The Campaign Spot

Detainee Lawyer Says Gitmo Abuse Worse Since Obama Took Office

Obama, last night: “I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.”

I have no idea whether this Guantanamo Bay detainees’ lawyer is telling the truth. But I find it interesting in light of Obama’s declaration:

Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards “get their kicks in” before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees.
Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.
The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
“According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated,” said Ghappour, a British-American lawyer with Reprieve, a legal charity that represents 31 detainees at Guantanamo.

If these charges are true, it is obvious that a president can’t be held responsible for every action of every guard when they behave in a manner contrary to their rules, regulations, and code of behavior. On the other hand, it would have been nice to hear that point from President Bush’s critics during the Abu Ghraib controversy.


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