Monday, December 31, 2007

A Letter from a Torture Survivor to Presidential Candidates

A Letter from a Torture Survivor to Those Seeking the Democratic and Republican Nominations for President in 2008 — A Jewish Magazine, an Interfaith Movement

None of you has said you favor torture, but it appears that, for some of you, it’s the word “torture” that you oppose and not its practice. (President Bush provides a good example. He has insisted that the United States does not torture but it seems clear that he has not only condoned but ordered its practice.)

  • Should the President of the United States have the unilateral right to designate and detain unlawful enemy combatant persons, including U.S. citizens, without charge?
  • Should the President have the right to decide what practices constitute torture?
  • Should evidence be admissible at trial that has been obtained through coercion?

These are but three of the questions that might be asked. There are others dealing with habeas corpus, the narrowing of the definitions of rape and sexual assault, hearsay evidence, and the like, but these three will do.

The Military Commissions Act is indeed the litmus test for those of us who have survived torture. To date, only one of your number has stood that test. Ron Paul has introduced legislation to repeal the act, plain and simple.


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