Amnesty Int’l. Director Responds to President Bush — in Letter to Editor

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By: E&P Staff

In a letter to the editor published Saturday in The New York Times, William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International, responded to President Bush’s widely published charge that the group’s charges of wide human rights abuses in the war on terror were “absurd.” Schulz called the charge “ironic.”

If Amnesty’s reports are so “absurd,” Schulz asked, “why did the administration repeatedly cite our findings about Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war? Why does it welcome our criticisms of Cuba, China and North Korea? And why does it cite our research in its own annual human rights reports?

“No amount of spin can erase the myriad human rights abuses committed by United States officials in the ‘war on terror.’ The United States cannot simultaneously claim that it ‘promotes freedom around the world’ while detaining tens of thousands at Guant?namo Bay, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and in Iraq and other locations without charge or trial and allowing those civilian and military officials responsible for orchestrating a systematic policy of torture to escape accountability.

“Instead of attacking us, President Bush should insist upon a truly thorough, independent investigation of those who tried to circumvent global prohibitions on torture, and he should open all detention centers to scrutiny by independent human rights groups. Only then will the world be able to judge whether it is Amnesty International or the president whose perspective deserves to be called ‘absurd.'”

The letter was written before the Pentagon acknowledged abuse of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay on Friday night.

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