Ten Questions: #9

Last month, when the United States had its human rights record reviewed by the United Nations in Geneva, U.S. State Department legal advisor Harold Koh 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.

Drawing largely from material we have covered so far in the The Torture Report, I have come up with a list of 10 follow-up questions that 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 #9.

A 2006 report by Human Rights First titled Command's Responsibility found that nearly 100 detainees had died in U.S. custody in the global “war on terror.” This number does not include battlefield deaths; it counts only deaths during interrogation in U.S.-run facilities and people killed after they had surrendered to U.S. forces. According to military records available to Human Rights First investigators at the time, 34 of these deaths were either confirmed or suspected homicides, and at least 11 more to have been the result of abuse or detention conditions. Since Human Rights First's report came out, military documents and credible media accounts indicate that many more detainees have died in U.S. custody. Please provide a list of all investigations into deaths of detainees in U.S. military custody, any criminal and administrative proceedings stemming from investigations, and any resulting sanctions. What is the highest rank of U.S. servicemembers punished in connection with the death of a detainee?

 

 

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