Friday, April 24, 2009

The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death

Our United States criminal statutes (not war crimes statutes in the Geneva Conventions) concerning torture say:
Section 2340. Definitions

As used in this chapter -

(1) "torture" means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from -
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

(C) the threat of imminent death; or

(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality;

(3) "United States" includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places described in sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49.
(18 USC 2340). If behaviour fits that definition, then:
Section 2340A. Torture

(a) Offense. - Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction. - There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if -
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy. - A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
(18 USC 2340A, emphasis added). It is clear to me why those who conspired to commit torture, as well as those who did the torture are desperately lying and trying to cover up.

Under this statute conspirators could receive up to life in prison, while anyone who physically causes physical death of a prisoner could be put to death.

What this statute shows is that our nation takes the notion of torture very, very seriously and it is clear that it was a signal to anyone who would try to change the reputation of America in the world that it could cost them their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment