In an open letter issued in Geneva, the seven investigators and
academic legal experts, said publication of the report by a Senate
committee would be welcomed by victims of torture and their
Among the signatories were the world body's special rapporteurs for
torture and for freedom of expression.
"As a nation that has publicly affirmed its belief that respect for
truth advances respect for the rule of law, and as a nation that
frequently calls for transparency and accountability in other
countries, the United States must rise to meet the standards it has
set both for itself and others," the open letter declared.
The Senate committee spent four years investigating waterboarding
and other CIA practices used against terrorism suspects during the
administration of former president George W. Bush. In April, it
approved its report for release.
But the document has not yet been published, largely because of CIA
demands that it be edited to obscure names and patterns of behavior
that were crucial "in the system of violations that needs to be
understood and redressed," the open letter said.
The investigators, including one American and three Latin Americans
who work at U.S. universities and cover areas like torture,
arbitrary execution and freedom of expression, said other countries
were closely watching the issue.
"Victims of torture and human rights defenders around the world will
be emboldened if you take a strong stand in support of
transparency," they told Obama.
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"On the contrary, if you yield to the CIA's demands for continued
secrecy on this issue, those resisting accountability will surely
misuse this decision to bolster their agenda in their own
countries," the seven added.
The American in the group was David Kaye, a former State Department
lawyer and a university professor in California who is special
rapporteur on freedom of expression for the U.N. Human Rights
The group also included Juan Mendez, an Argentine former victim of
torture under his country's military regime and now U.N. special
rapporteur on torture and other cruel or degrading treatment.
(Reported by Robert Evans; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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