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CAIR Says Torture Report Shows Need to Stop ‘Erosion of American Principles’

Constitution-Project-report(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/17/13) – The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said that a nonpartisan, independent review of post-9/11 interrogation and detention programs, which concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture,” shows a need to stop the “disturbing erosion of American principles.”


The 577-page report by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project and released on Tuesday, says the use of torture “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.” According to the report, there is “no firm or persuasive evidence” that torture produced information that could not have been obtained by other means.

Video: Release of Task Force Report on Detainee Treatment
Report by Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment

The panel studied how prisoners were treated at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in CIA prisons. Panelists visited a number of detention sites and interviewed dozens of officials and former detainees. An appendix to the report explains why what the United States did was torture and outlines cases in which similar treatment was prosecuted or denounced as torture by American officials when used by other countries.

SEE: U.S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes (NY Times)

In a statement responding to the report's conclusions, CAIR National Executive director Nihad Awad said:

“The troubling yet unsurprising conclusions of this nonpartisan report clearly show a disturbing erosion of American principles in the post-9/11 era that must be reversed.

“Our national principles are the force that brought America to the international stature it enjoys today. CAIR and other civil rights organizations have long maintained that our government crossed the line by deciding to torture post-9/11 detainees and that this decision has been a stain on our national honor.

“CAIR appreciates the Constitution Project's willingness to examine an issue that has largely been ignored by official Washington. The panel's findings are sobering, including the conclusion that some techniques used on detainees constitute torture, that our nation's highest officials bear responsibility for this, and that the use of torture appears to have generated little to no information of value.

“This report is not the product of a desire to score political points. It is a methodical and factual examination of how our nation lost its way and what we might do to correct past errors.

“CAIR calls on national leaders to take corrective action, beginning with the renewal of CAIR's call for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and by prosecuting officials who broke our nation's laws and ignored treaties prohibiting detainee abuse.”

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171,

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