March 29, 2007 - MARKEY CONDEMNS USE OF 'DIPLOMATIC ASSURANCES' WITH RUSSIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, decried the Bush Administration’s use of “diplomatic assurances” to justify transferring detainees to countries known for the use of torture, as a new report from Human Rights Watch documents Russian abuse of detainees transferred by the U.S. under such assurances.  The report, “The Stamp of Guantanamo: The Story of Seven Men Betrayed by Russia’s Diplomatic Assurances to the United States,” traces the abuses of seven U.S. detainees transferred to Russia under assurances that they would not be mistreated, who were then abused by Russian authorities.  Human Rights Watch reports that three of the men suffered “severe torture."

Rep. Markey said, “Russia’s spotty human rights record under President Putin is well known, so why would the Bush Administration believe that we can trust Moscow’s word that they won’t torture or mistreat detainees we transfer to them?  The use of so-called ‘diplomatic assurances’ is a cynical con-game played by the Bush Administration to bypass our obligations under the Convention Against Torture and under domestic law.”

“Thanks to Human Rights Watch, the world has another crucial piece of evidence condemning the immoral and illegal practice of sending detainees to known torturers.  We need to stop the practice of extraordinary rendition, which is nothing more than the outsourcing of torture, and stop the use of diplomatic assurances.  That is why I’ve introduced the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, which will permanently close the loopholes exploited by the Bush Administration when they send detainees to known torturers with a wink and a nod,” Rep. Markey concluded.

The Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, H.R. 1352, is endorsed by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights First.  More information on the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act and Rep. Markey’s efforts to end extraordinary rendition and diplomatic assurances can be found on Rep. Markey’s website, http://markey.house.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2007

CONTACT: Will Huntington
David Moulton
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