Pentagon issues new rules on detainees
Updated: 2005-11-09 00:47
Thrown on the defensive by prisoner abuse scandals in
Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon has issued a broad new directive mandating
that detainees be treated humanely and has banned the use of dogs to intimidate
or harass suspects.
A view of the US Naval Base of Guantanamo in
Cuba seen in a file photo from 2002. The United States has invited three
UN human rights rapporteurs to its controversial Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
detention center to show that detainees there 'are treated humanely,' the
State Department said. [AFP]
The directive, provided by the Defense Department, pulls together for the
first time all of its existing policies and memos covering the interrogation of
detainees taken in the war against terrorism. It comes as Congress is
considering a ban on the inhumane treatment of U.S. prisoners and Democrats have
launched a long-shot effort to create a commission to investigate abuse.
While the policy maps out broad requirements for humane treatment and for
reporting any violations, it is just the first step in the development of a new
Army manual that would more precisely detail which interrogation techniques are
acceptable and which are not.
The only specific prohibition in the directive says that dogs used by any
government agency "shall not be used as part of an interrogations approach or to
harass, intimidate threaten or coerce a detainee for interrogations purposes."
Investigations into detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq found
that unmuzzled dogs were used to intimidate inmates.
The new policy governs the treatment of any detainee under Defense Department
control. It leaves open the possibility that prisoners in DOD facilities, such
as Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, could at times be considered under the control of
another agency — such as the Central Intelligence Agency — and therefore would
not be subject to the directive's policies.