23 February 2006

Torture's OK you say?

From the BBC today:

A Chinese man jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests has been released from jail but is severely mentally ill, his family has said.
Yu Dongyue was sentenced to 20 years in jail for throwing paint at a portrait of China's former leader Mao Zedong.

He was freed on Wednesday, after 17 years in prison, but family members said he did not recognise them and spoke unintelligibly.

Human rights groups have alleged Yu was tortured by guards in prison.

Do you think 17 years in a Chinese prison has anything to do with his mental illness? But wait, I'm sure it was in the interest of national security.

There is no excuse for destroying another human being. And that's what torture does. Back in the '80s I wrote letters to people like Augusto Pinochet, P.W. Botha and General Jaruzelski who, in the name of national security, imprisoned, tortured and killed their own citizens.
Full of righteous indignation that the U.S., whatever else we did, at least didn't torture. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would, 20 years later, need to write such letters to a U.S. president. It is utterly shameful.

See this week's New Yorker, "The Memo: How an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees was thwarted."

No comments: