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Obama torture policies slammed by critics on both sides

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

A top United Nations official has charged that President Obama violated international law with his decision not to prosecute Central Intelligence Agency agents who tortured detainees.

Manfred Nowak, the UN rapporteur on torture, says that in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture, the US must try those who used harsh interrogation tactics.

Last week, Mr. Obama released four memos outlining the interrogation techniques permitted by the Bush administration – including covering detainees with insects, slapping, waterboarding, and sleep deprivation. While the president has put an end to these practices, he says, the US will not prosecute CIA agents who trusted the legal opinions of the Bush administration.

Mr. Nowak says Obama's stance on torture is a "mitigating factor," but that it does not remove guilt from those who tortured detainees, reports the BBC. Nowak has called for an independent investigation and advocates compensating victims.

"The United States, like all other states that are part of the UN convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court," Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard. ...
"The fact that you carried out an order doesn't relieve you of your responsibility," he was quoted as saying by AP news agency.

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