Target: Members of the United States Congress
Goal: Create legislation to permanently ban torture in prisons run by the United States.
Although the U.S. Constitution clearly bans ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ torture still occurs at the hands of U.S. officials. The infamous Guantanamo Bay has used interrogation tactics such as water-boarding, forced nudity, humiliation, sleep deprivation, and securing prisoners in painful positions, which often results in long-term psychological and physical damage to prisoners and can lead to false confessions. The United States needs to be held accountable for treating suspects and prisoners with dignity, and those who torture suspects should be prosecuted. Call upon Congress to take action.
Psychologists agree that survivors of torture are likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after their experience, and many report vivid flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and hallucinations. Those who undergo mock execution, such as water-boarding, can experience sensations of drowning for the rest of their lives, often choking and struggling for air for years to come. Some survivors of mock execution found the torture so unbearable that they reported begging for death. Long-term physical damage also occurs from torture. Holding prisoners in painful stress positions can damage joints, circulation, and connective tissue in the limbs.
The United States uses the term “enhanced interrogation” as a euphemism to describe the torture inflicted on prisoners. However, suspects who were held at Guantanamo Bay have come forward with scars from their experiences. One victim, British citizen, Moazzam Begg, was detained for 36 hours at Guantanamo Bay and during that time was subjected to solitary confinement, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, and sexual ridicule. He was held in painful stress positions for hours and was led to believe that his wife was being tortured in the next cell. He was ultimately released without being charged.
The United States condemns torture in other nations, while U.S. officials and military tribunals still use torture abroad. President Obama has recently signed legislation which prevented the immediate closing of Guantanamo Bay, making it even more urgent to draft a law which will prevent torture at this prison and others run by U.S. officials. Demand that Congress create legislation to permanently ban “enhanced interrogation techniques” in U.S. prison systems.
Dear Members of Congress,
Despite the eighth amendment of the U.S. Constitution which bans ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques, still occur all over the world in prisons run by U.S. officials. Not only have these enhanced interrogation techniques been documented at Guantanamo Bay, but at other U.S. run detention facilities throughout the world. Torturing suspects and prisoners clearly violates the Geneva Convention and is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. It is imperative that you create legislation that will permanently ban the use of torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques, by U.S. officials, both domestically and abroad.
Torture leads to long-term psychological and physical damage. Many survivors of torture experience flashbacks, hallucinations, nightmares, and anxiety for years after their horrific experiences. Undergoing mock death torture, such as water-boarding, can create sensations of choking for years thereafter. Some survivors have reported begging for death during the process. Worst of all, there are many reports of detainees who were held in U.S. prisons, tortured for hours or days, who were later released without being charged. This indicates that innocent people are being tortured at the hands of U.S. officials, which is an atrocious violation of federal and international law.
U.S. military tribunals and detention centers across the world reportedly use torture as an interrogation technique, often while denying the right to a trial. These crimes have gone unnoticed because they have occurred outside of U.S. borders. As a world leader, it is necessary for the United States to set a precedent for other nations and immediately ban the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by all U.S. officials.
We urge you to draft and promptly pass this legislation in order to preserve the rights of the American people and of people throughout the world.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: CIA Waterboarding Legal Defense via Huffpost.com