Human Rights Watch urging Obama to prosecute Bush-era torture

An international human rights group has launched a campaign calling on President Barack Obama to ensure that future presidents will not “view torture as a viable policy option.”

Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, has drawn up a petition urging the Obama administration to begin a “full criminal investigation” into torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) post 9/11 attacks.

“I urge you to use the full extent of the powers of your office to prevent the US from ever engaging in torture again” reads a part of a letter by the group addressed to Obama.

The letter calls on the US president to “appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the conduct described in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summary, including all acts authorizing or ordering the use of torture or other forms of coercive interrogation.”

The human rights group says the US “has not held a single senior official accountable” over the use of torture.

“CIA officials knew from the beginning that so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were illegal,” it said.

In December 2014, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released a drastically redacted summary of its voluminous report on the CIA’s torture program during the George W. Bush administration.

The CIA’s interrogation of suspected terrorists was far more brutal than the spy agency had disclosed, committee chair Dianne Feinstein said as she announced the release of the report in Washington.

According to the report, CIA torture techniques included sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding.

The report has drawn harsh criticism from the United Nations and prominent rights groups, which have called for prosecution of those responsible for the use of torture under George Bush.

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