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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
Torture suspects 'living in America'
Omarska concentration camp, Bosnia
Suspected torturers served in camps in Bosnia
At least 150 suspected torturers from around the world are living freely in the United States, according to human rights campaigners.

Amnesty International has urged the US to prosecute dozens of individuals who it says have fled to the US to escape justice.


The US Government has never prosecuted any of them for torture and that is outrageous and indefensible

William F Schulz, Amnesty USA
The organisation says Washington has acknowledged that as many as 1,000 people wanted for human rights abuses might have settled in the country.

In a 174-page report entitled United States of America: Safe Haven for Torturers, the group names 13 suspects who entered the country despite claims against them.

"The US Government has never prosecuted any of them for torture and that is outrageous and indefensible," said William F Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

Law 'not enforced'

The report says America has failed to enact a law passed eight years ago enabling prosecution of individuals suspected of torture anywhere in the world.

Amnesty International
Amnesty said the US was a safe haven for torturers

"When perpetrators of torture walk the streets with impunity, it is not only their victims who suffer - it is an affront to all humanity," the document said.

Mr Schulz said a Bosnian Serb soldier named Nikola Vukovic was one of a number of suspects living in the US.

Mr Vukovic was accused of taking part in the torture of a Bosnian Muslim over a period of two years.

Mr Schulz said a civil trial was held last year but neither Mr Vukovic nor his lawyer showed up and a final ruling had yet to be delivered.

In another case, the US granted citizenship to an Ethiopian government official despite a court having found him guilty of torture and having ordered him to pay $1.5m in damages, Mr Schulz said.

The report said suspects wanted for human rights abuses came to America from countries including Bosnia, Chile, Haiti, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Cuba.

See also:

16 Dec 00 | Americas
New image for US 'torture school'
15 May 00 | Americas
US rebuked over torture
10 May 00 | Americas
US rejects torture allegations
02 May 00 | World
China and US face rebuke
16 Oct 99 | Americas
US admits torture concerns
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