Guantánamo

U.N. panel raps U.S. record on torture, cites Guantánamo

From left, Italian Alessio Bruni, Committee expert on U.S. review; Claudio Grossman, Chilean chairperson of the U.N. Committee against Torture; and Dane Jens Modvig, the committee expert on U.S. review, on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Geneva.
From left, Italian Alessio Bruni, Committee expert on U.S. review; Claudio Grossman, Chilean chairperson of the U.N. Committee against Torture; and Dane Jens Modvig, the committee expert on U.S. review, on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Geneva. McClatchy

The United States falls short of full compliance with an international anti-torture treaty, a U.N. panel report said Friday, citing police brutality, military interrogations and prisons among its top concerns.

The report by the U.N. Committee Against Torture, its first such review of the U.S. record since 2006, criticized the U.S. record on military interrogations, maximum security prisons, illegal migrants and solitary confinement while calling for tougher federal laws to define and outlaw torture, including with detainees at Guantánamo Bay and in Yemen.

It also called for abolishing interrogation techniques that rely on sleep or sensory deprivation “aimed at prolonging the sense of capture.”

“There are numerous areas in which certain things should be changed for the United States to comply fully with the convention,” Alessio Bruni of Italy, one of the panel’s chief investigators, said at a news conference Friday in Geneva. He was referring to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which took effect in 1987 and the United States ratified in 1994.

The U.N. committee’s 10 independent experts are responsible for reviewing the records of all 156 U.N. member countries that have ratified the treaty against torture and all “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The report also expressed concerns about allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, particularly the Chicago Police Department’s treatment of blacks and Latinos.

It called for restricting the use of taser weapons by police to life-threatening situations. But it had no specific recommendation or reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri who fatally shot a black and unarmed teenager

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