JCPA: investigate detainee treatment


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Jewish umbrella organization joined a group calling for the creation of a commission to examine the U.S. treatment of detainees in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy umbrella for U.S. Jewish groups and community relations councils, joined 17 other advocacy groups in signing on to a statement urging President Obama to appoint a non-partisan commission to investigate the detention, treatment and transfer of detainees post-Sept. 11 and make recommendations for future policy.

Others endorsing the statement include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Human Rights Watch. Former FBI director William Sessions and former undersecretary of state for political affairs Thomas Pickering are among the individuals who also signed the document.

"As President Obama implements new national security policies, he must know the strengths and weakness of previous programs and directives," JCPA executive director Rabbi Steve Gutow said in a statement. "We believe the President has a duty to protect the American people in a way that upholds our nation’s deepest values and cherished traditions of justice."

Gutow added, "We must understand what harm was done so that we our future polices can better protect the American people and our national values."

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