Rights Group Says U.S. Abuses Terror Suspects

Associated Press
Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Bush administration has a strategy of abusing terrorism suspects during interrogations, Human Rights Watch contended yesterday in its annual report on the treatment of people in more than 70 countries.

The human rights group based its conclusions mostly on statements by senior administration officials in the past year. It said President Bush's reassurances that the United States does not torture suspects were deceptive and rang hollow.

"In 2005 it became disturbingly clear that the abuse of detainees had become a deliberate, central part of the Bush administration's strategy of interrogating terrorist suspects," the report said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday he had seen news accounts only of the report but rejected its conclusions. "It appears to be based more on a political agenda than facts," he said.

In a separate report, Human Rights Watch strongly criticized three insurgent groups in Iraq -- al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic Army -- for targeting civilians with car bombs and suicide bombers in mosques, markets and bus stations.

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