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Bishop says abuse of prisoners undermines war on terrorism

The head of the US bishops' international policy committee has said the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has undermined legitimate efforts to combat terrorism.

"The abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners have brought shame upon our nation, are an affront to our most basic ideals and will undermine legitimate efforts to confront the very real threats faced by our nation and the world," said Bishop John Ricard.

Bishop Ricard said there is a risk that US troops had developed a belief that they were justified in abusing or torturing enemy combatants as a way of retribution for the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

"We can lose sight of the hard truth that the twin feelings of victimisation and moral superiority do not free us from the moral obligation to uphold the basic rights (of) even our worst enemies who, themselves, show contempt for such rights," he said in a statement released last week.

Bishop says abuse of prisoners undermines war on terrorism (Catholic NEws Service 19/5/04)

US bishops comment on abuse of Iraqi prisoners (Independent Catholic News 19/5/04)
Can torture be justified? (Christian Science Monitor 19/5/04)

20 May 2004