UN to quiz Washington on torture

Sent on by Shaker Jaclyn:

The US is due to appear before the UN Committee on Torture for the first time since launching its war on terror following the 9/11 attacks.

Thirty senior officials from the departments of state, defence, justice and homeland security will testify in public at the hearing in Geneva.

They are likely to face tough questions about practices used in the US' anti-terror drive, correspondents say…

The hearings have huge significance, says Jennifer Daskal of Human Rights Watch.

"What makes this so remarkable is that this is the first time the United States is accountable for its record on torture with regard to some of the practices implemented after 9/11," she says.

The committee will want to know about alleged CIA secret prisons and the prisoners no-one has access to, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says.

They may ask about the precise measures the US has taken in the wake of the abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison to ensure it does not happen again.

More awkward still, they may want to know if an independent inquiry into the possibility that high-ranking government officials authorised torture, our correspondent adds.
There appears to be little coverage of this in the American media. CNN had a story the other day, but it doesn’t even mention that a US team will be testifying. The testimony of the US team, led by a State Department Attorney, begins tomorrow.

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