fredrickson said that a thorough investigation will “go a long way toward making sure that the next Administration does not illegally torture people in US custody.”

In October 2003, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records concerning the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. While more than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit, the government continues to withhold many vital records and litigation is ongoing.

To see the ACLU’s letter asking for a special counsel to investigate torture go to: /files/pdfs/safefree/lettertocongress_2007_1213.pdf

The documents received in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation are online at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia

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