Religious Leaders seek torture ban

June 13, 2006 at 10:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 13 (UPI) -- Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick joined other U.S. religious leaders Tuesday, urging the United States to ban torture.

A statement signed by the 27 leaders, which will be published as an advertisement in U.S. newspapers, asked torture, termed a moral issue, be abolished immediately without exceptions, The Washington Post reports.

The religious leaders are part of a new campaign called the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the report says. It was formed in the wake of allegations of human rights abuse at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The statement said torture violates the basic dignity of the human person and contradicts the nation's most cherished values.

"Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation," it said. "What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?"

A White House spokesperson expressed respect for the religious leaders but added: "I'll simply repeat what the president has said many times, which is that this government does not torture, and we adhere to the international conventions against torture. That is our policy, and it will remain our policy."

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