Trump must not turn back clock on torture

January 25, 2017

Image of feet in shackles

President Trump is set to reverse President Obama’s ban on secret CIA prisons, a key feature of the Bush-era torture and rendition program, according to today’s New York Times.

The report emerged on the same day that UK Prime Minister Theresa May was asked to make clear to Mr Trump that Britain would never again facilitate torture by the US.  Mrs May was questioned in Parliament ahead of a meeting with the President later this week, but did not say whether she would raise the matter.  The questions in Parliament followed a UK Supreme Court ruling last week which cleared the way for two victims of the Bush-era rendition program to bring a case against the British Government for its role in their kidnap and abuse.

Commenting, Katie Taylor, Deputy Director at international human rights organization Reprieve said:

“The CIA’s secret prison program was one of the most shameful chapters in recent US history.  It saw men, women and even children kidnapped, abused and ‘rendered’ to dungeons around the world – causing untold damage to America’s reputation and security.  It is astonishing that President Trump is seeking to turn back the clock and revive a program that did such terrible damage to US interests.

“America’s allies must ensure they never again support a revived CIA torture program.  Britain’s Prime Minister must make clear to President Trump this week that the UK will not support torture or mistreatment of prisoners, and make clear to the British public what safeguards she will put in place when dealing with US agencies.”