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ICP Asks of Obama & Torture, Mendez Banned from Bahrain, W. Sahara Death

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 21 -- When UN torture experts Juan Mendez and Claudio Grossman held a press conference after addressing the General Assembly's Third Committee on October 21, Inner City Press asked about the Obama administration mulling arguing that the torture treaty does not apply to the CIA or overseas military jails, as well as about Bahrain and Western Sahara. Video here.

Mendez, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, confirmed that he has still not gotten to visit Bahrain, after having two invitations canceled at the last minute. He said he recently asked Bahrain's foreign minister to name another date, but it has still not happened.

Other countries that have canceled invitations, Mendez went on to say, include Guatemala and Thailand (which, along with Costa Rica, lost in the UN Human Rights Council elections earlier on October 21).

The US imposed conditions on a visit to Guantanamo Bay which Mendez could not accept. Mendez did not answer the Obama administration / extra-territoriality question, leaving it for Grossman, the chair of the UN Committee Against Torture. Video here. He gave a long answer, repeatedly saying his answer was NOT about the United States. Talk about deference.

On Western Sahara, Inner City Press asked Mendez about the death in Moroccan detention of Hassan El Wahi in Dakhla. Mendez confirmed he has been asked to look into it, and said that he is but can't speak about it at this juncture. Watch this site.


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