Dans un papier qui doit prochainement paraître dans les Temps Modernes, j’analyse les mécanismes qui ont amené les Américains à pratiquer la torture en Irak (et ailleurs) dans les jours qui ont suivi l’invasion. J’y montre qu’il ne s’agit ni des bavures de quelques soldats perdus, ni d’un plan organisé de l’administration américaine, mais d’une dérive morale de la société américaine qui date de bien avant le 11 septembre. La possibilité de torturer a été longuement discutée et justifiée par des intellectuels de toutes sortes (philosophes, théologiens…) et de tous horizons bien avant l’entrée des troupes américaines en Irak. Dans ce papier, je fais allusion à l’externalisation de la torture, une pratique que confirment les organisations internationales comme l’indique ce papier de David Johnston dans le New-York Times du 12 mai 2005 : Terror Suspects Sent to Egypt by the Dozens, Panel Reports.
La dernière phrase de cet article dit l’essentiel : « Other Clinton and Bush administration officials have said concerns about Cairo's methods were balanced by the reality that for some detainees, there were no options. »
WASHINGTON, May 11 - The United States and other countries have forcibly sent dozens of terror suspects to Egypt, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The rights group and the State Department have both said Egypt regularly uses extreme interrogation methods on detainees.
The group said it had documented 63 cases since 1994 in which suspected Islamic militants were sent to Egypt for detention and interrogation. The figures do not include people seized after the attacks of September 2001 who were sent mainly by Middle East countries and American intelligence authorities.
The report said the total number sent to Egypt since the Sept. 11 attacks could be as high as 200 people. American officials have not disputed that people have been sent to countries where detainees are subjected to extreme interrogation tactics but have denied that anyone had been sent to another country for the purpose of torture. Among other countries to which the United States has sent detainees are Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said sending someone to a country where he was likely to be tortured was banned under international law. "Egypt's terrible record of torturing prisoners means that no country should forcibly send a suspect there," he said.
The United States began sending terror suspects to Egypt in the mid-1990's when the practice, known formally as rendition, began to play a larger role in counterterrorism, according to officials from the Clinton administration.
But since September 2001, the transfers have accelerated in part because Egypt has been willing to accept the detainees as part of its effort to root out Islamic militants inside Egypt, a campaign that has extended to countries where extremists have taken refuge. Almost all those sent to Egypt are Egyptian citizens or were born there, the report said.
Although torture is forbidden under Egyptian law, the country has long been criticized by the State Department for a poor human rights record, most recently in a Feb. 28 annual report by the agency that concluded, "Torture and abuse of detainees by police, security forces and prison guards remained common and persistent."
Human rights groups have been even harsher. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, a nongovernmental group, reported in May 2004 that it had uncovered 292 cases of torture between 1993 and 2003, of which 120 led to death.
President Bush said in March that the government demanded assurances that suspects would not be tortured before they were sent to other countries. Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence, testified on March 17 that more safeguards were now in effect than existed before Sept. 11, 2001.
Other Clinton and Bush administration officials have said concerns about Cairo's methods were balanced by the reality that for some detainees, there were no options.
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