HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES HOYER AMENDMENT ON PRISONER TORTURE

Amendment Reaffirms U.S. Policy Against Use of Torture

For Immediate Release:

June 16, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – The Full House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote today an amendment to the 2005 Defense Appropriations bill that was offered by House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and that reaffirmed the U.S. policy against the use of torture.

“I am extremely concerned with the torture that was inflicted on Iraqi prisoners of war and detainees, which occurred despite the fact that it is patently illegal under U.S. law and numerous international conventions to which we subscribe,” said Hoyer. 

“The torture inflicted on Iraqi prisoners and detainees is without question inconsistent with the core American values of equal justice and respect for human dignity.  The torture of these human beings simply does not reflect the manner in which American soldiers and citizens should, and are expected to, conduct themselves.  It also puts at risk our own citizens and soldiers who are captured by our enemies,” continued Hoyer.

“In addition, there is no doubt that these actions have taken a grave toll on our efforts in Iraq, the war on terrorism and our position in the world generally.  Congress must declare to the world loudly and clearly that torture is not tolerated in American society.

“I hope that this reaffirmation of the U.S. policy against torture will help to reassure the world that Americans renounce the use of torture and will not abide its use by our military or our citizens,” concluded Hoyer.

The text of the legislation follows:

Congress, consistent with international and United States law, reaffirms that torture of prisoners of war and detainees is illegal and does not reflect the policies of the United States Government or the values of the people of the United States.

The following U.S. signed conventions and U.S. laws prohibit the use of torture:

• The Geneva Convention
• The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
• U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
• 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
• Federal anti-torture statute – 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340A
• War Crimes Act of 1996
• Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act
• Uniform Code of Military Justice
• Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000
• U.S. Executive order No. 13107

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