It has been disclosed during a congressional hearing at Capitol Hill in Washington that a number of detainees, including several Algerians suspected of belonging to the Al Qaeda terror group, have been subjected to harsh torture in Guantanamo prison and other US detention centres.It has been disclosed during a congressional hearing at Capitol Hill in Washington that a number of detainees, including several Algerians suspected of belonging to the Al Qaeda terror group, have been subjected to harsh torture in Guantanamo prison and other US detention centres.
Most of the detainees held by the US military are Algerians, Libyans, Yemenis, Saudis, Sudanese and Afghans among other nationalities.
They were held by the US military in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States .
This burning issue was brought to the limelight by a host of US lawmakers in Washington .
In this connection, the US Congress defied a White House veto threat earlier this week and voted to ban the CIA from using “waterboarding” and other harsh interrogation techniques against detainees including those held on terror charges.
On a largely party-line vote of 51-45, the Democratic-led Senate passed a broad intelligence measure approved in December by the House of Representatives and sent it to President George W. Bush.
Waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, has been widely condemned by human rights groups and other countries as torture and illegal.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the leading Republican presidential candidate and an author of previous anti-torture legislation, voted against the overall intelligence bill. The interrogation provision says the Central Intelligence Agency must adhere to limitations in the U.S. Army Field Manual.
The action follows CIA Director Michael Hayden’s disclosure to Congress last week that government interrogators had used waterboarding on three suspects captured after the September 11 attacks.
The new provision would require the CIA to comply with Army rules on questioning detainees, which forbid eight methods including waterboarding, forced nudity, electric shock, use of dogs and mock executions.
The manual allows mostly psychological methods, such as making a detainee believe cooperation will shorten a war, the bill’s sponsors said.
The bill’s passage came as a surprise and delighted human rights groups.
Senate Republicans had been expected to try to eliminate the provision but backed off, figuring Bush would veto it anyway and Congress could not muster the votes to override, congressional sources said.
Hayden told Congress last week that waterboarding may no longer be legal given previous changes in U.S. law, but the White House has refused to rule out using it again.