< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Revised Army Rules to Prohibit Torture

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Revised Army Rules to Prohibit Torture

From the Los Angeles Times:

Bowing to critics of its tough interrogation policies, the Pentagon is issuing a new Army field manual that provides Geneva Convention protections for all detainees and eliminates a secret list of interrogation tactics.

The manual, set for release today, also reverses an earlier decision to maintain two interrogation standards — one for traditional prisoners of war and another for "unlawful combatants" captured during a conflict but not affiliated with a nation's military force. It will ban the use of such controversial methods as forcing prisoners to endure long periods of solitary confinement, using military dogs to threaten prisoners, putting hoods over inmates' heads and strapping detainees to boards and dunking them in water to simulate drowning, defense officials said.


The manual and its related policy directives — the legal framework for interrogations — originally were to be released in the spring. But when State Department officials and Republican senators on the Armed Services Committee raised objections, they were pulled back.

The Pentagon's decision to drop the objectionable provisions appears to mark a victory for advocates of closer U.S. adherence to the protections of the Geneva Convention, an international agreement on the treatment of prisoners and others during wartime. Human rights groups said they planned to study the manual carefully to see what parts of the international treaty it included and what it left out.


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