UN Official Criticizes Obama on Not Prosecuting Torture

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture is criticizing former President Obama for his refusal to prosecute anyone for torture that took place during the Bush administration. He also says that torture is still going on at Guantanamo Bay.

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An inmate at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is still being tortured, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said in a statement on Wednesday.

Former President Barack Obama ended the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” via executive order in January 2009, but Melzer said the historic use of torture in CIA custody had not yet led to prosecutions or compensation for victims.

“By failing to prosecute the crime of torture in CIA custody, the U.S. is in clear violation of the Convention against Torture and is sending a dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the U.S. and around the world,” Melzer said in the statement.

The statement cited the case of Ammar al-Baluchi, an inmate in Guantanamo Bay, “where his torture and ill-treatment are reported to continue”.

Any evidence of ongoing torture is not provided at this point. It certainly would not surprise me if torture is still going on, especially with Trump now in office. During the campaign he practically fondled himself to the idea of going way beyond torture techniques like waterboarding. But let’s also not let Obama off the hook for this. This is the greatest stain on his presidency, that he did not allow the DOJ to pursue torture charges against those who ordered and carried it out during the Bush regime.

As mentioned, the UN Convention Against Torture requires us to prosecute anyone involved. The United States led the effort to get that treaty passed and signed by nearly every country in the world, yet we have violated it in the most flagrant ways imaginable. I don’t care what the political fallout might have been, we had a moral imperative to prosecute those who carried it out and we failed. Obama failed. That will forever taint his accomplishments in my mind.

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