MARKEY LANGUAGE IN THE DEFENSE SUPPLEMENTAL BANS FUNDING FOR "EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION"
Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, applauded the inclusion of his text barring the use of extraordinary rendition in the Defense Supplemental Appropriations bill. Language drafted by Rep. Markey barring the expenditure of money in contravention of U.S. and international human rights law has been included in previous Appropriations bills and was enacted into law most recently as part of the Defense Appropriations Act of 2007, however this is the first time that a specific ban against extraordinary rendition has been included. Rep. Markey recently reintroduced H.R. 1352, the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, to close the legal loopholes which President Bush has exploited to send prisoners to countries where the United States knows the detainees would face the threat of torture.
Rep. Markey said, "The inclusion of my language barring the use of funds in the emergency supplemental for renditions is yet another Congressional condemnation of President Bush's foreign policy, this time focused on his penchant for sending detainees to countries like Syria and Uzbekistan where they are tortured. Chairman John Murtha deserves high praise for his effort to end this Administration's practice of outsourcing torture, and I am proud to partner with him."
Rep. Markey continued, "While my appropriations language barring funding for renditions is an important step in the process of ending the Administration's abhorrent alliance with torturers, this language is just a start. We need new statutory language that prevents the Administration from skirting the Convention Against Torture's ban on renditions by obtaining a diplomatic assurance' from known torturers that the person we are sending them won't be harmed.
"President Bush is essentially relying on the legal mumbo-jumbo of these worthless diplomatic assurances to claim that sending a detainee to a known torturer is not a violation of the Convention Against Torture. So, I've introduced the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, which goes far beyond the language passed by the House Appropriations Committee today to close every single legal loophole that the President has relied on to send detainees into torture. I'm hopeful that this legislation will be taken up by the Congress soon."
Rep. Markey's broader bill, the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, which currently has 47 cosponsors, would:
-Bar the transfer of individuals in custody or control of the U.S. government or contractors to any country known for the use of torture, regardless of an individual's citizenship or location of seizure.
-Bar the use of "diplomatic assurances" as the basis for determining that the threat of torture does not exist.
At the same time, the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act will:
-Allow legal, treaty-based extraditions to countries that do not torture to continue unimpeded.
-Provide the Secretary of State with waiver authority to permit transfers if the Secretary certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that a verifiable mechanism is in place to assure that the person transferred will not face torture, and that the country no longer practices torture.
The bill is endorsed by a broad coalition of human rights and civil liberties groups, including Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and Human Rights First.
For more information about Rep. Markey's work on rendition, please visit www.markey.house.gov.