President George Bush has signed into law one of the most controversial measures of his eight years in the White House. It will allow tough interrogation of terrorist suspects, with military tribunals replacing trial by jury for the accused.
Bush says it is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror.
“The Military Commissions Act 2006 is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror, and the bill I signed today will ensure we can continue using this vital tool to protect the American people for years to come”.
Post 9/11, US authorities have argued that prisoners are not regular combatants and therefore not protected by the Geneva convention.
They say traditonal methods of intelligence gathering are inappropriate in the war on terror.
However US policy on interrogating suspects in “secret” camps in third party nations, and Camp Delta in Cuba, has come in for international criticism.
Human rights groups say the new law allows measures tantamount to torture including sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia,