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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                          

The United States of America (USA)

The increased policy focus on reforming the criminal justice system in recent years has coincided with a series of widely publicized incidents in which police actions led to civilian deaths. Many of these prominent cases involved black civilians, though Native Americans are reportedly killed by police at a higher rate per capita than any other group.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: USA


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the USA.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 15 May 2020]


The increased policy focus on reforming the criminal justice system in recent years has coincided with a series of widely publicized incidents in which police actions led to civilian deaths. Many of these prominent cases involved black civilians, though Native Americans are reportedly killed by police at a higher rate per capita than any other group. Only a small fraction of fatal police shootings lead to criminal charges; when officers have been brought to trial, the cases have typically ended in acquittals or sentences on reduced charges.

SLO Tribune releases jail torture video, fails to credit earlier reporting

Cal Coast News, 17 March 2018

[accessed 25 March 2018]

While held naked in a filthy cell, Holland began punching himself in the face. His jailers responded by strapping him naked in a restraint chair  where he was left for more than 46 hours. During this time he was offered little food or water and never permitted to use a bathroom.

In the video, guards watch as Holland struggles, and after he loses consciousness, they enter the cell. In the video, guards are seen laughing while Holland is dying.

Snowden laughs off CIA’s ‘mistaken’ destruction of secret torture report

Russia Today - RT News Network, 20 May 2016

[accessed 9 August 2016]

[accessed 9 August 2016]

Following a recent report that the CIA's internal inspectors destroyed their only copy of a top secret 6,700-page report on torture, exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was quick to point out the spy agency doesn’t do anything by mistake.

The report was said to have been destroyed by the CIA inspector general's office in an “inadvertent” fashion. What was extremely peculiar was the fact that last summer the officials had uploaded a copy onto a computer, then accidentally deleted that. As if that wasn’t enough, they have now accidentally destroyed the disk which contained the copy of the report.

“I worked @CIA. I wrote the Emergency Destruction Plan for Geneva,” Snowden told his millions of global supporters over Twitter. “When the CIA destroys something, it's never a mistake.”

Detainee alleges CIA sexual abuse, torture beyond Senate findings

David Rohde, Reuters, New York, 2 June 2015

[accessed 21 June 2015]

Khan told his lawyers that some of the worst torture occurred in a May 2003 interrogation session, when guards stripped him naked, hung him from a wooden beam for three days and provided him with water but no food. The only time he was removed from the beam was on the afternoon of the first day, when interrogators shackled him, placed a hood over his head and lowered him into a tub of ice water.

An interrogator then forced Khan's head underwater until he feared he would drown. The questioner pulled Khan's head out of the water, demanded answers to questions and again dunked his head underwater, the detainee said. Guards also poured water and ice from a bucket onto Khan's mouth and nose.

Khan was again hung on the pole hooded and naked. Every two to three hours, interrogators hurled ice water on his body and set up a fan to blow air on him, depriving him of sleep, he said.

The Mysterious Death of Freddie Gray

David A. Graham, The Atlantic, Apr 22, 2015

[accessed 3 May 2015]

When the Baltimore man was arrested, he was alive and well. By the time he reached a police station, he couldn't breathe or talk. What happened?

The police say Gray didn't resist arrest and that officers didn't use force, which seems to be mostly corroborated by video shot by bystanders. Gray seems to shout in pain, and his leg seems injured as officers drag him to a police van. (Someone off camera shouts, "His leg broke and y'all dragging him like that!") Gray also had asthma and requested his inhaler, but didn't get it. Yet it's not the leg or the asthma that killed him. Instead, it was a grave injury to his spinal cord. Gray's family said he was treated for three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voice box, the sorts of injuries that doctors say are usually caused by serious car accidents. The van made at least two stops before reaching the police station, but there's no footage to say what happened during the journey or at those stops.

Black Lives Matter: Darrell Cannon and His Fellow Police Torture Survivors

G. Flint Taylor, Huffington Post, 10 February 2015

[accessed 29 March 2015]

One of the detectives took a shotgun, and, after appearing to put a shell in the chamber, rammed the barrel into Cannon's mouth and pulled the trigger. The detectives repeated this mock execution twice more, and Cannon experienced the feeling that "the back of my brains were being blown out." When Cannon persisted in denials, the detectives forced him into the back seat of their car, pulled down his pants, and repeatedly shocked him on his genitals with an electric cattle prod. The interrogation continued for several hours, with another round of electric shocks, this time in Cannon's mouth, and the racial abuse was so extreme that Cannon later recounted that he thought his name was "nigger."

Cannon finally succumbed to the torture and gave a false confession that implicated him in the murder. On the sole basis of that confession, Cannon was convicted and sentenced to life. While in prison, he filed a pro se law suit seeking damages, and in 1988, on the advice of an appointed lawyer, he reluctantly accepted a $3000 settlement which netted him a grand total of $1247 after costs and legal fees were deducted.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


The United States has a vibrant civil society and strong constitutional protections for many basic rights. Yet, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, immigration, and national security, US laws and practices routinely violate rights. Often, those least able to defend their rights in court or through the political process—racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, children, the poor, and prisoners—are the people most likely to suffer abuses.

Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agmcy's Detention and Interrogation Program

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Infelligence, Declassification Revisions 3 December 2014

[accessed 10 December 2014]


#3: The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others 

Beginning with the CIA's first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, and continuing with numerous others, the CIA applied its enhanced interrogation techniques with significant repetition for days or  weeks at a time. Interrogation techniques such as slaps and "wallings" (slamming detainees against a wall) were used in combination, frequently concurrent with sleep deprivation and nudity. Records do not support CIA representations that the CIA initially used an "an open, non- threatening approach,"^ or that interrogations began with the "least coercive technique possible"^ and escalated to more coercive techniques only as necessary.

The waterboarding technique was physically harmful, inducing convulsions and vomiting. Abu Zubaydah, for example, became "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.'"^ Internal CIA records describe the waterboarding of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad as evolving into a "series of near drownings."^ Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA nonetheless continued the sleep deprivation.

Contrary to CIA representations to the Department of Justice, the CIA instructed personnel that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah would take "precedence" over his medical care,^ resulting in the deterioration of a bullet wound Abu Zubaydah incurred during his capture. In at least two other cases, the CIA used its enhanced interrogation techniques despite warnings from CIA medical personnel that the techniques could exacerbate physical injuries. CIA medical  personnel treated at least one detainee for swelling in order to allow the continued use of standing sleep deprivation.

At least five CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity. The CIA placed detainees in ice water "baths." The CIA led several detainees to believe they would never be allowed to leave CIA custody alive, suggesting to one detainee that he would only leave in a coffin-shaped box.^ One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because "we can never let the world know what I have done to you."^ CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families— to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to "cut [a detainee's] mother's throat.

#4: The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others

Conditions at CIA detention sites were poor, and were especially bleak early in the program. CIA detainees at the COBALT detention facility were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.  Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. The chief of interrogations described COBALT as a "dungeon."^^ Another seniorCIA officer stated that COBALT was itself an enhanced interrogation technique.^'

At times, the detainees at COBALT were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. Other times, the detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a "rough takedown," in which approximately five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside of his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.

Even after the conditions of confinement improved with the construction of new detention facilities, detainees were held in total isolation except when being interrogated or debriefed by CIA personnel.

Throughout the program, multiple CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and extended isolation exhibited psychological and behavioral issues, including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation. Multiple psychologists identified the lack of human contact experienced by detainees as a cause of psychiatric problems

Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agmcy's Detention and Interrogation Program

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Infelligence, Declassification Revisions 3 December 2014

[accessed 10 December 2014]


 1. The CIA's use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees

 2. The CIA's justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness

 3. The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others

 4. The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others

 5. The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program

 6. The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program

 7. The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making

 8. The CIA's operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies

 9. The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA's Office of Inspector General

10. The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques

11. The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities

12. The CIA's management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program's duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003

13. Two contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program

14. CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters

15. The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA's cleams about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate

16. The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques

17. The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures

18. The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program

19. The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns

20. The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States' standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.

UN Committee against Torture’s Concluding Observations on Sweden, Ukraine, Venezuela, Australia, Burundi, USA, Croatia and Kazakhstan

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR, Geneva, 24 November 2014

[accessed 7 December 2014]

The UN Committee against Torture will be holding a news conference to discuss the concluding observations of its 53rd session ... Among the issues discussed during the session:

USA: Extraterritorial application of the Convention; inquiries into allegations of torture overseas; Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, transfer of detainees and reliance on diplomatic assurances; interrogation techniques; solitary confinement; use of death penalty; sexual violence, including rape, in prisons; excessive use of force by police, police brutality; sexual abuse in the US military.

Six inmates sue, allege torture

Peter Surowski, The Press-enterprise, San Bernardino County, 9 May 2014

[accessed 13 May 2014]

[accessed 9 August 2017]

Six inmates are suing the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for a collective $630 million, saying deputies tortured them.

The deputies sodomized the inmates, used electric shockers on their genitals, deprived them of sleep, held shotguns to their heads and stretched their arms in painful ways, treatment that was ”willful, malicious, sadistic and designed to inflict pain and suffering,” the suit states.

Torture, Racism, Drones & Unlawful Killings: UN Human Rights Committee Releases Report on US Government

Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter (a Firedoglake blog), 27 March 2014

[accessed 30 March 2014]

[accessed 9 August 2017]

The United Nations Human Rights Committee completed its review of the United States’ compliance with a major human rights treaty. It takes issue with the government’s interpretation that the treaty only applies to persons when they are inside the country

It is the Obama administration’s position that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the US is a signatory, does not impose any “human rights obligations on American military and intelligence forces when they operate abroad.

Police Commander Burge Loses Torture Lies Appeal

Joseph Celentino, Courthouse News Service, Chicago, 3 April 2013

[accessed 4 April 2013]

[accessed 9 August 2017]

The 7th Circuit upheld the conviction of a police commander who "presided over an interrogation regime where suspects were suffocated with plastic bags, electrocuted until they lost consciousness, held down against radiators, and had loaded guns pointed at their heads during rounds of Russian roulette."

At trial, the jury "heard overwhelming evidence" that Burge lied about the use of torture.

"The witnesses described how they were suffocated with plastic bags, electrocuted with homemade devices attached to their genitals, beaten, and had guns force into their mouths during questioning," according to the 7th Circuit's new ruling in the case.

Other witnesses stated that Burge had bragged about the beatings and "did not care if those tortured were innocent or guilty because, as he saw it, every suspect had surely committed some other offense anyway."

Burge was found guilty of all counts and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit affirmed Monday.

America's Global Torture Network

Robert Scheer, Editor,; The Huffington Post, 8 Feb 2013

[accessed 8 February 2013]

[accessed 31 August 2016]

When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the barbarism of other nations. In fact, the essence of our rendition program has been to outsource torture to those countries most sadistic in their use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." That is flattery of a most twisted sort.

Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition

Amrit Singh, Senior Legal Officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative’s National Security and Counterterrorism program ,Open Society Foundations, 2013 -- ISBN: 978-1-936133-75-8

[accessed 8 February 2013]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY -- Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) commenced a secret detention program under which suspected terrorists were held in CIA prisons, also known as “black sites,” outside the United States, where they were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” that involved torture and other abuse. At about the same time, the CIA gained expansive authority to engage in “extraordinary rendition,” defined here as the transfer— without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation.2 Both the secret detention program and the extraordinary rendition program were highly classified, conducted outside the United States, and designed to place detainee interrogations beyond the reach of the law. Torture was a hallmark of both. The two programs entailed the abduction and disappearance of detainees and their extra-legal transfer on secret flights to undisclosed locations around the world, followed by their incommunicado detention, interrogation, torture, and abuse.

Emanuel Administration Earns Failing Grade on Police Torture and Code of Silence

G. Flint Taylor, Huffington Post, 4 Jan 2013

[accessed 5 January 2013]

In their first full year at the helm of the city, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his corporation counsel have, to be kind, left much to be desired in the field of police torture and misconduct, wasting tens of millions of dollars in the continued unprincipled defense of convicted police torturer Jon Burge and his confederates, the police code of silence, and detectives who framed an innocent 13-year-old boy.

This blatant disrespect for the citizens of the city, particularly African-Americans, was further demonstrated by the mayor's refusal to apologize to the victims of police torture and their families, to join with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in her fight to strip Burge of his police pension, and the failure to make good on his promise that he would end the torture scandal by fairly settling the remaining cases that torture survivors had brought against the city.

US: Release Report that Addresses CIA Torture

Human Rights Watch, Washington, DC, December 13, 2012

[accessed 5 January 2013]

The United States Senate intelligence committee’s long-awaited review of the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention and interrogation program after September 11, 2001, should promptly be declassified and released. On December 13, 2012, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence adopted the report, which contains important information on the use and ineffectiveness of torture.

“The Senate report is of monumental importance given the many uninformed claims that torture was central to US intelligence successes,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Only by making the facts public and understanding past mistakes can policymakers ensure that such illegal and destructive national security policies never happen again.”

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/USA/C/2 (2006)

[accessed 12 March 2013]

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

13. Notwithstanding the statement by the State party that “every act of torture within the meaning of the Convention is illegal under existing federal and/or state law”, the Committee reiterates the concern expressed in its previous Conclusions and Recommendations with regard to the absence of a federal crime of torture, consistent with article 1 of the Convention, given that sections 2340 and 2340 A of the United States Code limit federal criminal jurisdiction over acts of torture to extraterritorial cases. The Committee also regrets that, despite the occurrence of cases of extraterritorial torture of detainees, no prosecutions have been initiated under the extraterritorial criminal torture statute. (articles 1, 2, 4 and 5)

14. The Committee regrets the State party’s opinion that the Convention is not applicable in times and in the context of armed conflict, on the basis of the argument that the “law of armed conflict” is the exclusive lex specialis applicable, and that the Convention’s application “would result in an overlap of the different treaties which would undermine the objective of eradicating torture”. (articles 1 and 16)

15. The Committee notes that a number of the Convention’s provisions are expressed as applying to “territory under [the State party’s] jurisdiction” (articles 2, 5, 13, 16). The Committee reiterates its previously expressed view that this includes all areas under the de facto effective control of the State party, by whichever military or civil authorities such control is exercized. The Committee considers that the State party’s view that those provisions are geographically limited to its own de jure territory to be regrettable.

16. The Committee notes with concern that the State party does not always register persons detained in territories under its jurisdiction outside the United States, depriving them of an effective safeguard against acts of torture (article 2)

17. The Committee is concerned by allegations that the State party has established secret detention facilities, which are not accessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Detainees are deprived of fundamental legal safeguards, including an oversight mechanism in regard to their treatment and review procedures with respect to their detention. The Committee is also concerned by allegations that those detained in such facilities could be held for prolonged periods and face torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The Committee considers the “no comment” policy of the State party regarding the existence of such secret detention facilities, as well as on its intelligence activities, to be regrettable. (articles 2 and 16)

18. The Committee is concerned by reports of the involvement of the State party in enforced disappearances. The Committee considers the State party’s view that such acts do not constitute a form of torture to be regrettable. (articles 2 and 16)

19. Notwithstanding the State party’s statement that “[u]nder U.S. law, there is no derogation from the express statutory prohibition of torture” and that “[n]o circumstances whatsoever (…) may be invoked as a justification or defense to committing torture”, the Committee remains concerned at the absence of clear legal provisions ensuring that the Convention’s prohibition against torture is not derogated from under any circumstances, in particular since 11 September 2001. (articles 2, 11 and 12)

20. The Committee is concerned that the State party considers that the non-refoulement obligation, under article 3 of the Convention, does not extend to a person detained outside its territory. The Committee is also concerned by the State party’s rendition of suspects, without any judicial procedure, to States where they face a real risk of torture. (article 3) The State party should apply the non-refoulement guarantee to all detainees in its custody, cease the rendition of suspects, in particular by its intelligence agencies, to States where they face a real risk of torture, in order to comply with its obligations under article 3 of the Convention. The State party should always ensure that suspects have the possibility to challenge decisions of refoulement.

21. The Committee is concerned by the State party’s use of “diplomatic assurances”, or other kinds of guarantees, assuring that a person will not be tortured if expelled, returned, transferred or extradited to another State. The Committee is also concerned by the secrecy of such procedures including the absence of judicial scrutiny and the lack of monitoring mechanisms put in place to assess if the assurances have been honoured. (article 3)

22. The Committee, noting that detaining persons indefinitely without charge, constitutes per se a violation of the Convention, is concerned that detainees are held for protracted periods at Guantánamo Bay, without sufficient legal safeguards and without judicial assessment of the justification for their detention. (articles 2, 3 and 16)

23. The Committee is concerned that information, education and training provided to the State party’s law enforcement or military personnel are not adequate and do not focus on all provisions of the Convention, in particular on the non-derogable nature of the prohibition of torture and the prevention of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. (articles 10 and 11) The State party should ensure that education and training of all law enforcement or military personnel, are conducted on a regular basis, in particular for personnel involved in the interrogation of suspects. This should include training on interrogation rules, instructions and methods, and specific training on how to identify signs of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Such personnel should also be instructed to report such incidents.

24. The Committee is concerned that in 2002 the State party authorized the use of certain interrogation techniques, which have resulted in the death of some detainees during interrogation. The Committee also regrets that “confusing interrogation rules” and techniques defined in vague and general terms, such as “stress positions”, have led to serious abuses of detainees. (articles 11, 1, 2 and 16)

25. The Committee is concerned with allegations of impunity of some of the State party’s law enforcement personnel in respect of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Committee notes the limited investigation and lack of prosecution in respect of the allegations of torture perpetrated in areas 2 and 3 of the Chicago Police Department. (article 12) The State party should promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate all allegations of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law enforcement personnel and bring perpetrators to justice, in order to fulfill its obligations under article 12 of the Convention. The State party should also provide the Committee with information on the ongoing investigations and prosecution relating to the above mentioned case.

26. The Committee is concerned by reliable reports of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment committed by certain members of the State party’s military or civilian personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also concerned that the investigation and prosecution of many of these cases, including some resulting in the death of detainees, have led to lenient sentences, including of an administrative nature or less than one year’s imprisonment. (article 12) The State party should take immediate measures to eradicate all forms of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by its military or civilian personnel, in any territory under its jurisdiction, and should promptly and thoroughly investigate such acts and prosecute all those responsible for such acts, and ensure they are appropriately punished, in accordance with the seriousness of the crime.

27. The Committee is concerned that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 aims to withdraw the jurisdiction of the State party’s federal courts with respect to habeas corpus petitions, or other claims by or on behalf of Guantánamo Bay detainees, except under limited circumstances. The Committee is also concerned that detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq, under the control of the Department of Defence, have their status determined and reviewed by an administrative process of that Department. (article 13)

28. The Committee is concerned by the difficulties certain victims of abuses have faced in obtaining redress and adequate compensation, and that only a limited number of detainees have filed claims for compensation for alleged abuse and maltreatment, in particular under the Foreign Claims Act. (article 14)

29. The Committee is concerned by section 1997 e (e) of the 1995 Prison Litigation Reform Act which provides “that no federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury.” (article 14) The State party should not limit the right of victims to bring civil actions and amend the Prison Litigation Reform Act accordingly.

30. The Committee, while taking note of the State party’s instruction number 10 of 24 March 2006 which provides that military commissions shall not admit statements established to be made as a result of torture in evidence, is concerned about the implementation of the instruction in the context of such commissions and the limitations on detainees’ effective right to complain. The Committee is also concerned about the Combatant Status Review Tribunals and the administrative Review Boards. (articles 13 and 15)

31. The Committee is concerned by the fact that substantiated information indicates that executions in the State party can be accompanied by severe pain and suffering. (articles 16, 1 and 2) The State party should carefully review its execution methods, in particular lethal injection in order to prevent severe pain and suffering.

32. The Committee is concerned by reliable reports of sexual assault of sentenced detainees, as well as persons in pre-trial or immigration detention, in places of detention in the State party. The Committee is concerned that there are numerous reports of sexual violence perpetrated by detainees on each other, and that persons of differing sexual orientation are particularly vulnerable. The Committee is also concerned by the lack of prompt and independent investigation of such acts and that appropriate measures to combat these abuses have not been implemented by the State party. (articles 16, 12, 13 and 14)

33. The Committee is concerned by the treatment of detained women in the State party, including gender-based humiliation and incidents of shackling of women detainees during childbirth. (article 16)

34. The Committee reiterates the concern expressed in its previous recommendations about the conditions of the detention of children, in particular the fact that they may not be completely segregated from adults during pre-trail detention and after sentencing. The Committee is also concerned by the large number of children sentenced to life imprisonment in the State party. (article 16)

35. The Committee remains concerned about the extensive use by the State party’s law enforcement personnel of electro-shock devices which have caused in several deaths. The Committee is concerned that this practice raises serious issues of compatibility with article 16 of the Convention. (article 16)

36. The Committee remains concerned about the extremely harsh regime imposed on detainees in “supermaximum prisons.” The Committee is concerned about the prolonged isolation periods detainees are subjected to, the effect such treatment has on their mental health, and that its purpose may be retribution, in which case it would constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (article 16)

37. The Committee is concerned about reports of brutality and use of excessive force by the State party’s law enforcement personnel, and the numerous allegations of their ill-treatment of vulnerable groups, in particular racial minorities, migrants and persons of different sexual orientation which have not been adequately investigated. (article 16 and 12) The State party should ensure that reports of brutality and ill-treatment of members of vulnerable groups by its law enforcement personnel are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately punished.

38. The Committee strongly encourages the State party to invite the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in full conformity with the terms of reference for fact-finding missions by Special Procedures of the United Nations, to visit Guantánamo Bay and any other detention facility under its effective de facto control.

39. The Committee invites the State party to reconsider its express intention not to become party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

40. The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party should consider withdrawing its reservations, declarations and understandings lodged at the time of ratification of the Convention.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


The absence of accountability for crimes under international law committed under the administration of President George W. Bush in relation to the CIA’s programme of secret detention was further entrenched.

On 30 August, the US Attorney General announced the closure of criminal investigations into the death of two individuals in US custody outside the USA. He stated that no one would face criminal charges in relation to the deaths, believed to have occurred in Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003. This followed the announcement in June 2011 that a “preliminary review” conducted into interrogations in the CIA programme was at an end and that, apart from in relation to the two deaths, further investigation was not warranted.


At least 42 people across 20 states died after being struck by police Tasers, bringing the total number of such deaths since 2001 to 540. Tasers have been listed as a cause or contributory factor in more than 60 deaths. Most of those who died after being struck with a Taser were not armed and did not appear to pose a serious threat when the Taser was deployed.

In May the American Heart Association published a report which presented the first scientific, peer-reviewed evidence concluding that Tasers can cause cardiac arrest and death. The study analyzed information including autopsy reports, medical records and police data from eight cases in which individuals had lost consciousness after being shocked with a Taser X26 weapon.

On 20 June, 39-year-old Macadam Mason died outside his home in Thetford, Vermont, after being struck with a Taser deployed by a state trooper. In September the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Macadam Mason had suffered “sudden cardiac arrest due to the conducted electrical weapon discharge”


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 5 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

During the campaign, both Obama and McCain had distanced themselves from a number of the more controversial counterterrorism policies initiated by President Bush since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The two candidates pledged to end interrogation policies that amounted to torture, and Obama promised to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where hundreds of terrorism suspects were held. However, Obama was unclear on how the remaining detainees—classified by the Bush administration as enemy combatants—would be dealt with.

As the Bush administration neared its end, some human rights advocates and members of the political opposition called for investigations into its activities. Some argued that Bush officials should face criminal prosecution for their role in formulating counterterrorism policy, while others favored congressional probes or independent “truth commissions” to uncover the full extent of the government’s activities without necessarily launching criminal cases.


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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- - USA",, [accessed <date>]