House Votes to Outlaw Waterboarding


Jen Nessel, [email protected] 

December 13, 2007, New York – The House of Representatives this evening voted to outlaw waterboarding and other forms of torture not permitted in the Army Field Manual (AFM). The latest version of the AFM was released on the same day that the government brought Majid Khan, who is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, and others to Guantánamo from years of secret CIA detention on September 6, 2006. At the time, Lt. General Kimmons, the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence said, “I am absolutely convinced [that] no good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that.”

According to CCR attorneys, the AFM was issued because the army knew that torture does not produce useful evidence, despite what the CIA has been maintaining: “The army understood that waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal, and torture produces bad evidence – the President should sign this bill,” said CCR President Michael Ratner.

CCR attorneys Gitanjali Gutierrez and Wells Dixon recently filed a motion asking the court to declare that the interrogation methods applied to Majid Khan constitute torture. That motion remains classified.

Khan is a former Baltimore resident Majid Khan who was taken from Pakistan in 2003 and spent three and half years in secret CIA prisons before “reappearing” at Guantanamo in September 2006.  

Earlier this week, in the aftermath of the revelations the CIA had destroyed hundreds of hours of interrogation tapes, a federal appeals court issued an interim order requiring the government to take “all measures necessary to preserve” evidence relating to Guantanamo detainee Majid Khan, including evidence of his torture by the CIA.

This all comes just days after the Supreme Court heard arguments in a landmark case on detainee rights. In the case – aimed at reining in executive power and restoring constitutional rights – CCR attorneys and co-counsel are asking the justices to rule that Guantanamo detainees have a constitutional right to habeas corpus – the right to appear before an independent court to know why they are being held and what the charges are against them.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

December 14, 2007