Exposed: Torture and the CIA

7 April 2015, 14:53 UTC | United States of America
In some cases CIA detainees were tortured before being taken to Guantánamo. © US DoD

On 9 Dec 2014, a damning report on CIA interrogation revealed that the US government used torture. It detailed how the CIA used waterboarding, ‘rectal feeding’, sleep deprivation, stress positions and other cruel, degrading treatment against detainees.

The report revealed some details of the horrific torture used in secret CIA-run prisons across the world. 

It also covered the effects of the interrogation methods on detainees. These included hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.

The CIA did not act alone

Many countries worked with the CIA on this programme, including Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden and the UK. In 2012 and 2013, the European Parliament called on all implicated EU members and associated states to fully investigate their roles in these operations.

“While the ugly truth about US ‘war on terror’ torture is gradually emerging, we still don't know how far Britain was dragged into the mire.”

Kate Allen, Amnesty UK's Director

Nobody is above the law

The report is a stark reminder of the continued impunity for appalling human rights violations – all committed in the name of ‘national security’.

The failure of President Obama and Congress to ensure accountability for torture, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations leaves the USA in serious violation of its international legal obligations.

“Former President George W. Bush should have been investigated long ago for his role in authorising this program, including his assertion since leaving office that he personally granted the CIA’s request to use waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against particular detainees.”

Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty USA's Executive Director

The full report remains classified as ‘top secret’. Despite bringing some abuses to light, it is far from getting justice for the crimes committed by the USA's highest authorities. 

What Amnesty International is calling for

We call for the release of the full report with as few revisions as possible, and none that obscure evidence of human rights violations. Under the UN Convention against Torture, torture is never justified. All those responsible must be fully investigated.

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