Friday, January 20, 2006

Tell the Truth About Torture, Mr. President

Amnesty International Launches 'Tell the Truth About Torture, Mr. President' Campaign
Urges Full, Honest Disclosure of U.S. Acts of Torture During State of the Union Address

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
PRESS RELEASE
January 19, 2006


(Washington, DC) -- Amnesty International USA today kicked off its "Tell the Truth About Torture, Mr. President" campaign, building up to the State of the Union address on January 31. During the two-week campaign, Amnesty International will enlist thousands of people to urge the president to be honest with all Americans about the U.S. government's use of torture in the "war on terror."

"The White House has dodged the truth about torture for too long," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Amnesty International's Executive Director. "With reports of torture in the news virtually every day, it is imperative the president and all in his administration end the secrecy and end the torture. This campaign will allow thousands of Americans to demand that torture in our names is not committed again and insist that the president speak the truth in his State of the Union address about this heinous crime."

As the first campaign action, Amnesty International encourages the public to visit its Web site, www.amnestyusa.org, to sign a petition urging President Bush to tell the truth about the country's acts of torture here and abroad. The Web petition is the first in a series of online and community activities in Washington and beyond the beltway that Amnesty International is initiating between now and the State of the Union. Actions are being planned for after Bush's address, as well.

Amnesty International is concerned that when President Bush last month signed the Anti-Torture Amendment -- passed overwhelming by Congress -- he also quietly issued a legal interpretation of the amendment through a "signing statement" asserting that he was not bound by the law under all circumstances.

"This mixed message from the administration is one more reason why Amnesty International is urging the Congress to establish a fully independent and impartial commission to conduct public investigations into the reports of abuse in U.S.-controlled detention centers, including secret ones, around the world and to offer preventive measures to stop torture," Schulz added.

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