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UN torture committee urges probe of Syria, Yemen, Jordan

The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) [official website] on Friday urged [press release] Syria, Yemen, and Jordan to conduct thorough investigations into allegations of torture [JURIST news archive] by law enforcement officials. Concluding its forty-fourth session, the group of 10 independent experts [materials] issued conclusions and recommendations on eight countries. In Jordan, the CAT was "deeply concerned at the numerous, consistent and credible allegations of a widespread and routine practice of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in detention facilities and that such allegations were seldom investigated and prosecuted." In Syria, the committee was "deeply concerned about numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations concerning the routine use of torture by Syrian law enforcement and investigative officials, at their instigation or with their consent, in particular, in detention facilities." And in Yemen, the CAT was "deeply concerned at the numerous allegations, corroborated by a number of Yemeni and international sources, of a widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Yemeni prisons." The countries were urged to monitor and inspect detention facilities and to investigate torture allegations.

Last month, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] (HRW) called for an investigation into alleged war crimes [JURIST report] committed during the recent conflict between the government of Yemen and Shiite Huthi Rebels. According to HRW's report, the February truce between the factions has not resulted in any meaningful inquiry into air strikes on populated villages, indiscriminate violence, summary executions, and child soldiers, among other alleged violations. In February, Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] asked the US Supreme Court [official website] to overturn a lower court ruling [JURIST report] that he cannot sue the US government for damages based on his detention, interrogation, and torture in Syria after he was mistakenly identified as a terrorist. Last year, HRW urged Jordan to restore its rule of law [JURIST report] by ending extrajudicial detentions of crime victims, personal enemies, and persons freed by the courts.

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