Ten Questions: #1

When the United States appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council last month, the U.S. delegation faced tough questions concerning its compliance with global prohibitions on torture and the Convention Against Torture's requirements that all allegations of torture be investigated, that perpetrators of torture be punished, and that victims be compensated. During the U.N. session, U.S. State Department legal advisor Harold Koh repeatedly assured the world that all alleged abuses of detainees in the custody of the U.S. military “have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate corrective action has been taken,” and that Special Prosecutor John Durham is actively investigating allegations of torture by the CIA and other civilian agencies.

Based on these statements, I have come up with a list of 10 follow-up questions, drawn largely from material we have covered so far in The Torture Report, that I think the press and public at large—indeed, all of us—should be asking the Obama administration about the status of U.S. compliance with its domestic and international commitments on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment. Today we ask question #1.

In January 2009, Susan Crawford, the former Convening Authority of the Guantánamo Military Commissions, publicly acknowledged she had not referred Mohammed Al-Qahtani's case for prosecution because “We tortured Qahtani”; his treatment, she said, “met the legal definition of torture.” Can you list the names and ranks of all military personnel who have been investigated for ordering and carrying out his interrogation, and the status and results of any court-martial or other disciplinary proceedings that resulted from those investigations?

 

 

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