Senate Approves Measure to Ban the Use of Torture on Detainees
In a landslide vote, the U.S. Senate passed a historic measure on Tuesday that aims to ban the practice of torture on detainees for evermore.
The Senate voted 78 to 21 to add a defense bill amendment onto the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would outlaw the Bush-era torture program in exchange for a non-coercive method of intelligence interrogation. Under the bi-partisan bill -- which was introduced by Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogations would become the new standard for all interrogations executed by the U.S. government. It also grants the International Committee of the Red Cross access to each detainee held in U.S. custody.
"I ask my colleagues to support this amendment and by doing so we can recommit ourselves to the fundamental precept that the U.S. does not torture -- without exception and without equivocation -- and ensure that the mistakes of our past are never again repeated in the future," Feinstein said, according to The Associated Press.
The vote comes just months after the Senate intelligence committee released a damning 500-page report in December on the CIA's post-9/11 torture program. The findings revealed that the CIA used brutal interrogations tactics on al-Qaida detainees after 9/11, including waterboarding, rectal feedings and sleep deprivation.
"It really is a great day, because it really does mean never again," Feinstein said after the vote, reports The Huffington Post. "It was a great moment for me, yes, and for us."
"I respect the dedication and services of those charged with protecting this country," McCain said on the Senate floor before the vote. "At the same time, we must continue to insist that the methods we employ in this fight for peace and freedom must always -- always -- be as right and honorable as the goals and ideals we fight for."
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