MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) — The United Nations Committee against Torture has called on US officials to account for their failure to comply with the anti-torture treaty at a hearing on Wednesday, reports The Intercept.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Program told The Intercept, “This marks the first UN review of the United States’ torture record since President Obama took office in 2009, and much is at stake. The review will test the pledges President Obama made to reverse disastrous Bush-era policies that led to gross violations of human rights, like torture, secret and incommunicado detention, “extraordinary renditions,” unfair trials, and more.”
According to The Intercept, the ACLU’s “shadow report” to the UN committee is a strong condemnation of the US’s failure to live up to its principles.
US non-governmental agencies were allowed to address the UN committee today and were addressed by Murat Kurnaz.
It was reported by Spiegel International, that Kurnaz was detained when he was only nineteen years old. He spent five years as a detainee in the US military camp at Kandahar and then Guantánamo. He was wrongly identified as an accomplice of the Taliban.
On Monday, Murat Kurnaz traveled to Geneva with his attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy. He made the following statement, “Good afternoon. My name is Murat Kurnaz. I am a Turkish citizen who was born and raised in Bremen, Germany, where I currently live. I spent five years of my life in detention in Kandahar and Guantanamo Bay from 2001-2006. My story is like many others. In 2001, while traveling in Pakistan, I was arrested by Pakistani police and sold to the US military for a $3,000 bounty,” reports The Intercept.
Commenting on his days spent in captivity, “In Kandahar, the US military subjected me to electric shocks, stress positions, simulated drowning, and endless beatings. In Guantanamo, there was also psychological torture –I was stripped of my humanity, treated like an animal, isolated from the rest of the world, and did not know if I would ever be released.”
The Intercept further reports that Kurnaz fails to understand how Guantanamo is still open today and how there are almost 150 men detained there indefinitely. He said that his time in Guantanamo was a nightmare, but he knows that part of the reason he is free today is because he is from Germany. Most of the current prisoners remain in Guantanamo because they are from Yemen and the US refuses to send them home.
Kurnez said, “Many victims are as innocent as I was. But they are enduring the torture of Guantanamo for over 12 years because of their nationality, not because of anything they have done. I understand that international human rights laws like the “Convention against Torture” were created so that the people who commit torture are punished. Isn’t that how we can end torture in the world? So why has no US official been held responsible for brutal practices and torture at Guantanamo or other US prisons? I will never get five years of my life back, but for me and others, it is important that the Committee confronts the United States about its actions in Guantanamo and other prisons,” reports The Intercept.
The questioning of the US delegation begins as 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Geneva time.