Sunday, May 01, 2005

Outsourcing torture: Uzbekistan

The New York Times has an article today on America's practice of sending suspected terrorists to Uzbekistan to be tortured. Uzbekistan has a terrible human rights record. It has been criticised by the US State Department for using systematic torture, including "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask", but that's not the half of it. In one case, they boiled a man alive [WARNING: graphic photos] - and then sentenced his mother to six years hard labour because she dared to complain about it.

Despite this, the US regularly sends suspected terrorists to Uzbekistan. The torture plane regularly visits Tashkent to make deliveries, and intelligence sources estimate the number of prisoners rendered up for torture to be "in the dozens". While it claims to seek assurances that suspects will not be tortured, and to not knowingly use information derived from torture, as Human Rights Watch points out, the Uzbek regime's use of torture is so widespread and well known that you would have to be willfully ignorant to even pretend to believe that rendered prisoners were not being subjected to the same treatment.