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09/17/2006

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Barry

The definition of torture has come up in the US law, in at least two, if not three places (caveat, IANAL, this is from memory):

1) Torture is one of the aggravating circumstances which can be used to invoke the death penalty, in federal law.

2) Torture is one of the justifications for political asylum.

3) (not sure how often it is used) If a member of a foreign government/armed forces were to have 'tortured' a US military prisoner, they could be prosecuted for that. Now, that would have some interesting implications; recently, some post-WWII courts-martial of lower-severity Japanese war crimes was declassified. The penalty for requiring a US POW to hold a salute for 30 minutes: 11 years at hard labor.

The idea that definitions of torture are not already in US law and precendent is nothing more than a lie offered by supporters of torture, who are trying to plead ignorance.

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