Amnesty International to Senate Regarding Detainee Treatment: ‘Do The Right Thing’

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ — Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director, issued the following statement in response to House passage of the “Military Commissions Act” today and the Act’s upcoming vote in the Senate:

“There are rare moments at which our leaders can stand up and affirm what America believes in. The House could have seized such an opportunity if lawmakers had defeated the flawed military commissions legislation that threatens to undermine some of the nation’s most cherished and basic values. But they blew it. Instead the Representatives brought into question this nation’s commitment to core principles of fairness and justice.

“However, the Senate can still do the right thing. The Senate should vote against the ‘Military Commissions Act’ as passed by the House or amend it to protect longstanding principles of justice for all. The Senate must ensure the United States does not create a structure to detain, interrogate and prosecute alleged terrorists that is out of step with American justice and with universal standards of human rights and humane treatment.

“The House legislation is open to broad interpretation. It could provide the administration authority to continue secret prisons, interrogation techniques that have long been considered torture, immunity for those responsible for torture, and cruel and ill-treatment of prisoners. These acts do not reflect policies or principles of which the nation can be proud. Amnesty International urges the Senate to uphold U.S. and international standards of human rights and justice by voting against the House-passed legislation.”

Amnesty International has launched the “America I Believe In” campaign because the United States is facing a defining moment: the nation can seek to be one of the world’s leaders on human rights or lose its moral authority on fairness and justice. The initial campaign activities have included advertisements in major print and online publications and personal calls and visits to congressional members. Over the past two weeks, Amnesty International members and other citizens sent more than 50,000 messages to Congress urging lawmakers not to cede the nation’s values.

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