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Foreign prisons appall U.S. lawmakers

Sept. 17, 2010 at 1:35 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Bipartisan and bicameral legislation introduced on Capitol Hill calls for an end to inhumane conditions in foreign prisons, a Vermont lawmaker said.

A measure introduced by U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., aims to bring attention to human rights records at foreign prisons they say are reminiscent of the Dark Ages.

"Most Americans would be horrified by the inhumane conditions that are common in prisons in most developing countries," said Leahy. "Prisoners, including many who have never seen a lawyer or a judge, are denied the basic necessities of life and subjected to every type of abuse by guards who act with impunity."

The Leahy-Brownback measure said prisoners at foreign detention centers are often left in "subhuman conditions," adding poor record-keeping in some countries leaves prisoners undocumented by authorities.

An identical measure was introduced by U.S. Reps. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., and Joe Pitts, R-Pa.

"This legislation is intended to ensure that fundamental human rights abuses within prisons do not go unrecognized," said Pitts in his statement.

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