News Release

Torture Deal

NBC is reporting: “The rift among Republicans over the treatment of terrorism detainees appears to have closed, with maverick GOP Sen. John McCain telling NBC News on Friday that a deal reached with President Bush will lead to fair trials and interrogations but not torture.”

But based on details of the plans thus far made public, the following legal experts, who are available for interviews, offered these analyses:

CHRISTOPHER H. PYLE
Professor Pyle is co-author of the book The President, Congress, and the Constitution and author of the book Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics. He said today: “The compromise pretends to save the Geneva Conventions from repeal, but repeals much of the law enforcing them. It does not expressly forbid a single brutal practice, including mock executions by near-drowning, but it does retroactively absolve administration officials of legal responsibility for past war crimes. It denies the innocent victims of kidnapping and detention, like Maher Arar, any right to challenge their captivity in court. And it permits the use of evidence obtained by torture in military tribunals by camouflaging it as hearsay testimony.” Pyle is a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College specializing in Constitutional law and civil liberties.
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MICHAEL RATNER
President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner said today: “This ‘deal’ still wipes out habeas corpus, denying those at Guantanamo and in U.S. custody around the world the right to test their detentions in court. Abolishment of the writ [of habeas corpus] is the equivalent of the authorization of executive detention — one of the hallmarks of a police state.

“The ‘deal’ amnesties those in the administration who may be guilty of war crimes as Argentina and Chile tried to do during their ‘dirty wars.’That is illegal under international law.”
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LISA HAJJAR
Hajjar, a professor in the Law and Society Program at the University of California-Santa Barbara, wrote the articles “Torture and the Lawless New Paradigm” and “An Army of Lawyers.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167