Amnesty International Considers New Bush Executive Order 'Same Old Song'

WASHINGTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jumana Musa, Amnesty International USA advocacy director for domestic human rights and international justice and an international law attorney, issued the following statement in response to President Bush's executive order regarding the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 as it applies to the Central Intelligence Agency's program of detention and interrogation.

"Today's executive order is noteworthy for what it does not say as much as for what is does state. Although the order prohibits rape, sexual assault or abuse, sexual humiliation and denigration of religion, the deafening silence on other techniques that the CIA may have used, such as waterboarding, the cold room technique and sleep deprivation, speaks volumes. The United States can no longer hide behind the specter of national security and providing so-called 'too much information' to Al Qaeda to avoid an outright rejection of such patently unlawful techniques.

"The broader problem with this executive order is that it works off the mistaken contention that there is a global war that extends the law of war framework to every corner of the world. This misappropriation of humanitarian law has been used by the administration to avoid human rights law and assert ultimate executive authority over detention and interrogation of anyone President Bush designates an 'unlawful enemy combatant.'

"Also, this order is designed to determine the lawfulness of interrogation techniques that can be used in the CIA's 'program of detention' -- widely known as an illegal program of 'disappearances' and secret prisons. A legitimate interrogation regime cannot cure the illegality of this despicable practice and does not bring this nation in line with its treaty obligations.

"The fact that President Bush continues to assert the authority to engage in secret detentions and applies that authority to a broad range of people who can picked up anywhere around the world indicates an unrepentant administration that seeks to minimize the rule of the law."

SOURCE Amnesty International



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