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Torture "Aberrational" in U.S.

On October 15, 1999 the Clinton administration submitted a report to the U.N. Committee Against Torture, admitting abuses in the United States but calling them rare.

"We fully acknowledge in this report there continue to be areas of concern, contention and criticism," said Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh. "But we note torture does not occur in the United States except in aberrational situations and never as a matter of policy."

The report, prepared by the State and Justice departments as part of a 1994 international agreement against torture, cited police brutality, excessive use of force, physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, and lack of adequate training and oversight of police and prison guards.

The report described several specific incidents, including the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, the sexual assault on Abner Louima by New York officers and excessive use of force by federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas.

"Abuses occur despite the best precautions and the strictest prohibitions," the report concluded. "No government can claim a perfect record."

Source: The Tennessean

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