UN expert: torture continues at Gitmo

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer issued a statement Dec. 13 calling on the US to end impunity for "perpetrators and policymakers responsible for years of gruesome abuse" at Guantánamo Bay and other detention facilities. Melzer urged US authorities to take action on the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee Report, which found that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deliberately misled Congress and the White House about information obtained using so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" between 2002 and 2007. Melzer contends that the US us in violation of the Convention Against Torture by failing to prosecute instances of torture outlined in the Senate Report, "sending a dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the US and around the world." (Jurist, Dec. 14)

Melzer also said that he has information that a Guantánamo detainee is still being tortured despite the official banning of "enhanced interrogation techniques." The allegation centers on Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five men at Guantánamo awaiting trial by military commission on allegations of being a co-conspirator in the 9-11 attacks.

"In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention," Melze's statement said. He did not elaborate on where his information comes from.

The Pentagon denied the charge. "These claims have been investigated on multiple occasions in the past and no credible evidence has been found to substantiate his claims," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ben Sakrisson said. (The Hill, Dec. 13)