For Immediate Release: January 21, 2009
New York, NY – President Obama reportedly plans to order three executive orders that would signal an abrupt departure from the Bush Administration’s polices of torture, unjust trials, and prolonged detention without criminal charge, by establishing a single standard of humane treatment, and setting a date certain for closing Guantanamo, Human Rights First said.
“If President Obama issues the order described he will have delivered a clear and unambiguous message that the Bush Administration’s policies of torture, unjust trials and prolonged detention without charge will not continue, even for one additional day, on his watch,” said Elisa Massimino, Executive Director and CEO of Human Rights First. “With that message, the President takes an important step toward repairing the reputation of the United States as a standard-bearer for justice, human rights and the rule of law.”
“In his inaugural address on Tuesday, Obama ‘reject[ed] as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.’ It appears that he now intends to make clear to our military personnel on the front lines, to the American public, and to the entire international community that he meant what he said,” said Massimino
Over the past several years, Human Rights First has worked with a group of retired military leaders who advocate for adherence to the Army Field Manual in all interrogations, including those conducted by the CIA. In December, the group met with Attorney General Eric Holder and members of the presidential transition team.