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24 April 2008

Petition: Five Steps to Put an End to Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

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Dear Candidates for U.S. President,

In order for United States national security policy to be strong and effective, it must be consistent with the laws and values of our nation. The Bush Administration’s detention and interrogation policies have led to torture and other abuses, undermining American values, staining our reputation in the world and compromising our global leadership, jeopardizing our national security, and increasing the danger to members of the U.S. military serving abroad. The next president will have the opportunity to get the United States back on track. I am asking you to pledge that if you are elected President you will ensure that detention, interrogation and trial procedures adhere to international and domestic law so that the United States can reclaim the authority to enforce these standards to protect our own troops abroad and promote the values that define our nation.

As a candidate for the highest office of the land, you must let the American people know what actions you will take to:

  • Put an end to torture and ensure a single standard of humane treatment for all interrogations conducted by U.S. personnel -- including by the CIA and private contractors.
  • Halt the "extraordinary rendition" of detainees to countries known to torture prisoners.
  • Close Guantanamo and try detainees suspected of committing crimes in accordance with international and U.S. law.
  • Urge Congress to restore the right of habeas corpus to non-citizens – including longtime permanent residents of the U.S. – to ensure that courts can oversee the decision to detain anyone as an "unlawful enemy combatant."
  • Ensure that trials of detainees are full and fair. Any trials by military commissions will be conducted consistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and in compliance with the procedures set forth in the Manual for Courts-Martial.
Having a plan to end torture and cruel treatment is not only a necessary part of a credible national security platform for a candidate, it is the very essence of what is required of a president who is committed "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." I thank you for your devotion to your country.

Sincerely yours,


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