U.S. Doesn't Condone Torture of Captive Terrorists, Rice Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2005 The United States is a law-abiding nation and never has transported captured terrorists to another country to be tortured as part of the interrogation process, the senior U.S. diplomat said today.
"Torture is a term that is defined by law. We rely on our law to govern our operations. The United States does not permit, tolerate or condone torture under any circumstances," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as she prepared to depart on a four-day European trip to Germany, Romania, Ukraine and Belgium.
Rice rebutted recent news reports alleging that the United States has transported captive terrorists to other countries to be tortured in order to exact confessions.
"The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture," Rice said.
She also said the United States doesn't use the airports or airspace of other countries to transport terrorist detainees to other places for the purpose of torture.
"The United States has not transported anyone and will not transport anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured," Rice said. "Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured."
Rice said she supports the practice of rendition, or the transport of detainees from the point of their capture to their home countries or to other locations where they can be questioned, held or brought to justice.
"Renditions take terrorists out of action and save lives," Rice said. For decades, she said, the United States and other countries have used renditions to move captive terrorists.
"Rendition is a vital tool in combating transnational terrorism. Its use is not unique to the United States or to the current administration," Rice said.
Rice said rendition brought 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Youssef to the United States, where he now serves a life sentence for his crimes. Rendition also brought the notorious terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as "Carlos the Jackal," to France for trial after his 1994 capture in Sudan, Rice recalled. Today, Ramírez Sánchez spends his days in a French prison, she said.